Eurovision 2018 Review: The Netherlands – Waylon – Outlaw In ‘Em

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Waylon returns to the Eurovision stage on his own
After years and years of not making the final, The Netherlands made an impressive comeback in Eurovision land. In the past two editions they finished in 11th position on the Saturday night and back in 2014 band The Common Linnets made the country the runner up behind Conchita Wurst. Now one former member of that band, Waylon, will fly the flag for the Netherlands at Eurovision this year again. He presented five new songs in the past week and decided himself that ‘Outlaw In ‘Em’ should be the one. Will he help his country back into the top 10?

Waylon, who first rose to fame in Holland’s Got Talent, has four albums to his name and is a judge in The Voice of Holland. He has always been a fan of country music and these influences have been hearable in his music especially in recent years. This is definitely the case for his Eurovision song ‘Outlaw In ‘Em’. The track is an upbeat mix of country, Americana, blues and rock.

The track starts out rather laidback, while in the chorus the guitars take over and Waylon gives it his all vocally to convince us that we all ‘got a little outlaw in us’. Both his country twang in the verses and the smooth as sandpaper vocal style in the chorus feel a bit contrived, but then again it does fit the vibe of the track and we already know he will be able to pull it off live. The chorus is memorable enough and this unusual genre at Eurovision will help the Netherlands stand out this year. I highly doubt this style of music is popular enough with the general public watching Eurovision for him to make it into top 5, but the juries should help him on his way to the final!

Review of Semi Final Performance:
Dutch singer-songwriter Waylon represented his country back in 2014 as part of The Common Linnets, finishing as a runner up behind Conchita Wurst. This year he returned on his own with a loud mix of country, rock and blues, titled ‘Outlaw In ‘Em’. Although this is not necessarily my genre, the song does have a certain charm and settles in your mind easily. Vocally, his performance was spotless and it is easy to see Waylon is an experienced performer with a natural charisma which translates well to the television screen. In his home country, the performance with the dancers has been criticized quite strongly and I can honestly see why. The dancers do a great job, but it just does not fit the vibe of the song at all. The juries and televoters did not get distracted by it too much, as Waylon still sailed into the final. I don’t see him come close to the result he achieved in 2014 though. (It later turned out that Waylon was saved by juries who put him in 4th position, while the televoting gave him the 12th place)

Review of Final Performance:
The Netherlands had the tough gig of following up the winner’s performance, but Waylon did so with grace. His country rock sounds excellent in an arena setting and so do his powerful, raw vocals. The stage act certainly was a choice with passionate dancers that do not fit the genre of the song at all. To me, it worked a little distracting from the song and the main star Waylon. After his runner up finish as part of The Common Linnets back in 2014, he now had to accept the 18th position, which is nothing to be ashamed of either. In an interview after the result show, the confident singer already announced that he would love to do the contest again one day! That’s the spirit Waylon!


Eurovisie Recensie: Waylon – Outlaw In ‘Em

Waylon keert alleen terug naar Eurovisie Songfestival
Nederland heeft zich na jaren van het missen van de finale goed herpakt op het Eurovisie Songfestival. In de afgelopen twee edities eindigden ‘onze inzendingen’ op een 11de plaats op zaterdagavond. Het beste resultaat in recente jaren kwam echter van The Common Linnets die in 2014 tweede werden. Eén van de leden van de band destijds, Waylon, gaat het dit jaar alleen proberen. Na in de afgelopen week vijf liedjes te hebben voorgesteld, heeft hij zelf besloten dat het ‘Outlaw In ‘Em’ moet worden. Gaat hij Nederland hier terug de top 10 mee in brengen?

Waylon brak ooit door tijdens zijn deelname aan Holland’s Got Talent en sindsdien bracht hij vier albums uit en nam plaats in de jury van The Voice. Gedurende zijn gehele carrière was hij gefascineerd door country, maar in recente jaren kwam dat ook meer tot uiting in zijn eigen werk. Zo ook in zijn songfestivalbijdrage; een opzwepende mix van country, Americana, blues en rock.

‘Outlaw In ‘Em’ begint voorzichtig en bouwt in het refrein uit met luide gitaren. Waylon zingt z’n longen uit zijn lijf om ons te overtuigen dat we allemaal een beetje een ‘outlaw’ zijn. De country snik in de coupletten en de stembanden van schuurpapier in het refrein doen soms wat gemaakt aan, maar live komt hij er zeker mee weg. Het refrein is pakkend genoeg om je bij te blijven en de stijl zal uniek zijn in Lissabon in mei, waardoor Nederland op z’n minst zal opvallen. Ik betwijfel ten zeerste of de sound van Waylon bij het publiek geliefd genoeg is om top 5 te halen, maar er is zeker een markt voor. Met behulp van de jury moet hij minstens de finale kunnen halen.

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