Pictures: AVROTROS/Corinne Cumming (EBU)

Radio presenter Daniël Dekker was one of the driving forces behind the Netherlands’ Eurovision success throughout the 2010s.  A highly active member of the Dutch selection committee, he helped choose acts and later helped steer them to the final — and up the scoreboard. 

After winning the contest in 2019, he stepped down from his position. Now, he has stepped back into the arena to critique AVROTROS and its selection process for Eurovision 2023.

Speaking to Story magazine, Daniël aired his disappointment in the Dutch result this year. 

“In my time, it would have been unthinkable that those same artists would only perform at a pre-party, like in Barcelona, for the first time. We knew that artists as Anouk, Waylon, Ilse DeLange and Trijntje Oosterhuis could sing. But you also want to hear them perform the song. And with Duncan, who was less known to us, I went into the studio. Ilse, who mentored him, was there too. When I heard him sing “Arcade”, I knew that it was good. More than good.”

He told the magazine that he doubted whether he would watch the contest at all this year. After all, he had been annoyed by the selection process and the way the Dutch media had carried out a hate campaign against the Dutch duo Mia Nicolai and Dion Cooper. He said: 

“What has happened now, should never happen again. Not just for the Netherlands, but for those same artists. They did this to Mia and Dion and exactly that, I find it very sad.”

Ever since Eurovision, Mia Nicolai and Dion Cooper have had to deal with fierce critiques of their participation in the contest. They were the first Dutch act to fail to qualify for the final in almost a decade. 

As a result of their non-qualification, AVROTROS has yet to decide on their method of selecting the Dutch entrant for Eurovision 2024. The Dutch broadcaster have said that they first have to “evaluate” the result before opening a submission window again as they did in recent years. 

What do you think about Daniël Dekker’s comments? How do you think AVROTROS can improve on their result? Let us know in the comments down below!

 
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XOOOOD
XOOOOD
8 months ago

the thing is, a duo song with each having their own verse alone doesn’t work on stage without being seen as awkward! I remember their first performance in the pre-parties she was standing still while he’s “singing for his life”, at Eurovision at least the camera angles allowed to zoom in on the singer while other was waiting, I can’t imagine how awkward to the audience looking at her waiting for her moment.

MartyMcCu
MartyMcCu
8 months ago

Sorry I disagree, the Netherlands was one of the best songs in the Semi-Final. They nailed their performance. I couldn’t fault it.

:::
:::
7 months ago
Reply to  MartyMcCu

They had a very great song, but the performance was standard (and tbh they didn’t perform it very well) and they effectively got destroyed by the RO. There was no way of Netherlands qualifying for the GF

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
8 months ago

Take note, UK. Because I find it hard to believe that anyone involved with selecting Mae Muller, had ever heard her try and sing that song live.

Fatima
Fatima
8 months ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

You are right, I just re-watched Sam Ryder in 2022 had he blasts the hell out of that song. You have to have a powerhouse vocal and / or a very good idea to get in the top 10 these days. Acts without get found out as soon as the part season starts.

Conan Lau
Conan Lau
8 months ago

I have no problem with an internal selection, but the artist/s should be able to perform their song live in a stage-like environment with ease. I think it’s best that the Netherlands stick to an internal selection, because the country has sent quality songs since 2013.

Anonymous91
Anonymous91
8 months ago
Reply to  Conan Lau

Di-Rect for 2024 to bring us into the final again and also into a top 5 result overall <3

Marcel Veenendaal’s vocals are just heaven, something like soldier on would be a masterpiece at ESC

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

My favourite dutch artist for ESC is Merol

Alexander
Alexander
8 months ago

Whoever sings badly and performs badly in a Preparty also does it in ESC. We have many examples. In 2022 it was Pía María. In my opinion, Preparty helps us not to overehype songs that are really unpleasant and anoying to listen to later live.

Jofty
Jofty
8 months ago
Reply to  Alexander

Having attended pre-parties I thought Czechia would crash and burn. However the act I saw in Liverpool had turned itself inside out. Netherlands may have qualified if the Jury had been around for semi.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
8 months ago
Reply to  Alexander

Czechia turned it around this year so it’s not a guarantee.

NickC
NickC
8 months ago

1- Noa Karel did the best thing by keeping her cards close to her chest until the Eurovision (and by not attending any pre-parties). In the social media era, pre-parties are just used to grill the artists. 2- Mia and Dion had a great song, and Mia is a great singer. Dion… not so much. While I loved the song, I immediately lost faith that they would go through the moment I saw the performance. I honestly thought Dion was off-key throughout the performance. But is it his fault? Does Avratros choose the artists and songs based on studio cuts?… Read more »

Alexander
Alexander
8 months ago
Reply to  NickC

I think that the pre-parties show us the reality of the artists and their songs, they only anticipate what will happen in the future. Whoever does not develop well in the staging with his voice and the song will not do well in the semifinals or the ESC final.

ANDREW BROWN
ANDREW BROWN
8 months ago
Reply to  NickC

Did Noa Kirel not attend Israel calling?

Anonymous91
Anonymous91
8 months ago
Reply to  ANDREW BROWN

she did attend but she did not perform

Fatima
Fatima
8 months ago
Reply to  NickC

I think Kaarija might have won had he drawn second half with Loreen in first. That lowered his televote more than it did hers. The gap would certainly have been smaller.

Th16
8 months ago
Reply to  Fatima

How much more for Kaarija to get on Tele. I mean…he got 376 in a year with 38 set of tele points. That’s huge. I don’t think he would get more.

Karl
Karl
8 months ago

Yes, it was a mistake that they weren’t mentored enough and that their first live appearance was at a one of the pre-parties. But no offense, the song wasn’t that good to begin with, and the video music didn’t help — it was anxiety-inducing. So just take a step back and chill. You win some, you lose some. I was so excited about the directing the Netherlands was embarking on after choosing S10 last year, only to go back to a generic English ballad this year. I hope we get to hear more songs in Dutch in the future. Good… Read more »

Anonymous91
Anonymous91
8 months ago
Reply to  Karl

we love generic english music for eurovision though

and we keep dutch music to ourselves

so we’ll definitely go with more english music in years to come and also more ballads hopefully

JQ.
JQ.
8 months ago

There is also another problem. Ever since the success of Birds, Calm after the Storm & Arcade, the broadcaster is so keen on sending either calm songs or country music. De Diepte was at least nice, because it was in Dutch but when I listened to Burning Daylight I thought ‘really? another ballad?’ Can’t we do something good uptempo for once? I don’t mean Fuego 2.0, I mean something fun uptempo. The last time we did that was more than a decade ago!

Vivian
Vivian
8 months ago

While I find it horrible how these two were left in the dust, I don’t think Daniel is the guy that saved us from our NQ streak per se. Reminder that this guy also basically gave us Sieneke, de Toppers and 3Js, all three horrible entries that we Dutch do not think fondly of even over ten years later

Rambo Amadeus
Rambo Amadeus
8 months ago
Reply to  Vivian

Netherlands 2009 by de Toppers is one of the worst songs ever recorded by humanity actually…

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
8 months ago
Reply to  Vivian

A lot of people liked Sieneke. It’s also about the staging and live performance remember, not just the choice of artist.

Thanos
Thanos
8 months ago
Reply to  Vivian

De Toppers and Sieneke are songs I dislike but I actually really like the studio version of the song by the 3JS. It’s in my top 10 of 2011! Their live performance wasn’t on point though.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
8 months ago
Reply to  Thanos

3JS had a GREAT song. Even without a perfect live performance, it still should’ve qual’d.

Thanos
Thanos
8 months ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

I agree. Especially in a lacklustre year in my opinion like 2011. It is a very pleasant pop rock tune with some qualities I enjoyed a lot!

Jofty
Jofty
8 months ago
Reply to  Vivian

I wonder if the idiot from Ireland – who kept shaking his head when the qualifiers were being called out (disrespectful to an act no-one thought would make it anyway) – will similarly “speak out” and blame everyone except himself?

Anne Im
Anne Im
8 months ago

I agree, they deserved more support from their own delegation. I watched them perform in the first semi final from the front row and they seemed to be very insecure while the other artists were confident stepping onto the stage. I really felt sorry for them, their voices were such a great match.

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
8 months ago

I’m glad he is speaking out and the broadcaster NEEDS to support their act. On the UK, our newspapers started blasting Mae Muller when they buried up a teeet from years gone by about Boris Johnson, which was also on the same manner. However, they are some things to note about Mia and Dion: -Although they performed poorly during the little pre-parties they were at, they did use them to improve genuinely and by their semi final, they could definitely sing and had chemistry together. I found Mia’s voice live to be surprisingly good and unique -Their staging stood out… Read more »

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
8 months ago

*tweet

Patrick Pastor
Patrick Pastor
8 months ago

While I more-or-less agree (I really liked the song myself), I think they were always gonna struggle with televoting, tbh.

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
8 months ago
Reply to  Patrick Pastor

True. That kind of song always struggles mind you.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
8 months ago

To be fair, that tweet was disgusting.

Fast Food Music Lover
Fast Food Music Lover
8 months ago

Artists should just stay quiet and only perform during Eurovision I think. It sounds extreme but the whole promotion process in the months and weeks is very stressful and it might not be effective in securing votes anyway.

James
James
8 months ago

It was never effective, at least from how I see it. Many of those preparties only cater to fans of the contest who live in those places where these take place. Yes, they all are fun to have but in my opinion, they aren’t the best platforms to spread the word out about your song to the general viewing public. An ideal promotional tour would be something similar to what Sam Ryder did during his time last year and for which Marco did for this year: Make appearances on TV and radio shows or perform across the continent so you’ll… Read more »

apollinischesprinzip
apollinischesprinzip
8 months ago
Reply to  James

exactly

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
8 months ago

Delegations should protect their acts better. If there are doubts about their ability to perform well at a pre-party, don’t go.

Nils
Nils
8 months ago

While they don’t help to snatch up votes, they still are a great experience for most performers, if only to get to know each other. Just take a look at how the ‘class of 2023’ truly lived up to the Eurovision spirit. This harmony and friendships such as the one between Käärijä and Bojan surely wouldn’t have developed like that if it hadn’t been for the preparties.

The bubble needs to keep its own toxicity level in check, though.