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Belgium: 17 Member Jury Determines RTBF’s Eurovision Participant

Leslie Cable the Head of Delegation for RTBF at Eurovision has explained how the Walloon broadcaster selects their entry for the Eurovision Song Contest.

The Head of Delegation for RTBF at Eurovision has explained how the broadcaster selects the singer and song that will represent them at the contest. Ms Cable explained that the broadcaster has a 17 member jury formed of people involved in the world of music that help to select their participant. The members of the jury are to remain secret according to Cable, but their decision is crucial in finding the correct combination of singer and song.

Unlike other broadcasters RTBF does not make a public call for submissions, but will accept entries throughout the year. Ms Cable explained;

Whoever proposes a song is listened to. We are evaluating them in October to make this choice.

She added that;

At RTBF, we are lucky not to have to ask for songs, they arrive on their own via the record labels

A number of record labels in Belgium are now actively approaching the broadcaster with singers and songs for the competition. This includes Sony Music that has seen their artists selected for the contest in both 2013 and 2015. Katia Mahieu of Sony Music explained;

Eurovision is the largest television and cultural event in the world (…).  We make a bet on the future, music is not an exact science. Yes, there are costs, but actually, the exposure being such at Eurovision, there will be more views on the Internet, more streaming and maybe more sales. 

RTBF has not held an televised selection process for the Eurovision Song Contest 2011. The broadcaster currently only has The Voice Belgique as its flagship live music show and does not see itself bringing a televised selection back to screens anytime soon,

Source: RTBF

Belgium was one of the original seven nations to participate in the first edition of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. To date, the country has won the contest only once in 1986. Sandra Kim won the contest with the song “J’aime la vie”, her victory was not without controversy when it emerged that Sandra was just 13 years old, two years younger than the age restriction at the time. In the late 00s, Belgium struggled in the contest failing to reach the final annually from 2005 until 2010, when Tom Dice finished 6th in the final with 143 points. Belgium has finished last at the contest six times, including two sets of nul points.

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