Tonight Belgium gave us the last national final of the 2014 Eurovision season. Buoyed by a groundswell of public support (57% of the televote), Axel Hirsoux trounced his competition with “Mother”:
Eurovision has a rich history of songs about mom – recent examples include Pernilla Karlsson’s “När Jag Blundar” (Finland 2012) and Anastasiya Prykhodko’s “Mamo” (Russia 2009). It makes sense to target mom as subject matter, because, you know, we all can relate. This year’s dedication feels like an English-language adaptation of an 11-o’clock number from an Italian melodrama. Its appreciation of mom is heartfelt but comes across a bit strong for those of us that tend to be more restrained in expressions of love toward our family members. In fact, watching Hirsoux’s performance during Belgian Eurosong reminded us of “Senza Mamma” from Godfather, Part II.
Hirsoux was joined onstage by noted Belgian choreographer Isabelle Beernaert, dancing the role of Mother. We haven’t seen this kind of celebrity turn since Evgeni Plushenko joined Dima Bilan onstage for “Believe.” The overall effect was quite compelling, as the presentation showcased Axel’s camera presence with artistry that underscored the song’s feelings of longing and sadness. We hope (and suspect) that Belgium will export this Eurosong staging wholesale to Copenhagen.
STRAY OBSERVATIONS: We love Isabelle. In the post-Eurovision doldrums of 2011 we stumbled onto The Ultimate Dance Battle. We were familiar with Dan Karaty’s work through the American version of So You Think You Can Dance, and we were fascinated to learn that he’s subsequently established a career for himself in the Netherlands. We greatly enjoyed TUDB’s format and the exposure to the deep pool of working choreographers and dancers in Flanders and the Netherlands.