The six songs the UK could potentially be sending to Eurovision in 2019 have been unveiled.
For the past few years, it’s been viewers at home who have chosen which performers and songs represent the UK at the annual song contest, with each of them given the chance to perform on the special show ‘Eurovision: You Decide’.
This year, the BBC is doing things a little differently, with three songs to choose from, each performed in two different ways by two different artists.
Here’s our verdict on each of the potential choices...
1. ‘Bigger Than Us’ – Michael Rice
In a nutshell? Don’t be fooled by the Ed Sheeran/James Arthur/insert-any-other-interchangeable-white-man-with-guitar-sounding introduction, the chorus is much more pop, putting us in mind of a Westlife ballad (a band whose comeback single, incidentally, was written by Ed Sheeran).
How ridiculous is it? It’s a pretty by-the-numbers singer/songwriter affair, but there is a gospel choir and a key change, so it’s not totally without smirk-worthy moments.
How would it do at Eurovision? Cheesy ballads haven’t done all that well in the last few years (last year’s winner, lest we forget, was a high-energy tune that featured chicken beat-boxing and lyrical nods to ‘Pokémon’, Barbie and ‘Wonder Woman’), with recent history suggesting if you’re going to win with a slow tune, it needs to have an arty edge to it. But it’s rare that two consecutive winners sound alike too, so maybe it’s time for a Eurovision resurgence of this type of track.
Oh, and have we seen him somewhere before? Michael was actually the winner of the BBC’s quirky singing contest, ‘All Together Now’, last year.
2. ‘Bigger Than Us’ – Holly Tandy
In a nutshell? A country-infused pop tune that’s more subdued Taylor Swift than raucous Miley Cyrus, and wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Kylie Minogue’s recent chart-topping effort, ‘Golden’.
How ridiculous is it? Not very, particularly as it lacks the gospel choir and key change featured in Michael Rice’s version. Still, there’s scope for her to play up to the song’s country aesthetic when it comes to the production side of things, so there’s still a slim chance she’ll turn the ‘Eurovision: You Decide’ stage into a hoe-down.
How would it do at Eurovision? It’s always good to have a gimmick at Eurovision, and Holly’s version of ‘Bigger Than Us’ is country enough to stand out among the contest’s more generic offerings. We don’t hear it and immediately think “Eurovision winner”, but we reckon this will win over some viewers.
Oh, and have we seen her somewhere before? Potentially, Holly was the first contestant eliminated from the ‘X Factor’ live shows when she competed on the show back in 2017.
3. ‘Freaks’ – Jordan Clarke
In a nutshell? A musical theatre-esque number that sounds like something from ‘The Greatest Showman’ or ‘Everyone’s Talking About Jamie’, with lyrics about being put down and laughed at, but finding solace in your fellow “freaks”.
How ridiculous is it? Compared to both versions of ‘Bigger Than Us’, ‘Freaks’ cranks up the ridiculousness and cheese factor by quite a percentage, sample lyrics including “I don’t see the difference in me, too, your, tu, or moi, vous” and “I’ve been locked in the locker, I’ve been picked last in soccer”.
How would it do at Eurovision? A message about unity and standing together? Lyrics about flying your “freak” flag? REFERENCES TO FRENCH GRAMMAR? Yep, we can see this one going down well with Eurovision regulars.
Oh, and have we seen him somewhere before? Jordan used to be a member of the boyband Luminites, who caught the attention of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ viewers back in 2013, and were then briefly signed to Simon Cowell’s label.
4. ‘Freaks’ – MAID
In a nutshell? Halloween week on ‘The X Factor’ at its strongest. And whether or not that’s a good thing is up to you.
How ridiculous is it? It’s certainly the most theatrical of the six songs. Compared to Jordan’s version of ‘Freaks’, MAID have played up much more to the “freak” theme, with sliding voice effects, distorted vocals and creepy-sounding plucked strings. Throw in some three-part harmonies and, to be honest, we’re sold.
How would it do at Eurovision? See above, but we reckon the MAID version is going to serve when it comes to production too, which is something we’re more than a bit excited for.
Oh, and have we seen them somewhere before? Kat, Miracle and Blythe have more of a musical theatre background, with Blythe acting as the understudy for Jasmine in ‘Aladdin’ (a role originated in the West End by former Eurovision singer Jade Ewen, no less!), while Miracle most recently played Columbia in a production of ‘The Rocky Horror Show’.
5. ‘Sweet Lies’ – Kerrie-Anne
In a nutshell? You know those top 20 dance tracks they use over montages on ‘TOWIE’ and ‘Love Island’? Well, Kerrie-Anne has delivered another one.
How ridiculous is it? It isn’t, aside from the fact that when you close your eyes you can sort of imagine Gemma Collins sipping a rosé at the Sugar Hut with this playing in the background.
How would it do at Eurovision? We can see what they were going for with something a bit more contemporary and chart-friendly, but we can’t see global Eurovision fans warming to this one.
Oh, and have we seen them somewhere before? Like competitor Holly Tandy, Kerrie-Anne appeared on ‘The X Factor’ in 2015, leaving at the Judges’ Houses stage.
6. ‘Sweet Lies’ – Anisa
In a nutshell? A sweet-sounding R&B ballad that throws back to the 1990s and 2000s.
How ridiculous is it? It’s certainly a dramatic number, but we wouldn’t go as far as to say ridiculous.
How would it do at Eurovision? Anisa is a talented vocalist, and her version of ‘Sweet Lies’ is certainly more poignant than the dancier version it’s going up against at ‘Eurovision: You Decide’. We think how well it went down in the actual Song Contest would depend on the staging, as ballads can sometimes struggle to hold viewers’ attention when there’s so much theatrical nonsense going on in other parts of the show.
Oh, and have we seen them somewhere before? Unless you’re already following her career as a singer/songwriter, probably not.
It’s obviously early doors, but of the three pairs of competing artists, we’re siding with Holly Tandy, MAID and Anisa.
Watch all six artists perform in ‘Eurovision: You Decide’ on Friday 8 February. Take a listen to each of the songs in full on the BBC’s website.