Understanding this year’s national selection in Belgium requires an Excel spreadsheet, a calculator, a good Internet connection, and a few gallons of coffee to keep your mind turning. Fortunately our Belgium correspondent Daphne Dee has done all the hard work for you. Below she brings you up to speed on last night’s first casting at Eurosong Belgium, and then she explains the complicated system of rankings, call backs, semi-finals and more. Take a deep breath. Now let’s begin. (And don’t miss her reviews of all 15 of last night’s Eurovision covers).
Eurosong Belgium: First casting
Last night candidates had to perform a song related to Eurovision history. The first 15 contestants had to impress the jury last night in the empty Antwerps Sportpaleis. Four candidates moved directly to the semi-finals, four candidates were placed in the ‘call back’ round, and seven of the candidates were eliminated from the contest. Ouch.
Ranking after the 1st casting:
To the semi-finals:
1. 93 points Udo (song: Ne partez pas sans moi, Switzerland, 1988)
2. 86 points Nelson (song: Glorious, Germany, 2013)
3. 86 points Eva Jacobs (song: In your eyes, Ireland, 1993)
4. 84 points Axel Hirsoux (song: Tu te reconnaîtras (Luxembourg, 1973)
To the call back:
5. 82 points Joyce (song, Mister, Belgium, 2002)
6. 81 points 2 Fabiola ft. Loredana (song: My number one, Greece, 2005)
7. 81 points Jessy (song: Euphoria 2012, Sweden)
8. 80 points White Bird (Song: Fly on the wings of love, Denmark, 2000)
9. 78 points Di Stephano (song: L’amour ça fait chanter la vie, Belgium, 1978)
10. 76 points The Fuckuleles (song: Waterloo, Sweden, 1974)
11. 73 points Violet Sky (song: Door de wind, Belgium, 1989)
12. 72 points Gracious Wild (song: In love for a while (Switzerland, 2011)
13. 72 points Elvya Dulcimer (song: Sweet People, Ukraine, 2010)
14. 71 points 3M8S (song Only Teardrops, Denmark, 2013)
15. 68 points The Exclusive Strings (song: Hardrock hallelujah, Finland, 2006)
Eurosong Belgium: the concept
Just to refresh your memory: in Belgium the national Eurosong contest is organized in turn. Last year the French broadcaster RTBF surprised us with a very decent contribution (didn’t Roberto secretly hypnotize us all with his big brown eyes?). This year it’s up to the Flemish VRT to live up to the expectations after last’s year 11th place in the finals. Next year it will be the turn for RTBF again. Belgium will compete in the first semi-final on May 6 against Hungary, Moldavia, Montenegro, San Marino, Portugal, Ukraine and…The Netherlands (always nice to have your neighbours around).
VRT choose the following selection method: 30 contestants were preselected by the broadcaster and must now present themselves before a jury. Their assignment is to bring a song/act that relates to the theme of “58 years of Eurovision history”. They could be as creative as they like with the theme. The schedule is as follows:
1st casting: 2nd of February (15 candidates, 4 will qualify)
2nd casting: 9th of February (15 candidates, 4 will qualify)
Call back (LIVE): 16th of February (featuring the 8 candidates that didn’t qualify in the castings, 4 will qualify)
12 contestants will battle in the semi-finals (this is the moment the contestants present their new songs):
Semifinal 1, 23rd of February, 4 contestants (2 candidates will qualify)
Semifinal 2, 2nd of March, 4 contestants ( 2 candidates will qualify)
Semifinal 3, 9th of March, 4 contestants ( 2 candidates will qualify)
Finals: 16th of March, 6 contestants will bring their song and act as the would present it in Copenhagen.
For those who are interested in the finals of Eurosong Belgium on 16th of March: tickets are still available and start from 20 euros. You can learn more here.
In the castings, the decisions are made by the jury alone. From the Call Back to the Finals, the viewers are also able to vote. During the casting, the jury hands out points to every contestant, and the ranking is based on these points. You can learn more about the concept here.
Members of the jury:
Piet Goddaer, better known as Ozark Henry. Piet is known (inside and outside Belgium) as a record producer and singer-songwriter and as the artist behind several movie soundtracks. His music situates itself in the rock/pop-genre with a slice of funk on the side. One of his best-known singles is ‘Sweet investigator’. Seeing as Ozark started working in the music-business around 1994, he can be considered one of the more experienced musicians Belgium has.
Roeslana Stepanivna Lyzjytsjko, als known as…Ruslana! Yes, the Belgium broadcaster was able to convince this wild lady to take place in the jury of Belgium’s national Eurosongcontest. Unfortunately, as we all know the situation in the Ukraine, she was not able to make it to the 1st or 2nd casting. Expectations are she will be present during the live shows, so normally she will join the jury at the Call Back on the 16th of February.
Bart Peeters, singer-songwriter, actor, TV-host, musician. Maybe not the most obvious choice for this jury, but Bart has an interesting record in the music-industry, going from projects as ‘The Radios’, (‘She goes na na na‘) and his theatershow ‘Bart Peeters zonder circus’ with autobiographic songs from his album ‘Het plaatje van Bart Peeters’. He has been the commentator on the Eurovision song contest several years
Jef Martens A Belgium DJ that has been around not that long (his career got launched in 2005), but he has worked with some great artists and had a few hits. His genre lies in the house and electro house and he has worked with some big names: Will.I.Am and Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue and Moby. Over the years, Jef had success in Belgium, but also in France and the Netherlands.
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