SINGING star Michael Rice has spoken of his “whirlwind” fame since appearing on the X Factor.
The 16-year-old is set for two homecoming gigs in Hartlepool next month.
He said since wowing judges Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Mel B and Louis Walsh he has had to get used to strangers knowing his name.
Michael, who says he has had a lot of interest from the music industry since he won through to the boot camp round of the ITV talent show, has also started on a two-year BTEC music course at York College.
“It’s been weird,” said the former Dyke House school student from Foggy Furze.
He said: “When I started my course, people were saying ‘Oh my God, there’s Michael Rice, what’s Michael Rice doing in our college?’ They keep asking me to sing.”
Michael, whose parents are Stephanie and Steven Langley and has siblings called Cameron and Ellie Rice and Ethan Langley, added: “When you come back to Hartlepool, people know who you are. It’s weird coming back to reality.”
Michael will be performing at this year’s Bonfire Night fireworks display at Seaton Carew on Wednesday, November 5, along with members of the Red Dreams charity, just as he did two years ago before millions saw him on TV.
“It feels amazing to be asked to do it,” added Michael, whose gran is Carol Conroy and who trained with vocal coach Julie Turner.
He will also perform at the 1908 Bar at The Grand Hotel in Swainson Street, from 10pm on Saturday, November 22.