top of page

Eurovision & Motivation (Stay with me!)

It's May 2021 and the United Kingdom has just received a big fat zero from the international juries and the tele-voting public. This at the biggest music contest in the world, watched by hundreds of millions. The UK also came last in 2019, at least with a few points!

How did that happen?


Well, we can offer the usual scenarios (?excuses): political voting & biases, Brexit, Europe hates the UK, etc etc.

How about lack of motivation?

Perhaps the people behind the last decade of entries have had an 'I can't' attitude, rather than an 'I can' one. Maybe because the group Blue sang "I can" in 2011 and we finished 11th, then it all went downhill from there, but I digress.

It's easy to jump on the bandwagon when you've got a perception that there is a lack of support behind you. And it's easy for any motivation to drain away when you hear things like...

  • 'We haven't won for 25 years'

  • 'We haven't made the top 10 in the last decade'

  • 'The rest of Europe takes it too seriously'

  • 'No one likes us anyway'

James Newman (our 2021 entrant) didn't stand a chance really.

Fast forward to 2022: stung by the criticism of the public and journalists alike, plus with the zeroes ringing in their ears, a new more positive and pro-active plan was created:

  • Employ a well regarded music publisher, TaP Music, whose roster includes Dua Lipa, Lana Del Ray & Dermot Kennedy.

  • Find a song that is likeable & credible in its own right and crucially, hasn't just been written with Eurovision in mind.

  • Concentrate on doing well in the contest rather than saying it's got to win.

  • Find a singer who is positive and pro-active in promoting our entry & Eurovision and making it his aim to work against the negativity of years gone by.

Step forward Sam Ryder, (probably) the most positive and motivated man you are likely to meet!

From the beginning it was clear that Sam was determined that Eurovision was going to be a positive experience for him.

He embraced this by saying 'My enthusiasm is greater than my fear' & "I can't think of the boxes I'm not ticking as a singer, an artist and a performer".

He was also not getting himself wrapped up in fear and negativity of where he might come on the scoreboard.

So what happened next?

  • He positively reframed how the U.K. represented themselves to the rest of Europe at Eurovision.

  • He enamoured Eurovision fans with acapella covers of Eurovision songs, just like he had done during lockdown with his followers when covering songs by artists like Alicia Keys.

  • He really got to know other contestants in the run up to the contest, even duetting with some.

  • He shut down any negativity from the media with his unwavering enthusiasm.

  • He firmly believed that we can be proud of Eurovision again in the U.K.

With these things in mind, people were starting to take notice of the United Kingdom again. One experienced commentator even saying 'Welcome back to the contest'.

The week before the contest, we saw betting odds being slashed on the UK to win and fan clubs moving it up into their top 5 songs.

Still the naysayers were cynical about all this, while Sam, keeping his head above it all, just focused on doing the best he could to represent the U.K. and trying to just enjoy every minute of it.

It's safe to say that the reaction to Sam and his song in Turin was the best that any UK entry has enjoyed for a very long time.

He was rewarded with a 1st place from the jury vote (unheard of!) and second overall in the contest after the Ukraine.

He also won The Press Award from the accredited media and press who were present at the contest. If that's not a turnaround of fortunes, I don't know what is!

Since the contest, it's been amazing to see how different the media reaction has been to our Eurovision entry this year.

  • He is all over the media.

  • His tour dates are sold out.

  • He may be heading for No.1 in the charts for the first time in 26 years!

  • He will be singing at the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations in June.

  • He plans to collaborate with the Kalush Orchestra from the Ukraine. (the winners of the contest).

None of this has happened by chance. Sam and his team have made it happen.

  • They have reframed the narrative around Eurovision.

  • They have stayed focused on the job in hand.

  • They have treated Europe and the fellow contestants with respect.

  • They have looked for opportunities beyond the contest and have taken them.

  • They have created a great balance of serious intention & fun.

  • They have injected enthusiasm into the British public for Eurovision. (10.6 million viewers on the night - versus 6-odd million for the FA Cup final!).

Whatever you might think of Eurovision, Sam is a great example of how believing in yourself and what you are about to do, together with an unwavering motivation to do it, can get results!

68 views1 comment

1 Comment

Well said Ian

bottom of page