NB. This version was published in January 2017 and has been replaced by an updated Top 5 from Belgium.
The compass swings back to western Europe for this next top 5. We’ve already done the top 5 for their neighbours, the Netherlands, now it’s Belgium’s turn. They’ve been there since the first Eurovision, and only missed the contest 3 times. With 58 entries to choose from (joint second-highest number of appearances), making this top 5 should be tougher than most.
While their number of appearances is near top of the table, their number of wins is not – a solitary win in 1986. And there have been a lot of bland or plain awful Belgian entries over the years (and I should now, having listened to every single one!) But with 58 entries, there has been enough quality, camp and cheese to make a top 5. Let me know what you think of it!
5. Sandra Kim “J’aime la vie” (1986, winner, 176 points)
Belgium’s sole winner makes the top 5 – though it was close run thing, deciding between this and the Belgian entries of 1977 and 1982. In the end, the fact Sandra won the contest, and at the tender age of 13, swung it in her favour. She will always hold the record of youngest ever winner, as now all entrants must be at least 16 at the time the contest takes place.
4. Tonia “Un peu de poivre, un peu de sel” (1966, 4th place, 14 points)
With a country like Belgium, it means we can delve deep into Eurovision’s past and here is a little gem from 1966. This was Belgium’s best result to date at the time, and would remain their best result until 1978.
3. Kate Ryan “Je t’adore” (2006, 12th in semi-final, 69 points)
Which Eurovision fan worth his salt can forget the shock and outrage on the failure of Kate Ryan to reach the final. Still regarded as one of the biggest shocks since semi-finals were introduced, while it’s not the most original song, it’s classic Eurovision pop, camp, cheese and catchiness. Still a travesty that she just missed out!
2. Roberto Bellarosa “Love Kills” (2013, 12th place, 71 points)
The 18 year old Roberto proved both easy on eye and ear in 2013. Good singer, and very good pop song. Graham Norton commented liked it to but did say “the choreographers should be shot though”. Take a look at the performance – he’s right! But backing dancers aside, a deserved runner up in my top 5.
1. Loïc Nottet “Rhythm Inside” (2015, 4th place, 217 points)
Breaking from the usual Eurovision mould, this was a great song and brave choice, but performed with confidence by 19 year old Loïc. Graham Norton (in his commentary) liked it but wondered if it might not go down well with the Eurovision voting public. Me and many of my friends thought the same – so it was great to see this do so well, one of Belgium’s best ever results.