We thought the first casting was crazy, but Belgium’s second casting turned out to be from another planet. We enountered performances that will make your ears bleed, the ESC theme song secretly mixed in one song, Petra with her golden crown (yes, Petra is back for the fourth time, people!), and nerves, nerves, nerves. There were also a lot of French songs and, in general, a lot of high European flavour. Take a seat and grab a Belgium beer while we review all the performances. (And if you want to review the results of the show, click here).
And here she is again! Petra tries for Eurovision for a fourth time (her fifth if you include her contribution as a backing singer). The song is a good choice, and fit her vocals well. Appreciation for her as she was one of the few that also really tried to make something of tonight’s show: she showed up in a beautiful dress and a golden crown that matched the high ‘puppet’-feeling that you get from the song. The jury said they heard some nerves, but we didn’t hear any. The jury was very positive overall, and there is nothing really to add to that. Not more than fair that she received the most points this evening. Petra for the win!
Don’t make assumptions: this singer isn’t from the French speaking side of Belgium, but actually from France (his Dutch is rather good, and that French accent is rather sexy!). His presentation is actually interesting (yes, I was fascinated by his hair), which is a big advantage in Eurosong. Everything was right about this: his clothing, the guitar, the song, the sound, the atmosphere. He has that something extra. The jury made the right call here.
She’s rather unknown to the Belgian public, which is not strange if you consider this lady is only 18 years old. She was either nervous or showing her lack of experience. Sometimes she mumbles rather than sings, and it looked like she had no clue what to do with her body (was that dancing?!). The jury was surprisingly positive as said that when they closed their eyes, they heard a very sensual version of ‘Dum Tek Tek’. Perhaps the jury was close enough to actually hear her and heard something else. The jury was way too positive about this performance.
Seems like ‘The Voice’ and ‘Idols’ are ideal fishing-ponts for Eurosong-contestants, as Axeela participated in the former in 2012. The biggest surprise of the evening. She has grown a lot since then and this was nice to listen to. The hyper-critical jury still heard some flaws, but that was totally unnecessary. Not a real big stage-performance, but that wouldn’t have fit the song. She’s a possible winner!
Speculation over who these masked singers are has led to a variety of guesses from Kate Ryan to Nesky to members of the Ketnet-band. The lead singer did not sound like Kate Ryan at all. Perhaps the funniest moment of the evening: one of the artist’s in the group didn’t know that Lena sang this song originally. They brought an interesting version of the song, and the female vocalist had an intriguing voice. It’s not easy to take ownership of this song, given Lena’s unique voice. The jury asked why they looked this way and if there was an explanation for that. One of the band members just shook his head, saying no. It’s difficult for the jury to judge this: they are not really sure what they are watching.
Another famous face to the Belgian (but also European) audience. This former singer of Belgian group ‘Sylver’ has both an good voice and years of experience to offer. But it’s doubtful that Europe will recognize her as the former front singer of Sylver, so there’s no advantage to gain there. She brings a slower (more ballad-like) version of this song, but it can’t really hide the fact she can’t ‘own’ this song. The jury was rather positive, alhough they also shared conserns about her voice that didn’t seem to be warmed up: she had difficulty hitting the high notes. The jury is rather positive about sending SIL since she is very experienced. Hopes were high, but after this performance, we have some doubts.
These former Junior Eurovision contestants look like a combination of Jeward, Sandra Kim and Clouseau. Not sure Europe will appreciate this, especially since they are expected to come up with a song in Dutch. The singer actually sounds like the singer of the band Clouseau: the similarity is remarkable. These guys bring a fun performance and have a good sense of humor too. They suddenly played the ESC-tune during the song! They are very young, so performing for a full audience in Copenhagen might be intimidating (although Sandra Kim pulled it off). There is really nothing to say against these guys, but they’re not our favourites.
Choosing this song would be risky since it’s so perfectly made for Roman’s voice. People may remember him from Belgian Idols in 2011. Small detail on the side: he studied at the same college that Emmelie did. His rather light voice will not capture a large audience. Looks like he knows this and chose this song to play on the safe side. The jury also stated that it’s not a good idea to give him a song that requires a large vocal range. Not the most impressive act of the evening. And to be honest: it’s unbelievable the he made it to the call back.
It’s a good thing Bastien is in the second casting, since we already heard this song in the 1st casting. You either like his voice or you don’t. It has a bit of an Elvis sound to it. A happy stage performance, you can see that this guy totally enjoyed his performance. His last high note is one to nominate for the Guiness Book of Records (we can debate whether the high note was a good thing to include, but it was impressive nonetheless). The jury was a bit confused about his act, and whether he was playing Elvis or a kidnapped bookkeeper. As we see it: this is a real performer who doesn’t take life seriously all the time. And isn’t briging a bit of an act a good thing for ESC? The jury could have given this guy some extra credit. He deserved a place in the call back at least.
This singer from Belarus has an impressive voice. Seeing that he also sings in Italian, perhaps he could collect some votes from Italy. Interesting to hear one person perform a song that was originally brought by a duo. He didn’t do that bad. The jury said that we already have a lot of guys singing solo, and they fear an overload. His staging could have had some more swing. In fact, he looked like he didn’t even want to be on stage. Later he said that he was thinking of the faults he was making during the song. And to be honest: it was obvious he was nervous and lacked confidence. If he can work on his staging and hold his nerves, perhaps he can try again next year.
One with an international touch: he is half Chilean, half Belgian, and was born in Paris. One would hope that he brings the best of all these countries to his music. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the biggest dissapointments of the evening. He didn’t sing well and his high notes are a major hazard for your ears. The jury was honest from the start and told him plainly that it didn’t sound great. He stayed calm afterwards and said it has been a good learning experience. On to the next one…
This live band is known for touring all around Belgium and bringing all the possible styles of music you can think of. This could be an advantage: these guys can handle any type of Eurovision song you give them, which leaves all possibilities open. Their joyfulness on stage is really contagious and so they couldn’t have chosen a better song than this jolly tune. Impressive voices and nice staging. The jury found it a bit too playful and therefore not a really serious candidate. These guys could have made Europe smile, but it probably wouldn’t be more than that. Funny to watch anyway.
This lady from Portugal had to impress us big time, since we already heard a beautiful version of this song in the first casting. She totally pulled it off. She knows how to use her voice, knows how to bring herself, knows how to work the cameras and how to fill the venue with all of herself. One of the most powerful performances so far. The jury was honest about the fact that they were so impressed by Udo’s version that it was difficult to be excited about hers. She won the sympathy of the jury, but they just weren’t really impressed. The second mistake of the jury this evening. She should have received way more points and at least a second chance in the callback. Big mistake.
The singers of this duo are the former members of Urban Trad (who represented Belgium in Eurovision 2003). They have been down the Eurovision road before, so expectations from them are perhaps a bit higher. It wasn’t really worth the wait. They could at least have done something about the act: their clothing didn’t match at all and the whole act wasn’t pleasant to watch. Positive: the voices work well together. Negative: there was nothing that really impressed. The jury was critical that they didn’t experiment more with their voices, as they sung in harmony the full song instead of being more creative.
Extra points for choosing this song! Point of attention here: it feels like she can’t control her voice at moments. The jury felt that the choice of song wasn’t that good. And we agree. She had difficulty briging the song and giving it any kind of spark. This lady did her best, but was honestly not the best we saw this evening.
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