All opinions expressed in this article are those of the person quoted and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the other team members or ESC United as a whole.

It’s 3 days to go until Junior Eurovision 2023, and we are counting down the 16 nations who are participating in Nice, France on Sunday, November 26, 2023.

Every day we will do an overview of a participating nation in alphabetical order, recapping how they got to Junior Eurovision, a brief history of the nation’s participation, a brief biography of the artist, and finally, our “expert” panel of editors give the entries a score out of 10 and a brief review.

Next up, we look at The Netherlands, Junior Eurovision’s only ever-present nation.

The Netherlands’s history at Junior Eurovision:

Despite being in every edition, The Netherlands only won once in 2009 and came in 2nd with Rachel’s “Teenager” in 2011. Otherwise, it’s mostly been middling form. Though with three fourth place finishes in the last five years, you get the feeling AVROTROS is on the verge of achieving the winning formula for the junior version as they got for the adult version recently, one slight drawback aside.

Their one win in 2009 was quality, though. Ralf Mackenbach somehow made a Dutch boy ensemble look fun and authentic despite this formula flopping at the contest several times. “Click Clack” was catchy and fun and appealed to both sides of the kids / adults divide. Mackenbach had stage presence and confidence despite being lumbered with a dodgy Justin Beiber barnet.

Another Dutch entry of note is Lisa, Amy and Shelley from 2007. Their 2007 effort “Adem In, Adem Uit” came in 11th, but they came back to represent The Netherlands in the adult version in 2017 as O’G3NE with “Light and Shadows.” Coincidentally, they also came in 11th in the Grand Final.

Femke Meinke came in 7th in 2012 with “Tik Tak Tik,” but later achieved more fame becoming the lead actress in the Dutch Disney Channel’s Just Like Me!

Stefania Liberakakis from Kisses, The Netherlands’s 2016 entry, is now a big deal in Greece. She earned rave reviews for her appearance at the Mad VMA Awards by Coca-Cola last year by performing Daddy Yankee’s take on Snow’s “Informer.” And the Alexis Bledel look-a-like of course was selected to represent Greece at Eurovision 2020 and 2021 with “SUPERG!RL” and “Last Dance,” respectively.

Boy band FOURCE surprised many by coming in 4th at Junior Eurovision 2017, as did Matheu Hinzen’s 4th place finish with “Dans met jou” in 2019 and Unity with “Best Friends” in 2020.

However, 2021 was an unfortunate milestone year for The Netherlands – for the first time ever, they ended up in 19th and last place with Ayana’s “Mata Sugu Aō Ne.”

Italian-Dutch competitor Luna brought the party back for the Dutch with “La festa,” coming in top half and 7th at Junior Eurovision 2023.

Before Junior Eurovision 2023:

The Netherlands’s broadcaster AVROTROS again utilized the Junior Songfestival format to select their entrant for Junior Eurovision 2023.

You know the drill by now – the Dutch picks a batch of kids, have them audition, and then either group them together or have them perform solo to compete in a national final. It’s a collaborative singer – songwriter camp formula that has mostly worked for the Dutch before, and if the formula ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Junior Songfestival is also a lone national selection at a quiet time of year, so this has become a fondly loved and appreciated selection on the Eurovision calendar.

Two groups, a duet and a soloist were the four acts at Junior Songfestival, and it was the pre-teen duet of Sep & Jasmijn who prevailed. The duet won all three of the adult jury (Soy Kroon, Sosha Duysker and MEAU), the kids’ jury (Luna and Junior Songfestival 2022 runner-up Mixed Up) and the online vote to triumph over Joy!, Flare, and Duron.

The Artist:

13-year-old Sep and 14-year-old Jasmijn are the first duo to represent the Netherlands since 2018.

Sep is in his sophomore year at secondary school and aspires to be an actor and/or TV presenter a la Matheiu Hinzen.

Jasmijn is in her junior year at secondary school and is a competitive hip-hop dancer. She is part of a dance team that competes in multiple genres. She also won the Dutch TV show Ministars as a singer earlier this year.

The Song:

“Holding On To You” was written by Dutch Junior Eurovision stalwart Robert Dorn.

He also wrote Unity’s “Best Friends” (Junior Eurovision 2020), “La festa” (Junior Eurovision 2022) and co-wrote Julia’s “Around” (Junior Eurovision 2014), as well as numerous Junior Songfestival entries over the years.

With the background out of the way, here is what we at ESC United think of The Netherlands’ entry for Junior Eurovision 2023.

Providing their thoughts for Junior Eurovision this season: Alexandros (Greece), Yehonatan Cohen (Israel), Boris Meersman (Belgium), James Maude (Los Angeles, California), and William Carter (Dallas, Texas).

The Verdict:

Alexandro – 4 – The vibrant EDM elements, particularly in the chorus, add energy to the song, but in a year dominated by great ballads, it risks being overshadowed. Staging becomes pivotal here; a well-executed presentation could lift the song into the top tier, offering it a distinct place of prominence within the competitive field.”

Boris – 7.5 – “Every since the Dutch entry was picked fans from hither and yon have imprinted a EASY WINNER STATUS on it and it’s not that difficult to see why: “Holding on to you” is a competent attempt, completely in-line with today’s eurodance. Yep, it’s pretty good. It might be a tad too competent though? It is very well produced, way beyond the ability that a child or adolescent could muster and that makes it sound almost too adult for JESC. It needs a little bit more heart and juvenile energy in order to work, and it’ll be on Sep and Jasmijn to inject some well-needed vigor and chemistry into the live performance if they plan on clinching that second Dutch W.”

James – 6.5 – “The choice of Red Sox jacket for Sep is a bad one because as a Pittsburgh Pirates fan I just want to push him into whatever body of water he’s pining for Jasmijn in front of. And yes, us adults in the Pittsburgh fandom can be petty that way. There is a teen awkwardness to this entry that is compelling, but it is also a little too-EDM from the last decade to make it compelling enough for kids in 2023 to vote for it in droves.”

William – 7 –  “There’s always at least one of these. It’s never not weird to me when adult songwriters write love duets for children … But at least this one comes with a killer, ’00s throwback dance beat! Despite my skepticism about the entire premise of this song, I can’t help but be won over by Sep & Jasmijn’s energy and the slick production value. Here’s hoping they can pull this off live.”

Yehonatan – 6 –I was pretty surprised this song got selected; as of the national final, it felt like the least “JESC” song. But, it has a solid beat, and they hold it well live.”

Total: 31.0 points (Average = 6.200)

We at ESC United gave The Netherlands a 6.2 average, which plants them in the middle of the pack.

Ten countries in, here are our current rankings in editor scores:

1.) France – 42.5 points (Average = 8.500)

2.) Armenia – 38.0 points (Average = 7.600)

3.) Ireland – 37.5 points (Average = 7.500)

4.) Georgia – 35.0 (Average = 7.000)

5.) Albania – 33.5 points (Average = 6.700)

6.) Estonia – 32.5 points (Average = 6.500)

7.) THE NETHERLANDS – 31.0 points (Average = 6.200)

8.) Germany – 30.5 points (Average = 6.100)

9.) Malta – 26.5 points (Average = 5.300)

10.) Italy – 23 points (Average = 4.600)

What do #YOU think of the Dutch entry for Junior Eurovision? Let us know in the comments below, on our social media, or in our forum.

Load More Related Articles
Load More By James Maude
Load More In 2023

Leave a Reply

Check Also

Andria Putkaradze Wins Ranina Season 7, Will Represent Georgia at JESC!

Andria Putkaradze has won Season VII of popular Georgian talent show Ranina, and as is the…