Fans gush with pride after ‘legend’ Sam Ryder smashed Eurovision for UK and made history

Sam Ryder performs on stage during Eurovision

Sam Ryder ended decades of humiliation for the UK as he finished second in the 66th Eurovision Song Contest – and fans were as stunned as they were happy.

For 20 years, the UK has had to get used to two things: being on the right side of the leader board and the sound of many, many people saying: “Nul points.”

But Saturday night (14 May) changed all of that. Ryder, the long-haired TikTok rock singer, came in second place with “Space Man” all but shocking Brits – “what is happening” began to trend as the jury results were announced.

Second place was the UK’s best result in 24 years. A stunning display considering that only the year before the UK ranked at the bottom of the board with zero points.

As much as the public overwhelmingly backed Ukraine at the end, with rap and folk band Kalush Orchestra winning with a thumping 621 points, the UK landed right below with 466 points.

The competition averaged nearly nine million viewers before peaking at 10.8 million during the voting segment – and countless people, from politicians to LGBTQ+ folk, praised Ryder, 31, for rising like a phoenix through the leaderboard.

Sam Ryder, embraced Marius Bear, representing Switzerland, during the Grand Final show of the 66th Eurovision Song Contest. (Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli / WireImage )

“Wasn’t this the best Eurovision for years?” tweeted Cheryl Baker, a British singer who won Eurovision in 1981 as part of Bucks Fizz.

“Not just because the brilliant [Ryder] came second, but it was a shot of low, joy, inclusivity and animosity. If only the world acted like [Eurovision].

“It would be a kinder, happier and safer place.”

Lorraine Kelly, living national tresure, wrote: “Congrats to UKRAINE – get it right up you Putin – and our [Ryder] did us proud.”

“We’re top of the leaderboard,” said television presenter Rylan Clark. “I can’t.”

Pansexual Liberal Democrat Layla Moran praised Clark for thriving in Eurovision, something which is an “amazing turnaround for fortunes for the UK”.

And fans agreed. Many beamed with pride as they praised Ryder for bringing the nation together.

“Every single other artist involved this year absolutely smashed it,” Ryder told The Daily Mirror.

“Everyone was a credit to themselves and a credit to what [Eurovision] is all about: unity, peace, love, togetherness, inclusivity and expression.”