Brussels, 13 January 2023

Belgium have kicked off the week-long Eurosong marathon. From Monday to Friday, we’ll get to know the participants in Eurosong 2023, and their songs.

Every day, VRT will release a 30 minute reality show, presenting the contestants during their bootcamp (or “songclub”). During this bootcamp, each artist will showcase their two songs, with their competition listening in. After they’ve performed both songs, their fellow rivals will give them feedback, and the contestants will pick which of their two songs will be performed on the big finale this Saturday.

Eurosong 2023 Planning:

Monday 9 Jan: Loredana (both songs)
Tuesday 10 Jan: Chérine (both songs), Hunter Falls (first song)
Wednesday 11 Jan: Hunter Falls (second song), Ameerah (both songs)
Thursday 12 Jan: Gala Dragot (both songs), Gustaph (first song)
Friday 13 Jan: Gustaph (second song), The Starlings (both songs)
Saturday 14 Jan: Finale

We’re rounding up the Songclub shenanigans with Gustaph’s second song, and both entries from the final participant: The Starlings!

Who is Gustaph?

Stef Caers – known to us as “Gustaph“-  is the Eurosong 2023 hopeful with the most Eurovision experience. He already sang at the contest before! He provided on-stage backing vocals for Sennek at the 2018 contest in Lisbon, and joined the Belgian delegation in 2021 as a vocal coach (and impromptu off-stage backing) for Hooverphonic. This year the 42-year old music industry veteran is drawing the spotlght to himself, participating solo.

Hercules and Love Affair at the time Gustaph (left) was one of their members.

As the eldest person in the selection, Gustaph has also been producing singles the longest out of the Sacred Seven. His first singles were released in the early 2000s, scoring a first radio hit in  2000 with the song “Gotta lose you” under the stage name ‘Steffen’. Gustaph would later join the queer dance collective, Hercules and Love Affair, something he would later describe as a life-changing experience. As an established LGBTQ artist, both of Gustaph’s songs are aimed to be queer and inclusive.

Who are The Starlings?

Pop duo The Starlings are the biggest name in the line-up: Tom Dice and Kato Callebaut both rose to the top of the music scene as solo artists before deciding to make music together.

Tom Dice you already know. He was Belgium’s representative in 2010, and achieved VRT’s best result ever at the contest (6th place) with his song “Me and My guitar”. Kato participated in the final edition of Idool, where she instantaneously became a viral fan favourite after she auditioned with Eliza Doolittle’s “Pack up” using a ukulele. She would ultimately become the show’s runner-up. (just like Tom, who finished second in Star Academy)

Kato Callebaut’s audition – isn’t she adorable?

The two talent competition runners-up, Tom and Kato met a few years after Kato’s second place in Idool, after they both had established solo careers for themselves. Clicking instantly, they decided to compose a few songs together. Their professional relationship ultimately blossomed into a true romance, and they’ve been a unit ever since.

The decisions

Gustaph kicked off today’s Song Club with a rendition of “The Nail“, a dark synthpop ballad about the hurt, prejudice. and abuse LGBTQ people have endure sometimes. The Song Club found “Because of you’s” energetic bounce a better fit for Eurovision however, and this was enough to convince Gustaph to pick it for Saturday!

Then it was the Starlings‘ turn to sing it out: They provided two harmonious ballads close to their heart: “Oceanside“, a song about how they met and fell in love, and “Rollercoaster” a song about the ups and downs in life. And here we got to the only controversy in the selection: The Song Club advised Tom and Kato to choose “Oceanside“, but they disagreed! The pair argued that “Rollercoaster” would be a major surprise when brought live and, against the song club’s wishes, went for their second song.

The line-up for tomorrow (in alphabetical order):

  • Ameerah – “The Carnival”
  • Chérine – “Ca m’ennuie pas”
  • Gala Dragot – “T’inquiète”
  • Gustaph – “Because of you”
  • Hunter Falls – “Ooh la la”
  • Loredana – “You lift me up”
  • The Starlings – “Rollercoaster

One of these seven songs will represent Belgium in Liverpool!

Do #YOU agree with tonight’s choices? Who are #YOU rooting tomorrow? Let us know in the comments. 

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