am Ryder will take the stage to improve the UK’s standing in the Eurovision final on Saturday night.

The 32-year-old has worked in construction for eight years but found fame covering songs on TikTok during the shutdown.

He quickly built up 12 million followers and caught the attention of global stars including Justin Bieber and Alicia Keys.

But Ryder said he’s trying to ignore the spotlight and focus on doing “the best job I possibly can.”

“I don’t want to get to the point of starting to believe the hype,” he told the BBC.

“I just want to make people proud and do the best job I can.”

The Essex-born singer aims to end a dismal run for the UK, after the nation comes last in 2021 with James Newman and in 2019 with Michael Rice.

Sam Ryder holds his guitar during costume rehearsal ahead of the 66th European Song Contest Finals at the Reggia di Venaria Reale

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But there has been a buzz surrounding the long-haired artist and his uplifting song Space Man – with some bookies saying he could win enough points to finish third or fourth overall.

He added: “Actually, the song was written a year and a half ago with no Eurovision intentions in mind.

“It was a beautiful day, hot and sunny in London, very natural, we were in a studio with no windows and Space Man was like stepping out of space… man.

Asked if he feels more pressured by the UK’s poor performance, he said: “I think if you tell yourself you’re under pressure, you’re starting good. It’s hard to get out of that. So instead, I told myself I’m glad, grateful, and grateful for the opportunity.

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra walk on stage with national flags ahead of Friday’s costume rehearsal


“Anyway, singing, composing, and performing shouldn’t be about grades. Celebrations of music can’t exist without that.

He co-wrote the track with Grammy Award-winning songwriter Amy Wadge, who previously worked with Ed Sheeran and Max Wolfgang.

At the 2019 competition, the UK continued to have poor results and came in last place with Michael Rice’s Bigger Than Us, while the Netherlands came out on top with Duncan Laurence’s Arcade.

The 2020 contest has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, UK hopeful James Newman was the only contestant who failed to score in the final, finishing bottom of the table.

Mika performing on stage during a costume rehearsal

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This year’s final round featured 20 countries that succeeded in the two semi-finals of the week, as well as five major nations known as England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

We Are Domi of the Czech Republic will perform “Lights Off” at the opening while Estonia will close the show with Stefan singing Hope.

Eurovision favorites, Ukrainian folk rap group Kalush Orchestra, will also perform their 12th Stefania song in running order.

The defending Eurovision Song Contest winner, Italian rock band Maneskin will also take to the stage to perform their new single Supermodel.

Graham Norton will be back for his 13th contest to keep a close eye on the proceedings while doing his customary blunders.

The Eurovision Song Contest final, organized by TV presenter Alessandro Cattelan and singers Laura Pausini and Mika, airs on BBC One from 8pm until midnight.


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