United Kingdom

Eurovision 2021: UK's entry James Newman arrives at the contest's opening ceremony in Rotterdam

His appearance at last year's contest never went ahead due to the pandemic.

And the UK's Eurovision entry James Newman looked thrilled to be competing in this year's highly-anticipated show as he attended the opening ceremony on Sunday.

The BRIT Award winner, 35, beamed and waved a Union Jack flag excitably as he hit the 'turquoise carpet' before the event in Rotterdam.    

Exciting: The UK's Eurovision entry James Newman looked thrilled to be competing in this year's highly-anticipated show as he attended the opening ceremony on Sunday

He will take to the stage in the Netherlands on May 22 after the event was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.   

James looked suave for his appearance in a brown leather jacket, white T-shirt and black jeans as he put on an animated display for the camera. 

After waving his flag around James tucked it into his shoe as he headed off to watch the opening ceremony.

Yay! The BRIT Award winner, 35, beamed and waved a Union Jack flag excitably as he hit the 'turquoise carpet' before the event in Rotterdam

Delayed: He will take to the stage in the Netherlands on May 22 after the event was cancelled last year due to the pandemic

James was accompanied by a host of other contestants from various countries and even posed for a group photo with some of them. 

It comes after James took to the stage at Rotterdam's Ahoy arena on Saturday to belt out his song Embers during rehearsals for the upcoming contest.

He looked completely at home as he honed his vocals and was surrounded by dapper-looking trumpeters dressed in sky blue suits.

Hopefuls: James was accompanied by a host of other contestants from various countries and even posed for a group photo with some of them

Ready to sing: James looked suave for his appearance in a brown leather jacket, white T-shirt and black jeans as he put on an animated display for the camera

They're back! Due to the cancellation all of last year's Eurovision acts have been invited to represent their country in this year's final

Raised up on a circular platform, James gestured with his arms as he performed against a bright red backdrop. 

Back in February it was announced he would return to represent the United Kingdom at the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest.

Due to the cancellation all of last year's Eurovision acts have been invited to represent their country in this year's final, which is expected to have social distancing measures and a limited crowd in place. 

Funny: After waving his flag around James tucked it into his shoe as he headed off to watch the opening ceremony

Change: James will sing a new song for this year's Eurovision after being unable to compete last year with the song My Last Breath

Relief: Back in February it was announced he would return to represent the United Kingdom at the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest

James will sing a new song for this year's Eurovision after being unable to compete last year with the song My Last Breath.

Speaking about his return he said: 'I'm so excited and honoured to be getting a second chance at representing my country in the Eurovision Song Contest. 

'I haven't stopped making new music in lockdown and I can't wait for everyone to hear the song I'm taking to Eurovision in 2021.' 

Jo Wallace, Acting Controller Entertainment Commissioning for the BBC, says: 'We are so pleased to have James back with us and representing the United Kingdom at Eurovision 2021.  

Happy: Speaking about his return James said: 'I'm so excited and honoured to be getting a second chance at representing my country in the Eurovision Song Contest'

Working hard: He added: 'I haven't stopped making new music in lockdown and I can't wait for everyone to hear the song I'm taking to Eurovision in 2021' 

'After 2020 and the postponing of the 65th song contest Eurovision is exactly what everyone needs!'

Mel Balac, Creative Director for BBC Studios, says: 'James has really embraced being part of the Eurovision family and team ESC UK are delighted that he is getting another shot at Eurovision.'

James won a BRIT Award in 2014 for Best British Single after co-writing Rudimental and Ella Eyre's Waiting All Night.  

Stunning: Albania's contestant Anxhela Peristeri posed for photographers upon arrival at the event 

Eye-catching fashion: Latvia's Samanta Tina posed for pictures in a quirky green ensemble on the red carpet

Michael Rice represented the UK in 2019, but finished the nation's poor run of results in the final, finishing in last place with just 11 points after a vote correction.  

This year's Eurovision is expected to see many 2020 acts return with new songs to compete, as rules state they cannot return with the same track as last year.

Last year many fans called for Iceland's viral track Think About Things by Daði og Gagnamagnið to be crowned the winner even before the final had been cancelled. 

Trendy: Gjon's Tears from Switzerland looked cool in red trousers as he arrived at the event on Sunday

Groovy: Albina from Croatia caught the eye in a silver playsuit and matching jacket

Bosses opted to replace the competition with a special Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light which showcased the artists due to take part at a sombre time when the continent was gripped by the pandemic.  

While Eurovision bosses have confirmed this year's final will go ahead, it's expected that social distancing will be included, with plans for a limited audience if Covid cases are low enough.

As one of the Big Five countries (United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, France, Italy), the United Kingdom does not have to qualify from the semi-final stage of the competition and will gain automatic access to the Saturday Grand Final. 

Cool: Musical group Fyr Og Flamme from Denmark posed for photographers upon arrival at the event 

Wow: Senhit from San Marino (left) stunned in a blue gown and Stefania from Greece (right) posed up a storm

Grinning: Contestant Lesley Roy of Ireland posed on the turquoise carpet during the opening ceremony

The Netherlands, as the incumbent champion, will also not need to qualify from the semi-final stage and will gain automatic entry to the Grand Final. 

The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final will air on BBC One on Saturday 22nd May in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. 

The semi-finals will also air on BBC Four on Tuesday 18th and Thursday 20th May. 

Proud: Vincent Bueno from Moldova posed with her national flag as she donned a black and silver top 

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