The Netherlands crashed out of the Eurovision semi-finals for eight straight years — until Dutch diva Anouk captured the hearts of Europe with “Birds” in 2013. Since then the Dutchies have enjoyed a Eurovision renaissance, qualifying every year except for 2015 and even reaching second place in 2014. Talk about a turnaround!
Now that Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS has confirmed their participation for Eurovision 2018, it seems like a good time to let producers know your favourites from recent years. Perhaps your opinions will help steer them in a certain direction.
Below you can review each of their acts from 2013 onwards. Then vote in our poll. You can vote for as many acts as you’d like, but you can only vote one time. Be sure to click the box next to each act you want to support before pressing submit.
Anouk – “Birds”
Ninth place with 114 points
Oozing sophistication and a film star persona, rock chick Anouk ended the Dutch curse at Eurovision with “Birds”, which featured a haunting melody and a brilliant arrangement. From gloomy verses to the sunny expanse of her LED, the Netherlands landed in the Top 10 once more. That marked her country’s best outing in 13 years. Perhaps best of all: Anouk did it on her terms. Those of us on the ground in Malmö remember that she spent her free time watching horror films in her hotel room and hanging with her kids — not repeatedly practicing or engaging in over-the-top PR.
“‘Birds’ is, unquestionably, one of the best things to come out of Eurovision in recent memory. Even if it doesn’t win, frankly I do not care. I am happy to have been introduced to a rare Eurovision song that surpasses its condition. ‘Birds’ is not only a wondrous melody, it’s not just a series of gorgeous lyrics, it’s poetry; it’s art in one of its purest forms. I only hope that Anouk will also be in top form at Eurovision and that she will blow everyone away with a fittingly memorable live performance of her killer song.”
The Common Linnets – “Calm After the Storm”
Second place with 238 points
The Common Linnets — a project led by Ilse DeLange — continued Anouk’s high standard. But they also set a new benchmark for future acts with their second-place finish, the country’s best result since 1975.
A tranquil country song, “Calm After the Storm” created atmosphere from the very first note. But prior to seeing the staging, many felt the song was a bit too calm to make an impact. A few weeks before the Eurovision semi-final, the bookies had The Netherlands way down as 21st favourite to win.
But in Copenhagen things really came to life. Ilse and Waylon unveiled truly intimate staging that saw them staring into each other’s eyes as the camera circled, and as the floor transformed into a giant road. It had soul, spirit and romance, leading them to win the first semi-final. They ultimately finished second behind Conchita Wurst in the final.
Their success seems to have confirmed the belief that two is better than one. The next edition of Eurovision was filled with duets, including Elina and Stig (Estonia), Uzari and Maimuna (Belarus), Monika and Vaidas (Lithuania), Mørland and Debrah Scarlett (Norway), and Maraaya (Slovenia).
Trijntje Oosterhuis – “Walk Along”
14th place with 33 points in the Second Semi (non-qualifier)
Trijntje Oosterhuis and her song “Walk Along” crashed out of the semi-final in 2015, owing partly to lacklustre staging and a questionable Ali Baba-inspired stage costume. Even so the lady of soul revealed that she has no regrets about her Eurovision experience – including swapping her provocative first dress for a bizarre parachute pants number that secured her the worst dressed award for Eurovision 2015.
Ahead of the contest, and well before any of her staging had been revealed, Trijntje finished eighteenth with the Wiwi Jury. Her powerful voice — along with the song’s catchy hook — had many hopeful she would advance.
As wiwiblogger Angus wrote at the time: “‘Walk Along’ might lack the punch necessary to win in Vienna but there’s still enough juice in the tank to clear the Semi-Final. The ‘way-ay-ay-ay’ hook is a real earworm and unlike most of the performers this year, Trijntje has experience and well-honed stagecraft on her side. Represent.”
Douwe Bob – “Slow Down”
11th place with 153 points
Rip it up and start over again. Following the country’s early exit a year earlier, Douwe Bob re-wrote the formula with “Slow Down” — a vintage track performed on top of a giant LED clock.
Douwe sang about stepping back and looking at the bigger picture – love and respect…not your smartphone – in a world where everything moves so fast. Slaying his classy navy suit and strumming his guitar, Douwe embodied charm and class. It was like watching a really quality band at your local bar. In fact, he decided to open his own bar back home after Eurovision. From Stockholm to Amsterdam, this man keeps the party going!
Europe loved Douwe Bob…though not as much as wiwiblogger Edd. As he wrote as part of the Wiwi Jury:
“Call me crazy, but this sounds like the winner to me. It’s very evident that Douwe Bob is a true artist, and that ‘Slow Down’ is a timeless track. Not at all the kind of song you’d expect to see at Eurovision – in fact, it’s not even the kind of song you’d expect to be released as a single. Instead of trying to be explosive and super emotional, he’s giving a relaxed, melancholic vibe. And what a beautiful thing it is.”
O’G3NE – “Lights and Shadows”
11th place with 150 points
Dutch trio O’G3NE unveiled their Eurovision 2017 song “Lights And Shadows” through a Facebook live broadcast, immediately drawing comparisons to Wilson Phillips. But they managed to pull their number firmly into 2017 with some daring costumes and a very emotional backstory that cuts across time and generations. They dedicated their Eurovision 2017 performance to their mother, who was continuing her brave battle against cancer.
As pitch perfect as always, O’G3NE slayed their harmonies amid simple staging. They proved that less can be more and managed to arouse plenty of emotions, as when they displayed the figure of a woman — no doubt a fighter — across the stage. LED candles conveyed life and remembrance in one fell swoop.
Sadly Isolde Vol-Malee — the mother of the O’G3NE sisters — passed away at the age of 47 in July. It’s a tragic coda to a breathtaking performance.
So there you have it. Five years, four qualifiers, one runner-up. But which act is your favourite? Vote below and then sound off in the comments section.