Will Belgium’s “City Lights” Shine Brightly?

Or is that just the youthful glow of teenagers onstage?

Blanche will represent Belgium at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest (Photo: Marie Wynants) Blanche will represent Belgium at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest (Photo: Marie Wynants)

After a string of failures-to-qualify in the late ’00s, Belgium began to turn to a perhaps unlikely source for representation: former contestants from The Voice. Young ones, too! Of the last five artists Belgium has sent to Eurovision, only one has been beyond their teen years at performance time. Blanche, a 17-year old former contestant on The Voice Belgique, will try to continue the success her fellow young’uns have had in the past few years. Is “City Lights” the right song to do it?

At first glance this is a really great song. It sounds like it might be a ballad at the very start, but slowly adds layers and voices until it’s a fully-realized dance track. Right at the two-minute mark, all the voices except Blanche’s drop out, getting us ready for a final climb through the end of the song. The production value is spot-on, and I’m not sure where to even begin improving upon that before the contest. I am particularly interested, though, in hearing how this song plays live. It’s a great hanging-out-on-my-couch song, but might not have the right amplitude of energy for folks on their feet in an arena. Based on this video and another short clip from a live performance, Blanche is not going to bring much in the way of energy herself, so it needs to come from somewhere else.

Which brings me to the other piece of this entry: the performance. The music video doesn’t hold many clues for us regarding what the staged concept will be, except that they will almost certainly make use of every single light on that stage. If Blanche isn’t going to bring much in the way of movement, though, somebody needs to. If this were another country, I might be concerned, but Belgium’s staging has been on point the last couple of years (particularly with Loïc Nottet’s 4th-place finish in 2015). All considered, this promises to be another good year for the Belgian youths.

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