'˜I'm buzzing' says Hartlepool busker through to final of BBC talent show All Together Now
A Hartlepool busker hopes he is on the first step to stardom after wowing judges on a BBC talent show.
Michael Rice appeared on Saturday’s All Together Now, the first in a six-part series which sees conventional judging scrapped in favour of 100 music industry experts.
If any of the 100, which includes former Spice Girl Geri Horner, like what they hear being performed, they get up and join in, with the greater number of experts joining in adding to the contestant’s score.
Town lad Michael’s version of Tina Turner’s Proud Mary saw him take the “first chair” in the heat, meaning he is automatically through to the series final which takes place later this year.
It is not the first time that Michael has been on our screens, having previously appeared in 2016’s X Factor, in which he made it to the boot camp stage.
Former Dyke House School pupil Michael, who is from the Belle Vue area of the town, told the Mail: “The whole experience has been brilliant.
“What I like about the programme is that it is all about performing, whereas the X Factor is a bit more gimmicky.
“Proud Mary has always been my favourite song, me and my friends will sing it on the karaoke when we go out, so I thought it would go down well.”
Michael, who used to work at McDonald’s but had taken to busking before getting this latest opportunity, admits he was concerned nerves might get the better of him before he took the mic.
“I was so nervous because I didn’t know what to expect really,” said Michael, who had mum Stephanie, 36, stepdad Steven, 46, as well as his brothers Cameron, 18, Ethan, nine and sister Ellie, 13, supporting him back in Hartlepool.
“We had to walk up a ramp and see the audience.
“The judges, there were that many of them they went all the way up to the ceiling.
“But once I got singing eventually there were 100 judges on their feet so I took the first chair.
“I was absolutely buzzing.”
Michael now has his sights firmly set on the final.
“I’ve had great feedback since I was on the show and that had certainly given me a bit more confidence,” he said.
“People are saying I’ve come on a lot since I was on the X Factor and it means a lot.
“I really want to pursue performing as a career, so hopefully something comes from this.”