'Eurovision France: c'est vous qui décidez!' National Final Preview
Unfurl your tricolore! Stock up on croissants! Have your pot (or vat) of coffee on standby! And prepare to watch what promises to be a diverse, competitive and entertaining French national final. 'Eurovision France: c'est vous décidez' is almost here. C'est super!
A Recap: When? Where? How?
'Eurovision France: c'est vous qui décidez' will be broadcast live on France 2 from 21:05 (local time) on Saturday, 30 January. International viewers will be able to follow the live stream via the channel's website: https://www.france.tv/france-2/
For the Francophiles here in Australia, that will mean Sunday, 31 January with morning start times of:
- 07:05 (VIC, NSW, TAS and ACT)
- 06:35 (SA)
- 06:05 (QLD)
- 05:35 (NT)
- and a very early 04:05 (WA).
All twelve artists will perform their entry, and the winner will then be crowned based on a 50-50 allocation of public votes and a ten-person jury's scores. The jury will be headed up by Amir (France's Eurovision 2016 entrant and Destination Eurovision favourite) and include other stars of past Contests such as Duncan Laurence (2019 victor), Natasha St-Pier (France's Eurovision 2001 representative) and Marie Myriam (the last French winner from Eurovision 1977).
Further details about the show's structure can be found in our article from earlier this month.
The Front Runners
Whilst nothing is ever certain in the national final prediction game (as we've already seen this year!), four songs have so far emerged as fan favourites, based on polls and plays, including the Aussievision team's rankings.
Leading the pack for many is Barbara Pravi with 'Voilà', an intense, passionate, authentically and classically French song in the story-telling chanson style, with echoes of Edith Piaf and, to my mind, Jacques Brel's melancholic 'Ne Me Quitte Pas'. Barbara has also enjoyed recent success at the Contest's junior version as the songwriter of Valentina's JESC-winning entry 'J'imagine' in Warsaw last November.
By contrast, 'Bah non' by Philippine is a modern-sounding empowerment song, expressing a new-found self-confidence after an ending, which the artist has explained isn't necessarily a romantic break-up. Will tapping into this universal feeling of angry disappointment and reinvention see her win through on the night?
The funky, EDM track 'Amour fou' by Pony X, a duo consisting of the silky-voiced Clarence and his pony head-wearing, mute DJ friend, and Alléluia' by Andriamad, another duo performing a "world music" number with a strong message of global cultural equality, round out the national final peloton.
An International Feel
France's Eurovision 2021 selection show also has a truly international feel, as is clear from the next four artists previewed.
AMUI are a French Polynesian trio whose entry 'Maeva' (meaning ''Welcome') is an upbeat pop number with lyrics that blend French and Tahitian, whereas Terence James pays tribute to his Scottish heritage in 'Je t'emmènerai danser' by featuring bagpipes at the start of the dancefloor track. A unique choice that works!
[Clockwise from top left: AMUI, Terence James, Ali, Céphaz]
Ali's 'Paris me dit (Yalla ya helo!)' is a reflection on his arrival in the French capital after fleeing war-torn Lebanon, the country of his birth, whilst 'On a mangé le soleil' warns of the dangers of overconsumption in modern-day society with the artist Céphaz drawing on first-hand experiences from his childhood in Ghana.
A Taste of France
The final four artists represent a range of different styles and regions of France, proving that the country has opted to showcase the full gamut of its national talent.
[Clockwise from top left: Juliette Moraine, LMK, 21 Juin Le Duo, CASANOVA]
With her self-penned 'Pourvu qu'on m'aime', Juliette Moraine offers up a touching ballad about love and loving oneself. LMK's 'Magique' combines the performer's talents as a classical harpist with a love of dancehall reggae (expect some choreography here!). The peppy 'Peux-tu me dire?' by duo and couple '21 Juin Le Duo' belies its more serious message of the impact of climate change on our environment. And the Corsican chorus of 'Tutti' is an homage to artist Casanova's island home. Quite the mix, n'est-ce pas?
So, will it be Barbara's Brel or the bagpipes?
Will it be 'bah non' or 'bah ouais' for Philippine?
Harp-accompanied reggae dancehall or pony DJ EDM?
Excessive consumption or environmentalism?
Corsican or Tahitian?
For answers to all these questions and more, you'll have to follow events this weekend.
Personally, I can't wait!
Watch all 12 songs here: