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Space Man

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"Space Man"
The official cover for "Space Man"
Single by Sam Ryder
from the album There’s Nothing But Space, Man!
LanguageEnglish
Released22 February 2022
GenrePop[1]
Length
  • 3:37 (original version)
  • 3:00 (ESC version)
LabelParlophone
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Koz
Sam Ryder singles chronology
"The Sun's Gonna Rise"
(2021)
"Space Man"
(2022)
Music video
"Space Man" on YouTube
Eurovision Song Contest 2022 entry
Country
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
Lyricist(s)
  • Sam Ryder
  • Amy Wadge
  • Max Wolfgang
Finals performance
Final result
2nd
Final points
466
Entry chronology
◄ "Embers" (2021)

"Space Man" is a 2022 single by the British singer and songwriter Sam Ryder, released on 22 February 2022 by Parlophone Records.[2][3] It represented the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 in Turin, Italy, after being internally selected through TaP Music and the BBC, the British broadcaster for the Eurovision Song Contest.[4]

Ryder co-wrote "Space Man" with Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Amy Wadge and Max Wolfgang in London during the COVID-19 pandemic, a year before it was chosen as the entry for Eurovision.[5] He has described the song as uplifting with comparisons being made to Elton John. After it was confirmed as the UK entry, "Space Man" became a favourite to win the contest.[6] It was met with positive reviews, with praise being drawn to Ryder's vocals, positive attitude and desire to change how the British public and press view the Eurovision Song Contest.[7][8][9]

At the contest in Italy, "Space Man" won the jury vote and finished in second place with 466 points. "Space Man" surpassed Katrina and the Waves' "Love Shine a Light" to become the highest-scoring UK Eurovision entry. It gave the UK their best result in the contest since Imaani's "Where Are You?" in 1998 and their first top three since Jessica Garlick's "Come Back" in 2002.[10][11] "Space Man" peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart, becoming the highest-charting UK Eurovision entry since Gina G's "Ooh Aah... Just a Little Bit" in 1996.[12]

Release

The song was released on 22 February 2022 on all major streaming platforms.[13] As of May 2022, it has received over 12 million streams on Spotify. On March 10, 2022, the music video for "Space Man", filmed in Budapest, Hungary, was released on the Eurovision YouTube channel. As of May 2022, it has received over 5 million views on YouTube.[14]

On April 20, an acoustic version of "Space Man" was released.[15] On 6 May, physical copies of "Space Man" became available to pre-order, and were released on 13 May.[16] On 18 May, a Eurovision guitar solo version was released.[17]

Promotion

Ryder embarked on a European tour to promote his single. Following the announcement that he would be representing the UK at Eurovision, Space Man had its TV debut performance on BBC's The One Show, and he was interviewed on the same day.[18] He travelled to Bulgaria to perform the song on Nikolaos Tsitiridis Show and also recorded the UK 'live-on-tape' backup performance for Eurovision.[19] He continued with his promotions in Netherlands, Serbia, and San Marino, and to other countries within Europe.[20]

Besides televised performances he attended radio events and Eurovision pre parties throughout Europe. For his interviews on This Morning and Good Morning Britain, he was praised for his positive attitude to see change in how the British public and press views the Eurovision Song Contest. On 22 April 2022, the song was performed at the York Hall for Eurovision House Party.[21]

On 7 May 2022, following his second rehearsal run in Turin, Italy, Ryder's live performance received positive reviews from critics and fans. It was confirmed that he had brought the biggest prop of the competition, a huge illuminated metallic structure. Following Ryder's rehearsal, he rose up in the betting odds and became one of the favourites to win the contest.[22] On 12 May 2022, the BBC aired a documentary detailing Ryder's journey to Eurovision.[23]

Ryder continued with his promotional activities after the Eurovision final. He gave televised interviews across the UK on daytime and nighttime talk shows, including The One Show and Good Morning Britain. He also continued his promotions on radio stations including BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, and Capital.

Eurovision Song Contest

Selection

On 21 October 2021, the day after the official list of participants in Eurovision 2022 was released, the BBC announced its plans for the British national selection, opting for an internal process no longer in collaboration with record label BMG, but with TaP Music instead. The management company's leading artists include Dua Lipa, Ellie Goulding and Lana Del Rey. Kate Phillips (BBC commissioning editor) stated that the new collaboration "will enable the BBC to tap into some great music talent" and that the broadcaster has "big ambitions for the 2022 contest".[24] On 25 January 2022, TaP revealed that they had started shortlisting potential acts for the contest – with both established, emerging and brand new artists having approached them for the Eurovision project – and that they had worked with BBC Radio 1 and Scott Mills in order to choose the British representative.[25]

Sam Ryder was announced as the chosen entrant with the song "Space Man" on 10 March 2022.[26][27] The entry was revealed by Scott Mills on BBC Radio 1's breakfast show with Greg James, with "Space Man" having previously featured as 'Tune of the Week' on Mills' afternoon show on Radio 1.[28] It was later announced that TaP Music would donate their consultancy fees to the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, to support those affected by the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[29]

At Eurovision

The Eurovision Song Contest 2022 was held at the PalaOlimpico in Turin, Italy. The two semi-finals were held on 10 and 12 May and the grand final on 14 May 2022. Since the United Kingdom is a member of the "Big Five", they qualified directly for the final.[30] In addition to their participation in the final, the United Kingdom was also required to broadcast and vote in one of the two semi-finals. This was decided via a draw held during the semi-final allocation draw on 25 January 2022, when it was announced that the United Kingdom would be voting in the second semi-final.[31]

Despite winning the jury vote, the United Kingdom ultimately finished second behind Ukraine, but nevertheless, Ryder achieved the United Kingdom's best result at the contest since 1998.

Critical reception

The Evening Standard described the song as "a solidly written pop song; whether it'll win over our European cousins remains to be seen."[32]

James Hall in The Daily Telegraph stated "Ryder represents our greatest hope of rising from the Eurovision ashes for years. [...] Not only can he sing, but he can perform too thanks to his time on the metal circuit and in Nashville. He has charisma. [...] Picking him is a clever move."[33]

Simon Duke in the Chronicle Live stated "Following his first rehearsal in Turin, Italy, he has been declared as the UK's best Eurovision hope in years".[34]

El Hunt for magazine Bustle described "Space Man" as a song covered with galactic sliding guitars and more than a hint of Elton John. The song imagines floating in space as an lonely, isolated astronaut with the longing to be grounded back down to earth again. And fair play, it's not too bad."[35]

Caroline Frost in The Spectator said "Listen to this year's entry, and you will hear hints of Sir Elton's 'Rocket Man' and 'Tiny Dancer'. At last we’re taking it seriously, and we're channelling the best of British pop music, one of our greatest soft powers. But this year, for the first in decades, we can at least say we tried. And everyone loves a trier."[36]

George Griffiths from The Official Charts Company said "'Space Man' is one of the most exciting entries the UK has sent in recent memory. Ryder entry, is a scatter-shot pop banger, with an electrifying chorus that does seem at points like it's lifting up into the atmosphere. One thing is certain the UK are taking Eurovision seriously this year."[37]

Angelica Frey in The Guardian stated "'Space Man' has filching celestial vibes from Elton John’s 'Rocket Man', to the Beatles’ 'Across the Universe' and R.E.M.'s 'Man on the Moon'. His strident chorus notes really hit you between the eyes but 'Space Man' is our best entry for many years."[38]

William Lee Adams from Vice and Wiwibloggs described his entry as a "emotive ballad with his voice gliding across varied terrain, from deep to gritty to a glorious falsetto. I still can’t help but root for Sam."[39]

Nick Reilly for Rolling Stone UK stated: "Ryder is the UK’s brightest Eurovision hope we've had in years and is the strongest song that we have sent in a decade. A good song is nothing without a great singer, and Ryder’s impressive vocal range proves that he’s a huge talent in his own right. His entry allows those vocals to soar once more. Anchored by a soaring, stadium-sized chorus that is bound to grab the hearts of the continent."[40]

Rachel Aroesti for The Guardian stated: "the song is a rollicking power ballad about loneliness that recalls classic British pop such as Elton John’s 'Rocket Man', Bowie’s 'Starman', and Queen. Co-written with Ed Sheeran collaborator Amy Wadge, it is slick, dramatic and formidably catchy, and it’s not hard to see why Ryder is our best bet in ages."[41]

Cover versions

"Space Man" has been covered by numerous people including Dutch singer and YouTuber Davina Michelle,[42] Norwegian singer and violinist Alexander Rybak,[43] and Swedish singer Måns Zelmerlöw.[44]

Ryder himself performed a mashup of the song with elements of "I Wanna Be Your Slave" by Italian rock band Måneskin, during "Your Lyrics, Different Song" with Scott Mills on BBC Radio 1.[33] The song was performed by both Ryder and Swedish Eurovision entrant Cornelia Jakobs on the social media app TikTok.[45]

Commercial performance

"Space Man" debuted at number seventy-eight on the UK Singles Chart.[46] Following the Eurovision final, the OCC reported that at the midweek stage, it was a contender for the number one spot.[47] He promoted the song across all of his social media platforms and released the Eurovision version of the song, which included a guitar solo. On 20 May 2022, "Space Man" peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart, and sold 60,000 copies in it's first week and became the highest-charting UK Eurovision entry since Gina G's "Ooh Aah... Just a Little Bit" in 1996.[48] It also marked fifty years since a UK runner up at Eurovision last had a top ten, five and three UK Single.[49] It also reached number one on both the Official Singles Sales and Official Singles Downloads Charts.[50][51]

"Space Man" reached number four on The Official Vodafone Top 40 charts.[52] The song reached the top fifteen in Lithuania and Sweden and the top thirty in Iceland. It reached number twenty-two in Ireland, becoming the highest charting UK Eurovision entry on the Irish Singles Chart since 2014.[53] It also charted in the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Charts

Weekly chart performance for "Space Man"
Chart (2022) Peak
position
Iceland (Plötutíðindi)[54] 25
Ireland (IRMA)[55] 22
Lithuania (AGATA)[56] 13
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[57] 71
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[58] 15
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[59] 45
UK Singles (OCC)[60] 2

Awards

Ryder won the Marcel Bezençon Press Award, and became the first UK act to win in this category.

Year Award ceremony Category Nominee(s)/work(s) Result Ref.
2022 Marcel Bezençon Awards Press Award Himself Won [61]

References

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