It’s less than a week since we received news that Sergej Cetkovic would be singing for Montenegro at next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Denmark… and now here we are again, it’s confirmed artist time! Today, Dutch broadcaster AvroTros announced that popular singers Ilse DeLange and Waylon will both perform the 2014 Dutch entry, under the collective title of “The Common Linnets”. What do we think of this selection? Well, read on to find out!
Okay, so today, Rory has trusted me to write an article about something to do with The Netherlands. Anyone who knows me will know what a massive risk this is – for I’ll make no secret of the fact that the majority of Dutch entries since the turn of the millennium have been pretty dire in my book. Last year, when Anouk took up the baton and brought them back to the final for the first time since 2004, the majority of fans were beside themselves with joy. I, on the other hand, was inconsolably angry, resolutely sticking my middle finger up at Anouk’s punchably smug little face on my TV screen. Because, quite simply, “Birds” was – and still is, in my estimation – one of the most abhorrent songs to have ever made it as far as the ESC stage. I LOATHE it with more passion than Ruslana poured into her winning reprise of “Wild Dances”. And that’s a bucketload ‘o passion, folks. Add to that the fact that Anouk had the most disgustingly arrogant of attitudes towards the contest in general, there was never gonna be any way that I would buy into that entry.
Fast-forward six months, and we’re now dealing with the prospective Ducth entrants for 2014.
Sadly, neither of Rory’s possible artists will be flying the Dutch flag in Denmark – *sob* – however, this announcement corroborates a number of rumours which have been flying round in the last few weeks, most of which were centred around country singer Ilse DeLange, with other mentioned names being Armin van Buuren and Waylon – the latter of whom has been inexplicably paperclipped onto this entry alongside Ilse. Since Rory already gave you guys a run-through of Ilse’s work to date, and her suitability to the contest, it falls to me to be more subjective, now that the announcement has been made official.
In a word, disappointing. First of all, “The Common Linnets” – what the hell is up with that? Everyone will know them as Ilse and Waylon, I see no need whatsoever to give them this collective term which in actual fact relates to a sub-species of finch. Black mark number one.
Next. Having already had a listen to Ilse’s back catalogue, she is very hit and miss for me, but on the whole, a passable style, and an engaging vocal style. I can deal with her. Waylon, on the other hand, I cannot deal with. Having checked his music out on YouTube, he comes across as a cheap Bruno Mars rip-off, attempting to channel the “cool” retro soul influences popularised by artists like Winehouse and Outkast, and falling at the first hurdle owing to the fact that his voice is remarkably weak. I most certainly hope that Ilse will be the focus of this duo, for if they give this Waylon guy anything too challenging, it is going to sound truly AWFUL.
I’d hate to sound too judgemental without justification, though. Here’s an example of their collaborative work so far; a live cover of Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now”:
I just have SUCH a bad feeling about the Netherlands in 2014 already. If they send something as countrified as this – complete with cowboy hats, Joan Franka head-dresses and fur coats because why not – they are going to undo all of the credibility they (unbelievably) won last year with “Birds”. Now was the time to push the boundaries – Anouk proved that they could do it, now they had to send something credible, something modern, something that reflected their wide and rich music scene in a completely different way than “Birds” did. And they’ve gone and regressed to what looks like it’s going to be another out-of-touch effort. *sigh*
Now, please please don’t jump down my throat for this. Were we a more renowned blog, I would be acquiring something of a reputation for scathingly opinionated judgements like this, before we’ve even heard a song. Remember, these are just my initial thoughts based on the previous musical output of the artists in question, and the precedent set by previous Dutch bids for the title – and for the record, Rory is a lot more optimistic on this one than me.
A song doesn’t need to be uptempo to win me over – case in point, I adore Lena’s “To The Moon”. A song doesn’t need to be schläger-tastic and synthy to make me fall in love with it – I am one of Nina Zilli’s biggest fans, and I doubt she’s touched a synth for the duration of her recording career. The thing I have a problem with here is that country music is NOT contemporary. There are country records that I love, but for a contest where the Netherlands is still trying to recover from nine years in the semis, and progress into the twenty-first century, I don’t believe this is the answer.
I am awaiting the song with apprehension, but am fully willing to amend my criticism of this pair in the wake of a credible entry. It’s over to you now, Ilse and Waylon. Impress me.
Svana Lístí Agnarsdóttir from Iceland: Ilse deLange is no suprise for me, but in collaboration with Waylon? Well, let’s wait until March when we hear the song, but for now, I’m not looking entirely hopeful
Thom Dutch from the Netherlands: I’m glad we’ll send two experienced artists that know how to sing and how to deliver. Their songs come from their heart and I’m really curious to hear what they’ll come up with. So far I’m positive and we’ll see what the song will bring us.
Svetlana Andriyenko from Ukraine: I am so happy that Ilse will sing in Copenhagen, I listen to her songs since she becomes rumour for the contest, and I enjoy her voice very much!
It would seem that Ilse and Waylon are much more popular among the fans at large than they are with me. I hope I haven’t written them off too early, and if they come up with an absolutely fab entry in a few months’ time, then I am fully prepared to eat my words. Until then… good luck to them. To quote Svana, I’m not entirely hopeful…
More importantly though, what do YOU think? Feel free to leave your thoughts below, we can’t wait to hear them!