In an interview with Télépro, acclaimed songwriter Pierre Dumoulin revealed that there were a total of 25 entries in the running for Belgium’s entry for Eurovision 2019. “Wake Up” was eventually selected by RTBF’s jury to go to Tel Aviv. Pierre had previously wrote fan favourite “City Lights”, Belgium’s entry for Kiev 2017, performed by Blanche.
Pierre noted that he was not approached by RTBF to he the composer of this year’s entry, and rather submitted “Wake Up” to the broadcaster with Eliot in mind as the artist. To select their entry for Tel Aviv, RTBF used a 17-member jury, which eventually chose Eliot.
Both Pierre’s profile as a songwriter in Eurovision circles and his approached have changed following the success of City Lights. He said the following in the interview:
The only thing I have to do in the end is to respect the duration of 3 minutes maximum. Two years ago, I found it complicated. Today, I found the recipe to get there, and it bothers me less. It’s the only artistic brake. If I had to tell myself that I have to compose “for Eurovision”, that would not make sense. I always go on instinct by making music that speaks to me and corresponds to me.Translation of Pierre’s interview with Télépro
He also went on to describe the process of writing “Wake Up” in light of this:
With Eliot, we sat around the table with his ideas, and his wish was to awaken consciences. But all that happened before the climate protests. It’s funny as we have been caught up in the news. This is not done on purpose. And for Eurovision, to convey a message, it is a stage that we have to play too. This is the message of a generation that wants to move.Translation of Pierre’s interview with Télépro
Who is Eliot?
18-year-old Eliot Vassamillet competed in The Voice Belgique in 2018. At his first blind audition, Eliot impressed his coach Slimane by the power, ease and sensitivity of his performance. Later he was noticed by Pierre.
The moment I saw Eliot’s blind audition, I felt he had that little something extra that I look for in an artist, the sensitivity and fragility which are so necessary to convey emotion.Pierre speaking about discovering Eliot
He impressed with songs such as “High Hopes” and “Mad World”. Now, less than a year later, he will go on to represent his country at the biggest entertainment show in the world.
Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest
One of the founding countries in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956, Belgium has only missed three contests: 1994, 1997 and 2001. Despite this Belgium has only won the contest once, in 1986. Since the introduction of the semi-finals Belgium has struggled to qualify for the final. Belgium failed to reach the final for five consecutive years between 2005 and 2009.
However, in more recent years, their fortunes had changed for the better. They achieved three top ten placements in a row from 2015 to 2017; both Loïc Nottet and Blanche placed fourth in 2015 and 2017, respectively.
Last year the country failed to qualify to the final for the first time in four years. Sennek represented the country in Lisbon with “A Matter of Time” and placed 12th in ‘the semi final of death’. Eliot will be looking to bring Belgium back to the final and the top 10 when performs in the first semi-final in Tel Aviv on May 14th.
Did RTBF make the right decision selecting “Wake Up”? Will Eliot bring Belgium back to the Grand Final this year? Let us know! Be sure to stay updated with Eurovision news by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter, @escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates!