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When Aline Lahoud almost represented Lebanon at the Eurovision Song Contest

Aline during her audition in 2014 on 'The Voice: la plus belle voix' in France

Today is 'Eid al-Istiqlal' or 'Indépendance du Liban' - Lebanese Independence Day. The day commemorates the end of the French Mandate over Lebanon back in 1943. Following the nation's independence, it became one of the founding members of the Arab League and one of the founding members of the United Nations just two years later in 1945.

To celebrate Lebanese Independence Day, we take a look back at the Lebanese Eurovision entry 'Quand tout s'enfuit' by Aline Lahoud that almost made it to the Eurovision stage in 2005.

In October, 2004, the then President Director of the Lebanese public broadcaster Télé Liban, Ibrahim El Khoury, announced Lebanon's intention to debut at the Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv in 2005.

Lebanese singer, Aline Lahoud, was announced by the broadcaster as Lebanon's first Eurovision representative.

Lebanese artist Aline Lahoud

In 2004 Aline previously represented the nation at the 'Megahit-International Mediterranean Song Contest'. It was an international song contest hosted in Turkey featuring participation of singers from Mediterranean countries. Interestingly during its three year run it was hosted by none other than San Marino's finest Eurovision representative, Serhat!

In the competition she had performed the entry 'It's Over', which was composed by Jad Rahbani. Aline won the international prize and finished in sixth place overall

The Lebanese broadcaster was very proud of Aline and Jad's achievements, deciding to use the duo for their Eurovision debut. Aline Lahoud would once again represent her nation this time at Eurovision, and Jad Rahbani was given the role of composing an entry.

The oriental-occidental mix song, 'Quand tout s'enfuit', was eventually chosen in February, 2005, and was co-written by Jad Rahbani and Romeo Lahoud.

Despite the fact that Lebanon's official language is Arabic, the broadcaster and songwriter decided to choose an entry in French. Reflecting Lebanon's long-standing status as a francophone country French is a recognised language, and is spoken by many of the population due to the nation's French-occupied past.

Songwriter Jad Rahbani mentioned that it was not only due to the nation's linguistic diversity, but also due to the singer herself:

"As you know, French is our second language and Lebanon is one of the leaders in the francophone. Aline likes singing in French a lot so I want her to be 'l'aise' as we say it in French."

Unfortunately for Aline she didn't get to realise her dream to perform at Eurovision.

A month after the song was announced the Lebanese broadcaster decided to withdraw, conceding to the European Broadcasting Union that they could not guarantee they would uphold the fairness of the event by transmitting it without selective interruption, an implicit reference to the requirement of screening the Israeli Eurovision performance. It led to the broadcaster copping a three-year ban.

Following Lebanon's withdrawal, the original Eurovision CD album cover and track list needed to be changed. The album cover, which features the flags of each country in the iconic Eurovision heart, already included the the Lebanese flag, which was removed. Meanwhile, 'Quand tout s'enfuit', which was originally supposed to be the fourth track of the second disc, was also removed.

Despite not making it to Eurovision, Aline's career blossomed. That same year she was meant to compete at Eurovision she won the 'Charles Trenet International Trophee' in France. Over the years starred in musicals, and on Lebanese television and film.

In 2014 Aline auditioned for the third season of the French version of The Voice, 'The Voice: la plus belle voix' and joined Florent Pagny's team. Unfortunately she was eliminated from the show are the first battle round.

When it comes to Lebanon and Eurovision we can only hope that they one day return and make their debut in the Contest.

With Lebanon's ever thriving music industry there is definitely something the Arabic country can offer at Eurovision.

Article written by Ford Carter and Kyriakos Tsinivits


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