Eurovision 2010: Belgium plumps for Tom Dice
Everyone in Belgium (bar two people) must surely be thinking of 20 year old Tom Eeckhout (also known as Tom Dice) if the news story on Belgian broadcaster VRT’s website is anything to go by.
It was even on the broadcaster’s homepage. It’s not every country in Europe which sees the announcement of who will represent the country at Eurovision makes it to the homepage. I can’t see it happening in the UK (If as a result of some weird series of events I turn out to be the UK representative I will, of course, try my utmost to force my way on to the BBC homepage. Personally I can’t see it working, but seeing as I’m a shameless self-promoter I will give it a try.)
Don’t be misled by Tom’s slightly ungainly appearance in the Eurovision.tv promotional video however. The announcement ‘happened’ to coiincide with his 20th birthday. No surprises then the Eurovision team were keen to throw in a dribble of no-doubt warm champagne and a special Eurovision-themed birthday cake to mark the special day. Tom had better get used to that Eurovision logo. He’ll be sick of it come the final on Saturday 29 May 2009.
Eagle-eyed, slightly disingenuous Eurovision pedants will hopefully pick up on that last sentence and raise an eyebrow. You see, contrary to what I write it’s not a foregone conclusion that Tom Dice will appear in the final. He has to win that place first by singing his heart out in one of the semi-finals first next year.
But there’s something about the slightly clumsy looking chap which is reassuring, something echoed in the press release from the broadcaster included in the English translation of the VRT news report. According to VRT, the network manager and his consultation group have thought long and hard about selecting the X Factor runner-up from 2008. There were 30 artists to choose from in Belgium and then plumped for him. They felt reassured by his experience in music TV – and who wouldn’t if he had to go through the same kind media-endurance test the UK bunch do. And judging by the cover of Leona Lewis’ song Bleeding Love (see below), not only does he suit the song better than she does but he also sounds like he has a pretty good voice too. Not bad for a 20 year old. Sickening in fact.
More overwhelmingly touching is the lengths VRT go to to emphasise how much they’re behind the boy.
“We believe in Tom” they say. A line guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye, something still a bit weird for us cynical types in the UK. Mean spirited individuals might even describe it as laughable.
Only it’s not laughable at all. It hits the spot. Belgium have kicked off the PR game admirably.
True, they’ve not decided on their song yet. They might have the singer but the rest of us have yet to pass judgement on the song. Belgium are only half-way there. And, not only that, their selection procedure hasn’t been decided upon as yet. There’s a chance they’ll adopt the same “internal procedure” they’ve exercised for selecting the talent.
Maybe that’s the best way. Maybe there’s no point in getting the public to vote for who they think is best. They’ve already done that in X-Factor. Why not leave the most important decision to the producers? They’ll want to get it right. Their reputations depend on it.
There’s time yet, anyway. The Belgians will be thorough in their consideration. Or at least we’ll be led to believe they have. Their press releases will make sure of that.
See? Maybe that place in the final will be effortless this year after all.