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Belgium has been participating in the Eurovision Song Contest since the initial edition and have only missed a couple of editions due to the relegation system which was set in place over a specific period of time when negative results were achieved. Nevertheless, since the semi-final format was put in place, the country has not particularly done well only managing to qualify on one occasion, that being in 2010 by virtue of Tom Dice and his track Me and My Guitar which won the semi-final and ultimately finished in sixth place. The following year, their acapella entry With Love, Baby performed by Witloof Bay almost qualified to the final finishing in eleventh place and earlier this year Would You? by Iris just could come close, finishing in a disappointing seventeenth place despite initial high expectations. RTBF, the French speaking broadcaster is in charge of the selection of entry this year and they decided that the performer will be Roberto Bellarosa.

Roberto Bellarosa is not a household name already but he is quite well known after having managed to overcome several weeks on the reality music show known as The Voice Belgique where he finished as the winner and therefore signed a recording contract with Sony Music Belgium who will be supporting his participation in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. This mornings' selection which is taking place at radio station Vivacité will be commencing at 10:30 CET and should finish at around 13:00 CET. Roberto will be performing three songs in total, two in English and one in French. Despite the fact that the show is not taking place on television, there is still a webcast and thus, we'll be covering the proceedings as they unravel. They will be hoping to improve on the results of the past two years and thus achieve qualification.

The Show (Part 1)

.. and we begin! The opening sequence of the European Broadcasting Union is quickly replaced by six singers, with some of the members of Witloof Bay as well as the vocal coach from The Voice Belgique who are performing none other than Waterloo by Abba which is surely one of the tracks that is played heavily in national selections. It has been a pretty long time since I have followed a national selection in French so this could be quite intriguing. This could be a very quick presentation with the first song now up.

01. Love Kills

I haven't heard him perform in English but from the first couple of notes, it seems like he will not have a lot of problems with the language. He takes to the stage to perform a pop track and the vocals are relatively raspy. The idea of having this selection early was definitely not well thought out considering that everyone seems to have fallen out of bed this morning. There are several breathing elements which need to be addressed in my opinion but this is actually a strong song which many would rather enjoy. I have no clue why Roberto is doing the second voice himself but there needs to be better presentation next time round.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy5BhNe4g-4

BREAK 

The very first break took place and we are back relatively quickly though and it seems that this could move at a relatively fast pace. The general comments are that the first song was a strong radio track but that the vocals need work. I have to point out that he is performing live at an early time during the day and considering his hair, it seems that he did not have enough time to prepare so maybe his vocals are not as warm. RTBF are definitely promoting The Voice Belgique throughout today with one of the finalists from the first edition taking to the stage and performing the 1988 winning entry Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi, originally by Celine Dion. One of the new mentors on the show is none other than the 2001 French representative, Natasha St-Pier. Another performance, this time of Nel Blu, Dipinto Di Blu which represented Italy in the 1958 Eurovision Song Contest. Next up, the news! Followed by the news, a quiz for the present artists. All the four male finalists of The Voice team up to perform Save Your Kisses for Me which represented the United Kingdom in 1976.

02. Reste Toi

Taken from his debut album Ma Voie, this is seemingly the favourite of several Belgian fans and that could be because it is the only song in French. There is a certain aura of confidence this time round and he is enjoying the performance. His vocal chords seemed to have been warmed up nicely because he is managing to put the raspiness to use and that accent is put into its correct form of language. The mid-tempo pop song could definitely be an intriguing choice at the upcoming continental showcase especially because he feels confident in this language. His high notes are accurate this time round and I could definitely see this represent Belgium.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vru32lzo0UY

BREAK

Another commercial and we're back with another performance from one of the finalists in The Voice Belgique, this time of the 1987 winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, Hold Me Now by Johnny Logan. Discussing the former entries at the showcase with the finalists of The Voice and then, we move onto yet another reminder of the tele-voting numbers for the tracks that Roberto Bellarosa might perform in Malmo, Sweden. The female finalists of the popular talent show are currently performing Satellite which won for Germany in the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest, the same year in which Tom Dice represented Belgium with Me and My Guitar achieving, the best result from Belgium in quite a long time. Another commercial break on radio. Well, it seems that The Voice had a really good vocalist as the last entry mentioned is performed live in the studio. A song themed quiz of former entries to have represented Belgium. Here comes the 1986 winning entry J'Aime La Vie. Another commercial break and this national final wins the award from being the most prolonged and non-entertaining one in years.

03. Be Heroes

Without a proper introduction, the third entry comes forth and this seems the one to beat because it is presented in the key that Roberto seems to be pretty comfortable with. The French accent whilst performing in English is definitely a plus because it helps people find him more sultry. This is a typical pop entry which would have not gone amiss in the nineties but am not sure about being the next Belgian representative. The people seem to enjoy it but whatever the winner, the track would need work and apart from that, Roberto needs to make sure that his vocals are up to scratch because something is just not there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiGX7SZCDRg

BREAK

Poupee De Cire, Poupee De Son by France Gall is the next track to be performed by the finalists of the first season of The Voice Belgique. Another performance of White and Black Blues by Joelle Ursul. A message from new mentor Natasha St-Pier for Roberto. Many will remember her performance of fourth place entry in Copenhagen entitled Je N'ai Que Mon Ame. Three male performers join forces to perform Fairytale which represented Norway in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. One of the most popular songs from Roberto entitled Apprends Moi is now being performed. This would have been the ideal track to represent Belgium at Eurovision Song Contest. The Head of Delegation is currently chatting with the host of the show on the selection of Roberto Bellarosa. The studio versions of the songs sound really strong and they could do well this year. The winning entry is Love Kills!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqgFla6N0E0

Thursday, 13 December 2012 15:25

Belgium: RTBF Reveal Entries for Bellarosa

Belgium are known to be quite an intriguing force in the Eurovision Song Contest because of the alternating broadcasters every year and therefore making their participation a platform for particular segments of the nation. In most recent years, the most successful has surely been VRT noting that their selection of Tom Dice with the track Me and My Guitar saw them reach the final for the very first time since 2004 and ultimately finish in an extremely respectable sixth place. Nevertheless, since the millennium, it is important to note that it was RTBF, which represents the French speaking part of the nation which achieved the best result finishing in second place with Sanomi performed by Urban Trad. They have decided to call forth for another internal artist selection and they chosen Roberto Bellarosa who is known to the audience for having won the reality show known as The Voice Belgique.

This Sunday afternoon, the broadcaster in coordination with Sony Music Belgium will be hosting a song selection following an extremely careful attempt at picking out the best possible entries from those submitted. In fact, two of the songs will be in English whilst the other is in French. Many people have somewhat criticized the broadcaster for showcasing the national selection only through radio rather than television but it seems that there is one aim and that is to incorporate a younger audience hence the use of Radio Vivacite. The tracks which were revealed by the broadcaster earlier this week are entitled; Be HeroesReste Toi, and Love Kills

There is already a growing buzz with regards to the last entry mentioned due to the fact that it is co-written by Andreas Anastasiou who wrote the Cypriot entry in 2011, Jukka Immonen who mentored all of the participants in the Finnish final earlier this year and Iain James who co-wrote the winning entry of the 2011 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest; Running Scared. Details about the other entries are yet to be released but Reste Toi is a track on his debut album and you can listen to that just below. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news and follow the Belgian final live report on Sunday at 10:30 CET.

Source: RTBF, Metro Greece

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAESeS3ji5E

Wednesday, 21 November 2012 13:30

Belgium: Three Songs for Roberto Bellarosa

RTBF is the French regional broadcaster in Belgium and they have been given the task to select the representative and entry for the 2013 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest due to an agreement signed in the past that the two regional broadcasters would alternate. Last year, VRT decided to send a seventeen year old newcomer to the competition known as Iris but despite being signed to the same company which found Tom Dice, the result was definitely no where close because Would You? failed to get out of the semi-final or really make an impact there. Nevertheless, this time round, RTBF seems to be putting in the effort by getting someone who already is building a solid reputation. Roberto Bellarosa was the winner of the first edition of The Voice Belgique and his national selection will comprise of three songs as revealed in a special press conference held yesterday.

escflashmalta.com was one of the first to report that Roberto had been chosen prior to the official confirmation of the broadcaster and the strong indications did prove positive. In an interesting choice of format, it has been decided that the national selection which will comprise of three songs in total will take place through a popular radio show on the leading network VivaCité. The choice of entry will be made by virtue of both a jury and a public vote in order to best represent the interests of the music industry. Roberto Bellarosa is already signed to Sony Music Belgium and will thus have a solid record label backing his participation. Should the effort prove successful, this could be a format that the nation would keep up in the years to come. The final is set to take place on the 16th December and escflashmalta.com plans to cover all of the proceedings on the day so stay tuned for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: RTBF, Eurosong.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgDQ0pkKSOo

Wednesday, 14 November 2012 10:45

Belgium: Roberto Bellarosa off to Malmo

Since the millennium, it seems that Belgium have not managed to crack the code on achieving success in the Eurovision Song Contest especially following the fact that they only managed to make the top ten on two occasions, the first time being in 2003 when the French broadcaster; RTBF had selected the entry Sanomi performed by the group Urban Trad which finished in second place and the other being in 2010 when singer/songwriter Tom Dice was internally chosen by Flemish broadcaster; VRT with the track Me and My Guitar ranking in sixth place. Following yet another disappointing performance at this years' edition of the continental competition, the French broadcaster seems to have a plan to success and that plan involved Roberto Bellarosa according to numerous sources in the Belgian and French media. Many people would not really know this performer but he is actually the first winner of the reality talent show The Voice of Belgium.

The fan site eurovision-info.net which is based in France has revealed that national media have received an invitation from RTBF to attend a press conference on the 20th November 2013 at the main headquarters for the revelation of something intriguing and considering that the broadcaster is taking their participation seriously after their last attempt back in 2011 with Witloof Bay just missing out on a spot in the final with their acapella track entitled With Love Baby. Roberto Bellarosa was coached to his victory by the Swiss singer and winner of the seventh season of Star Academy; Quentin Mosimann. He entered the showcase in order to show his true talent and indeed he managed because he ended up on top and signing a record contract with Sony Music Belgium. The idea behind this choice would be to promote these talent shows which have a rather strong following in the country. Melanie Cohl was selected in a similar manner back in 1998 and ultimately finished in sixth place with her song Dis Oui. Roberto already knows how to face a competition straight in the eye and will be hoping to make an impact on the European viewers with a brand new song specifically written for the competition or something off his debut album Ma Voie which is out in stores now. It has now been officially confirmed that the final will take place on the 16th December 2012 with Roberto Bellarosa performing some songs in a public selection. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news.

Source: eurovision-info.net, RTBF

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JNg9FjCSwM

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