Best of the Bunch: Belgium

Belgium was one of the seven nations to participate in the first ever Eurovision Song Contest, and incredibly, since then, have participated at all but three contests. Also quite incredibly, the nation has only won the contest once, and that was in 1986 when Sandra Kim performed the song J’aime la Vie, and she was only 13 years old at the time! Although they’ve only topped the table once, they’ve also managed to sink to the bottom of the table seven times! They’ve had their highs and lows, and today we’re going to recap many of those moments, and then it will be up to you to vote for your Best of the Bunch! As with all our Best of the Bunch posts, we will be starting in 2006, and continuing on to 2015!

Rewind back to 2006, where Belgium selected one of the most promising acts, that being Kate Ryan. She was picked as one of the favourites with her song Je t’adore, and it seemed that fans loved her and her flawless performance. Come voting time, Belgium was a shock non-qualifier, finishing in 12th with 69 points.

In 2007, Belgium took a different approach by choosing the group The KMG’s. The group performed the song Love Power, which was a feel good song as much as it was quite forgettable on the night. The hippie love didn’t quite translate to votes on the night, finishing in 26th place in the semi-final with just 14 points.

Traditionally we’ve seen Belgium perform in English, French and occasionally Dutch, but in 2008 Belgium sent a song in Imaginary language – yep, you heard me! The song was called O Julissi, and was performed by the folk group Ishtar. This wasn’t the first time Belgium had dabbled in the fine art of making up a language for a Eurovision song, and they had previously done it with great success, back in 2003 where they finished in 2nd place with the song Sanomi! This time around, it didn’t even make the final, with Ishtar finishing in 17th place with 16 points.

The following year, Elvis wannabe Patrick Ouchène took to the Eurovision stage with his song called Copycat. Patrick himself had a lot of charm on stage, perhaps due to his experience of being the lead in a rockabilly band, but at the end of the day, it just didn’t connect with the voters. The song once again finished in 17th place with just one lonely point!

2010 saw a change to Belgium’s Eurovision luck, and that was all due to just one man with his guitar. Of course we’re talking about Tom Dice, who performed the song Me and My Guitar. The simple approach on stage turned out to be what sent Belgium to the finals for the first time since semi-finals were introduced to Eurovision. Not only did Tom qualify, but he qualified to the final in 1st place, putting him in the running to win the contest overall. In the finals, he aced his performance, and finished in 6th place overall with 143 points.

The next year, Belgium went completely different again with their approach. They decided to send an acapella group called Witloof Bay. It takes bravery to sing without a backing music, but the members of Witloof Bay showed Europe what they’ve got by absolutely performing their hearts out! Their song With Love Baby was close to reaching the final, finishing in 11th place with 53 points.

In 2012, the young talent Iris was chosen to represent the nation at Eurovision with the song Would You. It was a sensitive song performed in a sensitive manner, but like many of the previous Belgian performances, it was lost in the sea of Eurovision songs. Belgium finished in 17th place with 16 points.

The following year, Roberto Bellarosa was internally selected by the broadcaster, and a national final was held to decide on which of three songs he would perform on the Eurovision stage. The song Love Kills won the vote, and after a bit of a revamp, it was Eurovision ready! On the night, it ended up being a surprise package, qualifying in 5th, and then in the final finishing 12th!

In 2014, Axel Hirsoux was selected to represent Belgium through a national final process. At Eurovision, he performed the powerful and emotional song titled Mother, and once again, even with an incredibly strong vocal performance, Belgium fell just short of reaching the final, finishing in at 14th place with 28 points.

We end our journey here, in 2015 with one of the most stand out Eurovision performances of recent times, not only just for Belgium, but Eurovision as a whole. Loïc Nottet and his song Rhythm Inside were chosen completely internally, but when presented to Eurovision fans worldwide, they knew it was bound to be a hit! The song cruised through to the final in 2nd place, and then in the final finished in 4th place, the best since Urban Trad’s 2nd place finish in 2003.

Now it’s time to vote for your Best of the Bunch!