'Keep the faith' - BBC's face of Eurovision Graham Norton praises Hartlepool's Michael Rice for 'strong song' ahead of final
Presenter Graham Norton has thrown his support behind the UK's Eurovision star Michael Rice ahead of the competition this weekend.
This year's event is taking place in Tel Aviv, Israel, and marks a decade since Norton took over from Sir Terry Wogan as the host of the BBC's Eurovision coverage.
And presenter Norton has said that Michael has a chance at the title in this year's race.
He said: "I think the song is strong but what makes it really stand out is Michael's voice and personality.
"To those that say we can never win I would remind them of Portugal, Israel, Austria, Germany, all recent winners and countries that never gave up though many said they should.
Keep the faith, United Kingdom."
In recent years, UK entrants have largely failed to finish in a high-ranking position in Eurovision.
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Ahead of his trip to Tel Aviv, Michael revealed hopes that his song, Bigger Than Us, could be the one to change that.
The last time the UK won Eurovision was in 1997 with Katrina And The Waves' Love Shine A Light and the UK has not finished in the top 10 since 2009 with Jade Ewen's It's My Time.
In quotes obtained by the Press Association, Norton added: "My job at Eurovision is unlike anything else I do.
"I just sit back and watch the show, making the odd comment when I think it's needed.
"Work is really a big word for what I actually do on the night."
-*The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will start tomorrow, with the final held on Saturday.