After much hype, Belgium’s revamped Eurosong 2016 kicked off on Sunday evening. The opening show introduced us to the five national finalists — Adil Aarab, Astrid Destuyver, Tom Frantzis, Laura Tesoro and Amaryillis Uitterlinden — and gave us a taster of what’s to come.
We didn’t hear any of the competing songs, instead each of the five reinterpreted a Eurovision classic before an expert panel made up of Belgian indie rock choir leader Stijn Kolacny and Eurovision 2009 winner Alexander Rybak. The “Fairytale” singer proved to be a revelation as a judge, telling Laura that he loved her “arrogant childish stupid look” and joking that he was “allergic to good music” following a sneeze — no comment!
The performances themselves were rather lacklustre. The default approach seemed to be to slow down all the bangers, turning them into either ballads or mid-tempo numbers. Perhaps they’re saving themselves for next week, when their actual songs will be revealed. Once we’d heard all the singers, viewers at home were asked to text in for their favourite, with Amaryillis’ version of “Euphoria” coming out on top. Her victory was purely symbolic though, as there were no eliminations and all the contestants will enter the 17 January final with a clean slate.
You can watch all five covers below, along with the group performance of “Heroes”.
Group performance “HEROES”
Originally sung by Måns Zelmerlöw (Sweden 2015)
Astrid Destuyver “Everyway That I Can”
Originally sung by Sertab Erener (Turkey 2003)
Laura Tesoro “Dum Tek Tek”
Originally sung by Hadise (Turkey 2009)
Adil Aarab “Hold Me Now”
Originally sung by Johnny Logan (Ireland 1987)
Tom Frantzis “Rhythm Inside”
Originally sung by Loïc Nottet (Belgium 2015)
Amaryillis Uitterlinden “Euphoria”
Originally sung by Loreen (Sweden 2012)
The action continues next Sunday, when the five contestants will sing their entries for the first time. Beverly Jo Scott (Loïc’s mentor during The Voice and the co-writer of his tune “Rhythm Inside”) and singer Tom Helsen will sit on the expert panel.
What did you make of tonight’s show? Do you spy any potential winners? Let us know below.