Sam Ryder makes trip to Liverpool worth it for Newcastle Eurovision superfan

13.05.23 Sam Ryder and Katie Ward Credit: Family photo
Sam Ryder puts a smile on the face of a teenage Eurovision superfan who travelled from Gosforth to the Liverpool semi-finals where she mixed and mingled with music acts and stars. Credit: Family photo

A Eurovision Song Contest superfan from Gosforth has turned her dreams into reality after travelling to Liverpool's semi-finals where she found herself mixing with the stars.

Teenager Katie Ward first began watching the cult concert when she was just six years old and says it is her "ultimate dream" to enter Eurovision and sing one of her own songs!

By the time Katie was 12 she was already invested and has watched all the National Finals from different countries ever since as well as following the contest year round.

She said: "I particularly enjoy seeing different countries' musical cultures represented on a global stage, as this allows you to listen to styles of music you might never hear otherwise. I also enjoy the pre-season where you get to pick up bits of other languages by watching different countries national finals."

Katie Ward at semi-final 2 dress rehearsals with a Lithuanian flag and an outfit inspired their entry in this year's contest. Credit: Credit: Family Photo

In 2022, Katie met UK singing star, Sam Ryder, who shot to fame after making it to second place in the Turin final which as always was watched by millions worldwide.

Katie credits the competition for helping her make friends who come from many different countries and cultures.

She said: "It’s impossible to emphasise just how many amazing people I have met because of Eurovision. I first went to London Eurovision Party in 2018 and met lots of people there that I’m still in regular contact with now!

"Every year since then when I’ve been to the party, I see my friends again and it’s a really nice community feeling. I’ve also made lots of international Eurovision friends through the Eurovision fandom on Twitter which is a great way to connect with like-minded people from different cultures."

Eurovision superfan, Katie Ward, with music acts from Australia, Ukraine and Slovenia ( L-R ). Credit: Family Photo

The 17-year-old is about to sit her A level exams and is in her final year of sixth form where she recently completed her EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) on the subject of Eurovision voting patterns. Naturally no nil points but rather full marks awarded to this particular Eurovision expert.

In spite of her studies, Katie still makes time to attend a Musical Theatre group called Famous 4.15 and it's there where she has chance to sing and write her own music.

Katie has loved spending time in Liverpool where she has been mixing and mingling with some of this year's contestants.

She said: "Inside the arena, the atmosphere was very lively during the performances and then incredibly tense as the results were being announced., something that made the whole sequence much more exciting.

"In the city as a whole, there was such a sense of community and it really felt as if the city had completely been taken over by Eurovision. Every shop, restaurant, bank and bookies had some sort of Eurovision decoration or Ukrainian flag in the window, which really added to the atmosphere and experience.

"In addition, the locals were so friendly and always happy to give directions if needed or even just asking which country’s flag I was carrying!"

Katie Ward at the first semi-final in Liverpool , dressed in her Finland flag coloured outfit as she expects the Scandic country to win. Credit: Credit: Family photo

This year the talented teenager is placing her bet on Finland to win and wore her own specially made outfit to Merseyside.

When it comes to choosing her favourite Eurovision song it is not an easy decision to be made.

Katie said: "Having watched the contest for so many years, I find it very difficult to choose just one song and my opinion changes quite regularly. I would say Georgia 2016 - Midnight Gold by Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz.

"It’s a very ‘out-there’ indi-rock, post-punk song (so not the genre of music most people would associate with Eurovision) and I think that’s one of the reasons why it’s so great because it shows the diversity of music that Eurovision produces. As well as this, the staging was incredible and one of the most visually arresting live performances I have ever seen."

As for winners, Katie is in no doubt that for her Sweden stole the show. In 2012, Loreen's Euphoria ended up top of the leaderboard and the song received the highest number of maximum (12) points of any entry in the contest's history with eighteen countries giving the song their top marks.

Katie said: "I think it’s the perfect pop song. The staging was really dark and atmospheric whilst also being uplifting at the end which fit the song perfectly, plus Loreen is an outstanding performer."

Katie is looking forward to this evening's final having watched music acts battle it out in the semi-finals and doesn't have long to wait before a country is crowned winner of the 67th Eurovision Song Contest.

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