From 2019 Eurovision winner to TikTok viral sensation, Duncan Laurence’s star has continued to rise since his win in Tel Aviv. Now the Dutch singer has added “performing on U.S. television” to his list of accomplishments. The “Arcade” hitmaker continued his introduction to potential throngs of new fans with his debut performance on American television on the morning talk show, the TODAY show, on Wednesday 24 February.
Duncan Laurence performs “Arcade” on America’s TODAY show
After both Duncan and his record company Capitol Records announced his appearance just a few days before, anticipation among his legion of supporters was high. Eager fans had to wait a long time, as Duncan’s segment didn’t happen until the last ten minutes of the third hour (with little set-up beforehand). TODAY’s third hour co-hosts Craig Melvin and Dylan Dreyer introduced Duncan by praising his Eurovision 2019 win. They went on to mention “Arcade”‘s billion streams, while his Small Town Boy album cover art flashed on screen.
Dreyer showed she had done her research about Duncan, mentioning how he had used music to channel his pain from being bullied in grade school into positivity. Asked how he hoped his music would inspire others, Duncan said, “Well, I hope that when they listen to my music… and they see that a small-town boy from such a tiny country can do this, can chase his dreams, I hope they can get inspired from that and chase their dreams.” Beautiful words!
After Melvin referred to Duncan as a “small town boy in a big arcade” (a lyric from his own song), there was a funny moment, as Duncan schooled both hosts on how to pronounce his hometown of Hellevoetsluis, Netherlands. After warning the hosts not to break their tongues, Dreyer drew praise from Duncan for near-perfect pronunciation. Once that was over, they got right to his performance. There may have been some initial disappointment to some fans, seeing that the performance was pre-recorded, but that was quickly forgiven.
Set on a separate soundstage from the TODAY show studio, Duncan was at the centre, in the shadows, but surrounded by soft spotlights. A circle of violin and other string instruments instantly added a new emotional depth to the song. A sweeping camera shot came right to Duncan as he began to sing the opening words. Panning back out, we see the simplicity of the staging, obviously intended to focus attention on Duncan’s amazing voice. As the song reached it’s “get me off this rollercoaster” climax, a single spotlight shined down on him, giving memories of his Eurovision performance. Aided by the stringed instruments, the performance built right up to the last moments, when everything else stopped, and we’re just left with Duncan singing the last sweeping and emotional notes. A beautiful end to a performance that will hopefully serve as a new beginning to Duncan’s rising star in the US!
We say “Goed gedaan” (Well done), Duncan!
What did you think of Duncan’s TODAY show performance? Let us know in the comments below.