Since included in the Big 5, the United Kingdom has really struggled to make an impact at the contest, rarely breaking into the Top 10. Over the last four years, no less than three of those times have resulted in 24th place for the UK and it begs the question, how can the nation improve on this? This year it will be up to Michael Rice with the song Bigger Than Us, but will this be the breath of fresh air that the UK needs?
Song + Vocals
The nation with some of the most talented singers and songwriters in the world is the same nation that struggles immensely at Eurovision to send a contemporary and likeable entry. A lot of this may come down to the reputation of Eurovision in the UK, but a lot also is relevant to how the nation selects their acts. After a handful of internally selected duds, a national final was reinstated a few years back, and this was the same strategy used this year to select Michael Rice. I would say that the one song for two artist strategy was truly one of the worst strategies of the national final season this year, but that’s for another discussion.
Out of all the competing entries and artists, Michael Rice and the song Bigger than Us was certainly the best choice. I would go as far to say that it was the best of a bad bunch. The song, which was co-written by fellow competitor John Lundvik is decent, but really nothing special, and likely would have been better performed by John Lundvik, but if this was the case, we wouldn’t have been seeing John Lundvik represent Sweden this year. Although the song is fairly generic, Michael does put his emotion into the song and is vocally competent which is ideal for Eurovision.
I have to be in the mood for this song, as at times I enjoy the uplifting vibe but at times it all feels a bit repetitive and bland. I do like how it builds from the verse to the chorus, and I think the song has that John Lundvik gospel touch which I do enjoy. In the scheme of things, I personally prefer this song over many of the previous UK entries from recent years, but in the context of this year, I still don’t think this will make the impact.
Act + Performance
I have seen the rehearsal footage, and the staging for this I don’t think really suits the song. I don’t really think the galaxy backing screen matches the song all that well, and something simpler could have put the focus back on the song. Despite that, I think that Michael is confident vocally, and that is promising, although it borders on over-confidence.
The UK are in a difficult position in the final, wedged between the upbeat fan favourite of Norway, and the radical entry from Iceland, so it’s highly likely that the UK will be lost, and ultimately, will struggle to receive votes from both juries and televoters. It’s a nice entry, but it’s just not enough from the UK. I want more. You could say, I want something bigger.