Eurovision season is properly kicking off with the first countries starting to select their entries and hosting their national finals. The BBC will host the national selection for the UK entry on the 8th of February, but today they shared the studio versions of the tracks with us. Like every year, Twitter is wondering how this is the best that a major music industry like the UK could come up with. At one point, pop artist Rae Morris showed interest, but unfortunately nothing seems to have happened with her. What we get is three different songs, each performed in two different versions by two different artists. Well, here we go!
Bigger Than Us
First up is the song ‘Bigger Than Us’, written by Laurell Barker, Anna-Klara Folin, John Lundvik and Jonas Thander. The first version is performed by Michael Rice, who turns the track into a big ballad, but while it had the potential to sound at least slightly contemporary, the producers had other ideas. This is produced more like a 2003 Westlife album track than the latest single by someone like James Arthur. Second artist Holly Tandy gives the track a little country make-over which does work well for the melody progression, but the song is simply too bland to stand out in such a big competition. This is one of those tracks that is ‘safe’ enough to not make a complete fool out of yourself, but will still end up somewhere in the bottom, because hardly anyone will remember it, let alone be triggered to vote for it, after hearing 26 songs.
‘Freaks’ is a song written by Jon Maguire, Rick Parkhouse, Corey Sanders and George Tizzard and the bad news is that the lyrics are painfully cliche and cringy. We have heard heaps of ‘world changing anthems’ at the Eurovision stage with lyrics about different religions living together and standing up against bullying and this is not nearly one of the best ones. The first act unfortunate enough to have to perform this track, is young singer Jordan Clarke who tries his very best to make it into something fun and poppy. It is a better effort than the production girl band MAID has to work with. Their version tries to be hip, minimal R&B, but it sounds like it was created in about five minutes. I am afraid the UK would run the risk of finishing dead last if this song would be selected.
Last but definitely not least, we get to hear ‘Sweet Lies’, written by Maria Broberg, Lise Cabble and Esben Svane. The first version is performed by Kerrie-Anne, who turns the tune into a big, fat bop! Sure, her version of ‘Sweet Lies’ comes a few years too late to fully take advantage of the revival of the 90s house and dance sound, but I could actually see this get a decent result in Eurovision. This banger sure needs a big staging with choreography and Kerrie-Anne channeling her inner diva to the fullest, but if BBC could actually pull this off for once, they might be in with a chance at the left side of the scoreboard. At the same time, Anisa’s version of the same song makes clear that the rhyming and repetition in the composition make it less suitable to be performed as a ballad.
Of course the performances and especially the live vocals are a big factor on the 8th of February when the UK makes a choice, but Kerrie-Anne’s version of ‘Sweet Lies’ is the only song that I could see the UK escape the bottom of the scoreboard with, if the BBC will actually give her the chance to perform a big show on the stage in Tel Aviv in May!
(The fact that they misspelled her name (who is Kellie-Anne?) on their official BBC YouTube account sure ain’t a good sign though…)
Listen to the six tracks in BBC’s playlist.