In 2014 Belgium crashed out of the Eurovision semi-finals. Singing about his mother while an apparition danced in the background, Axel Hirsoux creeped out much of Europe. He landed in 14th position with just 28 points.
Perhaps spurred on by that sub-par performance, Belgium has emerged as a Eurovision powerhouse, finishing in the Top 10 three years in a row. That includes a very impressive pair of fourth-place finishes.
With the (completely unsurprising) news that VRT has confirmed Belgium’s participation for Eurovision in 2018, it’s a good time to reflect on the country’s recent success. So we just have to ask you: Of Loïc Nottet, Laura Tesoro and Blanche, who delivered your favourite Eurovision performance?
Loïc Nottet — “Rhythm Inside”
Avant-garde, mysterious and totally on-trend, Loïc’s Eurovision performance turned Belgium’s fortunes around. His arty, black-and-white staging has subsequently inspired a number of other Eurovision performances (including Cyprus in 2017).
“Prepare for an aural orgasm! The song, the singer – all perfect. From the moment I heard the 30-second teaser I was captivated. Lyrically sophisticated, musically daring, and filled with lush vocals – ‘Rhythm Inside’ has it all. I wanna rap-pap-pap all night. Love, love, love! (I’ll cry if Belgian TV ruin this with crappy staging).”
Laura Tesoro — “What’s the Pressure?”
Ahead of Belgium’s national final, Laura Tesoro was flying under the radar. Eurovision fans outside of Belgium were pushing her competitor Tom Frantzis and many had written her song off as dated and cheesy.
Fast-forward to Eurovision and Laura, who seems to be powered by nuclear everlasting batteries, brought energy, pizzaz and some megawatt staging that made all of Europe dance. She filled the stage with on-point choreography and stellar camera work, turning Globen Arena into a proper discotheque.
Laura ultimately placed third in her semi-final and tenth in the grand final. The latter result is particularly impressive given that she had to open the entire show.
Blanche — “City Lights”
In early March, shortly after Blanche’s “City Lights” leaked on the social network VK, Belgium’s odds of winning Eurovision fell from 100/1 at most agencies to as low as 3/1. The song’s incredibly fresh, electro feel instantly won over the critics and the fandom, raising hopes that Belgium could challenge for the trophy.
Ahead of the contest Blanche finished second with the Wiwi Jury. As Luis wrote at the time:
“I can’t believe this is the same country who sent Patrick Ouchene, Iris and Axel Hirsoux. Belgium has metamorphosed from ugly duckling into Eurovision powerhouse in a very short span of time, and Blanche is further 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 about how delighted I am to have it at Eurovision 2017.”