Pictures: Lola Rombouts, itsseppe (Wikimedia Commons), Spotify, Luka Cruysberghs

It’s been on hiatus for seven years. Now Flemish broadcaster VRT is resurrecting Eurosong — Belgium’s national final — for Eurovision 2023.

During those seven years, the Flemish music industry has seen a large shift with new names and voices. With the boom of Flemish and Dutch-language music reclaiming their position on both the radio and streaming charts in the Benelux countries, the number of young artists able to sustain a career has grown significantly. 

Belgian daily newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws already cooked up a list, which it claims consists of VRT’s top picks for their upcoming selection. Those artists are: The Starlings, Camille, Natalia, Regi, Laura Tesoro & Niels Destadsbader.

In the article that follows, we present five additional Flemish acts that could be welcome additions in Belgium’s Eurosong 2023. 

Wishlist: Five fresh Flemish acts for Eurosong 2023

1. Pommelien Thijs

Pommelien Thijs was born in Kessel, near Antwerp, in 2001. She started her career as a kid, presenting on both Ketnet and VTMKZoom, Flanders’ main children’s channels. Next to that, she starred in several television series, a film and different musicals. Starring as the main character Caroline “Caro” Timmers in the Ketnet musical series #LikeMe, Pommelien built a huge fanbase. However, her big break in music came when she collaborated with Dutch singer Jaap Reesema on the single “Nu wij niet meer praten”, which topped the charts in both countries. In 2022, while coming out as bisexual, she released “Ongewoon”, her second domestic number-1 hit. 

2. Camille

Born in a town close to the French border in West Flanders in 2001, Camille Dhont first appeared as a cover singer on MNM and Qmusic. In 2019, she joined Pommelien Thijs as a co-star in the musical series #LikeMe — a huge break. As a musician, she started collaborating with Belgian DJ Regi. In 2021, she released her first solo single titled “Vuurwerk”, which reached #4 on the Flemish Ultratop charts and stayed on the charts for forty weeks. Her follow-up single “Diamant” achieved the same success. Camille’s debut album Vuurwerk topped the album charts for one week. In 2022, she won the Flemish edition of The Masked Singer, following in the footsteps of Eurovision 1986 winner Sandra Kim. 

3. Bazart

Formed in Ghent in 2012, Bazart is an indie group initially formed by singer Mathieu Terryn and Simon Nuytten. They focus on a more calm and mysterious musical style and with a Flemish-language only repertoire. Their single “Goud” became a sleeper hit in Flanders in spring 2016 after being released almost six months earlier. The song stayed in the Ultratop top 10 for almost a year, which broke records. The group subsequently won five MIAs, Belgium’s most important music awards, in 2017 and another two a year later. Their 2016 and 2018 albums Echo and 2 topped the albums, while their 2021 album Onderweg peaked at #3. On the eponymous single, they collaborated with Dutch Eurovision 2022 star S10. 

4. Metejoor

Born as Joris van Rossem in Duffel in 1991, Metejoor got acquainted with producer Hans Francken after an unsuccessful attempt by Metejoor’s sister to participate in The Voice van Vlaanderen. Metejoor subsequently signed with CNR Records to release music. Initially wanting to become a gymnastics teacher as a result of his stage fright, Metejoor eventually released “Ik hou van jou” with Daniel Lopez in 2016, which was a mild hit. In 2018, he was an opening act for Eurovision 1991 act Clouseau. In 2021, he scored his first number-1 hit with Babet on the single “1 op een miljoen”. As a result of his success, Metejoor won three MIAs in early 2022. That same year, Metejoor took a seat as a coach on the Flemish version of The Voice Kids alongside Duncan Laurence and Laura Tesoro. 

5. Luka Cruysberghs

Luka Cruysberghs was born in Leuven in 2000 and rose to fame as the winner of the fifth season of The Voice van Vlaanderen in 2017, after being coached by Alex Callier. The Hooverphonic leader decided that Luka was to become the band’s new female vocalist in 2019. As part of Hooverphonic, Luka recorded Belgium’s Eurovision 2020 entry “Release Me”. However, Eurovision 2020 was cancelled and Hooverphonic decided to drop Luka from their line up before Eurovision 2021, welcoming back their original singer Geike instead. Since then, the Flemish star has gone solo. In 2021, she released her first song “Not Too Late” and is currently working on new material. 

Have we missed any other fresh names? Who would you like to see take part in Eurosong 2023? Let us know in the comments below!

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Guorga
Guorga
3 months ago

Am I the only one missing the Wednesday wishlists? Božo Vre?o has become one of my favourite artists since he appeared here https://wiwibloggs.com/2021/07/14/dream-eurovision-contestants-albania-to-bulgaria-wednesday-wishlist/265867/

Johan Victor
Johan Victor
3 months ago

The VRT has a history of good songs and performer ending in second place and send a mediocre song to the ESC ,why?

Johan Victor
Johan Victor
3 months ago

I would love to see Oscar and the wolven join that line up!

Rifki
Rifki
3 months ago

my only hope for most (if not all) national selections: please make it slick and lavish, as if it was Eurovision.
.
and my hope for Belgium’s national selection is the same. and, if possible, I want it to be hosted in a big Eurovision-standard venue (Antwerp’s Sportpaleis or Brussels’ Palais 12). ah, and also, 50/50 voting as in Eurovision (Melodifestivalen did it from 2011 to 2018).

Sabrina
Sabrina
3 months ago

Pommelien number one yeah but she is already booked ’till the summer of next year tho so nope and camille also said nope (think she said it was too soon)

Whisker
Whisker
3 months ago

Luka Cruysberghs has already EARNED her right to be in Eurovision and her being ignored by the broadcaster or being required to participate in a national final would be totally inappropriate.

Yudhistira Mahasena
3 months ago

Are Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike Flemish? If yes, I’d like seeing them in Eurosong 2023, featuring a Flemish pop singer.

Bart
Bart
3 months ago

The only one who vocals are good is Metejoor, the rest from is ‘stuff like a million dozen’ thats my point of view

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
3 months ago

I really like camilles new song ‘geen tranen meer over’ . She’s a bit like the flemish olivia Rodrigo!

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
3 months ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

It’s really cool because since these last 3 years there have been so many nice songs released in Dutch and when I was younger there never were any good modern songs in dutch. The current music scene is really developing!

just an esc fan
just an esc fan
3 months ago

As it’s not mentioned, Tom Dice (Belgium 2010) is part of The Starlings.

I suspect Luka will also be a part of the lineup.

By the way, the NF is set to last for 5-7 weeks! That’s what the VRT wants at least.

Esc addict
Esc addict
3 months ago

Luka is a great idea and she deserves so much to go in Eurovision more than anybody else.

Karl
Karl
3 months ago

K3 should compete. Their song “‘Tele-Romeo” is a bop.

Daya Sloten
Daya Sloten
3 months ago
Reply to  Karl

K3 is the only right answer here. They were robbed in eurosong 1999!!

motopapi
motopapi
3 months ago

I feel like Belgium will do better next year, the Flemish scene is better than the Walloon one and I believe the broadcaster will address Eurosong’s previous issues.

Pedro
Pedro
3 months ago
Reply to  motopapi

If the Flemish scene is better, we’ve been waiting for VRT to show it at Eurovision since 1957… Their track record so far is way behind. At broadcaster level they’re by far the worst across all countries, participating for 65 years and never even a top 5.

PP77
PP77
3 months ago
Reply to  Pedro

Because language RTBF had bettee result in past from 1956 to the end of 90 s. In that period for me only song from 1980,1996,1988 send by RTBF was good. Song from 1978 (2 nd place),1984 ( 5 th place),1998 ( 6th place) was most overrated song in history of ESC.
VRT send so many good song in same period but result was not good , 1973, 1977,1979,1981,1983,1987.

Pedro
Pedro
3 months ago
Reply to  PP77

Come on… If this is because of language then why was The Netherlands able to win 3 times in Dutch? Let’s also not forget other German-based language winners like Dansevise, Udo Jurgens, etc. The VRT is just bad at Eurovision, they’re also responsible for 2 of the biggest fails in ESC history: Nicole and Hugo (literally mocked in every Eurovision bloopers) and Barbara Dex. Again if we look at broadcaster level since 1956, they perform even worse than Portugal, Finland, Latvia, Albania or Czech Rep.

Midnight Gold
Midnight Gold
3 months ago
Reply to  Pedro

It was also because of the language to some extent, the UK and Ireland used to finish at least top 10 almost all the time regardless of what they were sending, just because it was in English. You can’t use results to judge Portugal in ESC, if those results were actually based mostly on musical merit, Portugal could have won at least 5 times. Finland were also really underrated sometimes, basically ESC results are a joke a lot of the time and don’t tell the whole story.

Pedro
Pedro
3 months ago
Reply to  Midnight Gold

You’re arguing against your own logic. Basically you’re saying that the VRT’s horrendous track record is due to language and not song quality. Fine, but then you’re still not addressing why the Dutch broadcaster was able to be successful in the same language (or other broadcasters in similarly “unpopular” unpopular languages). You’re contradicting yourself.

Even looking at the songs VRT sent *in English*, it’s pretty terrible: “Would you”, “Mother”, Sennek dressed like a beggar clown, etc. Even De Standaard (Flemish newspaper) says it: see this article that asks “why does Flanders always score poorly at Eurovision?” (https://www.standaard.be/cnt/dmf20210512_96087348).

Midnight Gold
Midnight Gold
3 months ago
Reply to  Pedro

Yeah, I should have been clearer. If we’re talking about VRT specifically, I don’t think they were particularly underrated, it’s just that other broadcasters who had the advantage of sending English or French entries were really overrated a lot of the time despite not being much better than what VRT was sending. RTBF’s best results (pre-2000) of ’78 and ’86 were with entries that haven’t aged well at all, even tho I agree that RTBF have still generally been better than VRT over the years.

Pedro
Pedro
3 months ago
Reply to  Midnight Gold

Also we can argue as much as we want about “ESC results being a joke” but that would be subjective. I’m looking objectively at the facts and figures here: VRT has been participating for 65 years and hasn’t even reached top 5 once. Fact. If I’m not mistaken only Georgia and San Marino are in a similar situation, but even for them they’ve only participated for 15 years (Georgia also has a better SF qualification rate and average placing in the final than VRT).

Midnight Gold
Midnight Gold
3 months ago
Reply to  Pedro

It’s obviously a really poor record if you’re only looking at the figures but it’s not completely deserved. Their ’83 entry (VRT’s best ever, for me) should have been at least top 5 but voters preferred the typical cheese of the time like Luxembourg and Sennek should have qualified on song alone, for example.

Common sense
Common sense
3 months ago
Reply to  Midnight Gold

Belgium has to send quality songs as fuego, she got me or slomo! I am
Sure our Goldie agrees with me!

Midnight Gold
Midnight Gold
3 months ago
Reply to  Common sense

Haha, I don’t mind Fuego and SloMo actually, I just don’t subscribe to the hype. Switzerland 2019 is the only one I’d never listen to at all.

Stephanie
Stephanie
3 months ago
Reply to  Pedro

Barbara Dex is nowadays one of the best singers in Belgium. Besides she never deserved to finish last in 1993. There were much more worse songs that year than Iemand als jij!

Daya Sloten
Daya Sloten
3 months ago
Reply to  motopapi

The Flemish scene better than the Walloon one? Not sure about that one haha

motopapi
motopapi
3 months ago
Reply to  Daya Sloten

I hate when I’m down voted but ppl is proving me wrong, I have to agree with you. I think it’s just that I haven’t followed the contest for long enough and my conclusions regarding certain topics can be precipitated at times :/