This year “La Grande Nation” is going to participate for the 63rd time! Like all the so called Big 5 countries France is automatically set in the Grand Final in Lisbon and no qualifying round has to be taken. But this year France has held a broad national final called “Destination Eurovision” including two semi-finals all on Saturday nights on France 2 at primetime. Such a lavish pre-decision has not been seen since 1986 in France. There has been a lot of attention in the country and many famous composers and singers were involved. The aim was to continue with the recent successes in the ESC. Last year Alma could achieve a 12th place with “Requiem” in Kiev and the year before Amir was even able to make the 6th place with “J’ai Cherché” in Stockholm. It’s obvious that there is more ardour in France for this music event than before.
The overwhelming winners were Madame Monsieur – a duo consisting of Émilie Satt and Jean-Karl Lucas, they have received the highest votes from the public (not from the juries). Both meet ten years ago and they don’t only make music together they are even married. They have been working with Youssoupha and released the song “Smile”, which became a hit in France. Since then they have produced several albums and EP’s and released various singles. The style of their music can be defined as urban pop with hints of jazz and blues. On stage Émelie and Karl appear authentic, work and complement each other in the best way.
Mercy is the title of this year’s French entry. This Mercy is written with a “Y”, as it does not mean thank you, what might have been obvious for a French song, but it’s a name of a child who is born on a refugee boat on the Mediterranean. The lyrics of this song are really touching. It’s the first time a Eurovision song deals with the problem of the refugees coming to Europe. Madame Monsieur tell the story of the new born baby, whose mother had to run away from war, there is nothing left to lose. And this child Mercy is lucky to survive and stand for all the children who did not make it in the cold, cold sea. Knowing this emotional meaning of the song makes the French song even stronger and it belongs to the favourites this year. In addition the composition is catchy and easy to swing with. It is also very radio friendly and has great hit potential.
Top 10: 38
Chances for Top 10: 61%
France belongs to the founding members of the Eurovision Song Contest from the first year 1956. This year in Lisbon is going to be the 63rd time for France! France has withdrawn in 1974 and 1982. Nevertheless there were five winning songs, six second places and seven third places, unfortunately the biggest successes can be found in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. In the last 30 years France struggled with good placings, this is due to the increasing amount of participating countries and the televoting and sometimes it’s due to the bad choice for the right entry by the French broadcaster. In the last two years the trend looks quite good as a 6th and a 12th rank could be achieved.
A Top10 position France could be achieved 38 times within six decades, so approximate chance to get a good placement overall is about 61%. France is famous for its chansons and ballads, but also French pop tunes have been presented lately like “Divine” by Sébastian Tellier (19th rank in 2008) and “Allez Olla Olé” by Jessy Matador (12th rank in 2010) which have been found in the international charts as well. Here France was on the right way to success.
Even with big names like Patricia Kaas, Natasha St. Pierre or Patrick Fiori could not bring another victory for France, but at least some respectable placings and international attention. In 1977 Marie Myriam convinced the juries with “L'oiseau Et L'enfant”, this was the last big victory in Eurovision, and that’s more than 30 years ago! As France belongs to the Big 5 countries, it is set automatically for the final like Germany, UK, Spain and Italy.
Photographer, Journalist, Editor
About me: My first Eurovision I watched was in 1987, Brussels. Since then I am following the ESC with great enthusiasm. The greatest fascination for me is the fact that the entire Europe is watching the show at that specific night. Since 2010, Oslo I am a member of the eurovisionlive.com team. I had the chance to witness the second German victory with Lena. My biggest wish would be to have the orchestra back, as it used to be until 1998.