Eurovision 2017: [Belgium] City Lights / Blanche

There is an air of sophistication to Belgium’s ‘City of Lights’, a chilled vibe combined with a mysterious vocal line that culminates in a simple yet uplifting chorus.

But it stands in the shadow of Belgium’s fourth place number from 2015 – Loic Nottet’s brilliant Rythmn of Life.

If the stage presentation flatters City of Lights (I’m not entirely convinced yet that it does), then Belgium will surely qualify and, I hope, a top ten placing will follow. Eurovision.tv’s exclusive rehearsal footage leads me to think that it might falter.

In a live performance the song might lose its ethereal quality, drawing more attention to the vulnerability of Blanche’s voice.

Eurovision 2016 – Belgium: What’s The Pressure (Laura Tesoro)

Belgium have a track record (now) for contributing classy numbers to the Eurovision stage. If not classy, then definitely distinctive.

Classy numbers include Kate Ryan’s ‘Je t’Adore‘, Roberto Bellarosa’s ‘Love Kills‘ from 2013, and last year’s number from Loïc Nottet.

For distinctive, take a look at the a-cappella ‘With Love Baby‘ from 2011, Axel Hirsoux’s ponderous melodrama ‘Mother‘ from 2014, and the Mika tribute act from 2007, ‘Love Power‘. 2008’s ‘O Julissi‘ was a glorious folk-infused little number totally out of place on the Eurovision, but one which still makes my heart race (because I’m weird, I suspect). My only real quibble would be 2010’s contrived little number ‘Me and My Guitar‘ from Tom Dice – an opinion I suspect I’m alone holding given that the song secured a sixth place for Belgium that year.

Laura Tesoro’s ‘What’s The Pressure‘ song for 2016 is a perky upbeat dance number that will undoubtedly get your foot-tapping even if it does lack a memorable melody. The real test will be whether Laura can nail a live vocal whilst carrying out what a number that begs for an equally uplifting choreography. And it will need spectacular choreography too, because as good as the song sounds, something fairly static (as in this studio performance) will emphasise the lack of musical variety in the song.

The quality of Laura’s performance won’t impact on the final score. ‘What’s The Pressure’ is another good entry from Belgium building on their high-scoring entry last year featuring a breathtaking performance from singer Loïc Nottet. But unlike last year, I don’t think this is a winner. A place in the top five isn’t a foregone conclusion either.

Eurovision 2011: Belgium

If performers Witloof Bay can pull off a live performance during their semi-final (and if they get through, in the final) as good as the studio production used in this promo video for their song With Love Baby, they will have delivered Belgium’s best Eurovision song in years.

At least, the best song since Kate Ryan’s Je T’Adore which still stands the test of time and deserved a place in the 2006 final.

It’s a clever song which I’m loving at the moment. Although I wonder whether the seemingly endless repetition of “With Love” in the lyrics will eventually turn me off it.

I hope not. I’m liking the combination of crooning and human beatbox. I’m certainly loving the styling in the video (will that translate to the stage in Dusseldorf?) True, I find the rap ‘break’ at 1’36” mildly disturbing but that’s eclipsed by the close harmony and the tidy feel the finished texture has.

Nice work Belgium.

Eurovision 2010: Belgium

Tom Dice represents Belgium for this year’s Eurovision. He’s quite an interesting case study too. He’s one to watch.

He is credited with composing and writing the lyrics for his song Me and My Guitar. The cynic in me demands rather more proof of what exactly he’s contributed to the song. I know that’s harsh. Bear with me.

Tom is part of the X-Factor machine you see. A runner-up in 2008, he’s gone through that intensive performance boot-camp Simon Cowell has successfully imposed on wannabee performers and entertainment audiences the world over. His format has turned out some accomplished performers. That is something to be noted.

In a previous post I was impressed with the considerably improved cover Tom had recorded of Bleeding Love – a song I’d first been aware of as Leona Lewis’ first proper release approximately a year after the X-Factor bus had dropped her off at the Artist Development Central bus-stop. Lewis’ version had never really hooked me in. Dice’s rendition sounded like one considerable improvement.

Belgium’s song – Me and My Guitar – is nothing spectacular. I’ve heard that angst ridden American teenager sound somewhere before. In fact, in some respects it reminds me too much of Bleeding Love. His faux American accent jars. The whole package is just a little bit too polished for my liking. He’s not American. He’s from Belgium. It bothers me I’m being made to feel as though he is American. Am I being too picky? He is meant to be performer after all.

Dice will – I’m convinced of it – go through to the final and deserves to as well. And whatever his involvement in the song, he is clearly a performer who will continue to do well regardless of what he achieves via the Eurovision stage.

But should it win? I’m cautious about it. I don’t want something so-so to win. I want something fresh. This may not meet my exacting (but usually flawed) standards.

And yes, I know. I’m a miserable arsehole … or a picky queen.

Tom Dice in rehearsal for Eurovision 2010