01 April 2018

Outlaw in 'Em / Waylon / The Netherlands | Review

Willem Bijkerk | Waylon | The Netherlands | Eurovision 2018
Waylon returns to Eurovision for The Netherlands

There was a time when The Netherlands' pitiful sequence of successive semi-final failures seemed as if they would go on indefinitely. Anouk finally brought them back into Grand Final territory in 2013 and, apart from one blip, the Dutch team has managed to see a continuation in the upturn of their contest fortunes. The country's best recent result came courtesy of The Common Linnets - half of which returns to Eurovision this year as Waylon will sing Outlaw in 'Em in semi-final 2.

Flag | Netherlands | Holland
Now, if some observers were convinced that Calm After the Storm was too subdued for Eurovision voters, then Outlaw in 'Em should satisfy most of those doubters. It's a cracking guitar-driven Country rocker that you'd expect to hear blasting from a sound system in the deep south of the United States. It’s undeniably brash and gutsy but, in some respects, it sounds like it would find a better home on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry than competing with the glitz and razzle-dazzle of Eurovision.

While Calm After The Storm didn't feel as if it had an immediate hook on its first outing, Outlaw in 'Em's uptempo, sawdust kickin' rhythm seems as if it could grab a large proportion of the audience without too much trouble. It has virtually no direct competition and, while this type of country music has very little European-chart appeal, its professional quality could engage those with the usual negative Eurovision sentiment. Further, if the juries decide to reward contestant familiarity, along with strong vocals and musicianship, then Waylon could make a lot of Top 10 lists as well.

However, as subsequent songs have been announced, it appears that Outlaw in 'Em has dropped down the rankings among the fandom, but I think it still feels as if it could surprise. A berth in the Grand Final seems assured and, once there, it's unlikely to be forgotten. Much depends where it lands in the running order, but I've an inkling that this will perform a lot better than the Dutch entries of 2016 and 2017.

Image by Albin Olsson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Netherlands 
Artist: Waylon
Song: Outlaw in 'Em 
Semi-Final 2 | First Half

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