Joan, the Netherlands' entry in the 2012 Eurovision song contest, performing 'You and Me.'

Dutch Singer Plays Indian for Eurovision Song Contest


Thanks to our reader Erin for spotting this one. What you are about to see needs a little explaining.

There exists in Europe an annual musical competition called Eurovision. It's been going since 1956; countries are represented by musical acts who perform an original song, so in a sense it's like a beauty pageant or the Olympics. But Eurovision also has a reputation for being completely irrelevant; the winners often sing nonsensical songs and only rarely go on to professional success. (The exceptions are ABBA, who won in 1974 for Sweden, and Celine Dion who won in 1988 for Switzerland.)

Eurovision is strange, and although it is watched throughout Europe, it is often out of morbid fascination: Can Europop get any worse? The latest installment aired over the weekend and was won by Sweden. But probably the most interesting performance was turned in by Joan, of the Netherlands, who dressed in a Native American costume. Why? Well, one commenter on YouTube gave this explanation:

The song is about her first love. Her fondest memories are of them two playing cowboys and? indians. They should have shown the videoclip in the background in Baku to make people understand the context of her wearing that indian headdress.

Here it is. It's not quite Outkast at the 2004 Grammys, but it's in the same neighborhood.

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wildcrow's picture
Submitted by wildcrow on
Dear ICTMN Staff, I would like to address two issues mentioned in this article. First of all, and briefly, as a European, I have to agree with your description of Eurovision. And yes, Europop (and, well, pop in general) can and will most likely get much, much worse. Second and most important, related to Joan's performance. While I don't believe that her attempt at Native American dress was given much serious thought, I will admit that it shows how little we know about Native Americans here on the Old Continent. Though, in all honesty, this is probable evidence more to the overseas (and by that I mean Hollywood) influence on European trends, especially when it comes to pop music. I know it seems absurd for me to apologise on behalf of an entire continent, but as one who is fascinated by the history and culture of American indigenous peoples, I do feel the need to reach out and say that, while Hollywood influence is strong (as it is everywhere), I believe Europeans would welcome a chance to learn from your people(s). And yes, on behalf of all culturally-conscious Europeans, we are sorry about Eurovision. It's a plague on us all, believe me. Yours faithfully, Kurt Wilde