I suppose I wanted to love this more than I did. The power of expectation weighed heavy today and I came away feeling I didn’t see S10 at her best.
First up though, let’s look at what really worked. The staging is minimal and works all the more because of that. We open with S10 atop a podium, lit all around, boxed in and alone. The message of someone on their own in the dark is powerful.
Shadows and light
There’s world of difference between S10 and Marius Bear when it comes to being one person alone in the dark. She appears silhouetted at times, almost always in some form of shadow, while huge bursts of light wash across the stage and into the screen. There are shots of empty water – that force of nature that so occupies the Dutch psyche, summoned here in song. When she walks to the B-stage, it’s quite emotionally engaging.
Nitpick time. Vocally the performance was less than sure today. It could be nerves. It could be trying to get to know the stage. It could simply be the wise old move of holding back for when it matters. There’s nothing here that worries me, not should it worry anyone. But it wasn’t quite a solid as I’ve heard her perform in the recent past.
So why did I like it rather than love what I saw? I can’t put my finger on it. Is this just too minimal and bleak? I still adore the song. Either way, it deserves to be in the running come Saturday.