X Factor star Michael Rice overwhelmed by support

Michael Rice on The X Factor
Michael Rice on The X Factor

A HARTLEPOOL teenager is hoping to make it through to the Boot Camp stage of the X Factor when he will appear on national TV.

Michael Rice is enjoying new-found fame after a stunning performance on The X Factor at the weekend.

The talented 16-year-old told how his phone did not stop ringing after he wowed all four judges including Simon Cowell on Sunday’s show.

He auditioned with hundreds of other hopefuls earlier this year when the hit show visited Newcastle.

Michael, who appeared at the Mail’s Pride of Hartlepool Awards, was given the thumbs up by all four judges for his powerful rendition of Whitney Houston’s I Look to You.

He said: “After the show went out I couldn’t get off my phone, it was havoc, my Twitter followers have gone up massively.

“The support I’ve had so far from people has been overwhelming. I can’t believe it.

“I was really nervous at the audition knowing everything you have worked for all comes down to the next three minutes.

“It can change your life.”

Michael, who works in Young’s fish and chip shop at Seaton Carew, won positive feedback from all four judges.

Music mogul Simon Cowell said: “Wow, I wasn’t expecting that. You’re like a fish and chip shop diva.”

Fellow fellow judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini said he was fantastic and he was also given a yes from the remaining two judges, Louis Walsh and Mel B.

Former Spice Girl Mel said he “smashed it”.

Michael, who has just started a two year music course in York, now goes through to the next round in front of 5,000 people at Wembley Arena.

That is when all the successful hopefuls so far are whittled for the Boot Camp stage when the final 80 contestants visit the judges’ homes.

Viewers are due to find out how Michael fared in next Saturday’s show.

It has already been recorded but Michael, of the Belle Vue area, cannot say how well he did.

But he said: “It was a very long day but being in front of all those people was absolutely amazing.”

Michael, previously won The Big Audition singing contest and the grand prize of performing to over 10,000 people at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena earlier this year.

It was organised by TFM’s Cash for Kids charity, which he also raised £900.