Picture: BNNVARA

After weeks of scrutiny in the Dutch press, Mia Nicolai and Dion Cooper are changing the game. They announced on daytime talk show Khalid & Sophie that they will be singing a different version of “Burning Daylight” at Eurovision 2023.

As part of their efforts to woo the nation, the duo performed a stripped-back version of the song on the talk show on Friday.

Together with creative director Duncan Laurence, the two sat at a table to discuss the impact of the criticism they’ve received from the national press. In addition, they said they had realised that they needed to make changes in order for the song to work in Liverpool. 

The new version of “Burning Daylight” contains fewer high notes, more present backing vocals and is sung in a different key to the original. It’s not quite a revamp, but it’s probably as close as it could get to one. 

Mia Nicolai and Dion Cooper on the new version

On Khalid & Sophie, Mia Nicolai and Dion Cooper admitted that the original version of the song is too difficult for them to sing. Dion said: 

“The core of the problem was that Mia and I had been fighting with the song for the past six months. The song is very difficult for both our voices to perform actually. And you don’t discover that if you do it in a safe “training environment” with vocal coaching and rehearsals. Everyone around us, including us, thought: “Okay, amazing!”.”

Mia added later: 

“I didn’t sing it with pleasure, but it was just a little too challenging. It just does not feel the exact same as when I am singing my other songs that feel a little more free.”

When the host asked why Duncan had not been present at the pre-parties, the “Arcade” hitmaker said: 

“Well, we trusted that everything would turn out fine.” 

Duncan said the reason why he had not been present in Amsterdam during Eurovision in Concert either had to do with the fact that the delegation had expected the duo to be able to deliver a much more solid performance. 

The Eurovision 2019 winner said that he has been surprised at how things have turned out. He admitted that he never heard the duo sing “Burning Daylight” live together on a stage and did not understand why they struggled with the song. The solution was in a new version. 

What do you think about “Burning Daylight”‘s new version? Do you think Mia Nicolai and Dion Cooper will make the final of Eurovision 2023? Let us know in the comments down below!

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Ellie
Ellie
10 months ago

I feel terrible for Mia and Dion, it honestly seems like the people who are supposed to be supporting them and helping them to do their best (Avrotros and Duncan Lawrence) have completely dropped the ball in so many ways and refused to step up and defend them when they needed it. If Duncan Lawrence can’t be bothered to support Dutch ESC artists then he should step aside and just do whatever he’s doing these days. People can complain all the want about the talent of the artists but with the right song and support these two would have been… Read more »

EMT2023
EMT2023
10 months ago

The Dutch committee should have selected Di-rect with 90’s kid. Had they done so im Loreen would have had serious competition and another Dutch win might have been in the cards. No matter what Mia and Dion do, the song and the adaptions needed mean their experience of participating has been compromised. It’s baffling that neither Duncan nor Avro-Tros (the broadcaster) did not rehearse Mia and Dion before going public. The song was selected in november 2022 but it took till april 2023 to realise the planned version was too challenging?? Shockingly amateuristic and not of the two young performers… Read more »

Serafina
Serafina
10 months ago

Ok, but is the song really that difficult to sing? I don’t think it is but ok lol

Serafina
Serafina
10 months ago
Reply to  Serafina

Like, to me it’s a lot more difficult now with the higher pitched voice, but maybe it’s their voice that lacks decent lower range

stan
stan
10 months ago

I think it is within the rules to change vocalists even. it is a song competition.
without an orchestra, there isn’t much in the way of changing up a few things. it’s a different thing when rehearsals are starting. but the stage was finished only last week and they probably were in time for that

Mark
Mark
10 months ago

I think it’s clear that they were not prepared for Eurovision; the organisers made a mistake. This is evidence that the Dutch approach to Eurovision needs to change. What worked in the past will not work in the future.

Lesley
10 months ago

God this is hard. As the record, it’s the best song of the contest, then I heard them live and it just didn’t do it. This version is sweet, an improvement BUT it’s missing that massive end which, should make the hairs on your arms stand on end, I mean it’s made me cry. Live? Sadly not. It’s such a shame. I really do hope they pull it off on the night because it’s a beautiful song

Dave
Dave
10 months ago

I’m sorry, but they expect these comments to. make the situation better? Artists saying ‘we’ve been struggling for six months’ isn’t a good look and indicates that either they weren’t comfortable raising concerns or (worse) that those concerns were ignored/brushed aside.

As for ‘we thought they could deliver it live’ and saying they hadn’t seen it performed live together before – what kind of amateur operation do they want to give the impression they’re running here?

Ugh. It feels very much like something has gone wrong internally here this year, and it’s become a mess.

Btzbtz
Btzbtz
10 months ago

I don’t want to be mean after all the hate they’ve received but I’m not sold on this new version (if the one linked here is even this new version!) because a) the backing vocals are too loud, which tends to feel like cheating in Eurovision and b) the goodbye old life part is what elevates the song. If they go with a soft acoustic version for that part, it loses in memorability and impact. I’m afraid the lack of support from Dutch press and delegation has gotten to their morale. This revamp feels like they’re waving a white flag…

Anonymous91
Anonymous91
10 months ago
Reply to  Btzbtz

cheating is good though

Alex
Alex
10 months ago
Reply to  Btzbtz

At least the vocals are live

Xxx
Xxx
10 months ago

The whole choir of Backing vocalists feat. Mia Nicolai and Dion Cooper

Alex
Alex
10 months ago
Reply to  Xxx

Finally they sound good ?

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
10 months ago

No fancy writer? Its literally written by an international songwriting team.

Mark
Mark
10 months ago

I seem to disagree with some others here. In terms of qualifying, I think the competition is not over yet for The Netherlands. They might not be the best singers in the world but this new version, of course accompanied with those backing vocals, comes across as extremely pleasant. Singing this way, Mia’s voice sounds quite unique even. Please correct me if I am wrong, but these stripped back ‘sit back, relax and listen’ kind of songs are qualifying very often. To name a few in recent years: Cyprus 2004 Iceland 2009 Estonia 2012 The Netherlands 2014 Estonia 2015 Norway… Read more »

Escfan
10 months ago

Its a revamp and a number of countries have done in before after the deadline, it might’ve meant that they already proposed to the ebu they’d change it somewhat. Spain 2022 (with the added instrumentation in the beginning) , Croatia 2022 (changed the last chorus to Croatian) and Slovenia 2021 (I think it was also instrumental changes) are some examples of songs that change somewhat from their original version.

Stephanie
Stephanie
10 months ago

They should do something about their live performance….that’s the problem.

Bastian
Bastian
10 months ago

But this wont be the new version right? Its just a live version for this show. They will still use the original backing track if im not mistaken. I’m still curious to how this will sound in 2 weeks.

Dani
Dani
10 months ago

It sounds boring now…

Kenneth
Kenneth
10 months ago

Dion Cooper said that he libed trough every word of this song in the couple of months. He was trying so hard to be the best version of himself that he lost himself. All of the critic in the couple of months was somewhat right, but it is shamefull to punish them so hard. Lets be the community we all fell in love with and try to encourage them! They can sing and they’re trying!

Thallo
Thallo
10 months ago

Visually, this is bad. They have no connection through emotions here, it looks like they’re focusing more on their vocals instead. It’s totally distracting and ruins any chance of the viewer connecting with the song. They need to work on that, but I’m not sure if they can.

Vocally, it was good. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the instrumental and backing vocals too. This song would’ve worked great with two different performers, or even switching out either Dion or Mia with someone else, there just needs to be some kinda connection between two singers.

Maria
Maria
10 months ago
Reply to  Thallo

This is just a simple performance in a Dutch talkshow , no staging or expensive camera work.

Andre
Andre
10 months ago

As a Dutchie, I have to say I’m afraid it’s too little too late. I can understand that you change the key height if the original one is too challenging, but doing this 2 weeks before the show while you struggled for six months? And performing it for the first time on-stage in Madrid? That shows that neither Dion and Mia, nor Duncan and his team took participating very seriously. On the Dutch streaming site NPO Start there is a documentary which shows the road to Liverpool for this duo. When in Madrid, Mia admits to Allessandra (the Norwegian participant)… Read more »

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
10 months ago

This isn’t the exact version that they’re going to perform on the ESC stage though, right?
I mean, they’re young artists who need to forge some sort of career after this, so it’s imperative that both of them are performing the version of the song that they feel comfortable with performing and that they are proud to put out there.

However, for my personal taste, with this, the Netherlands might actually be my last place come May. This was turgid and really hard to get through.

Paysbart
Paysbart
10 months ago

Call down. It is stil the same song. I have read somewhere Spain is also bringing a different version in Liverpool.

apollinischesprinzip
apollinischesprinzip
10 months ago

I personally love it and actually think this will easily qualify.

But do we know if this performance was the version they’ll perform at esc? I’m really confused.

Jofty
Jofty
10 months ago

I feel sad for them but I think they will qualify (also having seen them in Amsterdam). If Croatia qualify and they or Malta or Switzerland finish 11th, I will not be happy.

Jofty
Jofty
10 months ago
Reply to  Jofty

Or Latvia (sorry Una)

Karl
Karl
10 months ago

Who cares if they suck. As long as they’re happy.

bea
bea
10 months ago

I feel sorry for them, like why didn’t got it anyone earlier from the start, from the recording it’s not in their key and stuff ? A big mistake they didn’t do this TV performance months ago as it should have been, as it was announced they were chosen. So they would have been at that this point months ago to be total save for the ESC. Now they got into all this negativ media press stuff… all the pressure isn’t good. At least it’s good for them no press is allowed for the rehearsals if it’s not 100% from… Read more »

Amar pelos dois
Amar pelos dois
10 months ago

There´s hardly a chance to qualify with televoting only…

Anonymous91
Anonymous91
10 months ago

stupid rule anyway, who came up with that, Sweden i think since Sweden are always massively popular with televoters

with that woke loser Loreen

Jonny
Jonny
10 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous91

Seriously? Nobody needs rightist fanatics like you are.

Anonymous91
Anonymous91
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonny

i’m not allowed to support Loreen so

Amar pelos dois
Amar pelos dois
10 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous91

Sweden 2018 was fortunately a big flop with the televoters.

Anonymous91
Anonymous91
10 months ago

breaking news, NL going to break the rules by using live instrumentals of guitar and piano

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
10 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous91

Good. 🙂

poe-tay-toe-chips
poe-tay-toe-chips
10 months ago

I actually liked the studio version of the song. But THIS though…

Sorry, I’ve got no confidence at all of them qualifying after what I’ve just seen…i’d even say to expect them to place low in their semi, unfortunately.

mi7kel
mi7kel
10 months ago

Maybe if the camera kept spinning around them continuously.. :). Jokes aside, they seem happy singing the new version

ESC.APE
ESC.APE
10 months ago

The article isn’t entirely accurate, imo. Mia and Dion performed an acoustic version on live tv, however this is NOT the version they will take to Liverpool. They will use the original track, but they’ll sing 1.5 octave higher so the song fits their vocal range better. The acoustic version was a one-off.

I’m reading all these comments about the song being stripped back and less impactful, but hey – that’s what an acoustic version is. Can’t blame you though, the article is rather misleading here. Stop the drama.

Catriona
Catriona
10 months ago
Reply to  ESC.APE

Most of us know that isn’t what they are sending. But the drama is pretty clear. They are both incapable of singing an easy song, have no chemistry together, zero confidence on a stage either. The fact that Duncan admitted he never heard them perform it live on a stage before is crazy. They had months beforehand to do behind doors stage performances.

It’s amateur hour, and this gives me big “Sognu” flashbacks.

ESC.APE
ESC.APE
10 months ago
Reply to  Catriona

Fully agree. So many things went wrong in the process. Yet I did feel the urge to respond as the article makes it sound like this is what they’ll present in Liverpool. It is not.

Let’s hope this is a wake up call for the Dutch and they’ll revisit their selection process. Hopefully they’ll dare to be a bit more adventurous in their song selection too and for once leave aside the slow, meaningful and jury-friendly songs that require dark staging. Not that there’s much wrong with those, it just gets a bit predictable by now.

Guido Dam
Guido Dam
10 months ago

They said they were struggling with the original version…and had months to discover and polish it up. I hope they enjoy delivering their song and not experience a stressful period ahead. Good luck Mia and Dion!

Nick I
Nick I
10 months ago

It’s quite dull now. No light and shade, no magic moment. I really liked the original, despite the struggles at the pre parties, but this is now a bit like a backing track to a TV drama.

Jake
Jake
10 months ago

They have had so long to choose a song, the deadline was ages ago! I’m shocked they are allowed to have such a drastic revamp so close to the contest. This version isn’t as impactful imo, but that could just be because I’m used to the original version. What a PR disaster

Kobe
Kobe
10 months ago

This feels so forced and bland. I have no high hopes for the Netherlands.

Anonymous91
Anonymous91
10 months ago
Reply to  Kobe

we qualify or we will withdraw for the next 10 years because of bullying behaviour from the fandom

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
10 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous91

Avrotros is not going to withdraw

Anonymous91
Anonymous91
10 months ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

we really should and especially with that generic plastic wannabe singer Loreen winning for a 2nd time

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
10 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous91

Ok, weren’t you that guy with username nicky a few years ago? It seems weird to be obsessed with a contest you don’t enjoy but it’s your life I guess.

Anonymous91
Anonymous91
10 months ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

i do enjoy watching this contest, but i just don’t agree with some of they odds hyped favourites and i am really salty still after last year undeserved flop result for my sweetie Emma Muscat, it was HER choice of that song change, she doesn’t blame the public she also said that pre-show, she had 3 options from that danish team and she went for the one which she herself connected to the most, but the vile fandom only kept on calling her a ”cliché” for being rich, and therefore not being allowed to bring something emotional, inspirational for that… Read more »

Amar pelos dois
Amar pelos dois
10 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous91

I´m not the biggest fan of Loreen but this insult she doesn´t deserve.

Oy oy
Oy oy
10 months ago

I actually like this version alot more, it has become an earwarmer. The first version really showed off their good voices but I found it tiring listening to already before the song was halfway done. Good job and good luck!

NickC
NickC
10 months ago

I really love the added strings!

Kuhkatz
Kuhkatz
10 months ago

Had the same thing in mind. They try to do another Ilse/Waylon moment but at the same time they fail to as there is still lacking a lot of magic in between Mia and Dion.

AussieKaz
AussieKaz
10 months ago

It has always been a nice song, just a shame they struggled a little with the vocals in the original version. I like both versions, but the original slightly more, but I guess sometimes you have to adapt things a little to make it work.

Efthymios
Efthymios
10 months ago

So kind of them to free up a spot in the Grand Final for either Latvia or Malta.

Jake
Jake
10 months ago

Well thank goodness Eurovision allows backing vocals to hide all the bum notes. SMH

ANDREW BROWN
ANDREW BROWN
10 months ago

The styling again is awful. Did she really have to wear such high shoes to tower over him and when will someone tell her to ditch those silly bits of hair! The vocals sound shaky and you can tell neither one is enjoying this performance.

ANDREW BROWN
ANDREW BROWN
10 months ago

So they knew something was wrong for six months and Duncan Laurence hadn’t seen then sing live during that period. Wow something really broken here.

Roo
Roo
10 months ago
Reply to  ANDREW BROWN

This really feels like an entry where everything is fundamentally wrong.

Benito Camelo
Benito Camelo
10 months ago
Reply to  ANDREW BROWN

Every step of the process is full of red flags, I loved the song but I can’t help thinking it being selected turned out a bad idea from the get go

Jack
Jack
10 months ago

Well they sound a lot better vocally but it sends me to sleep, it really misses that wow moment. It’s a shame cause they are talented singers and this performance proves it but the song just doesn’t do anything for me. Maybe with good staging it will stand out on the night but I still doubt it will qualify as the 1st semi is so strong and Finland is performing after them so people may forget them.

Lady Vulvamort
Lady Vulvamort
10 months ago

Massive improvement on the vocals! Especially Dion’s control in the beginning.

Karl
Karl
10 months ago

Picked Jacks have released the music video for their song. Please do an article about that.

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago
Reply to  Karl

It featured in the daily digest a day or two ago.

Jimmy
Jimmy
10 months ago

There’s been a lot of drama surrounding this entry, so it’s really nice to see Mia & Dion deliver such a good performance. The changes obviously work for better, they look more comfortable and harmonise nicely without any pitch issues. The new arrangement and this staging also allows them to build more chemistry from the beginning.

Every time I see Mia she reminds me of a young Liza Minnelli. Does anyone else see it?

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy

I see Jessie Buckley, another Sally Bowles.

Jimmy
Jimmy
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

I see the resemblance more here. I think it’s how her hair is styled?

Did you see Jessie Buckley in London during her Cabaret run?

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy

No, sadly, but I would have loved to. I haven’t been to London since 2015, but I did see the last time I was there. She is wonderful.

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

Oops, a few words missing from the middle sentence. I did see her the last time I was there, in something else.

Jimmy
Jimmy
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

What did you see her in, in 2015?

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy

The Winter’s Tale. It wasn’t Shakespeare or Jessie that I went to see, I just couldn’t resist taking the chance to see Judi Dench.

Jimmy
Jimmy
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

I would have loved to see that one as well. Eddie Redmayne would have been very cool to see in the role of MC. I’ve seen Cabaret a number of times too, one With Will Young as MC, he was excellent, and once in Germany, which was very powerful. You could hear a pin drop in the silences between Herr Schultz and Fräulein Schneider.

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy

I saw it on Broadway in 2014, with Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams. At Studio 54. The highlight, or at least one of them, of my theatre-going life. My favourite musical ever, maybe.

Jimmy
Jimmy
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

That sounds like a wonderful trip, Jonas! It’s one of my favourites too.

Jimmy
Jimmy
10 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy

I think that’s unfair, and unkind.

Jimmy
Jimmy
10 months ago

Was this the first performance of the song on Dutch TV?

Yaskas
Yaskas
10 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy

Yes!

Jimmy
Jimmy
10 months ago
Reply to  Yaskas

That’s nice, especially after all the questions about why they hadn’t performed on Dutch TV yet. Glad they got the chance to perform their song before getting the ferry over to England 🙂

robert
robert
10 months ago

in liverpool they will use the original tape. but with a slightly keychange 1 and half tone up.

Yaskas
Yaskas
10 months ago

As a Dutchman, I’m happy and relieved with this change. Yes, there is no ‘wow’ moment anymore and I think our chances to qualify were better with the original version (ofc when the vocals were good too :)). But now, I see two people who are way more comfortable on stage and even have some kind of chemistry with eachother that was lacking earlier. I really don’t think we’ll qualify, but seeing them happy with it is everything that counts for me ??. Anyways, Finland for the win and I’ll push Portugal as hard as I can for a place… Read more »

Alex
Alex
10 months ago

I don’t understand how or why a country sends songs that can’t be sung live. It’s a LIVE singing contest for God’s sake. Same with Austria last year.

Alex
Alex
10 months ago
Reply to  Alex

I mean they’re all excuses. It’s so easy to decipher that they used autotune and vocal effects in the studio version to make it sound good. Obviously that couldn’t be translated into the live show.

Donkey
Donkey
10 months ago

noooooo, the magical ending that was probably one of my favourite moments of all the songs is now completely washed away. Massive shame imo

Raven
Raven
10 months ago
Reply to  Donkey

This is a “stripped down” version with a different instrumental. In Liverpool, they’ll sing the studio version but in a higher key. but the song itself is still the same with the same instrumental as the studio version

Sabrina
Sabrina
10 months ago

What if, unexpectedly, all the drama surrounding these 2 managed to build a connection between them? They’re even smiling at each other now, so I’m glad they feel more comfortable with the song in this version. I don’t know if it’ll help them in terms of results, this one punchs even softer than the original, which may make it even tougher to stand out. But it would be stupid to keep chasing heights (I had to go there, sorry!) they couldn’t handle during a live performance.

Jimmy
Jimmy
10 months ago
Reply to  Sabrina

I agree with you it’s very soft, and might get lost in a very lively SF1. They’ve never looked better together though, and they’re both styled really cutely.