Belgium’s two claims to fame in ESC

Little Belgium hasn’t had a great deal of luck in Eurovision, only winning the contest once in 1986 with Sandra Kim’s “J’Aime La Vie”. Still, the Belgians have contributed two entries that have entered the world of ESC legend, and not for the right reasons. These two have become fan world shorthand for unfortunate contributions to Eurovision history.

Barbara Dex was the 1993 selection of Belgium’s Flemish-language television network for the Song Contest. She was not a bad singer, and the song was not particularly grating. But what DID rub tv viewers the wrong way was Barbara’s appalling stage appearance, which has given risen to Eurovision fans’ annual Barbara Dex award for the worst-dressed artist in the year’s contest. Here she talks about her experience in Eurovision, and goodnaturedly laughs at her status as bad-fashion icon!

Poor Kate Ryan has been a popular dance music icon across Europe for a decade. Her 2006 song for Eurovision, “Je T’Adore”, is a hot piece of neo-Moroder electro disco. Fans thought she would sail through the semis and be one of the top contenders for victory that year. Unfortunately Kate was probably more used to miming to her recorded vocals in big city discos than singing and dancing live (while dodging the backup dancers’ orangey light sabre mike stands, no less) and shocked audiences when she didn’t make it past the semifinals. Now “doing a Kate Ryan” is fan shorthand to describe a hotly tipped singer that crashes and burns at the contest.

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