The BBC presented this year’s lineup of six artists and three songs on Radio 2 this morning and it’s fair to say the reaction was underwhelming. I’m sure we’ll be spoon-fed the usual trite superlatives by Mel, Måns and the panel of experts(?) at the live final, although they’ll have their work cut out to sell this colourless palette of album songs.
The lineup is as follows (videos linked to respective artist):
Song 1 – Bigger Than Us
Unfortunately for Holly Tandy, her version of Bigger Than Us sounds like the typical Eurovision-song-by-committee which has left it sounding anaemic and a sort of 8th placed song in a below-average Dansk Melodi Grand Prix. Michael Rice, on the other hand, has bagged the much stronger soulful version of the song. It’s uplifting and powerful – in places – yet it still lacks that special ingredient to attract widespread radio play. In short, it still sounds like a cookie-cutter talent show entry performed by a typical talent show singer, albeit a highly capable vocalist. If we are going to select a Eurovision song to actually compete, BBC Radio 1 has to be comfortable play-listing it. In this case they won’t
Song 2 – Freaks
I’m not sure how many songs influence the chorus of Jordan Clarke’s Freaks, but I’ve managed to trace back some chord progressions to Pachelbel’s Canon and Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. You know how it is when you’re reminded of another song!? I’m also thinking of Daz Simpson’s Teenage Life during the chorus, although I just can’t place the main song I’m thinking of. Even so, the chorus is very effective and is a bit of an ear-worm, yet the song still lacks top-15 quality.
MAID’s version ruins the flow of the song with jarring breaks during the verses. The change in the instrumentation is a disaster. Probable lowest vote percentage here.
Song 3 – Sweet Lies
Kerrie-Anne’s Sweet Lies loses me after the opening 30-seconds. It’s just so lightweight and plastic even though I quite like the Deep-House genre. As for Anisa’s version, it’s so whiney and sort of like Leona Lewis singing while yawning. I’m sure Anisa is capable; however, it’s clear this isn’t her song.
The winning version of each song will go into a super-final, which I think will involve Michael and Jordan. Song 3 doesn’t exist for me. The show will be screened on February 8th.
Pre-Big Night Thoughts:
Yesterday’s Instagram previews were quite revealing in terms of working out who is capable of elevating their song beyond the beige studio version. I had already been backing Jordan, as 10s+ seemed good value for what was quite a catchy chorus. He’s brimming with charisma and personality which could endear him to the voting audience. Conversely, Michael looks awkward – he’s not a natural regardless of his talent show win. Yes, Michael has a cracking voice and his version of Bigger than Us allows him to shine. He’s the deserved favourite right now, but so much could change in-running tomorrow.
Kerrie-Anne also looked out of sorts in her rehearsal clip and might be guilty of over-performing at Friday’s final. It all looked right on the edge of what would be considered voteable. Her banger version of Sweet Lies will go big in the hall among the typical Eurovision fans which may cause some market fluctuations.
At this point I think it’s between the two lads. No doubt the jury will help guide the televote. Also watch out for the BBC’s suspect vote-killer styling!