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”.
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.
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.
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?
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 »
If I understood well fans were supposed to sing that song, not the artists?
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.
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 .
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.
Why is he saying he makes ‘beautiful’ music? The correct word is ‘bland’.
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!!!
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…
What a nasty bunch, hope the Belgian broadcaster reconsider sending them next year.
Hope they flop if they do go.
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.
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 »
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.
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 ?
Alex can do what he wants
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.
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.
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 »
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.
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?
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.
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.
With this he dissapointed many ESC fans and ESC viewers. Why he go twice in ESC. RTBF made mistake to give 2021 to VRT
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 »
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 »
Totally agree. I think only people in Belgium noticed that.
No one deserves hate. That’s blasphemy.
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.
It’s about the idea. Eurovision’s spirit is about bringing people together, and that’s what this was. It required a minimal effort.
Indeed it is not. And he being the Belgian Salvador Sobral is the greatest compliment that you could give him.
Here is a man with integrity and this should be respected! Downvote me as much as you want now.
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”.
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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 »
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 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.
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!
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?
I’m glad you can explain why you liked it. My dislike comes from the musical aspect
He’s such an arrogant idiot!
they’re such a band of drama queens, need to make a scene about everything…
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.
YES! I totatally agree.
Ugh, seriously? But honestly who’s surprised. He has proven time and time again that he is egoistic and self-centred. Oh well.
There will never be a feel-good mass compilation of artists singing “Release Me”.
Yes indeed because the song is too good for this.
So good that yesterday, it was placed only tenth by its own national OGAE!
Chantal Janzen around 23.55h on some Saturday evening in May 2021: “Belgium, I’m sorry. No points from the audience for you.”
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.
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.
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 »
I’m saying to focus on good action instead of bashing those who didn’t do anything
Let us in the hall start singing Love shine a light next year when Hooverphonies is on stage..
Oooeh eurovision in concert is going to be interesting
Haha that would be epic
“… by making beautiful music” yeaaaaahhhh okay… “Release Me” was one of the worst entries of the year
“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 »
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 »
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.
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
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 »
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.
This decision’s outcome was good for one thing: Publicity. Did it backfire? The fans will decide.
Won’t play great for them next year I reckon. There’s probably a reason why they’ve gone through 6 singers
Let us shine a light at another belgium artist then they obviously want to stay in the darkness
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?!
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 »
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.
Just some thaughts… Why they chose this song? Who chose it? … one point for Alex In these times when artists loose a lot of money, what is done with the extra earnings of this song? … two points for Alex Isn’t it a bit childish saying “Ido not wanr to play with the others because I don’t like the game”?… one point for the haters What about a Europe of free will and freedom to speak up your mind?… Three points for Alex So regardless the hate I will receive, Alex made some points that are only countered by… Read more »
Werner , you are from Belgium, ofcourse you are trying to defend that Alex dude… But there are no excuses for his behaviour… it was wrong, arrogant and selfish what he did, so admit it and deal with it. You are not the one to blame, but i understand that you are maybe a bit ashamed because he’s from your country..
You are so right on this issue,as Belgian ESCfans were stun by so much arrogant behavior on alex’s side,broadcaster VRT hurried with this videomessage on Sunday to put out the fire,but that wont be enough,i fear…first the band comes up with a song the VRT and the people didn’t like and then he does this !
esc was started to unite a war torn europe. we’re all fighting a war right now, yet he values his ‘musical principles’ over a sense of unity. he is disrespecting the essence of eurovision.
Really Werner ? So in your opinion this was a good decision by Alex? and dragging along the others of Hooverphonic? I can tell you who chose the song, the producer of the song. Of all the Eurovision Anthems this is of course the one that might uplift the spirit somewhat. You got one thing right, yes he is entitled to his opinion and guess what? So are we…and even more, we have also the freedom to think about what to vote for next year, if they will return. I have a strange feeling they might not even return.. This… Read more »
I didn’t even realize anyone was missing haha