What it really feels like to lose the Eurovision Song Contest according to the Hartlepool lad who took last place in 2019

The UK’s 2019 Eurovision contestant Michael Rice has lifted the lid on what it really feels like to lose the world’s largest singing competition.

Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 3:46 pm
Michael Rice performs the song Bigger Than Us during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Saturday, May 18.

This year’s Eurovision song contest proved disappointing, but unsurprising for the United Kingdom after James Newman finished in last place with zero points from neither judges nor the public.

One man who knows exactly how it feels to stand on that stage and be awarded ‘nul points’ from competing countries is Michael Rice 23, from Hartlepool.

But despite finishing in last place in 2019, the singer has said he wasn’t disappointed, or surprised by the result during the live finals when he took part.

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Hartlepool singer Michael Rice.

The singer said Eurovision is the place for British performers where it truly the taking part that counts, not winning.

The UK has not won the competition since 1997, and has finished in last place at least five times.

Michael scored 16 points between the public vote and international jury vote in 2019 when The Netherlands' Duncan Laurence won the crown, but still came in last place.

Michael said: “It’s not about where you place in the competition, the live show is just surreal.”

Michael has been celebrating the release of his single, 'Falling For You' on Friday, May 21.

“The energy is electric in the arena on the night and everyone is cheering, singing along and waving flags, my experience was absolutely amazing from start to finish and I think you just expect to come last.

"I just remember thinking no matter what happens tonight, I’m in the final I have to just go on stage give it my everything and just have fun out there.

"I wasn’t nervous waiting for the points to come in because I knew me and the BBC team had worked hard, I was just a kid from Hartlepool who was living his dream so coming last didn’t bother me.”

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Eurovision contestant Michael Rice from Hartlepool pictured just before he set off to represent the UK in 2019.

Michael had already featured TV singing competitions before he entered and won BBC Two’s Eurovision: You Decide in 2019 which secured him his place in the Tel-Aviv Eurovision final. As a teenager he had reached the bootcamp stage of The X Factor in 2014 before winning BBC’s All Together Now in 2018

Michael said that taking part in Eurovision had been a ‘dream come true’.

He said: "I can’t describe the whole buzz around the contest and how amazing the fans, viewers at home and the whole Eurovision family are.

“I took losing the competition in my stride and I wouldn’t say I was ever disappointed, I was more proud of how far I’d come on my journey and to be 21 representing my country at the Eurovision Song Contest was just a dream come true.”

Michael says he has worked since his Eurovision appearance to get his name out there and said he has had a ‘whirlwind’ two years since he represented the UK in the competition.

He recently released his new single ‘Falling For You’ on Friday, May 21 which has already hit number three in Ireland’s iTunes charts and number two in the iTunes Pop chart.

He said: “I think a lot of artists are worried about coming last but if I hadn’t have gone on the show, I wouldn’t be where I am now – I’m so grateful for the opportunities.”

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