Eurovision news has been coming thick and fast over the past few days, and now it’s time for the UK to join in. The BBC have revealed the six artists and three songs that will be competing in Eurovision: You Decide 2019.
As in previous years, six acts will compete to try and fly the UK flag in Tel Aviv. They are Michael Rice, Holly Tandy, Jordan Clarke, girl-group MAID, Kerrie-Ann and Anisa.
But this time, they’re only going to be singing one of three songs: “Bigger Than Us”, “Freaks” and “Sweet Lies”.
In a press release, the BBC revealed more about the format of this year’s show. Each song will be performed in two musically different ways, by two of the aforementioned artists. Following the three ‘song-offs’, the expert judges will decide which act and version of the song will go forward to the final and public vote.
The final three acts will then perform their version of the songs again. The voting lines will subsequently be opened and the public will choose which song and act will get the ticket to Tel Aviv to represent the United Kingdom at Eurovision 2019.
And now we know exactly who will be going up against each other in the three ‘song-offs’.
Song-Off 1 – “Bigger Than Us”
“Bigger Than Us” is written by a plethora of songwriters with Eurovision experience. This includes Laurell Barker, who wrote Asanda’s “Legends” for You Decide 2018, and Switzerland’s Eurovision 2018 entry “Stones”. Melodifestivalen 2018 and 2019 contestant John Lundvik, as well as Anna-Klara Folin who co-wrote John’s Melfest 2018 entry are also on the writing team. Jonas Thander, another co-writer of “My Turn”, has also worked on Donny Montell’s Eurovision 2016 song “I’ve Been Waiting For This Night”, as well as contribute to hit singles like Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and Ariana Grande’s “Focus”.
Artist 1 – Michael Rice
Style: soul-filled ballad
Michael Rice won the BBC singing show All Together Now in 2018. He notes that his favourite Eurovision winners are Salvador Sobral and Måns Zelmerlöw.
“My version of Bigger Than Us is such an epic, big song with a big key change and harmonies, and I think the lyrics resonate with everyone. “Bigger Than Us” is about love, coming together, it’s a really powerful song. You just connect with it. It’s all about emotion”
Artist 2 – Holly Tandy
Style: country pop
Holly Tandy will be known to British viewers after she made it through to the live shows of The X Factor UK in 2017.
“My version of Bigger Than Us is a country pop song which is really current and cool, and similar to a Taylor Swift / Miley Cyrus vibe. To me “Bigger Than Us” is about love. It’s so much bigger than all of us, and no matter what’s going on in the world – love is huge.”
Song-Off 2 – “Freaks”
“Freaks” is written by Corey Sanders, Jon Maguire and Red Triangle. Red Triangle are made up of producer and songwriter Rick Parkhouse and songwriter and lyricist George Tizzard, who have between them sold over 10 million records and worked with artists such as Take That, David Guetta, Charlie Puth, 5 Seconds of Summer and Fleur East.
Artist 1 – Jordan Clarke
Style: pop rock
Jordan Clarke is best known for his appearance on Britain’s Got Talent in 2013 as part of the group The Luminites. The quartet’s audition was viewed 13 million times and they went onto reach the final.
“My version of Freaks has a rock element to a pop song, it has a strong vocal with an anthem vibe – I wanna get the crowd singing along! To represent my country at Eurovision would mean so much, it’s like representing England at the World Cup if you’re a footballer, this is my World Cup – I’m so excited!”
Artist 2 – MAID
Style: dark pop
Girl-group MAID are composed of Miracle, Blythe and Kat, who met in drama school. Blythe is currently the understudy for the UK’s Eurovision 2009 act Jade Ewen in Aladdin on the West End. Meanwhile Miracle and Kat name their facourite Eurovision entries as ABBA and Salvador Sobral respectively.
“Freaks is about celebrating everyone’s individual personality, about the people who maybe don’t fit in and it’s about bringing everyone together. Our version of Freaks is quite ethereal and dark.”
Song-Off 3 – “Sweet Lies”
“Sweet Lies” also has some Eurovision experience on the writing team. Lise Cabble wrote Eurovision 2013 winning song “Only Teardrops”, and Esben Svane was a part of Denmark’s 2011 Eurovision act A Friend In London. The team also includes Maria Broberg from Sweden, who scored a top 5 radio hit in Poland with her version of ‘Superstar’, with DJ Mandee.
Artist 1 – Kerrie-Ann
Style: dance anthem
Kerrie-Anne is a former teacher who used to live and work in Dubai. She has previously learnt a number of pop songs in different languages, including Tagalog, Spanish, Korean and Italian.
“The style of my song is up-tempo but at the same time the lyrics are quite poignant – it’s all about blissful ignorance. You know something is drastically wrong with your relationship but you choose to ignore those signs because you love that person. To represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest would be an absolute honour. I feel a sense of duty towards my country and I want to make my country proud, and I want to show everyone the UK has a lot of fun going on.”
Artist 2 – Anisa
Style: emotional ballad
Anisa has some experience of working with a Eurovision artist, as she has co-written the next single for Sweden’s 2016 representative Frans. Prior to this she was named by the BBC Asian Network as one of its ‘Future Sounds’ in 2016 and has supported Ne-Yo, Brandy, Ashanti, James Arthur and Bridget Kelly. She also co-wrote “Piano” for Ariana Grande’s number one debut album.
“I always like ballads so I took the tempo down, added loads of harmonies, loads of layers and lots of backing vocals – I wanted to get the emotion across. “Sweet Lies” is about being in a situation in life and taking the good with the bad, about being vulnerable and diving in head first. Eurovision is such a big platform and there’s nothing else like it. The best music is coming from the UK. It’s the Olympics of music and song.”
Eurovision: You Decide 2019
Eurovision: You Decide will take place on Friday 8th February.
The show will be filmed at Dock10 in Media City UK in Salford, Greater Manchester. This takes the national final to the North West of England for the very first time.
Unlike the 2018 show, tickets for this year’s national final will be free. They will be allocated via a ballot, which can be applied for at Lost In TV. There’s a minimum age of 16 and under 18-year-olds must be accompanied by an adult. The dress code is “party fabulous”.
And because it’s a television studio, further restrictions apply. No food or drink can be brought into the studio, and mobile phones are not allowed. Honestly, we’re not sure we could cope without a phone, but sometimes you just have to make sacrifices.
Eurovision: You Decide will again be hosted by former Great British Bake Off star Mel Giedroyc and Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw. The 90-minute-long show will be broadcast live on BBC Two.
The performances will be judged by a celebrity panel and the public televote, who will eventually decide who SuRie’s successor will be.
What do you make of the six songs and three artists revealed by the BBC? Who do you think will win each ‘song-off’? Which artist are you routing for to win the ticket to Tel Aviv? Sound off in the comments below?