As the dust settles on the 2022 contest and Eurovision fans stare down the barrel of a long off-season, here at ESCXTRA, we wanted to spend the summer highlighting our moments of appreciation for Eurovision 2022. Up next, we pay tribute to how the Netherlands absolutely nailed their internal selection of S10.
In this article, I will outline how the Netherlands has yet again set an exemplary bar for how to achieve both Eurovision and domestic success, as they did in 2013 and 2019. Even though “De Diepte” was not the highest-ranking internally-selected entry in the Grand Final, I do think the domestic success of the song sets it apart from the likes of “Trenulețul” and “Die Together”.
The success of their approach was pretty much secured in its conception. They used the same method that had yielded a quality and varied string of entries over the past few years. The submissions window was opened back in the summer of 2021, explicitly seeking a finished product.
The selection committee aims for an entry with preferably a contemporary, but in any case authentic sound. A song that is able to survive in a competition. By a Dutch artist who can and wants to present a personal song in a distinctive way, in any genre, and if possible a personal story.AVROTROS
AVROTROS opted to pick yet another high-potential emerging artist to follow in the footsteps of Jeangu Macrooy and Duncan Laurence in the form of Stien den Hollander AKA S10. However, the slight difference with S10 is that she had a domestic hit in the form of “Adem Je In“, successful features and acclaimed EPs under her belt, which ensured that her entry would likely gain traction upon release within the domestic market (more on that later).
S10 was announced as the entrant back in December 2021, giving the team plenty of time to execute the rollout, rather than needlessly delaying, teasing and dragging out the PR process.
Sticking the landing
Selecting a good entry is one thing, but releasing it properly is another thing. Although the relationship between the slick-ness of a release strategy and its eventual Eurovision result is negligible, it does matter if you are seeking to create hype around a song both among Eurovision fans and the general public.
AVROTROS announced the release date – March 3 – a couple of weeks prior, giving time to create momentum without dragging out the process. Whilst other broadcasters have historically neglected to give fixed release dates, allowed demos to leak and staggered their release strategies, AVROTROS stuck the landing in every way.
They didn’t go too hard on the PR, instead going down the fun and tasteful route of releasing a teaser video of former Eurovision artists reacting to the song. The following day, the music video was dropped via the official Eurovision channel, and the song was dropped on streaming services almost immediately after – what a concept!
The song had not leaked prior, unlike pretty many other internally-selected entries (“Die Together”, “Halo”, “Snap”), adding an element of surprise and anticipation when it came out. Above all, the decision to not leave the release until the deadline meant that it had an unobstructed day of release, rather than competing with a bunch of other entries.
Although many Eurovision songs have gone on to become domestic, regional and even continent-wide hits, it’s rare that they become instant hits upon release. However, the combination of S10 being a young artist with a lot of traction, the song being in Dutch and the quality of the song made incredibly popular the moment it dropped.
It was an immediate streaming hit – debuting on top of the Spotify Top 50 in The Netherlands with over 200,000 streams within 24 hours, in part due to it being released on Spotify and Apple Music within minutes of the music video dropping.
The cherry on top of the cake was that on the week the song was released, S10 debuted the song live on the primetime show Matthijs Gaat Door. This wasn’t just some studio performance with questionable sound quality, it was a polished performance with a fully realised stage concept that could have easily have been used in Turin.
With assurance that the magic of the studio version could be translated into a live performance (important with an internally-selected entry), the stage was set for the Netherlands to continue their generally strong trajectory at the contest.
And they did just that, “De Diepte” qualified for the Grand Final from semi-final one and ended up placing in 11th with 171 points. Notably, the song finished second in its semi-final with 221 points, only beaten by eventual victors Ukraine.
But beyond this strong finish, the domestic success of “De Diepte” continued after the contest; shortly after the Grand Final, the song hit #1 on the Dutch Top 40. It was the first non-winning Eurovision song to top the chart since…checks notes…Cliff Richard’s “Power To All Our Friends” back in 1973(!). With over 27 million Spotify streams to date, it remains one of the biggest streaming hits of the 2022 contests (only behind “Brividi”, “SloMo” and “Hold Me Closer”).
With this success – both domestically and in the context of Eurovision – The Netherlands have continued to cemented their status as a Eurovision powerhouse, and exemplify how to do an internal selection. I hope other broadcasters are watching closely.
Stay tuned for the next instalment of our Moments of Appreciation series next week! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter, @escxtra on Instagram, @escxtra on TikTok and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, be sure to follow us on Spotify for the latest music from your favourite ESC and JESC acts.