Song Title: “Rhythm Inside”
Artist: Loïc Nottet
Semi-Final: First, Position 3
Last year’s entry: “Mother” – Axel Hirsoux (DNQ – 14th Place, SF1)
After great success in the contest’s early years, taking the silver medal in each of the first two years, Belgium has had a rough go at Eurovision. The win in 1986 and nine top-ten finishes don’t quite balance out the eight last-place finishes and twenty-one entries garnering ten points or less (including two goose eggs). More recently, eight of their past ten entries have failed to qualify for the finals. After another disappointing DNQ in 2014, let’s see if Loïc Nottet can bring the rhythm back to Belgium’s hope for the final …
I love me some Eurovision schmaltz, but I also love that Belgium is joining Latvia this year in the less-is-more camp. Loïc Nottet does a great job with the Lorde-inspired atmosphere of this song, and I agree with Mike’s assessment — the more I listen to this song, the more I enjoy it. Belgium last sent a cute teenager with a catchy, sincere, somewhat dubsteppy song in 2013; Roberto Bellarosa not only made it to the finals with”Love Kills“, he finished in 12th place.1
If a strategy works, it’s generally smart to employ it again2, but there’s one potential pitfall that could keep this entry from doing well. “Love Kills” was a high-energy song that only needed a pair of dancers to keep the audience engaged. Latvia’s “Love Injected” is better off without much movement because Aminata has an amazing voice. While I appreciate Nottet’s performance, and like the ways he styles “rrrrrapapap” throughout the song3 his voice is just not enough to carry this entry. And yet the song seems too slow for choreography to play as big a role as is necessary.
Looking at the semifinal placement, it’s fortunate this entry doesn’t have to go head-to-head with the aforementioned Latvian entry. But it’s up third, which means there’s a lot of time for viewers to forget about this song while they’re napping through the middle ballads. Ultimately I think Belgium’s chances come down to staging, and how much voting help they can get from neighbors France and the Netherlands. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.