Tag Archives: netherlands

Eurovision 2012 Preview Part 7 – Serbia, Macedonia and Netherlands

We’re at the halfway point in this year’s Eurovision preview blogs, and we’re now on to the countries who will be battling it out in the second semi-final, which will be held a fortnight today on 24 May. As with the first semi-final, there will be eighteen countries competing for ten places, and the line-up for this second semi includes the current bookies’ favourite – however, more on them in a few days’ time. Today’s preview starts with Serbia. Since winning in 2007, the Serbs have had results that have been modest rather than spectacular. This year they’re sending Željko Joksimović singing a song called Nije ljubav stvar, which translates as “Love is Not an Object”. This is clearly the winner’s reprise from the national selection, replete with the ticker-tape and mass finger-clicking.

Feels very much like they’re channelling that vibe of a few years ago, with the large ethnic flute and all. Might do quite well, but probably not as well as it would have done in about 2006.

Next up and just a short hop away are Macedonia. They’ve sent Nancy Dell’Olio-a-like Kaliopi, who performs Crno i Belo, or “Black and White”. There’s a caged bird and a spiral staircase in the video, which practises a level of subtlety not seen since the glory days of Heart. There’s even a screechy bit reminiscent of THAT bit towards the end of Alone.

Rawk. Incidentally, Kaliopi represented Macedonia in 1996 when they had their first tilt at Eurovision, but failed to get through the (unscreened) qualifying competition. Which doesn’t bode well as they attempt to make it to the final for the first time in five years. Mind you, the wait to return to the final of Eurovision has been even longer for the Netherlands, who haven’t managed to qualify for the big night since 2004. In a bid to try and break the dry spell, they’ve decided to send Joan Franka, wearing Native American headdress whilst singing You and Me. Watching this, you may be left wondering if you had an accident, and when you woke up it was 1973. Are you mad, in a coma, or back in time?

Not sure that raiding the Cowboys and Indians section of the fancy dress shop will do them any favours, particularly as the song isn’t terribly strong. I suspect it could be another year in the wilderness for the Dutch. Next time, we’ve got Malta, Belarus and Portugal, three countries who’ve never won Eurovision. Will any of them come close to scoring their first-ever win? Find out soon…

Chris x

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Eurovision 2011 Preview: Netherlands and Belgium

Today’s Eurovision preview showcases the efforts of two old-stagers – indeed, both the Netherlands and Belgium were among the seven countries who took part in the inaugural Eurovision Song Contest in 1956 (the other five, for the record, were France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland). Both have had their ups and downs over the years, but are still there, every year, representing Benelux; Luxembourg, despite having more wins to their name than any country other than Ireland, haven’t taken part since 1993.

The Dutch were one of the most successful Eurovision nations in the early years, with four victories to their name (interestingly, 1957 winner Corry Brokken came last when she returned the following year, a feat which Germany’s Lena will be hoping to avoid). More recently, however, they’ve struggled to make an impact. They haven’t made the Top 10 since 1999, and haven’t got past the semi-final stage since 2004. After the retro camp of the last couple of years, they’ve decided to play it “straight” this year, with the internally-selected 3JS and the song Never Alone. And it’s very dull. Competent, sub-U2 rock music, but very dull. I fear it’s going to be another year yet before Pays-Bas are final contenders once more:

Belgium’s Eurovision fortunes have been more chaotic over the years, a great result one year often leading on to a terrible one the next – or vice versa, as happened when last place in 1985 was followed by their one-and-only win in 1986, courtesy of 13-year-old (or 15, as she claimed to be at the time) Sandra Kim. They also hold the dubious distinction of being the first-ever country to score nul points, back in 1962 – although this was in the days when a stingy scoring system meant zeroes were not uncommon, and therefore not such a talking point. Like the Dutch, the Belgians have really struggled since the introduction of the semi-final qualifiers – until last year, that is, when Tom Dice swept to victory in his semi-final and ended up finishing 6th in the final. This year they’re continuing their trend of recent years for more idiosyncratic entries, so here’s a capella group Witloof Bay (the star member of which, both vocally and visually, is the bloke with the bow-tie and the very long sideburns) and their song With Love Baby:

As something genuinely different from the rest of this year’s offerings, I’d really like to see that get through the semi-finals – hopefully it’ll strike a chord with audiences.

Classic time now, and a vast array to choose from for both tonight’s entrants. The Dutch entry I’m picking is from 1974 and probably one of the most famous non-winners of all time. It’s hard to think of a more visually mismatched pair than Mouth and MacNeal. She looks like she’s escaped from the New Seekers; he looks like a Yeti; and this being 1974, their backing band look like Mud (and the puppets, well…). But try and get through watching I See A Star without tapping your foot. I dare you:

As for Belgium, I’ve decided to go for this, their 1980 entry, in which Telex (Belgium’s answer to Kraftwerk) tried to drag Eurovision kicking and screaming into a shiny new decade of electropop. Sadly, the juries were having none of it and they finished near the bottom of the pile. However, the years have been rather kinder to this than to many other entries of a similar vintage. So here is Eurovision (pronounced, for the purposes of this exercise, “Ur-o-vizyon”):

Pure class. Although the business with the camera at the end audibly left an already non-plussed audience slightly less plussed than before.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow, we go from two of the founding nations of the Eurovision Song Contest to two of its more recent members, Slovakia and Ukraine. See you then!

Chris x

Eurovision 2010 Haiku #26: Netherlands

Jane MacDonald leads
The Nolans singing in front
Of giant organ

Eurovision Haiku #37: Netherlands

Ageing boy band in
Bacofoil suits and Divine
Dancing at the back