“What is happening?!”: fans react as UK come second to Ukraine at Eurovision 2022

Sam Ryder achieved the UK's best result in the contest since 1997

Fans have reacted after Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra beat UK entrant Sam Ryder to win last night’s (May 14) Eurovision Song Contest in Turin.

Bookies’ favourites Ukraine picked up a massive 631 points – largely from the public vote – to overhaul the UK, who were winning after the jury votes.

In the wake of the second placed finish, fans online have been hailing Sam Ryder and sharing their confused delight at the result.

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“SECOND PLACE! This is an incredible moment, no time to be too disappointed,” one wrote. Sam Ryder did himself and everyone SO damn proud. Look what can happen when the UK gets it right! Onto 2023!! Congratulations Sam.”

“Three cheers for Sam Ryder what a fantastic result for UK,” Katrina Leskanich – a former Eurovision winner and leader of Katrina And The Waves – tweeted, while others praised the UK’s turnaround from last year’s pointless finish.

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Kalush Orchestra of Ukraine won Eurovision 2022 with the highest share of the public vote. CREDIT: Getty

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“OMG IS THIS WHAT DOING WELL IN FOOTBALL FEELS LIKE?!” another fan tweeted. See a range of reactions to the UK’s superb showing at Eurovision 2022 below.

In Ukraine meanwhile, the win has brought “incredible happiness” to a country under invasion by Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Instagram that the courage of Ukraine “impresses the world” and congratulated Kalush Orchestra on their win.

He then went on to promise to host Eurovision in the future in a “free, peaceful and rebuilt” Mariupol, a city currently largely under Russian control.At the end of their performance at the show’s finale, Kalush Orchestra said: “I ask all of you, please help Ukraine, help Mariupol, help Azovstal right now.”

Speaking to NME this week, frontman Oleh Psiuk explained how their taking part was a “huge responsibility”, given the ongoing war with Russia.

“To represent Ukraine in the international arena is always a responsibility, but to represent it during the war is just the highest responsibility possible,” he said.

“The song [‘Stefania’] was composed and dedicated to my mother, but after the war the song has acquired lots of nuances because a lot of people are perceiving it as if Ukraine is my mother,” said Psiuk. “That’s why the song has become so close to the Ukrainian people, and it is in the Ukrainian hearts.”

Watch NME‘s full video interview with Kalush Orchestra’s Oleh Psiuk below:

Reviewing last night’s Eurovision, NME wrote: “Eurovision 2022 was all about looking forward: Sam Ryder reminding us that the UK can actually win this thing, and Ukraine showing the world just how much agency it has. Yes, the contest can be silly – hello, ‘Give That Wolf A Banana’ – but it’s also strangely and fundamentally profound.”

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