EUROPE is being given its first glimpse of this year’s Eurovision entry for the UK who hails from Hartlepool.

A clip of 21-year-old Michael Rice performing Bigger Than Us will be played during the live coverage of the second semi-final in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Ahead of the grand final on Saturday night, Eurovision superfan Martin Phillips is reporting from the Expo Tel Aviv.

Mr Phillips began reporting on the annual spectacle following up on his ties to the contest after growing up in the same village near Swansea as the UK’s 2013 Eurovision entrant, Bonnie Tyler.

He is joined by New Jersey-born Darron Copeland, who has attended the contest every year since 2006.

In their most recent update from Tel Aviv, Mr Phillips said: “Michael’s performance has been recorded to be tagged on to the end of the second semi-final.

“On Monday night, the recording of the host country Israel, France and Spain presented some technical hitches, so hopefully things will run more smoothly for Michael, S!sters, from Germany, and one of the hot favourites, Mahmood, from Italy.

“It’s a definite advantage for Michael to be recording his performance for the second semi-final on Thursday.

“The second semi-final almost always draws a bigger audience and the higher quality of the songs and performances will have fewer people drifting away from their televisions.

“Also, the jury semi-final is recorded to run simultaneously with the live broadcast so that KAN, the Israeli broadcaster, can switch to it, should anything go wrong with the live feed, or if there is a repeat of last years shocking stage invasion during the British song performed by SuRie.

“The jury show is vitally important for two reasons.

“As the name suggests, this show is viewed by juries of professionals in the music industry, which includes past Eurovision performers, national and international singers, and other industry professionals.

“The juries from each country cast their votes tonight, and the results remain confidential until they are incorporated into the public vote Thursday night, when the ten countries advancing to the final are announced.

“The jury and public vote are weighted 50/50, so no one can let down their guard - the juries must be impressed.

“While Tuesday’s semi was somewhat lacklustre, Thursday’s show is cut throat.

“Stronger songs and performances across the board will result in many failing to qualify for the final.

“It’s a shame but it’s the luck of the draw. While there is some engineering of running order by the producers, decisions on which country is in which semi-final are made before all the songs are known.

“Perhaps the biggest highlights of the first semi-final were the opening number by Netta, who won for Israel last year, and the beautiful and touching rendition by 1998’s winner Dana International of Bruno Mars’s You’re Amazing while couples, young, old, straight and gay, kissed on the Kisscam, applauded by the whole audience. It set a beautifully inclusive tone for the week, and it must be said that Dana barely appears to have aged a day in 21 years.”