Back in November, when Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS announced the duo Mia Nicolai and Dion Cooper as the country’s Eurovision entrant, a large portion of the Dutch population seemed indifferent. They were the latest in the country’s list of relatively unknown names chosen for the song contest.
But in recent weeks the pair have been at the centre of extremely negative coverage, the extent of which hasn’t been seen among the Netherlands’ Eurovision community before. The media coverage in the Netherlands has been skewed in one direction — negative to downright mean.
Media react to Mia & Dion’s first performance
Usually the Dutch entrant performs their Eurovision song live for the first time on a talk show. However, for some reason, AVROTROS decided not to do that this year. In late March, Mia Nicolai and Dion Cooper said in an interview with Wiwibloggs that it was simply down to scheduling.
“We’re going in with a big bang,” Dion said at the time, referencing their planned appearance at Eurovision in Concert in Amsterdam.
A few days later, however, it emerged that they’d make their live debut at the PrePartyES in Madrid. It was a surprising choice for several reasons. Firstly, their debut would be in a foreign environment, which means they’d have less control over preparation and technicals (compared to a Dutch TV show where the pace is slower). That’s perhaps not the best environment for two young and inexperienced artists to present themselves for the first time.
The duo performed “Burning Daylight” in Madrid and, needless to say, they faced a few technical difficulties. They were out of tune several times during the performance.
Dutch media and gossip-led juice channels picked up on the performance and reported it heavily. Rather than exploring the technical hurdles the duo faced, the media quickly portrayed them as having no chance at the contest based on that one performance. It was interesting because typically mainstream Dutch media platforms don’t really care about the performances at the pre-parties.
AVROTROS quickly came back with a statement saying that the duo had faced technical difficulties. The broadcaster stayed firm on their choice and offered support to Mia and Dion.
Did AVROTROS botch its response?
AVROTROS isn’t blameless in the media storm. They could have offered further explanation or shared more videos of Mia and Dion singing together. Instead, the Dutch media started a witch hunt prior to the duo’s performance in Amsterdam a week later.
Although the performance in Amsterdam was noticeably better than in Madrid, a 40-second long snippet of them singing out of tune (it was filmed on a mobile phone) quickly went viral. A second wave of criticism followed from the Dutch media, who have seemingly concluded that the duo can’t sing and are unprepared for Eurovision.
It is fair to say that AVROTROS’s reaction to this wave of negative publicity came too late. Ireland’s entrant Conor O’Donohoe from Wild Youth defended the duo more swiftly than their own broadcaster.
And when the AVROTROS reaction did come, it was not even a defence. In fact, the broadcaster literally said in a statement that the performance was “not good” with no reference to the ongoing media coverage and abuse their entrants were receiving (and which, understandably, might be unnerving them and making it more difficult to recover). This was fuelled further when AVROTROS’ CEO Eric van Stade repeated that the performance had “not been good”: a classic reputation management apology, which does not work in the world of Eurovision.
Distrust in institutions
After a few days, Dutch media turned their spears towards the selection committee and Duncan Laurence.
Duncan Laurence faced criticism for not being publicly visible during the weeks when Mia and Dion received their strongest criticism. He had not posted any public sign of support for his two close friends. His eventual Instagram Story said, “some things have happened in the past few weeks”, without any words of support or critique of the media scrutiny that had unfolded.
The selection committee — the six people at AVROTROS responsible for selecting the entry — started to get stick as well. With distrust in institutions already growing in the country, it was clear that many people felt that too many Dutch artists had been run over by an “elite group” of six people to determine who, with public money, should represent the Netherlands. And they chose young people with a friendly tie to a popular musician.
Why had there not been a national final? Why did AVROTROS choose two inexperienced singers who are friends of Duncan Laurence?
Distrust of the broadcaster went up a notch when the newspaper Algemeen Dagblad found out that the AVROTROS had been dishonest about the unanimity of the broadcaster’s choice in the duo. In fact, Jan Smit, one of the six members, had been a vocal opponent of selecting the song.
Jumping on the hate hype train
The situation has been a major talking point in the media over the past few weeks, pushing newspapers and drawing viewers. It’s become the talk of the town.
Whereas normally Dutch media have little interest in Eurovision until rehearsal week, many talk shows have invited guests to talk about Mia and Dion’s misfortunes during the pre-parties in Madrid and Amsterdam. Many shows and platforms seemingly jumped on the hate hype train. Satire show Even tot hier even dedicated a whole sketch to the duo, who had already been a running gag for several months.
The negative coverage is casting a major shadow over the Netherlands’ efforts at this year’s Eurovision — and may well impact future participations as well. Interestingly, besides Flemish media, there has been no international media interest in Mia and Dion’s vocal capacities. Secondly, it makes me wonder whether any singer or group ever would want to represent the Netherlands again given how little support AVROTROS has shown its current singers.
What do you think about the situation that’s unfolded around Mia Nicolai and Dion Cooper? Do you think that the broadcaster should have done more? Let us know in the comments down below!
AVROTROS is fully to blame. Probably Duncan too. My suspicion is that he is not capable being a coach and AVROTROS trusted too much on prejudices. Would you be surprised DL is a drug addict or in a toxic manipulated relationship . Dion and Mia are the innocent victims here. And incapable of singing a quite difficult composition not suited for their singing voices.
This is one of my favourite entries, the song is so beautiful and impactful, to me at least. I hope they’ll get ahead of it and qualify.
I’m really hoping this qualifies. I know these artists are unknowns, but does any footage of them performing separately exist anywhere?
It’s sad that particular media relies on negativity to make profits. I like the song and it has lyrics with actual meaning. Thing is known. I also appreciate that Duncan has opened a huge door for two reasonably unknown performers, but it does show they are inexperienced performing together. If they rehearse non-stop over the next two weeks, we might be pleasantly surprised. I hope I’m right, just so they can stick it to the media. The song sits outside my top 10, but it’s far from the bottom.
They’ve been ridiculed in every talk show, TV hosts have called for the Netherlands to just withdraw from this years competition, Jan Smit (Avrotros’s Eurovision commentator) has publicly distanced himself from them.
Their career is basically over before it had even started.
Mae Muller is ALSO getting this kind of hate in the UK press and certain news outlets right now, or was. She certainly hasn’t been getting the flack THESE TWO have been getting! Frankly, I blame the broadcaster!
There’s still a lot of bitter ppl bc BBC chose her instead of Birdy or Rina Sawayama. I even read some antisemitic remarks towards her recently :/
Freaking hell, that is such an unforgivable low. Some people *shakes head.”
I don’t know any of the back dealings going on with AVROTROS but I’m sure The Netherlands have the capacity to send an experienced artist with a good song.
Di-Rect would be a gorgeous act to send, or Racoon (the latter especially their work in dutch is super beautiful)
or new talent like MEAU, Maan
or something funky like Son Mieux
we got a great music scene again, very diverse too but all about connections at AVROTROS it seems
I was not even aware of the negative impression towards the duo in their own native country and needless to say… I’m shocked to see this. They don’t deserve this hate, they will definitely sing better in Liverpool definitely and their song is so powerful. One of the best ballads this year!
I completely forgot they were even in the contest.
OMG just annoys the crap out of me when people say that.. I know every single song, even the not so interesting ones.. Just so degrading
This is by far my favorite song this year and it’s distressing to see this situation. Having said that, we won’t know how well the Netherlands will do until the night of the semifinal. Roberto Bellarosa shocked everyone in 2013 performing second-last in Semi 1 after an even more inauspicious live debut of his song (which earned him a 3.5/10 from the Wiwi Jury). I’m hoping Mia and Dion will follow in his footsteps. You can’t fake that vocal tonality that they have on the vocal recording, so they absolutely can sing. The question is whether AVROTROS is going to… Read more »
For years my country (The Netherlands) has sent great singers who brought an authentic piece of themselves to the stage: musical genre, story-telling, art style, …
This year is a mess.
A song written by Duncan is being performed by a duo lacking any deep personal connection or chemistry with each other ór the song. As a result you get nervous, shaky, inconfident, insufficiently rehearsed performances like the ones Mia and Dion delivered. Simple as that.
Who is Duncan without Arcade?
Who is Netta without Toy, Mans without Heroes, Dana International without Diva, Salvador Sobral without Amar Pelos dois.. Just saving.. he has loads of great songs, to reach the level of Arcade is almost supernatural..
Worse reactions has to face Chanel and look how it ended.
Work, work, work. And mouths will be closed in May.
who cares about Chanel? that shakira/eleni/camila cabello wannabe flop
At least show some decency and support your own country. I mean, yes it wasn’t great, but at least it wasn’t corrupted and we dont have a serious reason to hate them like with Blanka.
You have no serious reason to hate Blanka. Hate the game, not the players.
I agree with you Renske! It just pains me to see the hate inflicted on them by their own country. Glad to see that atleast some people have the sense to see that it’s not Mia & Dion’s fault. Are the Netherlands that hopeless?? (Like seriously they could practice and get better right? Though idk if there’s time left:/)
it is so hilarious, i myself feel zero sympathies for these two wannabe ”singers”
there’s no time left, and no we aren’t hopeless, we have fun music but we choose not to share that with the rest of the world lol, imagine wanting to make fun of yourselves with joke entries
eurovision should be taken serious as other similar global events as world cups, euro cups, olympics
They actually are singers.
The organisers should’ve given them a few years to improve and build themselves rather than throwing newbies into the Eurovision hellscape.
You are like a Britney Spears song……. TOXIC
You sound like you take Eurovision as a joke
Moral of all this is to really get your act together if possible for pre ESC shows…these snippets can go viral and effect confidence. You used to be able to use Amsterdam, London etc to warm up… that’s getting less and less the case.
The moral of the story is to send experienced artist who’ve proven themselves already. Also the idea of only six people deciding the entry is nuts.
I did not really get to follow the pre-party season, yet I have been enjoying their song so much indeed! Burning Daylight did really grow on me since its release. On the other hand, it appears to be also compressible the ambiguities around the Dutch song selection this year. However, internal selection has been working perfectly for them since 2013. I don’t really know if they would be able to maintain their success if they would go back to using a national final. Imo Dutch media needs to calm down and shouldn’t take it very seriously. Surely AVROTROS will learn… Read more »
eurovision should always be taken seriously, it is music olympics, only winning is important
joke act countries like San Marino, Latvia, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Switzerland should leave
Netherlands, Sweden are the best two countries once again this year by a huge margin
Estás bien pendejo
THIS IS HOW YOU REPORT ON IT!!! Massive kudos for the critical tone that is balanced without basically slaughtering Mia and Dion. Dutch media, take note! I am not a fan of the song, and because we are in the first semi final, I doubt we will qualify. I do however think Mia and Dion will put on a solid performance, worthy of Eurovision. Everyone is crying about NL not having a national final, but they seem to forget that since we went back to an internal selection, we won once, came second once and consistantly scored top 15 (with… Read more »
It’s a very difficult situation and i think that Mia & Dion should ask for TV live show space to sing their song before leaving to Liverpool. I wish they do that…
If you’re gonna go with a new act (combing two soloists is a new act) without much experiencing performing on TV or live, you do so at your peril. Getting to the battles in the Voice (and losing) isn’t enough experience.
This year’s Greek entry, who you describe as the nobody (as in unknown) who’s in your top 5 is also an example of blatant nepotism, a nepo baby…(admittedly he’s got some chops, vocally at least)
And still his song is way better than those stereotypical ethnic bops from the likes of Sakis
It does surprise me that there is so much media attention all of a sudden. Even on the 8pm news! The fact that it is all based on Madrid and 40 seconds of Amsterdam baffles me. I’m ashamed of the lack of support from Avrotros, instead of supporting them, they confirmed that Jan Smit was against Burning Daylight. Meaning even more negative media attention. I sincerely hope that they will have amazing staging and have a great live performance. I’m wishing them all the best. It won’t be enough to turn the public opinion though, only qualification will, which has… Read more »
People have no right to hate. Blanche wasn’t great at the pre-parties in 2017 and she slayed live. It’s too early to tell and, like Halo and Brividi, I’m going to enjoy the studio version as a top 10 contender regardless of live performances. Good luck Mia and Dion!
I bet they regret doing the pre parties because of this reaction. For me all that will matter is their performance on the night as maybe they will work on their vocals/harmonies and it will come together at the semi final. I still worry about the Netherlands qualifying as the juries won’t be able to help them and I don’t think televoters will vote for this song in this very strong semi final as other countries stand out much more. I hope they can still be proud of their performance either way in May as if the vocals are bad… Read more »
La Zarra received similarly negative attention by the French mainstream media for cancelling her shows in the preparties. The way they report on it, it’s clear they don’t even understand what the preparties even are, yet suddenly she’s a hard to work with diva bee-atch. Gross. Mainstream media always finds any excuse imaginable to ridicule and insult Eurovision, which is why I don’t consume it anymore. Artists like Dion and Mia or even Blanka should receive honest feedback, even negative, while there is still time to grow and improve, but this feedback should come from a place of respect and… Read more »
Well, Poland isn’t behind Blanka.
These parties are not part of the contest, and are not connected to the EBU in any way. The presence of the acts is not required, but some people still think they are entitled to it. Sad.
French media always write negative things about their representatives, except Amir probably. I think they even wrote bad things about Fulenn cause it’s not in French, but French people showed maturity by voting for it.
And then people in legacy media wonder why normal people don’t believe in them or take them seriously anymore
I wish Jan Smit didn’t quit because he was against Mia & Dion. “Ik heb AVROTROS in november 2022 al laten weten dat ik na tien jaar uit de selectiecommissie stap. De reden was dat ik het tijd vond voor vers bloed en nieuwe inzichten.” that translates too “I already informed AVROTROS in November 2022 that I am leaving the selection committee after ten years. The reason was that I thought it was time for fresh blood and new insights.”: https://www.nu.nl/songfestival/6260323/jan-smit-stapte-niet-vanwege-keuze-voor-mia-en-dion-uit-songfestival-commissie.html
Wanted to write: I still think there is time to make a good live performance video. And then the comment about Jan Smit not quitting because of Mia & Dion. That got a lot of attention, but wasn’t true.
Very often artists have to go through the toxicity of comments of local media and Twitter.Last year Chanel was abused online by the most toxic fandom ever and even some spanish politicians. I am disappointed that the Dutch media and people are treating these two young artists so badly. Yes their vocals are not perfect but commenting publicly on that makes things worse.
Y el fandom hispano volvió a tirar a la basura a Chanel cuando no ganó Eurovisión: volvió a ser “la sucia latina” para sus pequeñas mentes.
It’s funny that you reply to me in Spanish thinking I will translate. Try to speak to your co patriots on how to treat singers nicer and not scream other people’s name when San Marino performs. Bullies.
So whoever says their vocals were bad is just hateful and mean? Most people sang in Madrid on the same stage and had smooth live performances. So clearly, the Dutch contestants did not sing well. And why are we trying to cover up this issue as if no one ever sings badly? Not saying they are bad singers, but on that day, they didn’t sing well. Very simple.
I’ve said before that I don’t understand why acts go to these pre-parties. There’s more to lose than to gain. The audiences likely already have their minds made up about who they will vote for.
Why wouldn’t they go especially if it is funded by the broadcaster? Free trips, new experiences and we have seen some acts really growing in popularity due to pre-parties. Some of the pre-party performances also get over 100k views on youtube, which is a huge number for poor quality videos of live performances.
Yeah, like you say, poor quality.
And miss out on promotion and exposure?
Most artists I think see it as just promotion.
I think it’s not necessary, because the people who go will already have heard of them and know their songs. Maybe it’s just the low budget feel I don’t like.
SOME people may not though? Who are we to know?
They’re going to sing good on the night of the semi final, qualify to the final and start breaking down crying from all the stress relief. The Dutch media will then make a 180 turn around.
AVROTROS couldn’t have done much more. They sang very out of tune. Not once (where they said they were facing technical difficult with their in-ears) but twice in a row. What should have AVROTROS done? Say that it was an amazing performance? Generally The Netherlands sends good singers to Eurovision. And this time that doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s out of the ordinary for the country, so the media picks that up. Hopefully they’ll be able to perform at ESC but I have my doubts. It’s too late to learn how to sing. Unless they can sing and… Read more »
Good PR would be to ignore it.
Well, AVROTROS chose them and now they’re throwing them under the bus. I wonder if anyone would like to represent the Netherlands next year after seeing such treatment to this year’s representatives
Stan twitter too has jumped on the hate train too. Sad people with very little excitement in their lives (most of them not even dutch) have been attacking them, okay if you didn’t like the performance but to send personal abuse and threats to them is just delusional. Someone tell these 14 year old fans they don’t speak for the majority, just saying
This is really a poor public relation management.
It is nothing rare that some artists do not have the very ideal vocals. There is plenty of time to improve before ESC. In the past years, we have also witnessed entries with great improvements.
On the other hand, even with the best public relations, public hatred happens, even if it should not. So, hopefully, Mia & Dion can overcome both their vocal issues and the public pressure.
I always love your comments, Ari, but I respectfully disagree with you on this issue. First of all, whether Duncan should be visible is a valid and debatable question. This is because, since the announcement of the artists on the official ESC channel, Duncan was there for the promotion. Duncan has also received the interview here to talk about the entry. So different from Thomas G:sson for Loreen and no matter how much he is pushed by the broadcast, he has got himself involved in it. So support, not support, or just keep silent. Either way, it is a choice,… Read more »
I am inclined to agree with you so far.
I would still leave some reservations nevertheless. The public chaos is mainly domestic, but just as we are reading about it, it can spread over the international community. Though its impact can be limited and mixed: sympathy towards the artists, awareness of their poor vocal and (dis/)approval of the broadcast, etc. I don’t think it is very likely for now, but if it turns out more ugly, it can reach the international general audience. And that’s why appropriate containment matters.
very toxic environment for two young artists doing their best. Yes, the song is not strong enough for Eurovision (it’s great as album track) but they deserve our support. It sucks that AVROTROS did not support them at all. I think Duncan is not a person who would want to go hard on social media about the drama so he prefers to keep it behind the scenes and do some damage control. I feel sorry for them. Duos not always work well but I hope they qualify at least even though it looks very difficult at this stage. I wonder… Read more »
Just hold a national final next year 😀
Cause we all love finding out good songs and then stressing ourselves out if it doesn’t win <3<3
Honestly, I don’t care anymore whether it is an NF or an internal selection, I just want the selection process to be transparent regardless of the country
I didn’t know Dutch are so toxic people. Knew that for French, but it surprised me to see this from Netherlands.
Allez le Francais!
Well if the act you’re directly involved with (which he is) is getting a lot of abuse thrown at them then yes you should stand by them. I assume he has talked to them privately, offering his support and trying to make any changes that should make their performance in Liverpool go a bit smoother than the previous performances but honestly, this goes even beyond Duncan. The fact that a broadcaster selected an act (doesn’t matter if its unanimous or not) and also willingly threw them under a bus after negative press is not a good look.
I don’t know all the inside details of how The Netherlands chooses their Eurovision candidates. But Ilse DeLange, as one half of The Common Linnets, finished 2nd in 2014. I recall her being involved with Douwe Bob in 2016 and Duncan Laurence in 2019. My opinion is she should be bought back to help with the Dutch Eurovision selection process.
Duncan has taken over that role this year, paying it forward. In time, he can pass the baton onto somebody else. I’m not sure relying on just one person is the answer.
I’m not a fan of the song personally, BUT if you are going to choose a song in secret without the input of the voting public, you need to be prepared to stand by it and defend it because you’ve been entrusted with that selection. It is wrong to select an art/song and then throw them to the wolves with no support. Mia and Dion deserve better. It shouldn’t be about the quality of the song, it’s about supporting the people who YOU have chosen to represent your nation. If AVROTOS can’t defend their artists, they shouldn’t be in charge… Read more »
And earlier, Gustaph gave an energetic live performance and interview on Humberto. Yet the NL camp claim because DWDD and K&S are off-air there are no outlets to perform live to Dutch TV viewers, yet BE and SE found a way. The lies are brazen.
what do we care about Belgium? that over the top boy george wannabe loser
Own merits?? Lol Mia and Dion have completely different styles of music than Burning daylight, this is a duncanesque song all over
i get your point and all i said was Burning Daylight is really different to Mia and Dion their respective solo work Dion’s more got a bit Victor Crone meets Harry Styles-ish sound, he can sing just not in this too high vocal range Mia’s style is very modern, Dream Go is a bop from her, she got a very interesting sound too also the irony about avrotros saying song above artist, but here it is so obvious they preferred a song from Duncan for this newly formed duo, i wouldn’t have paired these two together and i certainly wouldn’t… Read more »
I lived in Netherlands for 5 years and they are really weird. Not weird in a derogatory kind of way, just different and not different “bad” just different as in unique weird different.
But they are tall so they compensate.
Damn, that’s shallow!
In other words: get ready for a Dutch national final comeback, because a NQ will be the final straw
Exactly what I think. Their vocals were/are horrible at the pre-party. I hope they’ll improve for the actual performance, but it seems unlikely to me given the short space of time until the rehearsals start.
They definitely should revive the Nationaal Songfestival and let the jury & public decide together next year.
When Duncan was preparing for ESC in 2019, I believe the entire team responsible for his participation was present. There were extensive preparations and coaching sessions so he could be ready for the big stage. My question is why Duncan isn’t doing the same for his choice? What is keeping him so occupied that he couldn’t take time out to help this duo with their endeavour to represent The Netherlands at one of the, if not the, biggest shows on earth, watched by over 200 million viewers all across the globe. What would he have done if he wasn’t supported… Read more »
Loreen is our entry this year, not mia and dion
Queen of perfection
prefection does not exist its an ilusion
The song isn’t that bad at all, if staged defectively it could still be great. I hope they can improve vocally for the semis (which I dont think is impossible) and beyond all of that, we have absolutely no idea what the other songs that were in contention to represent the Netherlands this year were, so saying this shouldn’t have been selected when we dont know their options sounds somewhat naive, at least to me it does.
I get you’re not a fan of it, others are. As with other selections this year that had some speculation of shady ongoings, I’m not going to endorse that obviously. That doesn’t mean that I’m automatically going to hate on the act that was selected through that process. Mia and Dion’s song is actually decent. Is it a definite qualifier? No but let’s be real, very few ballads in this system are guaranteed. To me you seem to be basing a pre party performance, which I’ve already stated, doesn’t necessarily define how you will do at esc, as concrete proof… Read more »
I just think its a poor look for a broadcaster to publicly shame or dismiss their artist. Theres far too many instances this esc edition where acts are bring met with a lot of abuse and tbh, no broadcaster or the EBU has really stood up for any of them which I find mad.
This is much ado about nothing. Lots of countries have issues with selection. Ukraine has drama every year and they come out ok in the end. You trying to link what’s happening to them in the media to the current political crisis in the country is too much of a stretch. The media isn’t saying negative things about them because of the farmer situation – but because the pre-parties didn’t go well for them. As far as Duncan is concerned he wrote a good song it’s not fair to blame him for their singing. He can’t fix it.
Have you seen Joan Franka’s (NL 2012) interview which was published a few days ago ? Seems like AVROTOS is not so kind to its artists !
Do we have to? They want to go to ESC themselves so if they flop it is only the artists own problem
Bruh, just read what she went through and both her team and the broadcaster were a piece of sh*t to her before, during and after the contest. She wasn’t even aware that she was going to take part of National Songfestivaal, her manager checked her in without telling her.
Joan Franka’s song was cute 🙁
Semi 1 is tough. 5 countries will NQ. Netherlands might be one of them. So what? It happens. Learn from it and move on. They did it eight times during the 2000s and early 2010s, and bounced back. Then again, if it all turns out well, and Mia & Dion perform above expectations, they might be ”shock qualifiers” instead. I bet then the team will be pleased and retract what they are saying now. Whatever happens, I wish all the best to this duo, and regardless of the result, may the have a great time at ESC.
No artist deserve that hate!!!!!!
Mia and Dion do deserve that though, weak amateur singers
Thats a pathetic reaction.. noone deserves it mr anonymous
The only one who does not deserve hate is the only real artist in this years line up, Loreen
So you better vote for Loreen, vote vote vote
That’s a horrible and pathetic way to tell people that
People are getting tired of Loreen, though. Her song isn’t even that special, and OGAE’s vote doesn’t count, its members are so out of touch with reality
No they don’t!
From all to zero indeed. I hope Mia and Dion get the support they need going into Liverpool, especially from AVROTROS and Duncan, who will also be there in person. In 3 weeks this will all be over for them, and I hope at the point they can look at the experience and say they’ve enjoyed it.