The Netherlands will import Americana to the Eurovision Song Contest with their entry “Calm Before the Storm” by the Common Linnets. Will the country earn its second trip to the Final since 2005?
Country: The Netherlands
Song Title: “Calm After the Storm”
Artist: The Common Linnets
Semi-Final: First, Position 14
Last year’s entry: “Birds” – Anouk (9th Place)
Last year was HUGE for the Netherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest. For the first time since the semi-final format was introduced 2004, the country qualified for a final following a semi-final appearance.1 For the second year in a row, The Netherlands is making a bold choice sending the Common Linnets—a duo comprised of Ilse DeLange and Waylon specifically for the Contest—and their Americana entry “Calm After the Storm.” Take a listen:
I came to the realization last week that this may be my favorite song in this year’s competition. The instrumentation, harmonies, and story of the song are beautifully executed. This collaboration could also exist completely outside of the Eurovision ecosystem, which speaks to the strength of the song and to the entry. Like Austria, the Netherlands announced the selection of the act incredibly early but did not release its song until close to the submission deadline. The time was put to good use, as the meticulous craftsmanship for this entry shows.
What makes this song a bold choice is the Americana nature of the track. Netherlands attempted the genre back in 2012 with Joan Franka’s “You and Me”, which didn’t fare too well in the semi.2 This song has a stronger pedigree with more-seasoned performers and a more complicated structure that I think juries will respond to. The performance is toward the end of the running order, so there’s less of a risk of televoters forgetting the soothing melody once the phone lines open. The song is positioned between equally beleaguered Portugal and Montenegro, creating a sense of “well one of these countries should qualify, right?”
Unless I am overestimating this song’s appeal, the only issue I see is if the Former SSR bloc takes up too many spaces in the Final, pushing the Netherlands out. Also, Ben does raise a good point that the stage performance can’t be too intimate, otherwise it will be swallowed by the arena. I don’t think this entry has the gravitas to win the Contest, but that shouldn’t be the Common Linnets’ goal. The Netherlands should focus on establishing a track record for qualifying first, then strike during the calm after the storm.