Sander Hesterman (EBU)

Eurodance and positive power ballads normally run the show at Eurovision. But this year Europe has shown she can appreciate the dark and meloncholy by voting Anouk’s sombre song “Birds” into the final, thereby ending Holland’s eight-year absence. Anouk brought the people of The Netherlands the salvation they had been waiting, praying and hoping for. But that hasn’t stopped former Dutch ESC contestants Gordon and Gerard Joling from shoving “Birds”—and Anouk—in the dirt.

Ahead of the semi-finals, “Veronica Magazine” asked Gordon, who participated in Eurovision in 2009 with his group The Toppers, to review all the Eurovision songs from 2013. ‘Birds’ received a serious beating. He predicted that “Europe will be going for a cup of coffee during ‘Birds’”, suggesting the song was way too boring for viewers. He added to that “it just isn’t a good song”. He claimed that the song made him depressed and that The Netherlands wouldn’t qualify. For the ninth time in a row. The Dutch press soon poo-pooed his statements (putting Gordon in a difficult position seeing his own results at ESC). But he persisted with his comments. Neither the Dutch press nor Dutch ESC fans were amused.

After Anouk reached a very respectable ninth place in the final Dutch fans slipped into an on-going state of Euphoria. But Gerard Joling felt the need to temper their enthusiasm. In an interview on Dutch radio channel Radio 538 last week, he made it clear that he felt all the attention on Anouk was completely out of proportion—and that he feared she wouldn’t even qualify. He had serious doubts, mostly because of the simplicity of the song and because Anouk is “not really a glamourdiva”. “We don’t have to exaggerate,” he later said of her ninth place finish. “People in the Netherlands act like she is the angel who have saved us all. As far as I know, ESC is in Denmark next year and not in the Netherlands”.

Gordon and his Toppers didn't have Anouk's shine at Eurovision
Gordon and his Toppers didn’t have Anouk’s shine at Eurovision

Neither Gordon nor Gerard can look back on a successful ESC career of their own. Gordon never made it to the finals of ESC. He finished 17th in the semi-final of 2009, earning just 11 points (with the Toppers, singing ‘Shine’). The Netherlands afterwards did all she could to prevent Gordon from representing the Dutchies again, which made him decide to enter the 2013 national final in Switzerland. He didn’t entertain the Swiss either: LA The Voices wasn’t even selected for the national final. As for Gerard, he finished ninth in 1988 (with “Shangri-la”), earning 70 points. Gerard’s final statement was to point out that he and Anouk have one thing in common: “We both finished ninth”. That much is true.

Just to give you an idea: in 1988, 21 countries participated. Semi-finals, diaspora and bloc-voting had yet to enter the frame. This year Anouk had to endure a tough semi-final, facing 39 countries and feeling the pressure of being Hollands’ last and final hope.

Photo: Top: Sander Hesterman (EBU), Bottom: Eurovision.tv

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René R
Guest
René R

@JoyceS… Nonsense! I never said I didn’t like Anouk. Actually she’s one of my fave Dutch artists!
I wasn’t particularly fond of ‘Birds’ though; personal taste. However, I was delighted she got the Neths back to the final!

Shirat
Guest
Shirat

One word for them: LOSER
Anouk was amazing. Best entry ever <3

Albert
Guest
Albert

Gordon is a sore loser. The Toppers? More like the Floppers. I loved “Birds” by Anouk. Beautiful song, beautifully sung. When I first heard it at the national selection, I wasn’t sold. But the more I heard it, the more taken I was by it. It wasn’t like the “typical” formulaic Eurovision entry. Not a big ballad, not a dance number, not a novelty song. Just a beautiful song. The English lyrics are well written and make sense. The music fits the mood, and that was nice. It was really an entry for a song contest. That fact that Anouk… Read more »

Robin Tremmel
Guest
Robin Tremmel

Anouk was very very lucky to finish 9th.

I put that down to-
1.she didnt have to sing near the start.
2.She got a lot of votes from older judges.
3.She is Anouk-That alone got her votes.

Lets not kid ourselves-she is not one of her best songs-nowhere near.Its a shame as I think with more of a rock song she would have done a lot better-she has a very good voice-one of the best in the competition.These 2 singers-rubbish are they are-made good points.BTW Anouk is at 86 in the European charts-quite a respectable place..

Hebbuzz
Guest
Hebbuzz

Gordon is the hypochondriac everqueen of Holland. Becomes horny of being in te press with all his diseases, health issues, troubles with other famous Dutch people and hardly stands any critisism on his annoying behaviour of makings jokes which harm people. So he should shut up. As he was the one who prevented Anouks first initiative to represent The Netherlands when he forced his way into the TROS and Eurovision with the horrible song ‘Shine’ written by himself’ which won it’s battle with a much stronger and actually decent song for the Toppers. When ‘Shine’was chosen to represent NL, hardly… Read more »

JoyceS
Guest
JoyceS

Rene Romkes didn’t like Anouk, because Anouk goes her own way, and didn’t go to eurovision in concert because she was in france for a holiday with her kids.
All previous artists we send goes to eurovision in concert but they didn’t get us to the final…they goes to eurovision partys like Joan did and sing their ass off, but at the end they bring us absolutly nothing!
Anouk was just very smart, to go her own way and just stayed focus on her perormance, she’s the one that brought us somewhere:))

chris
Guest

I really hate it when previous artists put down someone in this way. Considering, the performance of the Toppers was quite embarrassing to say the least, I’m not sure that Gordon or Gerald Joling have the license to pass judgement.

takecare
Guest
takecare

oh ps, fell is one of my own words:))) fuck+hell! go Anouk!!!! love you

takecare
Guest
takecare

who da fell cares? da hell w/them!!!!! i didnt even know anouk before( shame on me, maybe too young)!!! but i have to say, she completely mesmerized me! her song is beautiful , just touching! and she s angelic! one of the most beautiful woman this year! she s just stunning! and her performance was great! so screw the rest! who are those idiots anyways? i saw esc 2009 but beat me if i remember those..

MF
Guest
MF

I don’t doubt that the Toppers are some fat losers, but not everybody was crazy about Anouk’s song…even Rene Romkes, the organizer of Eurovision in Concert, in an interview for ESCKAZ said he was not particularly fond of their entry (Netherlands) this year…I am happy that Anouk qualified in the final and in my opinion got a very good result. But I also think this song is a bit too slow motion and she seems a cold/detached person…

Alex
Guest
Alex

LMAO, someone from the TOPPERS putting down Anouk? Really? What a joke. They had last draw in their semifinal and they couldn’t even get above 11 points.

Shane
Guest

JEALOUSY, of course.

Anouk living all the success…where they get nowhere.

Massive fan of Anouk, and she deserves all the success…being one of The Netherlands most successful artists.

JoyceS
Guest
JoyceS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-AR55xukH4
The best cover I found of Anouks Birds!

Pablo Nava
Editor

Gimme a break, the sparkly, messy, scrappy pot calling the brilliant, deep, incredible kettle cracked.

If the trend of at least a country sending the same singer from last year continues, I hope it’s Anouk. The moral winner of this edition.

JoyceS
Guest
JoyceS

Gordon is a man how is media sick! he tells everything to put all attention to himself here in the netherlands.
he also is very jealous that he never did well on eurovision.
Gordon has no fanbase in the netherlands at all, he is a bit frustrated i think!

lala
Guest
lala

I love Anouk… But this song was depressing (LOOK AT THE VIDEOCLIP …. IF YOU CANT GET THE POINTS OF THE SONG YOU ARE BLIND) I am sorry. I am happy that Netherlands made it though… but I am pissed that France did not receive any points from Western Europe

Tiggeh
Guest
Tiggeh

As Jemini would once sing..albeit badly “Cry Cry baby”

Anouk did well and did her country proud. The Toppers were a joke and hence that’s why they stopped their country qualifying.

JulianaESC
Guest
JulianaESC

I don’t live in the Netherlands but from the things I know about Gordon, he’s a pompous cry baby. His comments on Anouk were ridiculous especially seeing he couldn’t do better than 17th. After 9 years the Dutch deserve to celebrate reaching the final and it doesn’t matter that they’re not hosting in 2014. It proves something else- that they CAN qualify and there is a chance that the Netherlands can win. Simple as that. Keep producing great music, and I hope you court Within Temptation, Dave Dekker, Ralf Mackenbach, Lisa Lois, or Delain for 2014!

Nirgal
Guest
Nirgal

While this statements are indeed harsh, Anouk herself was kind of dismissive of Joan Franka in pre-contest interviews…

Vlad
Guest
Vlad

Anouk, you’re wonderful and so is your song. Some people have no decency to even express respect for the achievement.

Micheal
Guest
Micheal

Sounds about right.

Inge
Guest
Inge

Oh, and they’re probably just jealous of what see has achieved – especially Gordon. And he’s pissed of because he was wrong.

Inge
Guest
Inge

Few corrections here – Gordon and his Toppers participated in 2009, finished 17th (out of 19) in semi two, gaining 11 points: 10 from Albania, and one from Denmark. And about the comments they have – Hardly anyone here takes them serious.

David Thielen
Guest

It sounds like all the losers are jealous of a winner…