ESC 2017 Review: Netherlands – Hold On, Lights and Shadows

It’s hard to come with snappy lead ins for these after so many of them! If you liked the 1990s and you wish there was more vocal harmonization in the world, look no more further than Netherlands.

These are my own PERSONAL rankings of what I think of 2017’s Eurovision songs but I’m also going to make some bold predictions about the eventual fate of the song. These will probably be very wrong for a variety of reasons including I have no idea what almost half the artists sound like live or what type of staging and song changes could be made. There’s plenty of songs that have been let down by their staging (2016 Spain for example) so in the end they’re just guesses in the dark.

Country: Netherlands
Artist: O’G3NE
Song Title: Lights and Shadows
My Ranking: 33rd (out of 43)
Semi Final: 2nd Semi Final
Final placement prediction: NQ

Netherlands is a mixed bag but they tend to do really well when they send country songs. Their last win in 1976 with “Ding-A-Dong” probably stings to this day since they almost had a winner in 2014 with “Calm Before The Storm” losing fairly narrowly to Austria. The seemed in good spirits last year when Douwe Bob not only qualified but also seemed to be making out with every entrant but he didn’t manage to get that lucky because he landed in 11th place in the final.

With no national final, it’s all up to internal selection and they choose O’G3NE. At first glance, that seems like a bad sign. I both have no idea what O’G3NE might stand for and also other than spelling it out, I can’t imagine how one could pretend to pronounce the series of numbers and letters making up their name. The apostrophe isn’t really giving me any hints either. Wiki also fails to tell me why that’s the name OR how to say it which leads me to more confusion and a little relief I’m not making video blogs.

The group is more straight forward Lisa, Amy, and Shelley Vol are sisters, with the latter two being twins and together they form a girl vocal sensation group [unpronounceable]. The sisters being only a year apart makes the group quite novel and they’re actually also former contestant of Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2007 where they placed a respectable 11 out of 17.

“Light and Shadows” is certainly an entry and different entry. Changeling Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On” through the song it’s strength is in the vocal harmony which could pop on a live stage but feels kind of echo-like and strange in the studio version. The songs topic is a good one for the song competition, the everyone goes through hard times but it gets kind of lost in what has to be one of the cheesiest send ups to the 90s I’ve seen in a while.

Having seen a few live performances of the song my main concern is that the background will be very empty and it’ll be the three of them standing shoulder to shoulder dead still. This works for certain types of songs but “Lights and Shadows” isn’t instrumentally dynamic enough to be that song. All the excitement in the song is created vocally while the music mainly stays dead flat. There’s a few opportunities to jazz up a performance like that though playing around with the idea of making lights and shadows on the women would be the obvious choice but having costumes that dynamically change could be a more expressive and fun way to take what could be too literal to interesting.

Netherlands got the short stick of finals, having to compete against the big dogs in the 2nd Semi means they’re almost doomed to not qualify and they will really have to be something special on stage. In the end this song may be better off hanging back in the past to become a memory of the light it once had.

Maybe even just a shadow.

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