TikTok star Sam Ryder has been announced as the UK entry for the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest.
The singer-songwriter will perform the track Space Man at the grand final in Turin, Italy, in May.
Ryder found fame covering songs on TikTok during lockdown and has so far accumulated 12 million followers, making him the most followed UK music artist on the platform, according to the BBC.
“Having been a fan of Eurovision since I was a kid, I am so honoured to have been presented with the opportunity to sing at an event alongside some of Europe’s most talented creatives, performers and songwriters.
“I hope to sing my head off in a way the UK can be proud of, and to showcase a song I wrote with my friends last summer makes the whole experience even more special. See you in Turin, legends!”
The singer co-wrote the song Space Man with Grammy-winning songwriter Amy Wadge, who has previously worked with Ed Sheeran, and Max Wolfgang.
When the world went into lockdown in March 2020, Ryder began uploading covers to TikTok which caught the attention of global stars including Justin Bieber and Alicia Keys.
He later signed to the Parlophone record label, part of Warner Music Group, and released his debut EP The Sun’s Gonna Rise in 2021.
Singles from the record, Whirlwind and Tiny Riot, enjoyed great success and he has also recently completed his first UK tour.
Ryder was selected to compete for the UK in a collaboration between the BBC and global music management company TaP Music, which counts Lana Del Rey and Ellie Goulding among its clients.
TaP Music co-founders Ben Mawson and Ed Millett said:
“The Eurovision Song Contest is truly a cultural phenomenon and an amazing opportunity – with 200 million viewers – for the right performer.
“As well as Sam having an amazing voice – Space Man is an instant song that we’re confident will really connect. Not to mention he’s also an extremely likeable and engaging character – as evidenced by his TikTok following.”
The news was revealed by radio DJ Scott Mills on the Radio 1 Breakfast show with Greg James.
The 2021 competition was held in Rotterdam, Netherlands, after the show was cancelled in 2020, and won by Italy’s rock band Maneskin with their song Zitti E Buoni.
The UK was handed a crushing defeat as its entry, singer James Newman, was the only one to score zero points from both the jury and public vote, coming bottom on the leaderboard.
The competition’s producers have also recently announced that Russia will no longer participate in this year’s contest following the invasion of Ukraine.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said in a statement that the inclusion of a Russian entry at the contest in Turin in May would bring the contest into “disrepute”.
The Eurovision grand final will be broadcast on BBC One and BBC iPlayer and on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds on May 14 from 8pm.
Click here to see the Space Man video.