Hartlepool's Michael Rice jets off seeking Eurovision glory
Hartlepool Eurovision hopeful Michael Rice is on his way to Israel where he will represent Great Britain.
The excited singer posted a picture of himself today at the airport getting ready to board his plane for Tel Aviv ahead of next Saturday's Eurovision Song Contest.
Michael, 21, tweeted: "The UK is coming!!!!".
In another tweet he said: "I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of you for the love and support you have given my song.
"It honestly means the world to me, more than you’ll ever know. I really do believe in this song so much & if you do too, then please vote for the UK on 18th May. DARE TO DREAM".
Michael will perform the song Bigger Than Us after winning the Eurovision: You Decide public vote earlier this year.
Last Friday, Michael spoke about his excitement to Graham Norton, who commentates on the contest for the UK, when he appeared on the sofa with Graham.
Michael said: "I'm really excited more than anything. I'm just ready to go out there and sing my heart out."
He told how he has spent the last few months travelling around Europe promoting the song including in Spain, Amsterdam, and Croatia.
Graham said of Michael's performance on his show: "If it's as good as that on the night... that's some voice."
Talking about what the lyrics of the song mean to him, Michael told the BBC: "I grew up with my mam, and my dad had drug problems and stuff like that, and later on I got to know him. He used to know I was singing and he was dead proud of me. When I'm singing them words at the beginning - 'Hear these words that I sing to you' - it just reminds me of him."
And despite the UK's poor showing in Eurovision in recent years, Michael believes that can change adding: "We might have lost loads of times, but I think, why couldn't it change?
"Why can't we make this different? We've got the best music industry - Adele, Sam Smith, The Beatles - why can't we send someone and hope for the best?"
Earlier this week, Michael returned to his old school St Aidan's Primary School in town where he sang for pupils who waved Union Jack flags.
Michael used to work in McDonald's and performed on the streets as a busker.
He previously appeared on The X Factor in 2006 and last year won the first series of the BBC's All Together Now singing contest taking home the £50,000 prize.