Sam Ryder is UK's best Eurovision hope in years as first rehearsal wows fans and critics
As his odds of winning drop even further, Sam Ryder has been declared the UK's best Eurovision hope in years after a brilliant first rehearsal gave fans an exciting teaser of what to expect in the final.
This year marked 25 years since the last time the United Kingdom won , when Katrina and the Waves triumphed in Ireland with their anthemic Love Shine a Light. Since then, it would be fair to say that the UK has had a mixed bag of fortunes in the annual contest, to say the least.
Acts have finished rock bottom of the leaderboard on a number of occasions, with an absolutely devastating result for James Newman in 2021. After waiting a year to get his chance to perform on stage, with the 2020 event scrapped because of Covid, the singer/songwriter received nothing from either the juries or public vote for his song Embers.
However, there is a real sense of optimism in the UK camp for , after the teamed up with music management firm Tap to select an entry to fly the flag in Italy with his track Superman. As soon as fans heard the track back in March, they tipped great things for TikTok sensation and, as he remains one of the firm favourites to win in Turin on Saturday, May 14, according to hopes are now even higher after his first rehearsal on Thursday afternoon.
The Eurovision stage has made the news for the wrong reasons this week, with its giant sun centre piece failing to rotate as its meant to, hampering some acts planned visuals for their performances. But Sam's staging has made an impact, with him standing in the middle of huge stricture which then opened up to look like wings beside him as the song went on.
While fans haven't yet seen how the performance ends, an epic final 20 seconds have been teased, as the song takes on a new sound to its studio version. And, having seen glimpses of what to expect Sam, some UK based Eurovision fans are daring to dream of a very high position on the leaderboard in the final.
Reacting to what they'd seen on Twitter, one enthusiast posted: "We can finally hold our heads up high and say this fantastic singer with a fantastic song and the most impressive staging is representing us the UK this year. It's like a dream come true. Thank you Sam, thank you TAP, thank you BBC."
Equally excited, another wrote: "I am so proud of Sam. He is the dream UK representative that we’ve been waiting for. This doesn’t feel real - the staging, the song, the vocalist, the promotion, I can’t believe what I’ve seen. Thank you for making me feel positive again for the first time since 2011."