Singing in Dutch, or singing in English? That's not yet decided it seems, but Dutch pop band 3JS will be going to the Eurovision Song Contest in Germany in May with a song that won massive support from the Dutch TV viewing public.
The 3JS are three musicians from Volendam (home of Holland's Palingpop sound, and said by some to be the Dutch 'Liverpool' in pop music terms). They are - Jaap Kwakman (guitar), Jan Dulles (lead vocals) and Jaap de Witte (guitar). The three initial letter Js give rise, clearly, to the band's name.
3JS were already asked by Dutch public broadcaster TROS in mid-2010 to represent the Netherlands at the 56th Eurovision Song Contest in Dusseldorf this May. But the song they are to perform still had to be chosen, so Sunday evening brought the now traditional TV show - Het Nationaal Songfestival, held in various forms almost every year since 1956. This year there were five songs, all in Dutch and all composed by the 3JS.
Women and men
In rapid tempo, the five songs were performed to a large studio crowd, comprising many loyal 3JS fans - many of them women, perhaps unsurprisingly - and a sizeable group of Eurovision Song Contest fans - many of them men, perhaps even more unsurprisingly.
In general, this panel seemed to be of the opinion that 3JS are an excellent band and that all the songs were good if not very good. However, three of the first four songs were generally rated as not 'Song Contest material'. That changed radically - also based on the studio audience reaction - after song 5.
Not alone, not typical
A swift medley of 'classic' Eurovision tunes filled a short interval while the viewing public voted by telephone for their favourites, and the jury withdrew to give its points.
The ultimate victor - coming top with both the professional jury and televoting public - was the song performed fifth and entitled Je Vecht Nooit Alleen (You Never Fight Alone). It is perhaps the most obvious choice for this song contest, although certainly not a song designed specifically for the contest or in any way 'typically' Eurovision. And it's certainly a million kilometres aways from last year's Dutch entry... so, how's that for 'ringing the changes'?
At a press conference given immediately after the show, the 3JS announced they would look into the possibility of having the song translated into English, an idea already promoted by some members of the jury. Lead singer Jan Dulles said, however, it would have to be a good lyric and one that does the song justice.
As some readers may already know (if not, why not click here) your correspondent and author of this article believes the Dutch should stick to singing in Dutch and, therefore, hopes 3JS will want to do just that.
He, however, bows in advance to their decision - it is, after all, very much their song, and it's that element which makes it 'from the heart' and genuine. No matter whether this song wins, does well or even loses badly at Eurovision, there's at least no reason for the Dutch to hang their heads about the song or the three musicians who penned and will perform it.
I, for one, wish Jaap, Jan and Jaap the very best of luck at the Eurovision in May.
Full vote-breakdown by song:
- Je Vecht Nooit Alleen [You Never Fight Alone] (1st with jury - 63.8 % of televote)
- De Stroom [The Flow] (2nd with jury - 25.5% of televote)
- Weelderig Waardeloos [Luxuriously Worthless] (5th with jury - 5.8% of televote)
- Toen Ik Jou Vergat [When I Forgot You] (4th with jury - 3.9% of televote)
- Ga dan niet [Then Don't Go] (3rd with jury - 1% of televote)
The Netherlands has won Eurovision four times - most recently in 1975.
[Photos: M. van den Elsaker exclusively for RNW]