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).
Ahead of Eurovision 2015, he placed fourth with the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals. Wiwiblogger Padraig reached climax. As he wrote at the time:
“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.”
All good songs but I do not listen Laura’s and Loïc’s song that often. I do like Loïcs new songs!
Tom Frantzis would never have gotten the same result.
1. Loïc everytime, his voice and the mysterious sound of the song is my favourite Belgian song ever! 2. Laura Tesoro, when I have to choose between 2016 and 2017 I choose 2016, Laura has this funky style that I absolutely love and when it comes on I always sing along or dance along 3. Blanche, it is kinda hurting me that I have to put Blanche at the bottom here because it is such a good song! I would rather not put this song at the bottom but it has to. Simply said: I love all these songs but… Read more »
Too hard for me to decide as i love them all the same.
‘City Lights’ might be closest to what I am listening to outside Eurovision, but the winning combination of dark electronics and near ludicrous sing-sang that is ‘Rhythm Inside’ just mystifies me again and again, while Laura Tesoro’s cross of Chic and Alanis Morissette never fails to put my feet in motion.
I’m just very worried how VRT will be able to keep up that level – what’s the pressure? 😉
“City Lights”, but I like all three songs 🙂
If anything, the previous two were rather over-choreographed. If the song is good enough, it should be allowed to speak for itself.
Loïc by far. The song is amazing and the whole performance groundbreaking. It was my personal winner in 2015 and not because it charted or you can still hear it in the radio. It’s because the song was really good.
Funny and maybe coincidental, but all of them were announced as 10th qualifier!
They nearly shat on my dreams
Belgium is having its most succesfull decade in eurovision since the very beginning. In between Sandra Kim’s victory in ’86 and Tom Dice in 2010, there has only been Urban Trad that got a very decent placing. In my opinion, Belgium is only gettin better these past few years as well. Blanche has one of my all time favourite songs in ESC! Keep up the good work 😉
Melanie Cohl came 6th in 1998 and Vanessa Chinitor did quite well too despite her 2nd spot in the running order (12th).
My TOP 3: 3 Blanche 2 Laura 1 Loïc. Loic was really good and different and he has a GREAT voice. Laura was really fun and a perfect opening act. City lights for me is soporific. Never liked it. Can’t wait to see what they will bring in 2018! From all the Western Europe countries, Belgium is the one that has the more chances to win the contest soon. Italy, France, Spain, U.K., Switzerland have like 0 chance to win this soon. So go Belgium!!!
It’s quite unfair considering each entry excelled at what it was aiming to convey, so to me it’s comparing apples, oranges, and bananas. Personally, I find myself listening to “City Lights” more often at this 3 month point than I did with the other two entries. “Rhythm Inside” is a close 2nd, with “What’s the Pressure” not so far behind. In terms of staging, “Rhythm Inside” played with angles and the LED staging in an innovative way that really blew the lid off of what was supposedly possible. RTBF continued the trend with “City Lights,” but VRT didn’t drop the… Read more »
I don’t think there’s ever been a better opener to a Eurovision final than Laura’s WTP. Such a great song. Blanche was such a disappointment to me after so many great Belgium entries.
Your taste is a disappointment to all music connoisseurs
How would you know what a music connoisseur thinks?
This is literally the hardest question I’ve ever been asked.
Laura 4 me
Is that a take on Wiktorija’s song?
Loic all the way! I cannot listen to City Lights – that girl spoiled it all.
While I like 2015 and 2017, my fav is Laura who is still my first for that year! Keep up with the great entries Belgium!
Laura as good, but I don’t think giving he song should have finished Top 10. I think whenever RTBF are in charge of Eurovision, we get the best Belgian entries.
Blanche is so far my all-time favourite entry, City Lights has had a life outside of the contest too, which shows how versatile the song was. Rhythm Inside was good too but I didn’t really appreciate it until I saw it live, I loved the live performance and the choreography.
I really want Belgium to win soon though. Brussels would be an amazing host city.
Rhythm Inside. Loic is an Artist, with a capital A. He has an own style and he is really creative. His song was pure and touching, yet avant-garde. His staging brought it to the next level. His voice has a unique tone. He is a STAR!
Or am I?
Blanche and Laura both had great songs and their top 10 result was well deserved. However, I don’t think I’ll ever get the hype with “Rhythm Inside”. In my opinion, there’s nothing special in that song, it’s pretty bland actually and the performance was annoying.
I voted for Blanche because it is the best song in overall and will be the one aging better. My first impression of the song wasn’t the best, she looked so frail on stage during SF1. But then we’ve all learned that’s actually one of the strengths of her performance. And the song is just so easy to listen to, hard to point any flaws. However Loïc is by far the most complete artist. He went on to greater things ever since his ESC appearance. He’s quite unique and talented in many ways so I think he’ll have a prosperous… Read more »
“Rhythm Inside” and “City Lights” were great entries. “What’s the Pressure” was okay as well, but it was more about Laura’s great stage presence than the song itself.
shake it shake it shake it shake mi amor
Loic’s song (along with Aminata’s) was balancing 2015 edition with well-crafted ballads so seriously that from recent editions the year remains unbeatable for me in core aspects like music diversity and good production. Not like it’s much in that song musically but it keeps flowing well every time I stumble on it (and yeah, he’s an interesting performer). Blanche with her hit, well, I enjoy when singers can inspire songwriters to make special blissful song(s) as a gift for them and as result for many others. So I’ve chosen ’15 and ’17 while Laura’s song rather goes to pool where… Read more »
While I like Loic’s ‘Rhythm Inside’, my vote goes to ‘City Lights’. I love it since the first time I listened to it and I suffered during the rehearsals week when things weren’t going the right way. The staging could have been better, but the overall result was satisfying.
About ‘What’s the pressure’, I will only say that it’s one of the most annoying song in recent times, the staging really lifted up it, but the top 10 placing was too much.
Loic for sure! Thanks to Eurovision i am following this ARTIST for 2 years already and i am so proud of him. Golden boy and soul
2015: the weird face dance movement will remain the most memorable aspect of this act for me xD The song alone is solid, a nice modern Eurovision tune, thumbs up. 2016: too happy go lucky for my taste. Also the intro sounds like a bad impression of (iconic QUEEN song) Another One Bites the Dust. I don’t necessarily dislike it, but I’m not a fan, either. 2017: My personal winner of this years’ show. A soft mystic ballad and Blanches voice is always a highlight. Also, Blanche is getting bonus points for having improved with each rehearsal. She ended up… Read more »
Rhythm Inside and City Lights are great songs. I hope Belgium remains with this approach.
“We’re gonna rapapap tonight” is sophisticated? Lol, no. I also think the melody isn’t good enough to make up for the minimalistic composition. I guess Rhythm Inside is loved so much because it’s different, but to me, it could have been better.
City Lights would be my choice. It took a little getting used to, but it’s quite special. I especially like the transition from deep vocals to high vocals. If it was just one or the other, it might have been repetitive, but this made it fresh.
The order right now perfectly sums up my feelings even though all those entries are stellar in their own genre. I didn’t feel “Rhythm Inside” at first when the song came out but Loic blew entire competition in his SF out of the water and that was the only performance I could think of while falling asleep (show I watched in hospital, no less, going home the next day). I think combo of “Rhythm Inside” and “Love Injected” gave ESC a lot of good press for going in right direction – there were avant-garde not without a reason. 4th place… Read more »
^^And that was my first comment here even though I’m a reader of this site since 2014. 🙂
And that was cool one albeit I don’t support Laura’s song at all. Liked your mentioned combination of Aminata and Loic for 2015 as well.
City Lights. I’m still SHAKING from how good it is.
Oh I can see that it’s true!! Based on how you have used the correct form of the verb ‘shake’ for the first time on your comments.
It’s truly a magical song.
Do you live under a rock? The word ‘shook’/’shooketh’ is internet slang. Learn it, love it, live it.
I would never imagine i would say this 3 years ago, but all are great!
1- city lights
2- what’s the pressure
3 – rhythm inside
Well I just realized that the Netherlands and Belgium both have been sending mostly great entries since 2013 and they both should have won since then.
NL in 2014 and Belgium now!
For their great song entries to lose to great enticing performers with attention grasping back-stories with bland at best songs is an abomination to say the least!
Thanks from Netherlands!
How many countries did loic’s song chart in?
Owing to the gender difference ,irrespective, he will win the poll !!
Citylights is the better song
Rhythm inside had better staging
That’s hard! Really hard! Belgium wasn’t one of my favourite countries in Eurovision. Until 2015! When “Rhythm inside” came out, I was so excited! It was a good surprise! And the performance elevated it! If there hadn’t been so many good songs that year, Belgium would have won the whole thing! In 2016, I wasn’t that excited, though I liked the song. Again the performance was amazing and that’s why it came top 10! That was impressive, as I didn’t expect it to do so well, but we’ve seen several times how a perfomance can elevate a song, compared to… Read more »
Blanche 100% I am soooo looking forward to their next entry, goed bezig zuiderburen.
I have two (2) favorites: “What’s the Pressure?” by Laura Tesoro, and “City Lights” by Blanche 🙂
IT’S SO HARD TO DECIDE! Never thought I’d say that back in 2014!! Well done, Belgium!
Blanche all the way!!!!