I love a grower, and that’s exactly what Belgium have come up with this year. As one of the founding members of Eurovision, few have made more appearances in the show than Belgium, though of the seven founding nations, Belgium has won the fewest times with a single victory in 1986. Aside from this, it’s picked up 2nd place on three more occasions, the latest in 2003 with imaginary language song “Sanomi”.
The semi-final years really haven’t been kind either, with only one of its eight semi-finals ending in qualification. I’d stick my neck out and say that none of those misses were particularly good, with the exception of poor Kate Ryan in 2006. They still have clout with the right song though, as the adorable Tom Dice proved by winning his semi-final in 2010 on the way to a 6th place finish in Oslo.
This year, there are no experiments. The Belgian broadcaster decided on The Voice Belgium winner Roberto to fly the flag in Malmö, with one of the earliest selections of the season to decide the song via a televote with juries (see my review here). I can’t say I was too impressed by any of the songs, and Roberto seemed to have a bit of trouble even singing the winning song’s high notes, uh oh.
With hindsight, the song was actually quite similar to its finished form by that stage, I think the sound levels were just off. I see they’ve removed the key-change too, which was the real stumbling block. A shame, but it had the potential to really throw the whole performance. But I’ve had plenty of chance to listen to the studio version and I really love it!
They go down the Killers route of that euphoric rock-dance sound, and Roberto is really adorable. Who could resist those puppydog eyes and that lovely accent? I have no doubt he can sing, I’m just glad the performance is being tweaked to best suit him. It all ends up with one of my favourite uptempos of this year’s collection.
As for qualifying, well as I said Belgium don’t have a great track record but this is one of their strongest entries for a while, and with a penultimate performing slot, I think the odds are in their favour. But Semi 1 is going to be tough … I just hope he makes it.
For more ESC 2013 reviews and news, please visit my Malmö hub, also found by clicking “Malmö 2013” in the top menu!