~ by Glen Humphries~

Michael Ball is happy he lost the Eurovision Song Contest.

The British Star of stage musicals ended up representing his country in the dodgy talent quest in 1992.

The contest is an institution across most of Europe. Millions tune in to watch artists they've likely to never see again perform.

In Britain, as Ball says, the whole thing is treated as "a real laugh".

He initially said no but, because he wanted to try his hand at solo performing, felt it might be a good way to introduce himself to the British public.

"I lost because Cyprus gave me no points", Ball says.

"I think we had some political argument going on with Cyprus at the time. I lost by one point, which is a good think I think. If I hadn't I'd have been saddled with 'Michael Ball - Eurovision winner' forever".

But his plan to place himself in the British public's consciousness as a singer and performer was a success.

Since that 1992 performance, Ball has gone on to release 11 albums.

He's also continued working in musicals and has hosted his own TV show for several years.

It makes for a busy lifestyle but one he enjoys - Ball doesn't like standing still.

"I love working, I love being stimulated", he says.

"I love the fact that I can do a variety of things. I can go from a long run in a West End musical to doing records and concert tours"

Ball was singing from an early age - he thinks his Welsh blood had something to do with it. Despite his voice, he didn't want to pursue a singing career.

"When I went to study at drama school I didn't study music, I never have studied music", he says

"I did an acting course and I wanted to be a dramatic actor. The first job I got was a musical, Godspell, and I just loved it"

From there he performed Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Pirates of Penzance and Aspects of Love.

"The hardest thing about musical theatre is doing the eight shows a week and doing nothing else", he says.

"You don't have any other life at all. You do the show, you get home, wind down go to bed. You wake up and your day is then geared around going to the theatre that night.

"The upside of that is that you're working in a company. It's not just you doing the show and there's a lot of security and stability in that"

An upside of being a solo performer is that you can visit other countries - and holiday there.

Once his tour is over, he plans to put his feet up in Byron Bay ( we all know it's the Whitsunday's now !) So obviously, he's looking forward to making his way back to Australia.

"I've only been there once, I've done one concert, and I just loved the place" he says.

"I just did a one-off concert in Sydney - that was in 2001. Then I've been trying to get back ever since but other work has prevented me from doing so. Now I've got the time and I can't wait to get back".

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