Bonjour Belgique and hallo België! Today the Wiwi Jury – our in-house panel of music unprofessionals – caught the Eurostar to Brussels. We had waffles, moules frites, then got a coffee and sat down in the Grand Place to have some real talk on Belgium’s Eurovision 2017 act Blanche and her song “City Lights”. Did it leaving us saying oooh la la, or oooh na, na? Read on to find out!
Blanche – “City Lights”
Seventeen-year-old Ellie Delvaux, who goes by the stage name Blanche, first came to fame in 2016 as a contestant on The Voice Belgique. She made it to the second live show before being eliminated. Blanche was internally selected by Walloon broadcaster RTBF.
“City Lights” reviews
Luis: I can’t believe this is the same country who sent Patrick Ouchene, Iris or Axel Hirsoux. Belgium has metamorphosed from ugly duckling into Eurovision powerhouse in a very short time, and Blanche is another proof of that. “City Lights” blends innocence with darkness and creates a moody atmosphere, which is tailor-made for Blanche’s deep vocals. This entry is so intelligently crafted that I could go on for hours on how delighted I am to have it at Eurovision 2017.
Deban: Belgium serves it differently yet again. “City Lights” is cinematic electronica. Blanche’s androgynous vocals deliberately counter dynamism. It is flat, but the production which remains sufficiently tuned in, gives it a darker scope. What’s even more interesting is that “City Lights” serves a healthy bite of Blanche whilst helping to create a greater thirst for her work.
Steinunn: Blanche is like Belgium’s answer to Lorde and Lana Del Rey. Her deep and misty voice lures you in and the song itself is fine electro-pop that ticks all the boxes of a successful song. It is current and interesting and has a moody yet smooth vibe. The only concern I have is the staging, but if Blanche gives us a solid performance she is definitely in it to win it.
William: A purveyor of dark pop, Blanche puts her rich and melodic vocals to stellar use on “City Lights”, which is easily the best studio cut of the year. Deliberately ignoring massive peaks and valleys, the song progresses in a linear fashion, adding dynamism through highly contemporary production that includes digital beats, electro-drumming and evolving rhythms. Such polished tracks can come off cold and sterile. But Blanche adds warmth through her vulnerability and overt longing. Regardless of the outcome at Eurovision, this deserves to be a radio hit.
Bernardo: While I enjoy “City Lights” I feel like there is something missing in this magical formula — probably staging. Blanche’s voice is unique and competent, but ultimately the song falls flat without a decent stage show (and I know Belgium will bring it to Kyiv). While it feels very contemporary, it also feels like it has more than 3 minutes and that is never a good sign. I enjoy it. If it’s a winner? Probably not.
Chris: Belgium’s rapid progression in to a top-ten mainstay looks to continue with Blanche. The song works on multiple levels: perhaps most impressively, it encapsulates what to expect from Blanche as an artist in under three minutes. There’s just an atmosphere about this song. It’s nervy and edgy but in a good way — by playing it cool, Blanche seems to have everything under control. It’s not a winner, but it is marvellous.
George: I have to say, Belgium keeps impressing me. “City Lights” is a really contemporary and catchy song. It’s not a typical Eurovision song and I’m really feeling it. It’s really mystic and edgy and Blanche’s vocals give the song a dark feeling. And as with “What’s the Pressure”, I hated it on first listen, but then fell in love with it.
Robyn: “City Lights” is a piece of smart electropop, which plays up to Blanche’s chilled-out and very European style. My only concern is that Blanche might not be engaging enough as a performer to make the song work as a live Eurovision performance. ESC has never had a performer with Lana Del Rey levels of chill before. But if it all works, this could deliver Belgium one of their best results yet.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 38 jurors but only have room for 8 reviews. The remaining 30 scores are below:
We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 7 and a high of 10.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 8.67/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!