It’s my runner up, my silver medal – and goodness me this was hard to call between this and my number 1. In fact, I would have placed this equal first if I was looking for an easy way to choose. This is the Netherlands’ 60th appearance in the contest and fittingly for that landmark, with Duncan Laurence and “Arcade” they stand a big chance to get their first win in 44 years.
While the Dutch have won 4 times, that was in earliest years of the contest, and their last win was in 1975 with Teach-In and Ding-a-Dong. That was a great song but suffice to say Arcade is in a very different mould music-wise. It’s a song that never fails to give me goosebumps as soon as I hear it, gets my hair standing on end and just those opening chords can make me well up a little. It’s not often a song can generate such a strong emotional response in me and seeing various reaction videos on YouTube I see I am not the only one.
Duncan’s vocals are super smooth and silky, aching with hurt and the lyrics are probably the best English language lyrics in this year’s contest (and indeed in many contests). The main refrain “loving you is a losing game” is so resonant with anyone who has loved and lost someone or something. It could be a partner through separation or death, losing family or friends, even beloved pets – you may know the loss will come but you love anyway even though it shatters you in the end.
Duncan himself co-wrote the song and he’s an alumnus of The Voice of Holland in 2015 where his mentor was Ilse Delange, of the The Common Linnets who of course finished runners up for The Netherlands in 2014 with “Calm After the Song“. She will be supporting Duncan as member of delegation as coach and mentor.
It’s a beautiful song – this could so easily be my no 1 and it’s the big bookies’ favourite at the moment and with good reason. Favourites always get a lot of scrutiny when rehearsals first start and it can be harmful to be such an obvious front runner, but it worked out for Netta last year even after some not so great rehearsals. I do think this still remains the one to beat and I would be very happy if it did win. Plus it’s easy to pop across to the Netherlands from my home in London!
Official music video:
Live at London Eurovision Party:
My preview video:
The Netherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 1956
Appearances (excluding this year): 60
Best result: Winner 1957, 1959, 1969, 1975
Last year’s result: 18th