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Sam Ryder: who is UK Eurovision 2022 entry, Space Man song lyrics - when is the competition final?

Sam Ryder amassed a following on social media platform TikTok when he started posting videos of himself singing during lockdown

The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the most anticipated events of the year, boasting spectacular performances from acts around the world and of course nail biting tension as each country doles out its points.

The competition will take place at the PalaOlimpico in Turin, Italy, following the victory of Italian act Måneskin last year with their song Zitti E Buoni.

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The beginning phases of the contest have gotten underway with the first Eurovision semi-final taking place today, Tuesday 10 May, at 8pm.

The UK’s entry into the song contest was officially announced earlier this year as Sam Ryder - and after our 2021 entry James Newman scored the dreaded nil points for his song Embers, could Sam Ryder be what we need to not finish in last place?

This is everything you need to know.

Who is Sam Ryder?

Ryder is a musician who has amassed a huge following on social media - especially on TikTok. With over 12 million followers, he’s one of the biggest names on the app.

During lockdown, he drew the attention of the likes of Alicia Keys, Sia and Justin Bieber when he started posting his covers of songs.

Sam Ryder has been announced as the official UK entry into the Eurovision Song Contest (Photo: Parlophone)

By the end of 2020, Ryder had become the most followed artist on TikTok, which allowed him the opportunity to sign a contract with record label Parlophone and launch his own solo career.

Ryder has released a number of singles between 2019 and 2021, including Set you Free, Whirlwind, Tiny Riot, July and More, as well as his 2021 EP The Sun’s Gonna Rise.

When was he chosen - and how are Eurovision entries selected?

The UK’s entries into the Eurovision Song Contest used to be selected via a public vote - however, in a bid to improve the UK’s historically low placement in the song contest, in 2020 the BBC (which runs the UK’s participation in the competition) decided to change the way that the entries were chosen.

Instead of a public vote, the entry is now instead selected internally by the BBC and BMG record label.

Ryder was selected to compete for the UK in a collaboration between the BBC and global music management company TaP Music, which counts Lana Del Rey and Ellie Goulding among its clients.

Sam Ryder was chosen by the BBC and TaP Music to represent the UK in the competition (Photo: @samhairwolfryder/@edwardcooke)

TaP Music co-founder Ben Mawson said: “The search has taken many months and has presented us with lots of dilemmas and difficult decision making as to which direction to go in for our act.

“We had incredible interest from across the music industry, from unsigned talent through to established artists with number 1 albums, however we settled on Sam because of his combination of extraordinary vocals and a wonderful song that references so many classic British musical influences.”

Ryder said: “Having been a fan of Eurovision since I was a kid, I am so honoured to have been presented with the opportunity to sing at an event alongside some of Europe’s most talented creatives, performers and songwriters.

“I hope to sing my head off in a way the United Kingdom can be proud of, and to showcase a song I wrote with my friends last summer makes the whole experience even more special. See you in Turin legends!”

What song will he be singing at the Eurovision Song Contest?

Ryder will be singing his song Space Man, which he co-wrote alongside Grammy award winning songwriter Amy Wadge, who is best known for her writing partnership with Ed Sheeran, and Max Wolfgang.

Space Man was featured as the “Tune of the Week” on Scott Mills’ Afternoon Show on BBC Radio 1 at the beginning of March.

He shared his excitement on Instagram at the time, writing: “MILESTONE ALERT! SO stoked that Space Man is @bbcradio1 Tune Of The Week!! This is absolutely WILD!!

“Massive thanks to @realscottmills & @chrisstark and to the @bbcradio1 legends!”

The lyrics to the song are:

If I was an astronaut, I'd be floating in mid-air

And a broken heart would just belong to someone else down there

I would be the centre of my lonely universe

But I'm only human, and I'm crashing down to earth

If I was an astronaut, I'd have a bird's eye view

I'd circle 'round the world and keep on coming back to you

In my floating castle, I'd rub shoulders with the stars

But I'm only human, and I'm drifting in the dark

I'm up in space, man

Up in space, man

I've searched around the universe

Been down some black holes

There's nothing but space, man

And I wanna go home

If I was an astronaut, I'd speak to satellites

My navigation systems would search for other life

But I'd be up here thinking 'bout what I left behind

'Cause I'm only human with the real world on my mind

I'm up in space, man

Up in space, man

I've searched around the universe

Been down some black holes

There's nothing but space, man

And I wanna go home

Gravity keeps pulling me down

As long as you're on the ground, I'll stick around

Stick around

I'll stick around

I'm up in space, man

Up in space, man

I've searched around the universe

Been down some black holes

There's nothing but space, man, no

Oh, I'm in the wrong place, man

Nothing but, nothing but, nothing but space, man

Nothing but, nothing but, nothing but space, man

I've searched around the universe

Been down some black holes

Nothing but space, man

And I wanna go home

What did former winner Conchita Wurst tell him?

Ryder met with 2014 Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst during an interview with BBC Breakfast.

He asked the former winner what their mindset was like when they took to the stage in 2014.

Wurst said: “I couldn’t wait to go on that stage. You did it all over and over again, and it’s so good because you know every move, every person you’re going to meet on the way to the stage. For me, it made me really comfortable.”

During the exchange, Wurst told Ryder that he has some “tough competition” if he’s looking to bag the UK its first Eurovision win since 1997.

Wurst said: “You’ve got tough competition. The buzz in the Eurovision community is, “Oh, the UK is participating again”.

“You know, no offence to all the other artists who have come before, they are all brilliant, but this year it feels like, “They mean business. Okay. Okay”.”

When is Eurovision 202 - did he sing in the semi-finals?

The Eurovision 2022 final will take on Saturday 14 May. The first semi-final was held on 10 May and the second semi-final on 12 May.

The UK is part of what is called “the big five”, meaning that we automatically qualify for the finale without having to go through the semi-final rounds first, so Ryder can focus all his energy on his performance on the big night.

Måneskin, from Italy, won the 65th Eurovision Song Contest grand final held at Rotterdam Ahoy (Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

The big five is made up of the group of countries who make the biggest financial contributions to the European Broadcasting Union, and in 2000 the rule was created that these countries would be allowed direct entry into the final of the song contest.

Alongside the UK in the big five is France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

You can watch the semi-finals of the contest on BBC Three, and the BBC iPlayer, at 8pm on Tuesday 10 and Thursday 12 May.

The grand finale will air on BBC One, and the BBC iPlayer, on Saturday 14 May from 8pm.