I saw this comment on YouTube for Belgium’s entry: “Reminds me of the Austrian entry last year, pretty girl but song not a stand out.” I have noticed with a number of the entries that pretty, be it male or female, is definitely a factor. Sentiment can also be a big factor. Look at the Russians. The Babushki aren’t pretty, but they are beautiful and who doesn’t want to see grandma kick up her heels and have a good time? When the finalists are chosen, it will be interesting to see how looks, talent and sentiment stack up against each other.
Iris is representing Belgium with the pop song, Would You
As was stated above, she’s a pretty young woman, quite young, 17-years-old. She is fresh-faced, wearing a very cute outfit and looks like a role model. If this was a junior competition, I’d think, “Wow, she’s good. She has a future.” But this is a major International competition and she’s not ready. Her voice is nice, but she doesn’t sing with the depth of emotion the lyrics require. Instead she smiles as she sings of heartache. In the interest of not being ageist, I know there are 17-year-olds who can sing with the required maturity. Not this one. Not a winner for me, but if she appeals to young voters, she could make the finals.
Joan is representing the Netherlands with the folk song, You And Me
My jaw dropped as I watched this. I guess she didn’t realize that, at least in the US, this stage presentation could be considered offensive. She did address this in an interview and spoke of her inspiration, playing cowboys and Indians with the boy next door. Another video shows her reliving this childhood memory and it’s very sweet. I’m certain she meant no disrespect. However, as seen in the video, a simple feather in the hair can hearken back to the memory rather than a full-on headdress. The dancers dressed in sexy fringe made me think of this. Wince.
Apart from the controversy, I give her props for singing a simple, heartfelt folk song. I really liked her voice. It’s very distinct and has a lovely, pure quality when she hits the high notes. Not quite a winner for me, but very nice.