A top 5 for one of Eurovision’s original countries – and with 61 entries, few have as extensive a list to pick my favourites from. Yet Belgium has been something of an underperformer at Eurovision, and many of their entries have been average at best (and some plain awful) but they do have a (single) win and recent years have seen some much improved results.
5. Blanche “City Lights” (2017, 4th place, 363 points)
So this was a tricky one – the only change in my previously published top 5 from Belgium is the introduction of Blanche with her ultra modern 2017 entry. I was never as big a fan of this as some fans were (who were crazily enthusiastic for it) but I do think it was an impressive effort, especially once nerves at early rehearsals had been conquered. It also proved to be one of Belgium’s best ever results – and it bump’s Belgium’s sole winner from the top 5 – a winner I was never that keen on (and actually on more reflection I prefer Belgium’s 1982 entry so it would have been bumped out anyway even without Blanche). Trivia fact for this entry – the UK’s very own SuRie was the musical director and an (unseen) backing vocalist.
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.
Did Blanche deserve a higher placing in my list? And did Sandra Kim, Belgium’s only winner, deserve losing her place in my top 5?