Initial Review: “Space Man” by Sam Ryder (United Kingdom)

Arguably no other country has quite the hang-ups and traumas when it comes to Eurovision than the UK. One day I’ll get around to writing a post with my take on the situation, but I think even the most casual viewer of the contest will know that it has been a long while since the United Kingdom has had the kind of regular success they enjoyed in the first forty years of the contest. Eurovision participation is seen as a great opportunity in most European countries, but a poisoned chalice the way the British media often present it. This year, Sam Ryder is the ‘brave’ artist to attempt the contest with his song “Space Man”.

After finishing dead last with zero points in the 2021 contest, surely the only way is up for the UK? Yes, I am pleased to be able to say that it would be a shock if this didn’t see the UK climb a healthy number of places on the scoreboard. Ryder has a distinctive, soaring voice — the song is pleasantly uplifting and has some moments which should be electric if delivered well on stage. Lyrically this is fine without being particularly remarkable, which brings us to the staging — the UK hasn’t been particularly good at this lately. All I can hope is that they don’t overdo it: Ryder is clearly excited about the contest and eager to connect with the audience, so give him all the opportunities he needs to be able to do this.

Given that the UK has already qualified for the final, I’m inclined to compare it to the remaining Big 5 members for the moment. In my personal ranking, I’d put the UK below France and Italy, but above Germany and Spain, which feels about right in a more general sense. I don’t think this is a top 10 song; however, I don’t think it’s bottom 10 either. A mid-table result might still be lower than the BBC are hoping, but it should be a good start in re-building some confidence in the contest in the UK.