Talented Hartlepool singer Michael Rice steals show to take home Â£50,000 prize
Talented Hartlepool singer Michael Rice has stolen the show at TV talent contest All Together Now to take home the Â£50,000 prize pot.
Twenty-year-old Michael Rice triumphantly performed in front of a prime time BBC1 audience as the showed aired this evening.
The former McDonald's worker, from Belle Vue, recorded the final back in November and has had to remain tight-lipped about the final, not even telling his family and close friends that he'd won.
Michael watched the televised show in the Stag and Monkey, surrounded by family and friends, who saw him beat fellow finalists James Thompson and Victoria Oruwari.
He was the show’s first contestant to get all 100 judges up on their feet singing and dancing along to his rendition of Proud Mary first recorded by Creedence Clearwater Revival and also sung by Tina Turner.
His first audition has been watched more than 200,000 on YouTube.Michael said: "It was an absolutely amazing experience.
"I won the show, but I've had to keep it secret since last November.
"I haven't been able to tell anyone, not even my brothers and sisters.
"I'm really looking forward to the future. I want to make this my full-time career, my job.
"I live and breathe music and to be on BBC1 on a Saturday night slot is an amazing platform.
"There were 10 of us in the final in November and all found out at the same time who had won.
"The final was the same as the heats, but if you made the sing-off with the final three contestants your score was reset back to zero."
Michael sang Crazy in Love by Beyonce, followed by a rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah which stole the show and won Michael the coveted Â£50,000 prize money.
"The final was a bit of a blur, so it was really exciting to watch it again on TV," Michael added.
"I can't remember very much about it, it all went so fast.
"You get 90 seconds to sing and you have to do whatever you can in those 90 seconds."
Michael is now looking to use his prize money to launch a career.
He said: "I've been in talks about me moving to London to write some music and work with producers.
"This money is going to make it a lot easier and I'm so excited to be able to tell everyone."
Michael appeared on The X Factor four years ago, when he was just 16 and went as far as the boot camp stage.
He added: “Getting knocked back sparked me on to really go for it a bit more.”