The new Eurovision season has only just begun and several participating countries have already started their selection procedure for the perfect entry for Eurovision 2020. Traditionally, Belgium is usually one of the first countries to reveal some news, and this year is no difference.
Flemish broadcaster VRT responsible for Eurovision 2020 entry
Belgium is an EBU-member with two broadcasters on board, VRT and RTBF. Since 1956 it has been the tradition that one year the Flemish side of the country chooses the entry, the other year the Walloon side is responsible. This year it is therefore up to Flanders to choose the 2020-entry. Good timing now that their neighbour The Netherlands is organizing the festival, you would say.
However, VRT is known as the wobbly among the two Belgian broadcasters. Up until this year, they never managed to win the big contest. In 2010, Tom Dice represented the country with ‘Me And My Guitar’ and finished 6th, the best result of VRT to date. Will Belgium find the motivation now that The Netherlands is organizing Eurovision?
Conversations with the number one on VRT’s wish list
VRT recently invited our partners from Songfestival.be for an exclusive interview with VRT-music coordinator Gerrit Kerremans. He heads the panel to steer this selection process in the right direction. The first interviews that VRT had with candidates took place in May, even before the final in Tel Aviv. Kerremans was able to tell that VRT is currently waiting for an artist in question to confirm. Then the search is complete and they can proceed to the next steps in building a perfect Eurovision entry. It is not about the first best artist, but about the number one in the wish list of the broadcaster.
Gerrit Kerremans does not reveal a name yet, but adds that the artist in question only wishes to participate with a rock-solid song. The bar is therefore immediately set high, because of course Kerremans absolutely wants to prevent the artist from flopping. He takes his task to guide the artist as effectively and professionally as possible in the road to Rotterdam very seriously.
Preference for a currently popular artist
In addition to the strong preference of VRT, the broadcaster has of course also contacted other people. VRT has set a very limited reflection time because if the artist in question refuses the proposal, they must continue to look for other suitable candidates. Gerrit Kerremans hereby expresses his preference for an artist who is very popular at the moment. “I am pleased to give a new talent a boost, but it is certainly not a requirement.”, he says.
Step one: the artist, step two: the song
In comparison with The Netherlands that did it the other way around last year, Flanders keeps the same procedure as in 2018 they selected Sennek: first focus on the artist and then on the song.
At this moment it is not yet clear when exactly we will hear a name. Sennek was announced at the end of September 2017 and was therefore one of the very first known candidates for Eurovision 2018.
The full interview with Gerrit Kerremans will be available online on the Songfestival.be website on Friday.
Belgium at the Eurovision Song Contest
Belgium is one of the seven countries that have been participating in the contest since the very beginning in 1956. Of these, they only had to miss the festival three times, which means that they will participate for the 62nd time in 2020. However, the small Western European country has already had a bumpy track. Belgium had to wait until 1986 to win their first and so far only victory and has already collected eight last places. This decade was quite successful for the country with five final places and they even made it to the top ten three times in a row. On the other hand, Belgium did not make it to the final in the last two years. Will they be able to come back stronger in 2020?
Who do you think Gerrit Kerremans is talking about? Who would you like to see waving the Belgian flag in Ahoy Rotterdam? Let us know in the comments below!