And then to the main event as the votes came in. First the national juries and a deluge of douze point for Ryder, whose cheery charm has worked a treat all week (all the more so because it is obviously completely unforced).
Incredibly, he was in first place, ahead of Sweden going into the public vote (at the same point last year poor James Newman was hanging his head with zero points). But then, as predicted, the viewer ballot saw Ukraine roaring through, leaving Ryder, Sweden’s Cornelia Jakob and Spain’s Chanel – with a number originally written for Jennifer Lopez – catching their breaths
To his credit, Ryder appeared delighted with his placing and, given Kalush Orchestra were tipped to claim the gong all along anyway, can’t have been too devastated. He’d just met an unmovable force in the shape of the public’s empathy with Ukraine. Given the UK’s unhappy recent record at Eurovision he will have understood finishing second counted as its own kind of victory.
Still, in the end the night belong to Ukraine. They had concluded their performance of Stefania with a plea: “Please help Ukraine… please help Mariupol… right now.” And, as they accepted their trophy, they looked more stoic than ecstatic. “Thank you so much. Thank you for supporting Ukraine,” they said. “This victory is for every Ukrainian.” Team Ryder or not, who would want to take these 15 minutes of glory away from them?