In recent history, Belgium has been hit or miss at Eurovision. There have been some strong results sprinkled in with non-qualifications, with their most recent successes being Blanche and Loïc Nottet who both finished in 4th place. This year, hoping to achieve another strong result is the group Hooverphonic, who were selected internally in 2020, and will return this year with a new song titled ‘The Wrong Place’.
Anita (Eurovision Union)
Song and Vocals
In recent years, Belgium is becoming known to send dark or moody songs to Eurovision, with City Lights, A Matter of Time and last year’s entry, Release Me as good examples of that. The Wrong Place is yet another dark and moody entry, while slightly more upbeat than Release Me. The group has had a line-up change since last year, after shafting their former singer Luka, and bringing back one of the original singers Geike Arnaert. While it won’t necessarily affect their actual results at Eurovision, it did leave a bad taste in the mouths of many Eurovision fans who thought it was fair to see Luka live out the Eurovision experience.
As for the entry itself, the group claimed that there were 21 versions of the song before they were happy to release it. Unfortunately for the group, you can edit a mediocre song 21 times and have it still be mediocre. The music and production is the star of this entry, but for me, the melody and lyrics feel out of place. I get that the group is sticking with their artistic style, but looking back at Release Me, it felt more instantly likable whereas The Wrong Place feels a bit more niche.
Performance and Act
It’s hard not to compare, but I also think that Release Me was a better song for staging at Eurovision. This year’s entry seems like a difficult one to stage, because having the group simply stand on stage and perform may not be enough, but if they try to make it too artistic, it may fall to the same fate as Sennek in 2018. For audiences to really connect, they need to focus on creating enough interest on stage, and I think lighting and more importantly, camera work needs to be on point to really capture the emotion of the song.
There are a lot of similarities between this year’s entry and A Matter of Time, and not just a common songwriter. Both entries were very artistic and moody, and the fall of Sennek in the results proved that a good song could fail to qualify if the staging didn’t come across well. Belgium has the potential to qualify, but I would say that staging will prove to be incredibly crucial.
Song and Vocals
Hooverphonic went in a different direction this year, changing their lead singer and style of song. ‘The Wrong Place’ is slightly more upbeat than their 2020 song, but can still be considered as one of the more quiet songs of this year. It’s a strong quality composition, though it might be somewhat hard to digest on first listen.
Performance and Act
For Belgium it has been hit or miss when it comes to staging their songs at Eurovision in recent years. With Sennek, who had a kind of similar song in 2018, it didn’t work out well. A song like this, with the focus on the artmanship of the performers, can be staged in such a manner. But if Hooverphonic, with their antipathy of the contest itself, go on stage like – for example – the 3JS in 2011, they are in for trouble. Eurovision isn’t just a music competition, it’s a competition of the full artistic package that needs to connect with each other. I hope the Belgian band takes that aspect seriously.
Belgium cannot be fully judged by me before I have seen their first rehearsal. The composition has potential, but for this song, how they present it on screen will be essential. Will Hooverphonic come across in a sympathetic manner, or not. It will make or break their chances.
Additional Scores from Eurovision Union and ESCDaily editors:
Average Score: 5.8/10