Kate Ryan, who narrowly missed out on a Eurovision Song Contest final place this year, will be the guest star at the Belgian selection for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2006.
Kate, who came 12th in the semifinal in Athens, will make an appearance at the special introduction show planned by the Flemish broadcaster VRT, who have the responsibility of representing Belgium this year. During the show, viewers will have also get the chance to preview the partipants hoping to fly the flag in Bucharest this December.
The programme kicks off three weeks of competition, with two semifinals on 17th and 24th September, followed by the grand final on 1st October. Marcel Vanthilt, the familiar face who co-presented the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2005 from Hasselt, and more recently helped to judge the Eurosong 2006 entries, will be missing from the expert jury this year. He blames his absence on the hectic contest schedule, with last year's Belgian selection, Hasselt 2005 and Athens 2006 all coming very close together. However, he has not ruled out a return in 2008, when it falls once more to VRT to select a Belgian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest.
No Belgium? No way!
On the subject of participation, Marcel himself is sticking by the contest; after post-Athens polls showed huge disenchantment with the contest that rejected star Kate Ryan, many Belgians had begun to look negatively on the question: should Belgium participate any more? But Marcel's answer is a clear: yes! "It's always such a boost for the music industry – we shouldn't give that up!"
Tune in for Belgium's grand opening of the jESC '06 preparations on VRT, this 10th September.