Sam Ryder says he will '100%' be working with the Eurovision winners - either in Ukraine or the UK, as Rishi Davda reports
Eurovision star Sam Ryder has told ITV News he's determined to collaborate with Ukrainian winners Kalush Orchestra, saying it's "only a matter of time".
Ryder came second on Saturday night with his song Space Man, giving the UK its best Eurovision Song Contest result in more than 20 years and ending its dismal two-year run of zero points.
The singer, 32, said "whatever they want to do I'll do it" when asked if he and the band would be working together in the UK or Ukraine.
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Kalush Orchestra were greeted by a gaggle of adoring fans when they returned home after the competition.
The band made several stops on Monday, first meeting with Ukrainian border guards at a customs checkpoint between Ukraine and Poland.
Ukraine pushed the UK out of first place after Ryder topped the national jury vote with 283 points, beating favourites Spain and Sweden.
The folk-rap group stormed the public vote, taking 439 points to finish off as overall winners.
TikTok star Ryder also addressed the UK's historically poor performances in Eurovision, stressing the need to rethink the "negative stigma" surrounding our chances in the competition.
"We all know there's been a negative stigma in the UK about Eurovision, and about Europe in general perhaps not liking us, and that's why we do badly - or we have done badly."
'Travelling around Europe a lot in the lead up to this, we were met with nothing but grace and kindness and welcoming attitudes from everyone'
"We're not the only country that's done badly," the singer, from Maldon, said - pointing out Norway has lost 11 times but remain "stoked" about Eurovision.
"In my experience and my team's experience, travelling around Europe a lot in the lead up to this, we were met with nothing but grace and kindness and welcoming attitudes from everyone."
The singer said he wanted to use his time in the media to convey the reception he's had, "I think it's important," he said.
"I don't believe that that negative stigma exists. I think it's a loop that we got into a habit of repeating in our everyday conversation and, if anything else, regardless of where we came that night, or the performance, I hope that we did our bit to chip away a little bit of that negativity and replace it with positivity."
And asked how he was feeling after a whirlwind few days in the spotlight the singer said "over the moon" - before apologising for the pun.