Eurovision: You Decide
Feature
Posted on 4 Feb 2019

Our resident Eurovision expert, Dean Asker, was invited to the launch of Eurovision: You Decide, the competition to choose the UK’s entry for this year’s Contest.  He takes a look at the runners and riders.

Brexit or no Brexit, one thing is certain: the United Kingdom will take part in this year‘s Eurovision Song Contest. In May the musical circus makes its way to Tel Aviv following Israel’s win with Netta’s song of female emancipation, Toy.

But who will have the honour of flying the British flag, following in the footsteps of last year’s UK entrant, SuRie, who bravely fought off a stage invader with her song Storm in Lisbon? Six hopefuls have been lined up, and the public will cast its vote on Friday 8 February when Eurovision You Decide hits our screens.

This year the UK selection process has a slight twist. There are six acts, but only three songs. Each song will be sung in two musically different styles. An expert jury will choose which versions they like in a “song off” before the final three versions of each song are voted on by the public. 

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Holly Tandy (X Factor 2017) sings Bigger than Us

Michael Rice (who won last year’s TV talent show, All Together Now) and Holly Tandy (who reached the semi finals of The X Factor in 2017) will go head-to-head with the first song, Bigger Than Us.  Michael’s version is a bit like a Westlife ballad, featuring what sounds like a gospel choir towards the end.  Holly’s gone for a more country, Taylor Swift vibe. Both versions are good, and when I spoke to Holly (who was so lovely!) at the launch of Eurovision You Decide, she told me how she loves the gays, which is, of course, always good to hear, and just as well, because Eurovision is, as we know, a bit like gay Christmas. 

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Jordan Clarke - Britian's Got Talent finalist with The Luminites

The second song, Freaks, sees Jordan Clarke face off with three-piece girl group, MAID. Jordan’s biggest claim to fame so far is reaching the finals of Britain’s Got Talent with the boyband, The Luminites. He describes the track as “an anthem with a message of unity”, and his take on this quirky number has a rock/pop feel. The three girls from MAID, whose interpretation of Freaks is distinctly darker and moodier, met at drama school. One of the girls, Blythe, is currently in the West End production of Aladdin, where her duties include understudying the role of Jasmine, played by Jade, who took the UK to an amazing 5th place at Eurovision in 2009 with the Andrew Lloyd Webber ditty, It’s My Time. Apparently Jade is thrilled Blythe is taking part, and says that Eurovision fans “are the best”.  Ain’t it the truth!

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Singer/songwriter Anisa has written for Ariana Grande

The two versions of the final song, Sweet Lies, are definitely the most different from one another. Anisa, who has written for the likes for Ariana Grande, supplies a soulful ballad, whereas Kerrie-Anne, originally a primary school teacher in Dubai, goes for a full-on banger which you could easily imagine reverberating down Hurst Street on a Saturday night.  

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Kerrie-Anne is tipped for winning

Who will win? My instinct is that Michael Rice will knock it out of the pack vocally with Bigger Than Us, leading us to send our first male solo singer since (ahem) Engelbert Humperdinck back in 2012. I’d also be happy with Jordan’s Freaks, and many people are tipping Kerrie-Anne’s high octane Sweet Lies as the winner. So, as always, it’s going to come down to the performance - what might sound good on a well-produced audio track can sometimes come unstuck when sung live.

Last year, despite a great performance, SuRie came 24th, and since 2012 we’ve come no higher than 15th. So, do your duty, and tune into Eurovision: You Decide on Friday 8 February on BBC2 at 7.30pm and pick us something than can crack the top 10.

You can listen to the competing songs at bbc.co.uk/eurovision.                                                                 

The final of the Eurovision Song Contest takes place on 18 May. 

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