UK Eurovision Veteran Michael Rice’s Powerful ‘American Idol’ Audition

Bigger than us? More like ‘bigger than the US’! Michael Rice last sang at Eurovision in Tel Aviv over five years ago. Even though the gifted singer finished last in that year’s Grand Final, adding to a streak of bad results for the United Kingdom, his rich vocal tone and winning demeanor left an impression.

Fast forward to 2024, and the 26-year-old is beginning a new phase in his musical career. Tonight’s edition of American Idol, the 22nd season of the US television singing competition, has Michael auditioning in front of the show’s three judges: Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and Katy Perry. ABC, the current network that broadcasts the show, previewed his entire audition, indicating that the show is involved in his success. Watch it below:

Michael sings a cover of Kelly Clarkson’s 2004 chart-topper ‘Because of You’ at the audition, dedicating it to his late father, who died of a heart attack caused by years of drug addiction. Michael *spoiler alert* wins a standing ovation and a group embrace from the judging panel after impressing them with his story and powerful voice, gaining a spot in the competition’s next round. Katy Perry summarized the trio’s reaction to Michael’s audition as follows:


Michael has released a single rendition of ‘Because of You’ to commemorate his forthcoming moment in the spotlight on US television. It is available for streaming and purchase in all of the normal venues listed above. In an Instagram message timed to the single’s release, Michael offered more tribute to his father and the legacy he left behind, stating


Michael has previously competed in televised singing competitions. The singer previously advanced to the semi-finals of The X Factor in 2014 and won the first season of BBC One’s vocal competition All Together Now. He also gained the privilege to represent the UK in Tel Aviv for the 2019 Eurovision contest:

It is only over time that we will be able to determine how far Michael can go on American Idol; nonetheless, there is reason for optimism: the eyes of well-known music personalities and millions of viewers at home are attracted by his backstory and his singing.

Michael Rice is a 26-year-old street performer from Hartlepool, England, who delivered a tear-jerking performance dedicated to his late father. Michael began his Idol audition by opening up to the judges about the challenges he endured growing up in a small coastal town. He explained that not many people manage to “get out of the town.”

Hearing his father express his pride had a significant impact on Michael, pushing him to audition for Idol.
Michael explained that he opted to sing Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You” as a tribute to his father.

“This song means a lot to me. It just reminds me of my father, and I hope I make him proud.”

After his performance, all three judges gave Michael a standing ovation.
Lionel, evidently moved by Michael’s performance, invited everyone over for an emotional group hug.

“You gave it all to us,” Lionel told the singer. “That was the most emotional, most giving…I couldn’t hold anything back. That was powerful.”

“You acted like somebody who flew from a long way away to come here and prove to the world what you have. You sang your absolute a** off,” Luke added.

Then, Katy shared her thoughts. “We have a lot of people that come in here and tell us a lot of things that are horrible and tragic, but rarely do they then follow it up with telling their story through a song that someone else wrote as they wrote it themselves. I watched you die. I heard you cry.”

Michael says he hopes to inspire everyone who has experienced a challenging life, like him, through his music.

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