Once again riding high in both the betting and in fan rankings is Belgium and they nearly make it into my top 15. Few countries have more contest appearances than Belgium and they’ve had a renaissance of late, with a top 10 and two top 4 placings in the last three years. Is Belgium the new Sweden? And can that finally translate to what would be only their second win at their 60th contest?
Belgium have mixed it up in the last three years in terms of that they’ve brought to the contest. 2015 and 2017 they were especially daring, almost un-Eurovision with their entries but that brought them great success (as a side note, the UK’s SuRie was a backing singer for those two entries, and a musical director for the 2017 one). They’ve played it a little more conservative this year with something akin to a Bond theme, and Adele-esque in its sound. No bad thing I think, and it has a great hook – but isn’t quite as fresh as those other years.
Sennek, real name Laura Groeseneken, is actually more associated with electropop than Bond theme/Adele style music, but she is one of the songwriters of “A Matter of Time”. Her two live vocal performances of the song at the preview events have left something to be desired – though she was definitely better by the second event in Amsterdam but it didn’t have the quality of the studio version. But while those events do sometimes indicate where songs may not be as strong as their studio releases suggested, nor do they always mean that’s what performance will arrive in Lisbon.
Qualification has generally been considered a near certainty even in the tough first semi-final, but the odds on it to win have lengthened in recent weeks with the aforementioned live performances. That did also happen last year with Blanche, but she managed to pick it up in the actual contest live shows when it mattered. Sennek could well do the same.
Just as a side note, Belgium alternates on who organises their contest entry between a Flemish-language broadcaster and a French-language broadcaster. 2015 and 2017 were organised by the French-language broadcaster, the less successful 2016 (and very unsuccessful 2014 when they failed to qualify) were by the Flemish one. So, maybe we should benchmark this year’s result against 2016 (finishing a still very good 10th) rather than 2015 or 2017…
Official music video:
Live at Eurovision in Concert:
Belgium at the Eurovision Song Contest:
First entered: 1956
Appearances (excluding this year): 59
Best result: Winner 1986
Last year’s result: 4th