OPINION: Jens' thoughts on Eliot

Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! It is time to open our eyes and wake up from our hibernation because it’s the most wonderful time of the year… Yes: the official announcement of Belgium’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 is finally here.
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For several weeks we were already spoiled with a lot of speculations and actual information about the Belgian entry. We already knew that the inexperienced performer’s name is Eliot Vassamillet, originally from Mons, still in high school and discovered by singer-songwriter Pierre Dumoulin in the seventh Season of The Voice Belgique. The real Eurovision fan knows that Pierre is also the founding father of 'City Lights': the song that has got Belgium a respectable fourth place in the grand final of the Eurovision.

After his first live show, Elliot was contacted by that same Pierre who was seduced by Eliot’s voice and presence. Pierre invited Eliot to his home in Liège and together they wrote ‘Wake Up’, a call to young people to be active and rally together for a better world. A very actual and smart theme if you ask me. Just like previous winner Netta (from Israel) played out the #metoo card while promoting her song, Eliot’s PR team can easily ride the same wave of populism with ‘Wake up’ when it comes to news and current popular events, in my opinion. And that’s also the reason why Eliot co-wrote the lyrics of the song. He states: “We want to send a positive message of friendship and open-mindedness. I am happy and honored that I can represent Belgium at the 64th Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, but at the same time I am sad I can’t march against the climate change, due to the many rehearsals. This is such an important issue. If the situation hasn’t changed when I come back from Eurovision, I will march for sure. People need to ‘wake up’.” Strong words for someone who looks so virgin sweet and innocent. I am already impressed by this guy’s life vision. Just by his personality alone, this young man has the power to steal every journalist’s heart and by doing so, probably the hearts of every European housewife, teenage girl and LGBT+ man watching the contest. Even the hearts of previous Song Contest winners like Sandra Kim. While I had my little chat with Eliot, she texted me on Instagram: “Eliot’s a good choice. Good luck (to him)!” Isn't she a doll?!

Now, back to the song. Driven by melancholic English pop songs, ‘Wake Up’ sounds exactly what I expect from a Walloon entry: dark, mysterious, classy and authentic to the singer. Although; it takes almost one minute before the song takes us to the chorus (of which its rhythm is also unusual slower than I forecasted after hearing the intro of the song). That concerns me a little bit. Not only the poetic words but also the magical dark sound are far from primitive. The song forces me to listen. It requires attention. But it demands me also to think. Hard. And as a simple blonde Belgian girl, I don’t like putting my brain to work when I listen to music. Especially not when it comes to Eurovision songs. An anthem must take me automatically to a far away dream land. To a safe place… On the other hand, when I hear the responses of other (mostly Belgian) journalists and I read the many opinions of my friends on Instagram, it seems that I am worrying too much (as always). ‘Wake Up’ has received many positive acclaims by others so far. More so, at this point, Eliot has earned a seventh place at the Eurovision bookmakers to most likely win the contest. So who am I?! Maybe some brain exercise by listening to the song more often will do me good.

Overall: it’s easy to tell that Eliot is a very sweet and humble boy. It’s rarely that I meet such a relaxed easy going teenager. He has no experience in showbiz nor in life whatsoever, but I've noticed that he has such an eager attitude to learn, which I respect and which gives me good hope when it comes to his musical career as well as Belgium’s changes to actually do well during the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv this year. It’s very likely I will interview this young person a few times more often before the big circus approaches, but my first impression of him as a person and an artist is already quite positive. We all know by now that Eurovision is more a TV show looking for the next best idol rather than a singing competition, still I’m curious to find out how good Eliot’s vocal abilities are live on stage. Staging and a respectful song are the most important ingredients to win the Eurovision, next to a good PR strategy and a charismatic performer. But a well trained singer who doesn’t sound like me during one of my many shower farewell tours, is always a plus.

Eliot will perform ‘Wake Up’ live during Eurovision In Concert in Amsterdam, April 6th and during the first semi final of the Eurovision Song Contest, May 14th. Both performances will be broadcasted on OUTtv.
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