17 February 2019

2019: United Kingdom | Michael Rice | Bigger Than Us

Michael Rice | Bigger Than Us | Eurovision 2019
Big talent: Michael Rice to represent the United Kingdom

The BBC granted the UK another Eurovision national final this year, once again under the banner Eurovision: You Decide. The process was a little different this time, but it was Michael Rice with Bigger Than Us which topped the public vote and who will fly the British flag in Tel Aviv.

Flag United Kingdom
Six acts presenting three songs was the twist this year; each song nominated to be sung in two different styles by each of two singers. The "expert" panel, having eliminated three of the singers in the first round, left it to the public to choose between Kerrie-Anne's dated dance track Sweet Lies,  Jordan Clarke's nursery rhyme Freaks, and Michael's gospel-tinged offering.

Admittedly, none of the options was overly inspiring, but I feel Michael Rice pulled off the selection solely because of his outstanding vocals - lifting what could have been an unremarkable song to a whole different level.

21-year-old Rice is no stranger to the competitive talent show circuit, though, having appeared on The X-Factor in 2014 and winning the debut series of the BBC's All Together Now singing competition. His strong voice was evident there on songs such as Hallelujah and Proud Mary.

Bigger Than Us is constructed for Rice's style of vocalisation: a power ballad which grows to a mighty conclusion - possessing a well-placed key change and all held together with the help of a gospel choir backing. Think Austria 2018 and you may well notice some similarity.

Despite his lack of big-stadium experience, You Decide suggested Rice is an assured performer with good stage presence - albeit he does need to tone down the incessant arm waving before May. Nevertheless, there’s a real buzz building around this entry and I’m reasonably confident that we could be in for our first top ten placing in a decade. I can’t tell you how great it feels to be able to type those words.

United Kingdom
Artist: Michael Rice
Song: Bigger Than Us
Big 5 Finalist

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