Review: Duncan Laurence - Arcade - The Netherlands
1 Day YouTube Views: 604,001
1 Day YouTube Likes: 19,080
The Netherlands have been the big story this year, the release of "Arcade" whipped the rug out from the feet of the Russians - The Netherlands went from a 3% implied chance of winning Eurovision to 30% overnight. "Arcade" is an emotional and atmospheric track sung by Duncan Laurence and it stands an excellent chance of taking the win this year.
Given the hype, I strapped on my seatbelt and gripped the edges of my seat when I watched it for the first time, expecting to be slapped so hard I'd have to call my dentist. I waited for the waves of pure ecstacy to pass over my body. This didn't happen, the song is very good - fantastic for radio for sure but there are some concerns I have to raise.
Before that though, the good, the chorus is just great, the contrast between the choruses and verses cries out for powerful staging. Laurence himself is one of the - if not the - best male vocalist in this competition, I highly recommend you check out his acoustic versions of "Arcade" to be struck by the sheer range and versatility of his voice. This quality and depth of this song will surely land it some serious points with the juries.
As for the 'not-so-good's. "Arcade" takes a smidgen too long to get into it's stride for me. It teases you with the chrous at the 1:00 mark and then only gives you one repetition at the 1:11 mark before dropping you back into the verses. Bear in mind, this song is only 3 minutes long, the 'elevator pitch' element of a song is important and I think The Netherlands could have done better there.
I also have to question it's televotability. Again, no question of quality but will it excite the audience into picking up the phone? Is it accessible to everyone? Will the audience remember it by the end of the show? If The Netherlands draw a 1st-half slot in the final, you could have some extremely strong entries ahead of it that can easily steal it's thunder.
I have to mention this too - Eurovision has a significant gay community, Laurence is a good looking guy with an amazing voice and his music video features him naked underwater with far more male nudity than most are used to seeing in the media. I can't help but feel that this has stoked the fire of fandom that he enjoys.
The stats for The Netherlands are very strong in some respects. However as I mention frequently, the stats are an important piece of a much larger puzzle, the context I've outlined above needs to be taken into account too. "Arcade"'s official music video received over 600,000 Views in the first 24 hours of it's release - by comparison, Israel only got just under 500,000 in the same timeframe last year. But Netta also got over 50,000 Likes, Laurence only received 19,080 which was actually fewer than Russia. I can also see from the first rehearsal stats we're getting in that Russia has beaten The Netherlands quite significantly - though we're yet to get the numbers for their second rehearsals. This should still give some pause to those who are going all in on The Netherlands.
To be honest though, taking everything into account, if this doesn't win - it'll probably be extremely close. I do feel the running order will be crucial for every act this year. At 3.35 in the Outright, that's too low but it all depends on how things go on the night. What's clear to me is that I'll be relying on the stats we get coming in live during the semi-finals and the final to determine how confident I am that The Netherlands will win.
Let us know what you think in the comments below.