'I can't wait to go home' - Hartlepool Eurovision star Michael Rice on what comes next

Michael on the sofa with Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty
Michael on the sofa with Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty

Hartlepool's very own Euro Star Michael Rice says he can't wait to come home.

Millions of people turned in to BBC Two last night to see the 21-year-old blow away the opposition in the race to find the UK's Eurovision Song Contest entry for 2019.

Michael Rice on BBC One this morning

Michael Rice on BBC One this morning

Michael's rendition of Bigger Than Us was the runaway favourite with judges Mollie King, Marvin Humes and Rylan Clark-Neal and it came as little surprise when presenter Mel Giedroyc announced he had won the phone-in vote.

He appeared on BBC One's Breakfast this morning, looking remarkably bright despite admitting having been up celebrating until 4am and told hosts Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty:: "Honestly, I don't think it's sunk in yet.

"I remember all the audience last night, I got a really big buzz and energy from the audience at the front who were all stood up and and cheering and with the flags and stuff, it was really good experience."

Mum Stephanie Langley and nana Carole Conroy were at last night's show but Michael is looking forward to catching up with family and friends.

"I can't wait to go home and see the rest of the town," he said.

"I think they all want to come to Tel Aviv but we'll see how many tickets I get.

"I really don't know what's next now. We've got Eurovision and then a few parties, the Eurovision pre-parties, where I get to tour to different countries and perform the song, so fingers crossed it all goes well."

He described the atmosphere after last night's performance: "I walked into the restaurant last night after the show, everyone was there cheering, we had a bottle of champagne.

"Everyone has been so lovely."

READ MORE: What you said about last night's performance

And he paid tribute to the other contenders: "We're like a little family. Everyone has been so supportive.

"I'm just glad they are a lovely bunch and we are all so supportive of each other."

Asked whether he might be tempted to add some typical Eurovision spectacle to his show, he revealed he was taking inspiration from Portugal's Salvador Sobral, whose pared-back performance took the top honours in 2017.

"I always think of Salvador and that year he won," said Michael.

"He was the only one to stand there that year. He just stood on the stage and just sang and he won the entire thing.

"I think the UK's never had this big Gospel, big anthem track. It's kind of like the Greatest Showman, that's what it reminds me of and I think we have got a good shot.

"I think sometimes the UK don't really take it as seriously as other countries, but the music industry, we've got Sam Smith and Adele, the Beatles...we can do this if we seriously work hard, so fingers crossed.

"The last time we won was when I was born, 1997. I just feel excited, I am going to take every day as it comes.

"I'm only 21, so still very young."