Belguim - Mahmoud El Achi

Belgium’s Blanche aims to light up Kyiv with City Lights

After placing a respectable 10th in 2016 with What’s the Pressure?, performed by Laura Tesoro, and a strong 4th-place showing by Loïc Nottet the previous year, Belgium has continued its current policy of allowing the two state broadcasters, RTBF and VRT, to alternate in their selection of a singer and song at Eurovision.

Last autumn, Francophone broadcaster RTBF picked 17-year-old Blanche to represent Belgium, and early this month we found out that the song she would be singing in Kyiv is titled City Lights.

Blanche, who’s real name is Ellie Delvaux, is a newcomer to Eurovision but is not new to song contests, having taken part in the sixth season of The Voice Belgium (reaching the semi final).

Following her internal selection by RTBF, Blanche set to work on writing City Lights alongside established songwriter and performer Pierre Dumoulin, the frontman of the group Roscoe. Dumoulin’s pedigree as a songwriter is reflected by the fact that the Liège native is a two-time winner of Belgium’s Octave Award for Best Album (for Roscoe’s debut album Cracks in 2012 and again with their second album in 2015). Dumoulin wrote the music and collaborated with Blanche on the lyrics.

Blanche has a rich, grown-up voice that defies her age, and City Lights is a grown-up, mid-tempo, somewhat mournful track. The early response to the song has been positive, with people quickly turning to Twitter to voice their approval, with some pointing out that it’s a great song that would never be picked as the winner of a national public competition.

The song is not typically Eurovision, so is likely to stand out as a result. Blanche will perform for Belgium in the first semi-final on Tuesday 9 May 2017.