Belgium’s Axel Hirsoux sings the hell out of “Mother” but a good song does not necessarily equal a good entry for the Eurovision Song Contest.
Song Title: “Mother”
Artist: Axel Hirsoux
Semi-Final: First, Position 11
Last year’s entry: “Love Kills” – Roberto Bellarosa (12th Place)
Belgium. I…hmmm. This is a tricky one. “Mother” by Axel Hirsoux calls back to an older time in Eurovision, back when they used to have an orchestra, when juries decided everything, and it was the technical merit of the song that earned 12 points. Remember in 2011 when everyone thought France had the Contest in the bag because “Sognu” was so operatic? That seems to be the theory behind this entry as well. I hate to break it to you, but history may repeat itself:
Axel Hirsoux performed this at the Eurovision in Concert event two weekends ago. Technically, he’s marvelous and sings the hell out of “Mother.” But the audience is not engaged at all. There are two reasons that immediately jump to mind as to why that is. The first: there is nothing contemporary about this track, at least in a modern pop context. The second: the lyrics are a bit much. I am not begrudging Hirsoux’s relationship with his mom, but I can see how the devotion effused in this song can make the listener uncomfortable. Perhaps if this song were presented in another language, it wouldn’t be as off-putting.1
I’m not sure what Belgium can do to salvage this entry. Axel Hirsoux is buried in the running order, followed immediately by the equally off-putting entry from Moldova. One advantage Belgium has is that three of its Eurovision besties—France, Netherlands, and Portugal—are voting in this semi-final. The bookmakers have Belgium in the running, though they may be overestimating the influence the juries have (and completely disregarding televoters).
Belgium has a good song that checks boxes for technical proficiency. Unfortunately, Belgium does not have a good entry for Eurovision proficiency.