Sam Ryder will look to end a dismal form for the UK when he takes the stage at the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin on Saturday.
The UK has only made the top half of the competition three times this century: 2002 (when the country was represented by Jessica Garlick), 2009 (Jade Ewen) and 2011 (Blue).
Ryder and his song Space Man are already in turmoil, and some bookies are suggesting he could rack up enough points to finish third or fourth.
It would be quite a game changer for a country that has grown accustomed to ending the competition at the bottom of the scoreboard – and sometimes in last place.
Since 2000, the UK has placed in the bottom three ten times.
He also finished last five times: 2003 (Jemini), 2008 (Andy Abraham), 2010 (Josh Dubovie), 2019 (Michael Rice) and 2021 (James Newman).
That’s not quite as bad as Finland, which has set a record of finishing last in the final nine times since the competition began in 1956.
But it is typical of the UK’s poor performance in the Eurovision Song Contest in recent years and stands in sharp contrast to how the country fared in previous decades.
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From 1959 to 1998, the UK finished in the bottom half of the competition only twice: in 1978 and 1987.
During this period Britain celebrated its five Eurovision victories, 1967 (Sandie Shaw), 1969 (Lulu), 1976 (Brotherhood Of Man), 1981 (Bucks Fizz) and 1997 (Katrina And The Waves).
This was also the period when Britain finished second a total of 15 times – more than any other country in Eurovision Song Contest history.
As this dazzling era continues to recede, the point will soon be reached where more years will have elapsed since the United Kingdom last won the competition (currently 25) than the time between the United Kingdom’s first win and the last win (30 years – since 1967). until 1997).
If Sam Ryder manages to finish this year’s competition in the top half, he will at least end the country’s long run of poor results since Blue finished a respectable 11th in 2011.
Also avoiding one of the last three places would be an improvement over the last few years.
And should he happen to win the final, not only would it be the UK’s first win in a generation, it would also mean Britain get to host next year’s competition – for a record ninth time.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/the-uks-long-years-of-eurovision-pain-in-numbers-41637813.html The long years of Eurovision pain in Britain – in numbers