Hooverphonic Sennek Eliot Belgium Eurovision

They’re the trip-hop trio that were announced as Belgium’s Eurovision 2020 act a little over one week ago. And Hooverphonic are determined to avoid the pitfalls that led to the downfall of their immediate predecessors. 

Hooverphonic discuss Blanche, Sennek and Eliot

Speaking to Songfestival.be, founding member Alex Callier sounds off on the performances of Blanche (2017), Sennek (2018) and Eliot (2019).

Assessing the contrasting fortunes of the two most recent Wallonian efforts — fourth place versus a non-qualification, Callier says it was mostly down to song choice.

The biggest difference between those two was that “City Lights” was a better song… Eliot’s song started very strong but the chorus wasn’t that strong.

And Blanche has a very distinctive sound and special tone. So even with a performance not that strong, because she didn’t always hit the notes, the song and the voice were really very intriguing and that helped. Eliot, his voice was good but not so special… and way too nervous in his performance”.

But, of course, a successful Eurovision entry is like a multi-layered cake. There’s more than one ingredient in the mix. However, the exact recipe remains a mystery.

“It’s a mixture of everything and that is important. There is no formula for that. What you can do is making sure the energy is right, are the vocals good and, of course, the message, although that is relative – not everybody listens to the lyrics of a song”.

Close followers of the competition will already know that Callier was involved with writing Sennek’s “A Matter Of Time” in 2018. That too failed to qualify.

The non-qualification, he claims, was down to decisions made by others.

“With Sennek they made the big mistake of putting her on that catwalk. That wasn’t the best idea in my opinion. If I have to be honest, at that time I knew that wasn’t the best position”.

Furthermore, the song changed significantly from when he first worked on it.

“The evolution of the song went really weird. I started writing with her and then she finished it with somebody else. My version had a choir during the entire song. My idea for her staging was that she would be surrounded by a cool band, like rockabillies.

So surrounded by them, singing along, taking you in. But they didn’t do that, they made it more a diva song, but then you have to be a real diva. That was the advantage for Blanche, she didn’t have to be a diva, because her song was so fragile”.

Alex assures the interviewer that “we will work with other teams”.

Hooverphonic Eurovision 2020 Interview

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Kathy Vandeperre
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Kathy Vandeperre

Their latest release “Horrible Person” totally flopped in Belgium’s Ultratop 50. VRT are sending past glories. Callier is out of inspiration.

Caquita
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Caquita

Elliot had 0 presence on the stage. A big song for a small singer. The staging was also a mess.

Kosey
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Kosey

What is it with this constant criticism of the chorus in Eliot’s song? I found it really powerful and complimented the verses brilliantly.
Also, what is it with the hats? I smell a building sense of pretentiousness with this act. I hope they prove me wrong.

James
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James

I think many of us had this image in our heads when we first heard “Wake Up” and expecting the chorus to kick things into high gear after a solid first stanza. It never quite made the mark but that’s all technical that would have been easy to ignore if paired with a good live stage performance.

But Eliot’s live vocals during the night sealed the deal, among other things people cited at the time.

Sabrina
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Sabrina

I always felt the chorus would work better as a pre-chorus, introducing a catchy hook that never showed up. But this is related to what we normally expect from an entry in a competition. “Chameleon” from Malta did the same with a drop, the difference is that the song later delivers the expected chorus. Taking that aside, I like how it avoids being an obvious track. It’s that the kind of song that doesn’t become a single, but adds something to an album.

Kosey
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Kosey

For me the song was filled with anxiety in the verses and then a sadness and melancholy in the chorus – the downbeat nature of it seemed perfect for me (kind of a release from the anxiety) and so I just don’t get the criticism of the song. I agree on the actual performance, the less said about that the better. I wonder if it is because most people’s ears are not tuned in for two-toned songs? I also loved Agnete’s Icebreaker in 2016 but that got criticized in much the same way as Wake Up. I have to concede… Read more »

Mr. Vanilla Bean
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Mr. Vanilla Bean

I’d LOVE to hear the Alex Callier version of “A Matter Of Time”. i have a feeling it might be even better than the Eurovision version.

Nikki
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Nikki

I like to see that they seem to want to learn and fix past problems. I still thinking their weakest point is going to be the staging, both because of their music style not being one for big stuff and being already three people, they can’t add that many backing or dancers as a solo performer. I think I said it already that another problematic thing they might find themselves in would be draw. If they get a first half slot on the ‘Diva’ Semifinal, they might end up buried and forgotten amongst the more uptempo/ schlager/Fuego/ you call it… Read more »

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

they were shady af haha having a good song might not guarantee a high placing or even a qualification but issa good start

Stevan
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Stevan

Both Eliot’s and Sennek’s stagings and vocals sucked, there isn’t much left to say really

Joe
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Joe

I like this guy. It’d be one thing if he just slagged on the other entries, but he’s critical of his own entry and has clearly taken the time to consider what made Blanche work and what held back Sennek and Eliot. He’s not disrespectful but he isn’t a suck-up either. The Belgian delegation has been very forward and self-reflective so far, and it’s good to see. Hope it comes through in the entry! It is this straight-forwardness and lack of pretension I really respect in a delegation. You see it in both successful delegations (Netherlands, Czech Republic) and ones… Read more »

Henrikh Mugosa
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Henrikh Mugosa

Great comment, Joe!

Mr. Vanilla Bean
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Mr. Vanilla Bean

Very accurate assessments. I’m hopeful.

Hatrið mun sigra
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Hatrið mun sigra

well, I loved every recent belgian entry. I’ll never understand why amot did not qualify, the staging was not THAT bad. Best luck to hooverphonic, Luka Cruysberghs was on my wishlist for eurovision ever since she won the voice.

Azaad
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Azaad

Brutal but honest. While I now think they’ll be too calculated to win (all the most recent winners have an X factor to them) I think they’ll do well and get the best ever Flemish placing in the contest.

Möhrant
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Möhrant

Though we love a good Love Love Peace Peace, there really isn’t a one formula for a good Eurovision entry. Just look at how different the last 10 winners are. Best way to do well is be good all round in song, voice, staging, etc.

MusicIstheKey
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MusicIstheKey

Well, many of us do not love “Love Love Peace Peace”…..

WannaEatMySpaghetti
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WannaEatMySpaghetti

Like… how the f*ck is it possible to not love “Love Love Peace Peace”? 😮 Everything was perfect (except for the grandma and the grandpa not able to do playback at the beginning but it was funny).

I think you’re not human if you don’t like this :’)

Fast Food Music Lover
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Fast Food Music Lover

It would be hilarious if they do not qualify too.

WannaEatMySpaghetti
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WannaEatMySpaghetti

No it wouldn’t. And they didn’t say anything bad, they are honest. Eliot needed to be more self confident and both the staging from 2018 and 2019 were a mess.

Sabrina
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Sabrina

I love the final version of “A Matter of Time”, but I’m also curious to know his version now. His observations are very accurate, he really put some thought about the entries. Both Alex and the head of delegation sounded very honest and aware about Belgium’s experience in the last few years. They know what went wrong and that’s a great start for getting things right.

Tibor
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Tibor

Perhaps you remember me saying at the time, that I always thought something was lacking from “A matter of time”. It’s interesting to have him point out, that he imagined it with a choir. Voice layering could be a really interesting addition to this song, and I really would like to hear it. What I don’t get, is his rockabilly reference. Perhaps he thinks about something else than I do, when he talks about “rockabilly”, but I cannot imagine how this would have helped.

Sabrina
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Sabrina

I remember you said that, Tibor. I personally don’t think the studio version lacked anything, but I agree that some voice layering would help Sennek a lot when performing it live. And if well done, wouldn’t hurt the track too. By reading again the “rockabillies” part, maybe he was using it as an example of a cool band and not making direct reference to the old school style? Unless his version was way more bluesy rock and less Bond theme.

dygh
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dygh

Classic Alex: analytical and forward. He is a perfectionist and that is why 2020 is the year Belgium will slay again.

Jo.
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Jo.

I think both were weak and middle-of-the road entries

KESC
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KESC

Not sure about Wake Up, but A Matter of Time was a very good entry. It was not a winner, but it could have definitely reached the TOP 10 with the right staging.
I still can not understand how they could destroy its chances with that “staging”.

Granny Smith
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Granny Smith

I like how honest and critical he is being with his assessments here. I think we all agree the issues he cited were the big issues with those two entries. If they can reflect on their own songs like that, then I’m sure they’ll choose the right one for the contest. You never know what will happen, but for now I’m very optimistic about their qualification

Elnedeyer
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Elnedeyer

The fact that they know every weakness and strong sides of Belgium’s previous entries makes me think they will be clever about both song choice and the staging.

Jo.
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Jo.

yeah, I’m getting more and more excited about their song.