Before Eurovision 2017 came to an end, Belgium had already confirmed its participation for Eurovision 2018. After three years of success — and three Top 10 finishes, including a pair of fourth place honours — Belgium now hands the reigns over the Flemish broadcaster VRT to continue the trend.
Speaking to Songfestival.be in May, Flemish Eurovision commentator Peter Van de Veire revealed that VRT will choose its act internally — meaning there will not be a Eurosong national selection.
And following that news a number of artists have shown their interest in representing Belgium — including Natalia Druyts, one of the most famous artists in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium.
Speaking to Nieuwsblad, the 36-year-old said: “I do not want to have to compete against other Flemish artists, but if VRT asks me directly to defend our country and I have a good number, I would definitely do this. But we’ll see what the future brings.”
Natalia, who now calls Antwerp home, rose to fame as runner-up on Idool 2003, where she competed against Turkey’s 2009 representative Hadise.
In 2004 she tried her luck in Eurosong 2004 — the Belgian pre-selection — where she finished second with the song “Higher than the Sun”. It went on to peak at #2 in the charts. After Eurosong 2004, Natalia lost her interest in Eurovision, saying that the atmosphere between the candidates wasn’t that relaxed.
Our readers may be familiar with some of her hits. They include “I’ve Only Begun to Fight” and “Hallelujah”, both of which hit #1 on the singles chart, and “Without You” and “Risin”, both of which hit #2. One of our favourites is “Boom”, which reached #10.
The Geel-born beauty has also participated in Sterren Op De Dansvloer — the Flemish take on Strictly Come Dancing. She’s also one of the coaches on The Voice of Flanders and The Voice Kids.
In 2017 she was part of Liefde Voor Muziek, in which different Flemish and Dutch artists had to cover each other’s hits. Natalia can command different music styles including pop, soul and R&B. Given all that, surely she can pull off a Eurovision song!
But Natalia’s road to Eurovision is filled with other prominent artists, who have also said they’d give it a go if asked. Among them are Kate Ryan (Belgium 2006), Belle Perez (NF Belgium 2006), Gene Thomas, Isabelle A, Ozark Henry and De Romeo’s. The competition is stiff to say the least.
VRT is currently building its Eurovision 2018 team. Once it’s in order, they’ll turn to choosing their ideal artist.
The last time VRT organised a 100% internal selection was in 2010 when it chose Tom Dice with his song “Me and My Guitar”. That year Belgium managed to reach the grand final for the very first time and ultimately placed sixth.
Who would you like to see on stage waving the Belgian flag? Let us know in the comments box below!