United Kingdom tries to play it safe with Michael Rice’s ‘Bigger Than Us’
As reported before, the United Kingdom hasn’t exactly been nailing their attempts at a decent score in the Eurovision Song Contest lately. The country did not reach the top 10 since 2009 and ends up in the lowest regions most of the time. You would expect them to step up their game in their national final at some point, but 2019 is unfortunately not the year. They selected six mostly talent show alumni to perform three mediocre at best compositions. Kerrie-Anne’s 90s house take on ‘Sweet Lies’ was my personal favourite, but Michael Rice emerged as the winner with the song ‘Bigger Than Us’.
In the review of the songs before the national final, I wrote that Michael Rice’s ‘Bigger Than Us’ had potential, but was produced in an old fashioned way, almost like a 2003 Westlife album track. The good news is that this is less apparent on stage. The live version sure packs a bit more of a punch, thanks to Rice’s powerful vocals, which are like a mix of Sam Smith and James Arthur. His voice sure might charm some viewers and members of the juries out there, but it does not solve the issues with the song completely. The lyrics are still predictable and cliche, while the melody and build up do not make it stand out enough.
What about the performance? Michael Rice took the stage with backing vocals by his side. While he is a charismatic performer, his hand movements do distract slightly on camera so a little less of that would help his performance. It will be interesting to see if the BBC can do something with the staging to make it memorable in the midst of 25 other performances. The invader on stage was clearly the most memorable that happened with the UK last year… I don’t expect to see the United Kingdom on the left half of the scoreboard in May, but Michael Rice could potentially keep them from the bottom five for a change.