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Eurovision: Who is Michael Rice - the UK's act?

Photo: Getty Images

Hundreds of millions of people around the world will tune in to watch and British hopeful Michael Rice will take to the stage to battle for Europe's biggest prize in music.

The 21-year-old from Hartlepool will be hoping to replicate the success of Katrina And The Waves, who last won the competition for the UK in 1997 with the song Love Shine A Light.

Rice won the UK's annual selection contest, You Decide, back in February when members of the public got the chance to vote for who to send to the annual music competition.

:: Who is Michael Rice?

The singer-songwriter won the first series of BBC One's All Together Now - which requires contestants to encourage a panel of 100 other singers, including Spice Girl Geri Horner, to join in with them before the end.

He managed to get 94 of the singers to accompany him on his rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah in the final and used the £50,000 prize money to help his mum's dessert shop in his hometown.

Before that, Rice took part in The X Factor in 2014, and auditioned with Whitney Houston's I Look To You.

He made it as far as the boot-camp stage, before leaving the competition - which was later won by Ben Haenow.

Rice is working on his first EP, with producers that have worked with the likes of James Arthur and Jessie J.

:: What will he perform at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019?

Rice will perform Bigger Than Us in Tel Aviv, having automatically qualified for the final, as the UK is one of the "big five" countries.

The staging will be simple, and he is due to be joined by five other performers on stage who will sing backing vocals on the track.

His song was co-written by John Lundvig - Sweden's act for 2019, who decided to perform something else during the Swedish selection process and offer the track up to the UK.

Lundvig will go up against Rice in Israel, and has been mooted as one of the favourites.

So far, the track has failed to break in to the UK top 40.

::What are his chances of winning?

Rice is the next in a long line of British hopefuls who will be attempting to avoid the dreaded "nul points" from our European neighbours - but sits at 150/1 to win the competition, according to odds on Sky Bet.

Favourites for the contest this year are Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and Australia - who have taken part in the competition since 2015.

As usual, fans are able to vote up to 20 times in the contest, but they cannot vote for their own country. Public votes are combined with those of national juries, which voted during Friday's dress rehearsal show.

The final in Tel Aviv comes days after an Israeli online stream of Tuesday's semi-final was "hijacked" to show fake explosions and saw the warning "risk of missile attack. Please take shelter".

The clip, which played on a loop showing fake attacks close to the Eurovision venue, was blamed on Hamas by national broadcaster Kan.

The militant group has not commented on the allegation.

The competition begins at 8pm UK time, and will feature a performance from the Queen of Pop, Madonna, who will sing a song from her new album, as well as a classic hit, thought to be Like A Prayer.

She decided to ignore calls for a boycott of the event due to Israel's alleged record of human rights abuses.

Sky News

© Sky News 2019

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