One of the few comic acts of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest comes from Belgium. The experienced rockabilly singer Patrick Ouchène has taken on the character of a crazed Elvis impersonator, blaming Elvis for stealing his style.
“It's really funny,” Patrick says. “But there's also a message behind it. In Belgium, there are some political problems between the French speaking people and the Flemish ones. The cat is the symbol of Belgium and the team consists of members of both parts of the population, so we represent the united Belgium.”
Despite the positive symbolism, Elvis' fanclubs in several countries have been complaining on the entry.
“Okay, it's a double-sensed song,” Patrick admits. “I never mention the name of Elvis in the lyrics. But I play a character who's completely forgotten that he is an imitator and wonders who this guy in America is. It could all be in featured a funny movie.”
So what did you respond to the fanclubs?
“I simply said that they should be happy to have an image like this of Elvis worldwide. I'm a fan of Elvis myself. It's true that you can wonder about the song at the first sight, but if you follow it until the end, you see that it's a complete joke and that the crazy guy is the one that I play the part of.”
Between his first and second rehearsal, the copycat Patrick toured together with his band, performing in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. The act has performed in Moscow several times previously. During the present trip, however, Patrick got a cold from the air conditioning in the plane. As a result, he has sounded very hoarse in the last rehearsals. Now he fights against time to get well for the big night on Tuesday, when he starts as number three.
Patrick has been a rockabilly performer since many years. His Elvis-like haircut is not a wig but a real haircut, which he has sported since the age of thirteen. The long experience with the genre was an important reason that Patrick was chosen as the singer for Copycat. Jacques Duvall, the writer of the lyrics, called Patrick and said that he wanted to have the song for the Eurovision Song Contest.
“He told me that he wanted an authentic rockabilly singer and not an impersonator,” Patrick says. “But I was surprised myself that they chose our song, it won't be a common entry for this contest.”
Also, Patrick stresses that he thinks that shocking entries should be avoided in this context. As an example he puts forth Ukraine's Svetlana Loboda and her Be My Valentine! (Anti-Crisis Girl).
“Too many artists at this contest use this visual trick of shocking people. Like the Ukrainian one. I saw it in the preview show in Amsterdam and was stunned. It was great, but I can't imagine that at nine o'clock on TV when families and children are watching.”