The UK’s Eurovision hopeful James Newman has said he is “absolutely buzzing” to perform in the live final of the competition this weekend.

The 2021 contest will go ahead in Rotterdam this year, after the 2020 instalment was called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Newman, who had been due to perform last year, will represent the UK with his upbeat track new track Embers, a contrast to the ballad My Last Breath, which he had been due to sing in 2020.

He said: “We’ve had such a rubbish time, I think Eurovision is such a celebration of music, which is just what we need.

“I have recently been watching past finals, and everyone is just having the best time, it’s just the kind of escapism people need right now.

“We wrote Embers in North London last year. I really wanted an upbeat song, as I felt like that was what I needed to do for this year.

“One of the sessions was with Conor Blake, Danny Shah, Tom Hollings and Samuel Brennan, who are all doing amazing things in the industry right now.

“Conor showed me this concept, and it essentially is about the spark being reignited, that glow in the fire that hasn’t gone out yet.

“It represents coming back together after the year we have had and people being reunited with loved ones, and just having fun. It felt so right to me, and I loved the big brass drop!”

Comparing it to the song he wrote for last year, he said: “When I wrote My Last Breath it was before Covid-19, and I wanted to do a ballad for the competition, it just felt right to me.

“But after the pandemic hit, I really wanted to do a dance song that we could have fun with.”

Newman said it feels “absolutely mad” to be representing the UK and added: “I am absolutely buzzing, it has been two years in the making, I’ve been building up to this huge stage performance and I can’t wait to perform in front of millions of people across the world.

“It has been a year of performing in my kitchen! The whole reason I got into music from such a young age was because I love performing in front of people, so I am so excited to go and do that on such a massive stage.”

Graham Norton will return to Eurovision as commentator for his 12th contest on BBC One, while Ken Bruce will host the Eurovision coverage on BBC Radio 2.

TV star Amanda Holden will serve as the UK’s Eurovision spokesperson, delivering the results of the UK professional jury vote.

This year’s competition will feature an interval performance from Dutch DJ Afrojack with Glennis Grace and Wulf as they perform Music Binds Us, a specially commissioned piece for the grand final.

Duncan Laurence, who is the reigning champion after winning for the Netherlands in 2019, will perform his song Arcade, while former Eurovision winners from over the decades will come together for a performance of the song Rock The Roof.

The Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Finals air on May 18 and May 20 at 8pm on BBC Four and will be available on iPlayer.

The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final is on May 22 at 8pm on BBC One.