Among the main highlights of Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light was a compilation of artists singing “Love Shine A Light”. The song, about illuminating dark times through togetherness, was a celebration of perseverance and the Eurovision family at large. All but one country participated in the feel-good number: Belgium.

Following some criticism from Belgian fans (among others), broadcaster VRT released a video and article on Sunday where Alex Callier of the band Hooverphonic explains why Belgium was absent. He says that for them it didn’t feel 100% right to participate, because in his mind the gesture is too simple of an answer to the world’s problems.

“People who are really confronted with misery know that,” he says. “‘Love Shine a Light’ is a bit too blunt. And the world is not that simple. I find that very difficult. I already said this week that I don’t feel it. These are difficult times. I want to do everything I can to help people. Do I help people with this? I think I help people by making beautiful music, by doing other things”.

 

“I did expect the commotion. But on the other hand, to me, it’s very simple. Artistically I have never compromised. The only reason I had considered this was if all the proceeds from this hymn had gone to charity, I would have set aside my principles, but that is not the case now. It’s not going to charity. It was just a TV show.”

“I never gave my ok in advance to participate in this type of TV broadcast. I gave my ok to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. And I also do that with 200% and there I am really going to fight for the best place for our country. I also have in in that TV show wished everyone much strength. It’s not that we weren’t present in the show, we have sent much strength to everyone.”

Het feit dat Hooverphonic er als enige act bewust voor gekozen heeft om niet mee te werken aan de "Love shine a light"…

Posted by VRT NWS on Sunday, May 17, 2020

The act did, as Alex says, did send their support in other ways. Band members Alex, Luca and Raymond addressed fans with the following messages.

Luka: “Doing Eurovision has always been my dream. But health and safety are priority now. And there will be a next time”.

Alex: “We really gonna miss you guys this summer at the festivals. But we are working on some new remixes for ‘Release Me’, so check out the streaming platforms and keep safe”.

Raymond: “My guitar will always be ready to suit you with sweet melodies. Music will prevail. So, stay healthy, also your loved ones”.

Read more of our Belgian news here.

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Sarala
Sarala
15 days ago

He has totally missed the point, which is about creating something positive by bringing people together in a different way – something which everyone can identify with right now. The literal meaning of the lyrics (whatever that might be) is irrelevant – the skit would only work with a simple, singalong kind of song that’s easily dividable, not some complicated piece of performance art, and the one they picked for it worked well. HP have really embarrassed themselves with this uppity attitude which is a real shame.

Last edited 15 days ago by Sarala
Jimmy Smit
Jimmy Smit
5 months ago

Whatever the specific view of Hooverphonic, I think it is very very sad that Belgium was the only country not to be represented by a selected artist for such a performance in the official Eurovision show in 2020, which was dedicated to sharing love and shining a light.

Belgium should be there with everyone else. I agree that Hooverphonic should be deselected for 2021 or they should elect to sit it out like they did last week.

CarlosM
CarlosM
5 months ago

He should’ve just participated. If the group had, no one would’ve said a word, good or bad, about the group, but only about the song. Now, since they didn’t and he had to bash it, we are hating his decision.

So, since the group didn’t participate, how are they helping? Are they fundraising for charity or volunteering their time? Or, just being jerks?

Whisker
Whisker
5 months ago
Reply to  CarlosM

Very good questions!

Whisker
Whisker
5 months ago

Spot on!

WannaEatMySpaghetti
WannaEatMySpaghetti
5 months ago

I understand why people are against him (Alex) but stop saying Hooverphonic is loosing votes for next year, we all known it’s not true :’) there are many reasons: The first is that eurovision fans are a minority when it comes to vote and the lambda viewers won’t know anything about it. The second reasons is that half of the fans won’t care if they like the song (but the song has to be better than the one of this year). 1 example that was waaaay worst than what Alex Callier said: Jacques Houdek. All the fans knew he said… Read more »

Una
Una
5 months ago

Maybe Belgium should reconsider their approach to Eurovision. It looks like it’s a big boys’ club. Same composer in 2017 and 2019, Hooverphonic-related and Hooverphonic in 2018 and 2020. From virtually unknown performers to a known group. There must be something better.

Lily
Lily
5 months ago

If I understood well fans were supposed to sing that song, not the artists?

Amadeus
Amadeus
5 months ago

Good call. The show was atrocious. And that song sounded horrible with all the different audio qualities from each recoding. No sound mixing could save that. What a terrible idea. It sounded very amateurish.

Good foresight on Hooverphonic for deciding to sit this one out.

Taco
Taco
5 months ago
Reply to  Amadeus

Well Amadeur, like Alex you had no idea what this show was about. Its ok, but sometime when you don’t understand it, you might not want to react.
But we all know that this is not about giving your opinion, its about trolling isn’t it .

Erik
Erik
5 months ago
Reply to  Taco

Yes, I do get it that anyone can say they think the children sing so “well” because it’s their own children. Even if the concept was good, the music in that final performance was not strong. It was even outshined by Nettas music box performance.

ehehege
ehehege
5 months ago

Why is he saying he makes ‘beautiful’ music? The correct word is ‘bland’.

Stephanie
Stephanie
5 months ago
Reply to  ehehege

I suggest you better listen first to some songs they made in the past! They really made some great songs before you make a statement like that!!!

Alex
Alex
5 months ago

oh god he is a pain in the… so snub and thinks he’s better-than-the-rest. This is not part of the ESC spirit. It’s a shame he forced the female vocalist of the group not to take part.

VRT should reconsider sending them, there was another scandal with them a few months ago, the same guy said nasty things about ESC and the quality of songs. If he thinks he will do well because of their name or ‘quality’then he’s in for a surprise…

1TruSeer
1TruSeer
5 months ago

What a nasty bunch, hope the Belgian broadcaster reconsider sending them next year.
Hope they flop if they do go.

Film
Film
5 months ago

Someone not wanting to participate in a segment of a few seconds group song, because they dont like the song or even think is below them it may be arrogant, but its their right. I still dont see whats the big deal. They should not be obligated to do something they dont want to.

Werner Vervoort
Werner Vervoort
5 months ago

Kind reminder… Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ARTICLE 4 Prohibition of slavery and forced labour 2. No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour. ARTICLE 9 Freedom of thought, conscience and religion 1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance. ARTICLE 10 Freedom of expression 1. Everyone has the right to freedom… Read more »

David
David
5 months ago

What the hell has that got to do with anything? He’s free to his own thoughts, and we’re free to call him a douchebag for those thoughts.

Taco
Taco
5 months ago

It works both ways Werner, we who think this is a strange thing to do, not to sing along, also have the right to say that.. or not ?

Una
Una
5 months ago

The use of human rights laws to justify Alex’s refusal to participate in the segment is *RIDICULOUS AND OFFENSIVE*. Tell that to nurses, doctors, supermarket and pharmacy personnel, public transportation drivers, law enforcement and others that worked during the peak of the situation. Got the irony? Shall I explain it again?

Forty artists agreed to participating in the segment. Alex did not. And the Eurvision fans (and others) have made their opinion of him. End of.

Erik
Erik
5 months ago
Reply to  Una

Alex can do what he wants

Whisker
Whisker
5 months ago
Reply to  Erik

#truecolours

Treatment
Treatment
5 months ago

The show was a little too earnest, a little too sombre, but it was something and they did a decent job for something yanked together with a few weeks. This guy sounds like an absolute tool, however.

Dawid
Dawid
5 months ago

I’m just disappointed. I like their music but I just don’t want to hear another word from him. Let him write song for Luka. She can perform solo or with Raymond but he could stay away from ESC and keep his opinions to himself.

Henrick Brühl
Henrick Brühl
5 months ago

I agree with him. It was absolutely cringe, just like Gal Godot’s video with all her out of touch celebrity friends singing the communist song “Imagine” from their mansions whilst people are suffering and dying around the world. Singing a song doesn’t help anyone and as Alex says, doesn’t solve the world’s problems. If I were a singer and would have been participating in Eurovision this year I would have refused to sing Love Shine a Light also. No one wants to be be lectured by artists about anything, or hearing how bad they’re coping being in lockdown in their… Read more »

Xènia
Xènia
5 months ago
Reply to  Henrick Brühl

Preach!

Sarala
Sarala
15 days ago
Reply to  Henrick Brühl

Alex says this type of song doesn’t solve the world’s problems – as if performing in Eurovision in the conventional setting is supposed to do that. It’s he who needs to stick to music rather than preaching.

Last edited 15 days ago by Sarala
Jake Dallas
Jake Dallas
5 months ago

I might understand why Alex didn’t want to do it. But what about Luka and Raymond? We never saw their side of the story. Alex was talking about it like he was the only member of Hooverphonic. Go_A and Little Big only sent out one member of their band, why didn’t Belgium do the same?

James
James
5 months ago
Reply to  Jake Dallas

He’s their spokesperson a.k.a. the one who pulls all the strings based on the many interviews of theirs that I’ve seen on Youtube.

Laura
Laura
5 months ago

I’m in shame for my own country. Alex how dare you, just do it for everyone in this difficult period, is that too much to asked? Many esc fans don’t pick this and will remember this next year my dear. don’t think your god ok.

Laura
Laura
5 months ago
Reply to  Laura

*You’re

PP77
PP77
5 months ago

With this he dissapointed many ESC fans and ESC viewers. Why he go twice in ESC. RTBF made mistake to give 2021 to VRT

Whisker
Whisker
5 months ago
Reply to  PP77

Belgium might save its ESC dignity by having RTBF next year or the VRT selecting someone else instead. There must be some moral clause there.

dygh
dygh
5 months ago

He deserves all the hate. I will leave this quote from Alex Callier on thursday in a talkshow on why he would not be seen: “It is a sh*t song. (…) I do this 25 years and I never have done a song or something I don’t believe in. If I do something, I have to believe in it. I entered Eurovision so I could do the production and act by myself, I could control everything.” Then the host makes the remark of being the only country not present, the response: “So what? Is it important?” After this they talked… Read more »

Film
Film
5 months ago
Reply to  dygh

Why he deserve all the hate? For being honest and staying true to himself? Maybe he is too direct, but i dont see how singing a song that you dont want would be helping. I think its better to be true to yourself and not be fake doing things just because its expected of you, but dont want to. Im not even a fan of theirs or anything. I just i dont see it as disrespect, but their right, i think we saw snipped of their song and they still said few things and participated, just not in the song… Read more »

Erik
Erik
5 months ago
Reply to  dygh

No one deserves hate. That’s blasphemy.

Timi
Timi
5 months ago

It was cute but it was cheesy af. If they didn’t feel it honest, I think they made the right choice. Worst would have been to see them in the video and feel how uncomfortable they where. The video is better without their fake enthusiasm.

I don’t see the big deal, I’m sorry.

Malo
Malo
5 months ago
Reply to  Timi

It’s about the idea. Eurovision’s spirit is about bringing people together, and that’s what this was. It required a minimal effort.

Whisker
Whisker
5 months ago
Reply to  Malo

Or no effort at all. As other people here already said, Go_A and Little Big had had their female vocalists doing their bits, #nopunintended

Piment
Piment
5 months ago

Here is a man with integrity and this should be respected! Downvote me as much as you want now.

dygh
dygh
5 months ago
Reply to  Piment

He called the song being a sh*t song as reason to not be part of it. Although “sh*t song” are not his exact words because he used something that is difficult to translate and is actually graver than “sh*t”.

Whisker
Whisker
5 months ago
Reply to  dygh

Ya, the word start with a P, then there is an U, and then double S and then an Y. I wonder Y?

Barry
Barry
5 months ago
Reply to  Piment

He forgets that he represents a country with millions of inhabitants who would enjoy to see him singing two sentences just like every other country is doing. What a sacrifice is that?

Thorula
Thorula
5 months ago
Reply to  Barry

He was asked to represent his country by singing his song. It can be understandable that he refuse to involve his group in something that was asked and wasn’t not an obligation if he didn’t feel it

Barry
Barry
5 months ago
Reply to  Thorula

If that is his opinion then Eurovision might not be the right stage for him. Participating in the ESC is more than plugging a song. Like Eurovision calls, Red carpet ceremony, postcards, Green Room chats, fanzone presentation… I understand his business approach, he sees 180 million viewers but hey, pretend that you like it.

Erik
Erik
5 months ago
Reply to  Barry

I don’t see what gives those hypocrite opinions from some fans. Why should someone be forced to do this? All they have in common was they were SUPPOSED to take part in a CANCELLED show. Now they broadcast something else with a different name and the artists songs are not even in focus. Of course they should be able to take part in the way they want. No force involved.

Barry
Barry
5 months ago

I’m curious to next year when they have to participate again in new Eurovision promo content. If you don’t like it. Stay home.

I'm sorry, Belgium, zero points!
I'm sorry, Belgium, zero points!
5 months ago

“I never gave my ok in advance to participate in this type of TV broadcast. I gave my ok to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest.”
Oh yeah. Like no one has changed his lifestyle and some big decisions he had after corona hit us all.
This one is the top of arrogance for me. Not even trying to be emphatic in these times, rather, being self-centered and acting like everyone can move on just like there was no pandemic at all.

Denis
Denis
5 months ago

I thought Hooverphonic would be the first to sign up for this…. I’m kind of disgusted. CAN YOU BRING IN 2021 HOOVERPHONIC WITHOUT ALEX? THANK YOU!

Tibor
Tibor
5 months ago

What’s with the hive mind? Some people here are really like: If you don’t do it my way, you do it the wrong way. Why can’t he decide if he wants to participate in such a thing and why has everyone always to put the show and the Eurovision brand first and their musical convictions second? He explained that he would have done it for charity, but since it was just a show he didn’t have an interest in he decided to opt out, without ridiculing or criticizing in any way the ones who did participate. How does this offend… Read more »

viridESCent
viridESCent
5 months ago
Reply to  Tibor

Or, once again, people just might have a different opinion to you. Sorry if that offends you, Tibor, but most people don’t find the egocentric and holier-than-thou behaviour exhibited by Alex Callier as charming as you seem to.

Tibor
Tibor
5 months ago
Reply to  viridESCent

I don’t know why you are still talking to me, since it’s you who feels offended by simple contradiction all the time, but what about _his_ right to a different opinion? I am neither offended nor do I find his behaviour charming, that’s purely a figment of your imagination. All I’m saying is, he has a right to make up his mind just as everybody else does. The majority, fortunately, doesn’t get to dictate everybody’s actions or opinions. And I really don’t see how his attitude is “holier-than-thou” – contrary to all the people who are now voicing moral outrage,… Read more »

viridESCent
viridESCent
5 months ago
Reply to  Tibor

I’m sorry, but is it a figment of my imagination? If you have the gall to say that everybody is saying the same thing because of a hive mind and then defending Mr. Callier for his actions, then it does seem like not only are you grouping a large amount of people into one stereotype, but you must then also support or at least endure his behaviour. If I need to explain this more, then here: You have defended Mr. Callier’s choice of words and ideals that he expressed about the replacement contest, while giving no thought to the other… Read more »

Tibor
Tibor
5 months ago
Reply to  viridESCent

Firstly, I’m not grouping anyone into a stereotype, I’m reading the comments and observe that almost everyone is criticizing him for a decision that is only his own to make. I support that he has the right to make his own decisions, and apparently we agree on that. The rest is only in your head, what do you want me to say? By the way, what could be the other side of a decision that affects no one but himself? As I said earlier: He didn’t criticize anyone for being part of the show, he just chose to give it… Read more »

Whisker
Whisker
5 months ago
Reply to  viridESCent

Why those downvotes to this totally dignified comment?

Kobe
Kobe
5 months ago

He’s such an arrogant idiot!

Sebastián
Sebastián
5 months ago

Are you the belgian version of Salvador Sobral? Sorry if this music is not as elevated and pure as yours…

Erik
Erik
5 months ago
Reply to  Sebastián

Why can’t they chose for themselves? The performance was auto tuned and sounded like a Disney version rather than Eurovision. Since when is integrity a bad thing?

Piment
Piment
5 months ago
Reply to  Sebastián

Indeed it is not. And he being the Belgian Salvador Sobral is the greatest compliment that you could give him.

Jo.
Jo.
5 months ago

they’re such a band of drama queens, need to make a scene about everything…

Bella
Bella
5 months ago

Eurovision fans being aggressive, intolerant and hateful, as always. Nothing unexpected from this community. 😉 If I were Hooverphonic, I would have participated. But I also understand his reasoning: I like that song but it’s very simpleminded and “goody goody feel good”, when the world right now is much darker and more nuanced.

Anyway… I also understand this is literally the only Eurovision news ESC fans have had since March, so I get the need to jump at it.

Piment
Piment
5 months ago
Reply to  Bella

YES! I totatally agree.

viridESCent
viridESCent
5 months ago

Ugh, seriously? But honestly who’s surprised. He has proven time and time again that he is egoistic and self-centred. Oh well.

Fatima
Fatima
5 months ago

There will never be a feel-good mass compilation of artists singing “Release Me”.

Piment
Piment
5 months ago
Reply to  Fatima

Yes indeed because the song is too good for this.

Fatima
Fatima
5 months ago
Reply to  Piment

So good that yesterday, it was placed only tenth by its own national OGAE!

dennis
dennis
5 months ago

Chantal Janzen around 23.55h on some Saturday evening in May 2021: “Belgium, I’m sorry. No points from the audience for you.”

dennis
dennis
5 months ago
Reply to  dennis

I’m so dumb. It’s not Chantal Janzen telling them that on Saturday evening. It’s the semi final scoreboard 2 hours later, around 2 am on Sunday that’ll tell them why they got stuck in the semi’s.

Lola
Lola
5 months ago

Please Belgium, ditch Hooverphonic. You’re better than this. They may be a respected band and have done great things, but this is yet another statement that shows they don’t belong in Eurovision or connect to the Eurovision spirit.

Thorula
Thorula
5 months ago

You’re all so mean and interpreting his words ans acts in a way you won’t have done if they participate in Love Shine a Light. I think they were asked to sing so they were free to refused, instead of criticizing those who didn’t want to participate, praise those who sang. The so-called tolerance and acceptance is not showned by a community who follow such a contest. Moreover, do you prefer some that don’t want to sing and stick to this or those who sing juste to look nice and keep their image. We have so much song each year… Read more »

Anita Mann
Anita Mann
5 months ago
Reply to  Thorula

“.. instead of criticizing those who didn’t want to participate, praise those who sang…” LOL!
So, what you’re saying is, we should “praise the 40 artists who did, except the Belgian artists”. This is exactly what we’re doing here: Thanks everyone, not you Hooverphonic!

Thorula
Thorula
5 months ago
Reply to  Anita Mann

I’m saying to focus on good action instead of bashing those who didn’t do anything

PeterM
PeterM
5 months ago

Let us in the hall start singing Love shine a light next year when Hooverphonies is on stage..

Funkycoffin
Funkycoffin
5 months ago
Reply to  PeterM

Oooeh eurovision in concert is going to be interesting

Malo
Malo
5 months ago
Reply to  PeterM

Haha that would be epic

Bob
Bob
5 months ago

“… by making beautiful music” yeaaaaahhhh okay… “Release Me” was one of the worst entries of the year

Lloyd
Lloyd
5 months ago

“I help people by making beautiful music” someone thinks very highly of their music. Mediocre at best. And are you really telling me he couldnt sing one song once into a camera. Would that have really hurt him so badly? Then he has the audacity to say that the only way he would have done it would have been if it was for charity but in his message only plugs his new music. Every other country either talked about the loss of the contest, or those who are on the frontline fighting the coronavirus. Personally, I do not feel like… Read more »

Whisker
Whisker
5 months ago

Off-topic but not that off: it would be great to have some behind the scenes videos – the “making of” type. I got the idea from Eden Adele’s part, spot on photography, plus, her vocalization was so beautiful.

Una
Una
5 months ago

I would love to see a post on Love Shine a Light to highlight the positives and what it meant for us. I for one can say I loved it how Jeangu opened the compilation – as being from the host country and considering the Open Up theme – and how Katrina closed it – considering she and The Waves had won the competition with this song. And I loved everyone on this compilation. When I see it all over again I kind feel they are friends. And I see their personalities as opposed to the PR artistic personas. And… Read more »

Erik
Erik
5 months ago
Reply to  Una

I’m glad you can explain why you liked it. My dislike comes from the musical aspect

Una
Una
5 months ago
Reply to  Erik

There is so much more that I liked. Including the music. And the lyrics. And the cohesiveness. And some of the bridges from an artist to another were fabulous. Ukraine to Iceland!!! Portugal to Azerbaijan!!!! Lithuania to Romania to Switzerland!!! The Mamas’ harmonies!! James’ and Senhit’s power vocals!! Leslie’s passion!!!
Everyone was great. These were just some of my likes 🙂

Leanne
Leanne
5 months ago

As a Hooverphonic fan for at least 15 years, I have really mixed feelings about this. I totally agree this behavior was uncalled for and Alex missed the point of this. I could understand his concerns from a certain point of view, but I also believe that doing something more is better than doing something less and the performance – I don’t particularly care for the song – was certainly empowering for a lot of people around Europe. Personally, it really saddens me that this band that was a huge part of my musical upbringing will now get shunned in… Read more »

Barry
Barry
5 months ago

To prove he has more than a big ego Alex have to write the winning song for 2021, and not something mediocre like this year.

Theotreez
Theotreez
5 months ago

just unrespectfull. a real artist respects every kind of music. if this is your attitude as an artist you dont deserve it to go to eurovision. in my opinion belgium should send someone else next year because the way he talks is just unrespectfull. EBU founded something amazing to get a kind of eurovision feeling this year instead of the real contest. so if you just don’t feel for it, you don’t care about the fans. just do it for the fans. unrespectfull and egoistic

RachelESC62
RachelESC62
5 months ago
Reply to  Theotreez

I really agree with you on this – this was my issue with Sobral as well. I understand what he meant, but music means different things to different people – fireworks ARE feeling! Music doesn’t have to be just one thing, it can provoke excitement and joy and anger and heartache and everything in between. Sure Love Shine a Light is a little cheesy and it may be too simple a message in such a complicated world but sometimes simplicity can put a smile on someone’s face even just for a moment and if he doesn’t think that is worth… Read more »

Darren
Darren
5 months ago

No reason why they couldn’t just participate and sing a line like everyone else.
Boy if a disappointing attitude from them if that’s true. weither they felt it or not it was just a good spirited, well-meaning symbol of hope and it would have cost them nothing only a few seconds of their time.
But it is what it is.
Best of luck to Belgium in 2021.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
5 months ago

This decision’s outcome was good for one thing: Publicity. Did it backfire? The fans will decide.

Ziva Marie
Ziva Marie
5 months ago

Won’t play great for them next year I reckon. There’s probably a reason why they’ve gone through 6 singers

Funkycoffin
Funkycoffin
5 months ago

Let us shine a light at another belgium artist then they obviously want to stay in the darkness

Stephanie
Stephanie
5 months ago

As a Belgian I feel so embarrassed by this selfish act. Okay you don’t like the song, but can’t you push that aside, is that so much to ask? Maybe they should be replaced by The Starlings, what do you think VRT?!

Africavision
Africavision
5 months ago

I agree with many of the other commenters here that this was in poor taste. I will just add one thing. As a Eurovision participant, you are representing an entire nation, not just yourself, and whilst having core principles are fundamental to any individual, when your on a global platform like this, national pride and being a good ambassador for your country should trump your own personal opinions (Aside: especially if your personal opinions are wack!). I’m sure Belgian Eurofans waited in anticipation to see their countryman during the unifying ‘love shine a light’ performance, and probably felt excluded and… Read more »

Pete
Pete
5 months ago

Awful song, and bad attitude.. as a Belgian I would rather see no entry for Belgium next year than a bunch of free loaders, they don’t deserve a shot at Eurovision.. choose a band with relevant music and a good attitude.