When you’re staging a Eurovision selection as complicated as Belgium Eurosong, you’re bound to encounter a bit of crazy. And boy did we encounter some crazy last night during the first casting. The 15 contestants had to perform Eurovision covers and the results ranged from amazing (man covers Celine Dion, does well) to jaw-dropping (woman dressed as Druid plays zither, interprets nuclear fallout song). Our Belgium correspondent Daphne Dee tuned in and is ready to sound off. You can watch all of the performances below and on the VRT website.
Udo has that deep voice that takes you away. Close your eyes, and you are floating. He brings it which such passion. He could pull off a Whitney Houston song if he chooses to. He believes what he sings, so you automatically believe it too. He is the typical singer for a ballad, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to give him anything else to work with. Small point of criticism: his clothing was a bit shabby, like he was joining some mates in the pub. Small detail: he was the only artist this evening that could make the jury wipe away a tear. He deserved to end up in first place.
This may have been the most overrated song of the night. The voice didn’t seem to match the song, or vice versa, because Nelson’s voice wasn’t popping out as strong as we are used to hearing from him. His soul voice is nice to listen to, but the piano-ballad version of Glorious did not seem to match his voice somehow. The performance itself seemed to miss a spark and a bit of energy sometimes. Hopefully Nelson can surprise us in the semi-finals.
Didn’t we all lock Zlata Ognevich in our hearts, if only for her powerful voice that could launch a NASA-rocket if needed? Well, if you’re a fan of Zlata (those who are not, please report to me directly for your speed course ‘why to love Zlata’), you will certainly appreciate the voice of Eva Jacobs. She has a bit of a ‘jazzy’ voice mixed with a powerful ballad sound. Really, all she needs on the podium is her voice and a piano, and she’s launched. Her choice for ‘In your eyes’ was perfect. With the right song, she could be a winner. It’s more than fair that she qualified for the semi-finals. But the 86 points she received were a little too low, but the jury gets a second try to make it right in the semi-finals.
It’s a bit uncommon, but Axel comes from the Walloon side of Belgium to compete in the Eurosong that’s organized by the VRT. His Dutch isn’t all that, but we easily forgive him: he can speak any language he wants, he makes up for it all by his voice. Axel has a deep opera voice, but can also hit the high notes. A powerful ballad would be the best option if Axel represents Belgium in Kopenhagen. When he sings, you believe what he sings. This is certainly a potential winner. And a French song could mean some points from the French.
She immediately gave the impression of not being able to hold her nerves. She was giggling and had difficulty presenting herself. Honestly, it’s unlikely that this lady will give a strong and professional performance in front of 1000’s of people in the B&W Hallerne. We’ll ignore the fact that we might have heard an unsolid tone here and there and jump right to the fact that this lady doesn’t really impress with her voice. The remix of Sergio’s Sister was not a bad choice, but that’s the most and only positive thing to find here. She made it somehow to the call back, but it’s unlikely that she will make an astonishing impression on the jury and audience on the 16th of February.
2 FABIOLA FT. LOREDANA
2 fabiola. Say this name in Belgium, and people will smile, young and old. 2 fabiola was one of the pioneers when it comes to Belgium dance-music, with quite a few hits in Belgium but also Spain (perhaps the Spanish audience could help us out a little bit?). Loredana has a powerful voice that has that typical dance sound. They gave an energetic performance with a good vibe. It’s unbelievable that the jury didn’t gave them more points and that this big name in the Belgian music industry has to fight for a place in the call back. Shame on you, jury!
Now there’s a familiar face for the Belgium audience. Jessy has been making music all her life it seems and it’s difficult to not think of her when you talk about the Belgium music scene. She has had several hits in Belgium (solo and as front singer for the group The Mackenzie) and her genre is typical dance-genre that Belgium is known for (Milk Inc, Kate Ryan, Lasgo). Not surprising Jessy chose a dance-song from the Eurovision-collection. Her version of Euphoria (with guitar and piano) was impressive and gives a good impression of her voice, which is a bit raw and different, but very nice to hear. Jury member Bart called her English accent ‘sexy’, but not only her accent. Everything about Jessy is just sexy.
Yes, it’s always exciting to when the first Tom Dice-look-a-like will appear and if he will look exactly like Tom Dice or just a little bit. A cute looking guy, brown hair, with a guitar bringing a ballad version of ‘Flying on the wings of love’. Yes, we got a winner for the look-a-like-contest! But we can’t be too harsh: this guy can sing. Good. And he wins your sympathy with his simple but honest performance and staging easily. He is not a stranger to the Belgium audience: he participated in the live shows for The Voice Belgium and he had two radio-hits in Belgium, which ‘126’ is really worth listening on a sunny day riding your bike with your girlfriend. With a powerful song and honest staging, this guy could hold some potential. Fingers crossed for White Bird in the call back!
The oldest contestant, and maybe the one with the most life-experience, since he was the one who could hold his nerves the best. As his name would make you guess, he is a singer with an opera voice. It sounds really great and there is really not a bad word to say about his singing-capacity. Problem with opera-like songs on Eurosong: it’s a risk. Maybe too much of a risk. Only if you can combine it with a magnificent sound that will blow the audience away, you can pull this off. Perhaps a different song could have done more.
Okay. First things first. If we want Europe to take Belgium serious at Eurovision, Belgium needs to be serious about Eurovision. And it’s really difficult to imagine that Europe will not look down on a band called ‘The Fuckuleles’. Perhaps we could have done something in the name if they qualified, but if they get sent home immediately, that will be one less thing for Belgium to worry about. All and all, not a bad performance: these guys switch from solo-singing to harmonious singing constantly, which makes it very interesting and refreshing. And bringing a version of Waterloo is showing courage. The performance is joyful, but maybe a bit too light. It’s imaginable that these guys have more to show for, but it just wasn’t coming out this evening. Disappointing they didn’t get a chance in the Call Back, perhaps they would have surprised us.
A song in Dutch is always a risk, and besides the nice neighbours of the Netherlands, no-one will understand in Europe. So no-one in Belgium is really keen on sending a song in Dutch. They brought the song very nicely, their voices matches great. She (Violet) has a real ballad voice, he has a bit of darker voice, that supports hers nicely. The jury is hesitant to send a duo, since the fact the Netherlands is also sending a duo (is that really something to take in consideration?). This duo couldn’t really impress the jury, and got sent home early, likely because the power was missing a little bit in this performance.
Okay. Here we find the second Tom-Dice look-a-like! Somehow he makes a bit of a stronger impression with his guitar, perhaps because he brings a little bit of an up tempo number, that is also very likable, but his performance is a bit too light. It’s difficult to comment on this, it stays a question mark, no matter how much you think about it and listen to it. Points for the guts to bring a song that very few people will remember and that ended last in the Eurovision contest.
Without being disrespectful: she is a bit hippie-like. She performs bare-foot (where have we seen that before?), the reason for that, as she claimed: ‘I like cold feet’. She plays the dulcimer very well and it’s amazing the music she gets out of the instrument. It makes her stage-performance very interesting. But unfortunately it’s sticks to that: an interesting instrument and stage performance. Her voice is not spectacular, but not bad also. The best you can say is that it is just not real Eurovision-material. Or as the judges would state it: the picture is there, but it just it not a Eurovision picture.
3 guys with 3 different voices. If you listen closely, you’ll hear a rock voice, blues voice and ballad voice mixed up. Not a bad combination, but sometimes it can get a bit too much. As the jury also mentioned: it’s a boy band, but it hasn’t got the look of a boy band. Their version of Teardrops was nice and creative and a good choice. Perhaps the gentlemen can try again next year.
THE EXCLUSIVE STRINGS
Three ladies on violins that bring a dramatic rock version of Lordies’ Hard Rock Hallelujah. Maybe a bit weird, but weird isn’t always a bad thing in Eurovion-land (I don’t need to go in any details or examples here, do I?). Their song is catchy, rock with a little bit of dance, it even gets dance-able here and there. The live-act is also not bad at all: the ladies are dressed up nicely in leather and skirts and live violins always do good at Eurovision. The only problem with these ladies competing in Belgium Eurosong is…there are not from Belgium. If we are really honest with ourselves, we all want to show to Europe what we have to offer in matters of music. Last thing you want is an import-artist representing what you are not able to do yourself (I know Celine Dion did, no need to go there).
Daphne Dee contributed this report from Belgium. Follow her on Twitter @JacinthaD1. You can also keep up-to-date with the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page