During the song previews, Waylon was alone on stage. He is sat on a stool and vigorously playing the guitar. He has a studded black leather jacket with shortened sleeves showing off his extensive tattoos. He is singing into a thick set vertical microphone, not a million miles away from the Eurovision trophy design but on a mic stand, Vaguely behind him are video screens showing rocky, possibly American views. Whether any of this will be the case at Eurovision is hard to say at the point.
Although Eurovision is not averse to country songs, this definitely falls on the rocky side of that genre. There is a very distinctive, if not slightly dirty, guitar riff in the bed of the song with gets under your skin quite quickly. His voice sounds very Americanised and country with the twangs and hiccupping on certain syllables and note changes. The start of the verses has a tinge of “I am a man of constant sorrow” about it with an almost bluegrass hint about it. The chorus starts off with the name of the song, which is always a handy trick, but the rest of it is highly unintelligible because of the speed of delivery twinned with his style of delivery.
When it comes to the visual performance of the song I feel it will change a fair bit in Lisbon. For one he needs backing singers, but it might be decided to keep them off screen. He may also decide to add a whole band on stage to emphasise the country sensibilities of the song. He sings the song well enough but I think he really needs to watch the tone and style of his voice so that it doesn’t just become noise. Also it's quite an introverted performance and he may need to think about what can be done on stage, either by him or through other means, to really reach out to the hall and the viewers at home.
Waylon has history with Eurovision – not all good. Yes, being part of the Common Linnets saw him almost win the thing in 2014 but during that time he seemed to create an atmosphere that was difficult, standoffish and not really very friendly. As it was as soon as Eurovision ended, he left the band. Some of these memories will be very hard to paper over for some of the fans. It will be interesting to see which Waylon turns up in Lisbon and what he has learnt between 2014 and now.
ARTIST – Waylon
SONG – Outlaw in ‘em
MUSIC - Jim Beavers, Ilya Toshinskiy, Waylon
LYRICS - Jim Beavers, Ilya Toshinskiy, Waylon