The best song Belgium could have sent

As many of you must have heard, Roberto Bellarosa, who was chosen by the Belgian broadcaster RTBF as announced a month ago to represent Belgium in Malmö in May has got a song (to work on) as voted this morning on radio Vivacité.

A lot of people found it a bit uncommon not to say unorthodox for a national selection and a good question to understand this would ; why such a choice ? Does it mean they don’t give a damn ?

Through an awful lot of comments, we could guess that a considerable number of people think so.

Last year, Éen, then broadcaster in charge of the Eurovision like it’s the case every 2 years dedicated no less than 15 minutes for Iris to sing her 2 songs, the results of the voting announced  a couple of hours later in a different show like a newsreader would announce what’s next at the end of his newscast. Can we really say RTBF don’t give a damn then ? Interestingly enough, arguments and details seem to go both ways…

In this digital and visual age, too many people underestimate the still very developed power of the radio. Indeed, in this show that lasted no less than 2 hours 30 minutes, RTBF, through its radio service Vivacité made use of this occasion that is a national final for Eurovision much more then people must have perceived…

RTBF is perfectly aware that this kind of programme tends to attract at least an as large foreign audience than a local one ; so why not use it to promote our different great offers and channels as a national public broadcaster ?

Radio is perfect (for that)! Scattered with newscasts every hour and as we heard it many more times this morning ; commercials. What better promotion for a country and its companies and brands is there ? Especially when you are a national public broadcaster which isn’t working only with audiovisual licence fee ?

Have you ever seen a single commercial while watching Melodifestivalen ? RTBF organisation is different, and they found a great way not only to show it but to use it.

Getting back to the digital and visual age thing, Bellarosa has been chosen mainly because he won the first season of  The Voice Belgium. You all know how the first stage of The Voice auditions take place, don’t you ?

Once again  they know many people, especially the foreign listening to the national final are very unlikely to have heard Roberto before ; it’s thus a great way to get to know him and his songs in a more personal way, because when you listen to the radio you tend to appropriate programs more to yourself than when you watch TV, where everything is there, whether you like it or not. (Probably explaining why the popularity of so many radio shows is based on faithfulness and that there are many more radio shows still on that have been for decades than it’s the case for television)

With the absence of effects and visual attractiveness, the audience could also focus much more on the proposed songs and feel them more for what they are raw, than for what’s around them.

All these reasons pretty much are I believe, why this show was done on the radio, in the morning.

Now, some problems emerged in a format and method which we could easily guess, hadn’t been used a lot before…

This not being a technical problem but more of a personal perception ; nobody really seemed to be prepared much in what was offered this morning. I personally found the quality of the performances disputable and if these people we heard all participated in advanced stages of  The Voice, I am more than inclined to believe the Belgian head of delegation for eurovision who also happens to be in charge of  The Voice , when she says that the level of the upcoming season is higher than the previous, simply because it can only be better…

To get back to Roberto now, he thankfully is not too bad a singer himself, and we couldn’t be only appreciate his self-awareness, when it comes to preparation for the songs. Is it entirely his fault though ? Indeed a good question to ask would be ; why does it look like this poor 17 years seems to have been put in a rush by RTBF ?

The first articles following Roberto’s choice said that snippets of the 3 songs for the national final would be available on December, 1st. It took no less than about ten days to see them appear on the internet. Why ?

Well, Bellarosa’s victory  in The Voice Belgium dates back to no less than 8 months now, after starting in late December 2011. What publicity would the RTBF have gained by organising a final national in March, which will be the end of the next season ?

Now, some softies might find this a bit too much but Jean-Pierre Hautier, a famous presenter who made Eurovision comments  for the Belgian public for 20 years passed away 2 months ago ; why waiting until March when we know that the term “eurovision” appeared a lot in the national press recently following this sad news ? It kinda feels like “one stone two birds” is a strategy that would explain this uncommonly early date for a Belgian national final.

So in the end, Roberto got like trapped in the short period of time he had to prepare for this great adventure that is Eurovision ; it really sounds like Love Kills which indeed was the best of the 3 on offer, and a product of  Andreas Anastasiou from Cyprus (composer Cyprus 2011) and Iain James Farquharson (co-composer Running Scared, the winning song from Azerbaijan 2011) existed way before Bellarosa was even announced for Eurovision who found in Belgium and this singer a selection process simple enough to be sure to have their song on the stage in May.

Thing is, if many people are so negative about it to the point that many find the appalling “Rhythm of Love” better, when it’s clearly not, it’s because it’s obvious that there is a lot of work for Roberto to be done , the good news being that he’s got plenty of time to do it, because with the new season of  The Voice Belgium starting soon, it’s Belgium and RTBF who are done with Eurovision.


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