Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Sam Ryder feels ‘fantastic’ as he arrives in UK after Eurovision triumph

Sam Ryder arrives at Heathrow Airport after finishing second in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Italy (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Sam Ryder arrives at Heathrow Airport after finishing second in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Italy (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Sam Ryder said he felt “fantastic” and that he would have a family curry as soon as he arrived home as he touched down in the UK a day after coming second in the Eurovision Song Contest.

The British hopeful delighted fans at home by topping the national jury vote with 283 points, beating favourites Spain and Sweden, in the country’s best result in 20 years.

Landing at London’s Heathrow Airport on Sunday evening, the jubilant singer wore a pink Kalush Orchestra hat, celebrating the Ukrainian winners of this year’s competition which was held in Turin, Italy.

Ryder, who was carrying a champagne-shaped balloon and a Union Jack flag, said he was feeling “fantastic” and added that he had an “incredible experience, such a rewarding experience”.

Claiming he “didn’t expect” a reception, he paused to take selfies and chat to fans who had waited for his arrival on a flight from Milan.

Sam Ryder
Sam Ryder lands at Heathrow Airport after finishing as a runner-up to Ukraine in Eurovision (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“It’s just lovely to come home and feel that joy and love we’ve felt the whole time, though I am tired now – just want to focus on having a nice sleep tonight,” he said.

Asked the first thing he would do when he got home, Ryder laughed and answered: “Have a curry with my family.”

More than eight million people in the UK tuned in to watch Ryder’s Eurovision triumph on Saturday.

The 32-year-old TikTok star won over the audience with his uplifting pop song Space Man, dazzling in a one-piece suit encrusted with beads and pearls.

In a statement, the BBC said: “Sam’s performance was simply out of this world and we couldn’t be prouder of him, achieving the best result in 20 years for the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest, including winning the jury vote.

“Kalush Orchestra’s performance was incredible and generated a reaction both in the arena and around the globe like no other – we offer huge congratulations to Ukraine on their win.”

An average of 8.9 million people tuned in to watch the competition on BBC One, with a peak viewing figure of 10.6 million, the corporation said.

Last year, 7.4 million people watched as UK hopeful James Newman scored zero points and came bottom of the leaderboard.

This year’s competition was won by Ukraine’s folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra with their song Stefania.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Facebook post: “Our courage impresses the world our music conquers Europe!”

“Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision!

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

“For the third time in its history. And I believe – not for the last time.”

Martin Osterdahl, Eurovision’s executive supervisor, said in a statement that the organisation’s attention has turned to next year’s competition and its “unique challenges”.

Ryder found fame covering songs on TikTok during lockdown, amassing 12 million followers and catching the attention of global stars including Justin Bieber and Alicia Keys.

He was selected in a new collaboration between the BBC and global music management company TaP Music, which also revamped the promotional campaign.

The new strategy included ensuring Ryder’s single, Space Man, got played on BBC Radio 1 instead of Radio 2, and targeting smaller countries such as San Marino, Serbia, Croatia and Malta, which have the same voting powers as larger countries such as Germany.

In his first series of posts to Twitter since the competition, Ryder said: “Still up in Space, Man! Thank you all for blazing with love, positivity and kindness throughout this wild and euphoric experience.

“We completely felt your support and we so deeply appreciated it.

“Huge love to Kalush Orchestra for bringing it home for glorious Ukraine!!!

“Couldn’t be happier right now and I can’t wait to hug my grandad!!”

Already a subscriber? Sign in