Mae Muller says she can’t wait to get on the Eurovision stage on Saturday night, where she will perform against 25 other countries in a bid to take home the coveted glass microphone.
The UK’s Eurovision hopeful was born in 1997 – the same year the UK last won the competition.
Speaking ahead of the grand final, she told Sky News: “Honestly, I thought I was excited before, but now I’m here, I’m even more excited and I feel like I’m just ready to go now. It’s been so much build-up and now I’m like, ‘It’s basically here’!”
Jointly hosted by two countries – the UK and Ukraine – for the first time, the show, which is the most watched non-sporting event in the world, is being held in Liverpool, Merseyside.
Muller says: “The support has just been overwhelming. I feel like before I was announced, before the song was released, you can never quite guess how it’s going to go. So, just seeing people enjoying the song and just enjoying Eurovision – I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome.”
As for her Eurovision competitors, she admits it’s easy to forget it’s a competition with the plethora of pre-parties: “I’ve been fan-girling for the past few weeks, that’s all I’ve been doing.
“It’s a very supportive vibe, the energy is really, really positive and everyone’s just like, ‘Oh my God, I love your song!’ It’s just really nice, and I feel like that is what makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable, because everyone else is really supportive of each other.”
A Eurovision fan before being selected to represent her country, Muller admits: “It feels completely new to me – enjoying it from the outside perspective and then being actually in it – it’s like a completely different thing.”
She adds with a smile: “It’s been a journey for sure”.
Discovered on Instagram, she signed to a manager in 2017. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind, releasing two EPs, a debut album and touring with Little Mix.
But despite her rise to fame, she admits she’s still feeling the pressure of performing to hundreds of millions of viewers around the world.
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Muller explains: “Before this, before Eurovision, I actually thought, ‘Oh, I don’t think I get nervous anymore’. All my tour and all my shows – I didn’t really get that nervous feeling. I was just like, ready to go.
“But now, I’m like, ‘I’m feeling quite nervous now’, but I think it’s in a good way – it’s good nerves. I feel like it’s just because I care so much and I want to do everyone proud.
“I think if I get on that stage and just go, ‘Do you know what? That’s the best I could have ever done it’. And I had fun, then I think I’ll be good.”
One thing she’s not worried about is performing in front of a Liverpool crowd: “The Scousers know how to party – 100%! I’ve actually performed here a couple of times before and the crowd have always been some of the best I’ve ever performed to.”
Her catchy dance track – I Wrote A Song – about a cheating ex-boyfriend and inspired by personal experience, stands a good chance of making it into the top 10.
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But nevertheless, dealing with the stress of Eurovision’s long-winded scoring process (votes from each country are delivered remotely by a spokesperson, who awards 12 points to their favourite act, 10 for second, 8 for third, then down to one for the others), can be trying, even for seasoned performers.
Muller says the answer is a simple one: “Tequila,” adding, “after that, I’m just going to try and enjoy the process – and just see those points roll on in hopefully.”
The Eurovision Grand Final is on Saturday at Liverpool Arena from 8pm
Sky News will be in Liverpool with updates, a live blog, and all the biggest news from the contest as it happens