Eurovision 2019: Talent show winner Michael Rice to represent UK

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Media captionMichael Rice’s version of Bigger Than Us

Michael Rice, who won BBC talent show All Together Now last year, has been chosen to fly the flag for the UK at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

The 21-year-old from Hartlepool, who was also on The X Factor in 2014, was picked in a TV viewers’ vote on Friday.

He will now travel to Israel in May in the hope of impressing Eurovision fans with his rousing anthem Bigger Than Us.

The UK has struggled in recent years – it has not won for 22 years and has not finished in the top 10 for a decade.

Rice won the £50,000 prize on All Together Now in March 2018, using the money to take his family to Disneyland and to set up a shop selling ice cream and waffles.

A former busker, he told BBC Two’s Eurovision: You Decide on Friday: “I’ve watched Eurovision most of my life, growing up.”

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Last year, the UK fared particularly badly – with singer SuRie finishing 24th out of 26.

Her performance was interrupted by a stage invader, who grabbed her microphone and shouted slogans about the media.

The contest was eventually won by Israeli singer Netta with her quirky song Toy, which encouraged people to celebrate their differences.

The winning country usually hosts the following year’s competition, and the 2019 event will take place in Tel Aviv on 18 May.

There has been controversy about Israel’s hosting, though, with some people calling for the contest to boycott Israel in protest at the country’s treatment of the Palestinians.

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