As you all know, not only did the Netherlands qualify for the final for the first time in nine years, they also got ninth place which was the Netherlands’ best placing since the 1999 Contest! And the person who to thank is Anouk and her amazing ‘Birds’! Obviously, she was thought of a godsend in the Netherlands for breaking the spell of not qualifying, but would they have qualified even if she didn’t do Eurovision?
Anouk was the Netherlands’ knight in shining armour, who arrived a little (and by little, I mean 4 years) late to save them from their tenth failure to qualify. If you’re wondering how I got 4 years, there’s an easy explanation for that. In 2009, a survey was carried out in the Netherlands by a group of Eurovision fans and journalists and the result was that people wanted Anouk to represent them at Eurovision. Sadly though, every year, she turned down the offer, whether it was because an album was coming out or her schedule was too busy (though she did say that she only didn’t go in because she never had the right song to go to Eurovision). At her first press conference in Malmö as well, Anouk also said that she was waiting for TROS to invite her to do Eurovision, but according to her it “never happened” and instead she “invited herself to do Eurovision”. Luckily, her song made up for her cocky attitude and the Netherlands qualified for the first time since 2004 and in the final, she finished in 9th place, giving the country its best placing since Maralayne came 8th in Jerusalem in 1999. You could say Anouk was a national hero after Eurovision! The music video for ‘Birds’ is below.
So Anouk was the Netherlands’ saviour, but what would have happened had she (as she did every year to the 2013 Contest) decided not to represent the Dutch? Well, the Dutch have mostly chosen their artist and song through their national final Nationaal Songfestival and so, they would have had another reasonable national final where one of the favourites would win and become a fan favourite. More than likely, though, the song would flop and sadly become the latest victim of the so called “Anggun Effect” (though this ‘effect’ has been called the Kate Ryan Effect, as wells as ‘fanwanking’. Look at Joan Franka for example: when she won Nationaal Songfestival in 2012 and beating one of the favourites, Raffaela Paton, with her song “You and Me”, she was considered to be one of the possible winners! Yet, when May came around, she just didn’t get the votes and finished in a dismal 15th place in the semi-final.
Sadly, the Netherlands have had a terrible record at Eurovision, but why didn’t TROS ask Anouk to do Eurovision sooner? Basically, the broadcaster should have listened to the Dutch people sooner than this! But at least their long run of not-qualifying was broken when Anouk FINALLY represented the Netherlands in Sweden this year, so they can’t be too depressed. Despite this, I think the Dutch’s views of the Contest may only become more positive if the country qualifies for the final more often than once every nine years. Hopefully, we’ll see more of the Netherlands in the future! 🙂
How you would feel had Anouk not represented the Netherlands this year?
Samantha Ross from the United States (she’s a reporter for escinsight and runs the blog escinsider): Well, I wasn’t incredibly familiar with her work beforehand, I only knew her by name…but I’m thrilled that she did, or else I never would have the opportunity to delve deeper into her catalogue of work.
Thom Dutch from the Netherlands: That would have depended on the artist/song totally. But we would’ve gone with a National Final then and I think we would’ve failed to qualify, yes. After all, the failures it’s unlikely that good artists would try a National Final. This year’s “success” has opened doors for the next years. But no Anouk would probably have resulted in another non-qualification. Which wouldn’t attract other artists in the future years, so I guess she kind of saved Eurovision in The Netherlands.
Richard West-Soley from the United Kingdom: I think Caro Emerald might have been approached – she would have been great. I still think they’d have selected internally, though.
Luke Malam from the United Kingdom: It depends who it would’ve been instead. If they put in an average song, they’d probably not qualify since the first semifinal was quite a strong one.
It seems that the fans agree that, had the national final been used, the Netherlands wouldn’t have qualified. But what do you think about the (ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE) thought of Anouk not representing the country this year? Let us know by commenting! 😀