The UK’s bottom-placed Eurovision Song Contest entry has had its score lowered by five points after organisers made an error while calculating the totals. Organisers said Michael Rice’s song Bigger Than Us picked up 11 points from Saturday’s finale, rather than 16 as originally stated. The error came about when an incorrect calculation was used to create a substitute score after the Belarussian jury was dismissed, the Eurovision Broadcasting Union said.
In a statement, organisers blamed “human error” for the mistake and said it “deeply regrets” the error.
Eurovision’s top four including winner Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands remained unchanged.
Mr Laurence’s song Arcade gained six points, bringing it to a total of 498 points.
Mr Rice from Hartlepool sang at the Expo Tel Aviv venue in Israel against a backdrop of a starry night sky and racing comets.
The 21-year-old was joined by an outfit of backing vocalists dressed in white as he broke into the song’s gospel-influenced chorus.
While Belarus’ jury was dismissed after its semi-final votes were publicly revealed, breaking contest rules.
Despite finishing in 26th place, Mr Rice said he enjoyed his experience.
He said: “The main thing I wanted to do was come and sing my heart out and make my country proud.
“I’m so thankful to the fans who have supported me and the song, as well as my whole team who have supported me throughout this whole amazing journey.
“I’ve been able to travel and meet amazing artists from across Europe and beyond.
“I can’t wait to see what’s next for me and get back into the studio and bring you some new music soon. And of course congratulations to Duncan – he was amazing!”
The UK came last for the first time since 2010.
Prospects of a British victory were bleak – both Coral and Ladbrokes gave Rice a 150/1 chance of taking the title.
Mr Rice, who rose to fame after winning the singing show All Together Now last year, has said he hopes to improve the UK’s reputation at the contest.
He performed 16th, after Norway and before Iceland – whose techno-punk outfit Hatari were a favourite to win.
Britain has not won Eurovision in 22 years or finished in the top 10 in the past decade.