A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Eurosong 2016: Belgium decides

Following up Eurovision success was never particularly easy. It always took conviction and determination to be able to score well several times in a row.

And it was always extra hard for Belgium, where Flanders and Wallonia took turns to represent the country. A practise that made any kind of continuity in the selection process more or less impossible.

If RTBF for instance felt they had found a winning formula, they never had a second year to continue working on it as it was the turn of Flanders instead.

When listening through the songs that will fight it out in the Flemish final tonight on Één, I get a feeling the Flemish are trying to reproduce the same thing that RTBF got right with Roberto Bellarosa and - above all - Loïc Nottet: unleash new talent that will feel inspired and fresh in an international competition.

Unfortunately none of the five contenders remind me of Loïc at all. Instead they make me think of poor Iris who was sent off to Baku to crash and burn in the semi final there. I doubt any of tonight's hopefuls will do a whole lot better. But at least I had a listen and this is my ranking.

5. Astrid / Everybody Aches
A heartbreakingly bland song given a far too complicated arrangement. Possibly on purpose, to confuse the viewers into thinking this is modern and/or artistic. Highly forgettable.
Grade: 1/5

4. Laura / What's The Pressure
An attempt at funk that is totally void of any personality what-so-ever. Would have needed a real powerhouse performance to save it but poor Laura doesn't have a lot to offer.
Grade: 1/5

3. Tom / I'm Not Lost
For three minutes, Tom keeps insisting he's not lost but I'm not sure the vocal coaches of Europe would agree. The song is OK but I can't focus on it as I keep feeling too scared for Tom Boy to totally lose his key.
Grade: 2/5

2. Amaryllis / Kick The Habit
Somewhere in Belgium, Lena Philipsson made an impression on a local choreographer. Twelve years later he would tell poor Amaryllis to dance with her microphone stand without really being able to repeat the same effect. The song has its moments, but never really takes off. Every time it almost goes somewhere it soon falls apart again.
Grade: 2/5

1. Adil / In Our Nature
Adil has been studying Loïc's performance closely. A bit too closely, perhaps. Lying on the floor at the start and the end feels a bit contrived and silly, but in between that he turns out to be the best performer of this lot. The song is no masterpiece but saved by a warmth that is lacking in the other entries.
Grade: 2/5

A really poor lineup. These performers are not ready for an occasion as big as Eurovision and have all been given pretty sub-standard songs to work with. No idea what the Één tried to achieve but I think we can safely say they didn't quite pull it off. Belgium is most likely to stay in its semi this year.

Why can't Belgium just get their act together and organise a pan-Belgian national selection instead? Find six good songs from the north, six good songs from the south, and have one big final for the whole country? How hard could it be?

Eurosong starts on Één at 20:25 CET.


  1. Laura owned the stage last weekend and she was head and shoulders above the others - the only critique would be that she is singing at the top end of her range most of the time. Amaryllis and Astrid's performances were so weird and mediocre respectively that they are out of the process. Adil and Tom need lots of work on their staging but have good songs - I would expect the SuperFinal to be between Laura and Tom...

  2. They managed (at least in the 1990's when I lived for a short while in Wallonia) to create a pan-Belgian Miss Belgium pageant which had bilingual presenters and it was broadcast on two channels simultneously. No problem there.

    But I guess when it is a question of two bickering communities doing the televote, it might be that they cannot keep their attention on choosing the right song rather than competing which community gets to represent the whole nation internationally. The only way to avoid that would somehow find a way to give the French-speaking community and the Dutch-speaking community equal votes, but that would make one Wallonian vote matter more than one Flemish vote, and who is to know which call is made in which language...

    The Swiss seem to have no problem in crossing the language barriers in this area, and funnily enough a country of German-speaking majority has chosen more entries sung in French than in German and fare number of Italian entries (with less than 10% people actually speaking Italian) too. But I guess that is completely different story there.