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Hooverphonic representing Belgium in Eurovision song final on Saturday
Belgian band Hooverphonic is representing the nation in the Eurovision Song Contest this Saturday. The Flemish group qualified for the final in Rotterdam after performing its song The Wrong Place in the first semi-final round on Tuesday evening.
It was a tense affair with the three-piece band receiving the last ticket of the evening for the final. The second semi-final is scheduled for this evening (Thursday). Out of 39 competing entries, 20 battle for a place in the grand final, joining six pre-qualified countries.
Hooverphonic was originally set to represent Belgium at last year’s contest before it was cancelled due to the pandemic. It had been the Dutch-speaking community’s turn to choose a Eurovision entry as the language communities take it in turn each year.
Like all returning performers, the band had to come up with a new track. It also brought back one of its original iconic singers, Geike Arnaert, to deliver lead vocals. Her haunting voice dominates the darker pop entry The Wrong Place, which is already immortalised for its chorus and final line, “Don’t you ever dare to wear my Johnny Cash T-shirt”.
The band is no stranger to the spotlight. Formed in 1995, its influence has ranged from alternative indie to electro and rock pop. A stalwart on the Belgian festival scene, it has a strong international following and is regularly heard on television and in commercial work. Arnaert was lead singer from 1998 to 2007, before returning from a solo career for this year’s Eurovision.
Despite being one of the seven countries to participate in the first edition in 1956, Belgium has had a poor showing in the event and only claimed victory once. Sandra Kim took the coveted title in 1986 with J’aime la vie (I Love Life). The country’s most recent success came in 2015, with Loïc Nottet’s Rhythm Inside, finishing fourth.
The 65th edition of Eurovision is the fifth to be hosted by the Netherlands. The city of Rotterdam has promised the most environmentally conscious Eurovision to date and to provide a model of sustainability for future contests.
Eurovision is broadcast live on Belgian television from 21.00.
Photos: Hooverphonic lead singer Geike Arnaert after Tuesday’s live semi-final performance; Hooverphonic and support team in Rotterdam for the Eurovision song contest