Graham Norton hails Sam Ryder as UKs best Eurovision hope for years

It’s time to get the Union Jacks out and the snacks and drinks in – the Eurovision Song Contest is back for its 66th year.

It is also 25 years since the UK last triumphed, with Katrina and The Waves’ Love Shine A Light.

Bringing his usual dry wit to the event, Eurovision fixture Graham Norton will be flying the flag for this year’s entry, Sam Ryder’s Space Man. And he can’t wait for the big night…

What makes Eurovision special to you, Graham?

I’ve always loved Eurovision but over the last few years it has become even more special. I find fans coming together in dark times to celebrate music across the continent moving.

As Italy won last year, this year’s stage is Turin. Have you been before?

I think so but there was wine involved so I have very little recollection…

What do you think about the UK entry this year?

Sam Ryder is a star! He is our best hope for years. He has been getting a great response around Europe as he promotes Space Man, so fingers crossed for some points this year!

Who are the ones to watch this year?

I think Italy might do that rarest of things and walk away triumphant for the second year in a row. That song [Brividi by Mahmood and Blanco] is huge!

What are your favourite Eurovision memories?

When Conchita Wurst won for Austria [with Rise Like A Phoenix in 2014]. Not a dry eye in the house.

What makes people love Eurovision?

Eurovision really is unique – as daft as it is deadly serious. I describe it as profound nonsense and I wouldn’t change a thing.

One of TV’s hottest names will be joining in the fun, as TV presenter AJ Odudu steps up to be our Eurovision Spokesperson, delivering the results of the UK professional jury vote live from Salford, for the first time ever.

Who's our hopeful?

We’ve had some well known representing the UK over the years, including Samantha Janus, Blue, Bonnie Tyler, Engelbert Humperdinck, Katrina and The Waves, Gina G and Sonia.

This year’s entrant is TikTok sensation and singer-songwriter Sam Ryder who will be representing the UK with his single Space Man.

“I'm excited! I’m trying to be focused about it…and getting in the right headspace for it. It’s really hectic in the lead up, so I think it's important just to try and find that focus and balance, and just remember that it's all about the singing.”

The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final airs on Saturday 14 May, 8pm on BBC One and will also be available on BBC iPlayer.

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