The Netherlands can boast having the longest reigning Eurovision winner thanks to the cancellation of the 2020 contest – and they deserve it. After years of non-qualification, the nation turned itself around and began to deliver some top quality Eurovision songs. This year is no different, with Jeangu Macrooy offering up another strong entry from this year’s host country.
Anita (Eurovision Union)
Song and Vocals
Last year, we saw Jeangu Macrooy offer up arguably another potential winning song, however this year he has taken a different route to deliver an upbeat and catchy entry for the contest. This song oozes soul and personality, and stylistically differs from each and every one of its competitors. I don’t think this year’s entry has had the best reception from fans, but I truly do believe that it is severely underrated.
In this entry we see a lot of reliance on gospel style backing singers who chime in after most of the lines that Jeangu sings. It’s a unique style in the line-up this year, and it gives the song such a wholesome feel. This is amplified particularly in the live performance, where we saw his brother as part of the backing choir. The song feels incredibly uplifting, both in sound and in lyrics. One of the highlights is the use of Sranan Tongo, a language making its debut at Eurovision in this song. We hear Jeangu and the choir chant ‘Yu No Man Broko Mi’, or ‘You can’t break me’ which on its own is a powerful message. There are a lot of cultural nods during the song, and it’s especially prevalent in the bridge where we get to hear a very tropical style beat.
Jeangu debuted his song live, and in some ways, it fell short of the studio version, but in some aspects I think the live version gives a bit more depth in terms of the live gospel choir. Jeangu can deliver the song live well, but it’s made stronger with his charisma.
Performance and Act
There were a lot of positives in the debut performance of this song, including Jeangu’s personality which shines through this song. He seemed to work relatively well with the camera, although at times seems a bit nervous, and it’s almost like you can see the cogs turning in his head about how the performance should go. I’m sure he has rehearsed the performance a number of times now, and has worked on how to really engage with the camera to connect with the viewers at home. I am excited to see what the overall concept is for the staging of this song.
I really enjoy this song and feel positively uplifted after every listen. While I enjoy this song, I don’t know how it will fare in a competition setting. The Netherlands has a good starting position in the final, which may help secure some votes, but it will likely land them somewhere towards the bottom half of the table. I’d love to be proven wrong, however.
Song and Vocals
The host nation has a positive and sympathetic entry, partly sang in Sranan Tongo. The lyrics, mocked a lot because it sounds like ‘broccoli’ have a deep meaning and refer to slavery. Therefore, within the Black Lives Matter-era we are living in, it is covering a contemporary topic. One of my main concerns about the song and act is that it feels like an interval act, rather than a competing entry in the contest.
Performance and Act
Jeangu presented his song in a gospel-setting, when it comes to the visual presentation. In an interview he said it’s also a protest song, and he should be standing on a crate, to make the deeper meaning come across better. I think more focus on the message and power behind the song could improve its chances. Jeangu himself seems to struggle in finding the camera, since he has not done a lot of televised performances before. It’s important that he improves this, to make him present himself in a sincere and likeable way.
The Netherlands sends a unique song with a deeper meaning behind it and has a very positive vibe. However, it has the potential to be overseen, despite a great starting position performing in 23rd place. I don’t expect Jeangu to come near a top-10 for the host nation in Rotterdam
Additional Scores from Eurovision Union and ESCDaily editors:
Average Score: 6.6/10