Tonight, Sunday the 3rd of January 2016, Peter Van de Veire presents the first of the three live shows that comprise Belgium's national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, Eurosong 2016. during these shows the Belgian viewers make acquaintance with Adil Aarab, Astrid Destuyver, Tom Frantzis, Laura Tesoro and Amaryllis Uitterlinden, the five artists that VRT has chosen for this year's selection.
To allow candidates to have some constructive feedback, Peter Van de Veire invites on each episode two experts, one local and one from abroad: Stijn Kolacny, Alexander Rybak, Tom Helsen, Beverly Jo Scott, Hadise and Christer Björkman (see slide at the bottom). These experts will merely give advice to the performers and won't have voting power, as it is entirely left to the TV viewers and the ten international juries to vote in the final on Sunday the 17th of January, and to decide which of the five artists will represent the Belgian colours in Stockholm.
Belgium's Eurosong 2016
The three live shows:
For the next three Sundays VRT will air Eurosong 2016 at 20:30 CET:
- 3rd of January: In the first live show it will be tested whether the five performers are ready for Eurosong: they demonstrate their singing skills, their stage presence and their personality. Candidates perform one cover of an existing Eurovision song: Hold Me Now, Euphoria, Düm Tek Tek, Everyway That I Can and Rhythm Inside. Experts Stijn Kolacny and Alexander Rybak will give feedback.
- 10th of January: During the second live show the candidates present the songs which they have been working in the past months. Which song is best suited to conquer Europe? Experts Tom Helsen and Beverly Jo Scott are scheduled to give some good tips.
- 17th of January: The Final. The candidates perform their own song, now fully developed with the act that they have put on along with choreographer, Ish Ait Hamou. Which act convinces Flanders and Europe the most and becomes the Belgian entry for Stockholm? Experts Hadise and Christer Björkman will provide the five candidates with advice and assistance.
Who are the experts?
In 2009 he pulverized the record of the highest score ever in the Eurovision Song Contest: 387 points. The whole of Europe fell for the irresistible attraction of a boy with a violin, from Norway, and his exciting song Fairytale. Since then he has also remained popular in Belgium and last summer he performed on the Antwerp pride. Alexander Rybak is the perfect expert for the five candidates to lead their way to the final of the biggest music contest in the world!
For twenty years he's captivated listeners around the world with the golden voices of Scala. A unique project: an indie-rock choir that transforms classic rock songs into true hymns. Even Hollywood was hooked: a movie like The Social Network would not be the same without Scala's catchy cover of Radiohead's Creep.
A man who has discovered dozens of powerful young voices and made dozens of catchy covers of world hits. Who is better suited than Stijn Kolacny to provide feedback on the vocal performances and the Eurovision song covers of our candidates?
The second episode of Eurosong will be all about the song with which the candidates want to go Stockholm, and Tom Helsen is one of the most respected singer-songwriters of Belgium. Thanks to the soundtrack of a Portuguese television series, his song Goodbye became an international hit. It earned him a record deal with guaranteed releases in Asia, Europe and South America.
After what it looked like his break-up with the music business due to the constant attention and comments, he came back majestically in 2015 with the album Unbreakable.
Beverly Jo Scott
BJ, as she likes to be called, grew up in Alabama but lived for more than 25 years in Brussels. As a singer-songwriter, she released six albums, and in addition, she co-wrote songs with Triggerfinger, Black Box Revelation and Stan Van Samang.
But above all she was the woman behind the success of Loïc Nottet, who finished fourth in last year's Eurovision Song Contest. BJ Scott discovered Loïc during The Voice Belgique and became his coach. She co-wrote Rhythm Inside and accompanied Loïc in Vienna.
The final of Idol 2003 is what launched the career of Hadise from Mol and her debut album Sweat produced five hit singles. In 2009 she finished fourth at the Eurovision Song Contest: the best result that the Flemish broadcaster of Belgium would have ever achieved, if Hadise had represented them and not Turkey.
It proved a wise choice, because in her new homeland Hadise Açıkgöz has become the highest paid pop star. With 2.45 million followers she is also the most popular Belgian on Twitter after Eden Hazard. She has also become a real contest expert, having presented X Factor in Belgium and being a judge on The Voice Turkey for the past five years.
One of the men who can make a definite claim to the title Mister Eurovision is than the man behind the recent Swedish successes. For the past 15 years Christer Björkman has been the organizer of the Swedish preselection Melodifestivalen and one of the main responsibles for discovering the notable victors Loreen (2012) and Måns Zelmerlöw (2015).
It began anything but promising for him in 1992, however, when he finished second-last in the Eurovision Song Contest, precisely in his native Sweden. But he rallied behind the scenes and as show producer he made the preselections for Eurovision into the leading television event of the year in Sweden. He was also responsible for the shows at the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 and will do so in Stockholm this year.