During a press conference in the Pepsi Stage Theatre, which is the venue for the Nationaal Songfestival 2004, the participants of the Dutch national selection were announced. 24 songs will compete in four semifinals, one wildcard semifinal and finally 10 songs will reach the final.
During the press conference, the new website for the event has been launched. Esctoday.com will work closely with the webteam by providing the latest international Eurovision Song Contest news through songfestival.nl in Dutch, in co-operation with Eurovision Artists.
First semifinal, 22nd January
Charly – She'll take your breath away
Arjen & Margriet – De dag na de dertiende
Reunion – Without you
Hot Black Stuff – Bump!
Arno Kolenbrander – The story of my life
Babette Labeij – Alright
Arno Kolenbrander participated to the Nationaal Songfestival in 2000 with One step behind and became third, now he participates with a song written by Johnny Logan! Babette Labeij was backing vocal for the Dutch Eurovision entry in 1998 Hemel en Aarde and is known is vocal teacher of the Dutch edition of Idols. Both guys of the group Reunion are ex-members of All of Us, participants of the national selection in 1999.
Bas and Joel ended among the last 10 of last year's Idols in The Netherlands and Joel was also part of the group All of Us. Judith had a major hit with the ballad You in 2001.
Third semifinal, 5th February
Jorge Castro – Ritornero
Andre Kuik – Change
Mary Amora – The power of an angel
Adriana Romeijn – On a wing and a prayer
Varna Springer – Heimwee
Suzy & the Hirollers – Mississippi Miss
Mary Amora participated to the Nationaal Songfestival last year with Somewhere by the river and ended up sixth in the final. Her song The power of an angel is written by… Sietse Bakker (yes, your Chief Editor, who did the job together with Romeo Samuel who composed the song too).
Fourth semifinal, 12th February
Camp Girls – Licht in jouw ogen
Jaco van der Steen – Here's to the summer
Triple 10'rs – One of a kind
Anja Wessels – Heart of stone
Mai Tai – Bring back the music
Cherwin – Show me the love
Lead vocal of the Camp Girls is Manuela Kemp, a well-known Dutch television host and singer. Mai Tai scored several international hits in the '80s, such as History and Am I losing you forever.
In every semifinal, the jury ánd the televoting viewers will select both one song for the final. After the fourth semifinal, the jury will select six songs from the 16 songs that are left for a wildcard round, which is taking place on 19th February. This round will bring two winners too, so 10 songs will appear in the final on 22nd February. The winner of the final will, of course, represent The Netherlands at the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest. The Netherlands has to appear in the qualifier round on 12th May in Istanbul.
Note: Although your Chief Editor is one of the writers of a participating song, we garantuee that the reports about the Nationaal Songfestival are as independent as usual!