Belgium qualifies in style for Eurovision Song Contest final on Saturday

Belgium qualifies in style for Eurovision Song Contest final on Saturday
Credit: Sanjin Strukic/PIXSELL

Belgium has made it to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest after singer Gustaph triumphed in the second semi-final on Thursday evening with his performance of 'Because of You.'

A clear fan-favourite among the crowd, Gustaph was the fifth act to take the stage in the second semi-final and was announced as a finalist to a standing ovation in the Liverpool venue.

"I am incredibly happy," Gustaph told VRT afterwards. "I immediately burst into tears, as you could see. I have been weeping a lot over the past few weeks, so that is nothing to be surprised about."

Gustaph set the venue alight with his performance, which was felt not only by the audience but also by the international press. The warmth of the audience was palpable, he said. "To me, it was proof that I am a performer. I have been performing for 20 years, the audience makes me better in the sense that I want to prove myself even more."

Standing out with a dynamic act

Previous editions have proved that the key to doing well at Eurovision is often standing out – something which Belgium certainly did on Thursday. After an upbeat pop song as an opener and three similar ballads, Gustaph was the first act of the evening to get the audience going, quickly turning the arena into a party.

Having promised a dynamic act to accompany the song about his "chosen family" (the people who support him unconditionally), he delivered on that promise. Performing with a grand staircase, eye-catching visuals on the screens, his three dancing backing singers Chantal, Monique and Sandrin, as well as ballroom dancer PussCee West, who in the last minute of "Because of you" topped off the performance with impressive voguing.

Additionally, his backing singers also delivered a very strong live vocal performance, even it is no longer mandatory to perform live at the Song Contest.

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On Saturday, Gustaph will be performing in the second half of the show. "In principle, it should not matter, but statistics have shown that artists in the second half score better," he said. "I am going to do everything I can to make everyone proud at home. We stand out with our song, its energy and its message. I do think we have the chance to create a positive result."

Among the other qualified countries joining Belgium in the final from Thursday's semi-final are: Albania, Cyprus, Estonia, Austria, Lithuania, Poland, Australia, Armenia and Slovenia.

These is a total of 26 countries that will be performing on Saturday.

From Tuesday's final, Croatia, Moldova, Switzerland, Finland, Czechia, Israel, Portugal, Sweden, Serbia and Norway will join "The Big Five" countries – that are the biggest donors to the Song Contest – are automatically qualified to the final: Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the UK. Last year's winner, Ukraine, is also automatically qualified for the final.

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