France is one of the Big 5 countries whose place in the grand final is already guaranteed.
During the last 20 years, France ended in the bottom 5 for 8 times. On the other hand, the country ended in top 10 in 4 different occasions in the last 20 years: 2001, 2002, 2009, and 2016.
France brought diverse genres to the contest: from ballad and chansons to uptempo rhythmic songs. However, it seems that there isn’t a formula for the success of France at Eurovision.
One of the country’s weaknesses was the staging issue.
In 2021, after 2 years of “Destination Eurovision” (2018-2019) and one year of internal selection, France will select their act via a new format “Eurovision France, c’est vous qui décidez! 2021“.
In this format, only one show will be held. The results will probably be determined by a combination of 50% jury voting and 50% public voting. Eurovision France, c’est vous qui décidez! 2021” will be held in January 2021 (The date hasn’t been revealed yet).
In this post, I will review the 12 competing acts in the French national selection:
#1. 21 Juin Le Duo – Peux-Tu Me Dire? (Eng: Can you tell me?)
It’s a Caribbean pop song. In most of the time, the two singers are singing together.
The main element of the song is the “Oy oy oy” singing which we can hear from the singers as well from the backing vocalists. The song is opened with the “Oy oy oy” introduction. Thereafter, the male singer is singing with a a little bit husky voice. The female is singing right after them. The rest of the song is being performed by they both.There is a cyclic beat that is wrapping the melody. The melody is based on that beat alongside keyboards and guitar playing.
The last part of the song is opened with an installment section and kind of drum playing. I had issue with the wrong key they were singing during the last part.
To sum up, the song is jaunty and has fum atmosphere in it. However, I don’t classify it as a contender for the winning. The song it’s to repetitive and it’s based on a single beat and concept.
#2. Ali – Paris Me Dit (Yalla Ya Helo!) [“Paris is Telling Me”]
It’s a dance pop song with Arabian influences.
The song is opened with backing vocals and middle-east string sound.
Ali is almost singing-almost speaking at the beginning. The bridge and the chorus are catchier and have more passion in them. The chorus is thin in a sense of lyrics: we can namely hear “Yalla Yalla Ya Helo!” and the song title. The beat in the production is a combination of middle-east Arabian music and dance-club from the beginning of the 2000’s. The 10 last second seems to me like a trying to make the song longer without any context to the song itself.
One advantage of the performance is the singer knows how to dance and move on the stage.
The style sounds a little bit dated, but the main problem is that isn’t original at all.
Another problem that I have here is that at some point, the backing vocals overcome the singer’s singing.
It seems that Ali loves the stage, but the song isn’t strong enough. France will have to bring something more unique and clean from tricks.
#3. Amui – Maeva
The song lyrics include 2 languages: French and Tahitian. Tahitian is a Polynesian language, spoken mainly on the Society Islands in French Polynesia. It belongs to the Eastern Polynesian group.
It is a reminder for France territory out of Europe.
The song is a Caribbean pop song with a little bit of Latin music influences.
It is starting with string instrument playing. The male singer is the first one to sing. The trio suggest a light song with a pretty constant melody the rhythm. In the pre-chorus part, the production includes some African tribes music elements. The beginning of the last minute of the song (at 1:57) made me feel uncomfortable. Visually, it is looking unprofessional on the stage and vocally it’s just not good enough. The whispers alongside the drums transfer into shouting voices from the girls.
I find it amateurish and sometimes embarrassing .
#4. Andriamad – Alléluia
It’s a “love,love, peace, peace song” in a pop genre . The song is opened with a pretty dramatic drums playing. The song is bilingual: it includes lyrics in French end English
The two singers are singing together. The first verse is namely based on a basic melody and cyclic drum beat. In the chorus, the beat is faster and the backing vocals of “yeah, yeah” are supporting their effort. The chorus is catchier and the dance movements elevates the memorable moments the song is trying to achieve. In the peak moment of the song, the male singer is singing “same same same” while the female singer is singing with a trilling. The last chorus is being performed in the way.
The lyrics contain some cliches like: “people of the world” , “no difference” , “same but different” and more.
The song isn’t bad, it’s just quite predictable and full of cliches.
#5. Barbara Pravi – Voilà (Eng: Here)
Barbara Pravi was on of the writers and composers behind the songs of France for Junior Eurovision 2019 and 2020. In 2020 (almost a month ago) France actually won the Junior Eurovision.
It’s a singer-song writer Chanson song. The melody is based on gentle piano playing.
Sometimes, she is using a little bit higher voice (it usually happens towards the end of the lines). The chorus has Waltz elements. We can hear cello playing in the chorus and the verses after. At some points, she looks excited and angry but it is just a way of expressing feelings. The fast rate in the middle of the song, transfers again to a slower one towards the end. The song is ending with a high speed playing and special head-movements.
Barbara‘s voice is pure and clear. She is not only a singer, but also a story-teller.
Barbara doesn’t need any staging, her facial expressions are just enough. She is theatrical and exposes her beautiful soul on the stage. It has drama but in the right dosage.
I would define it as an effective and exciting ballad- Chanson. In other words: France, it is your chance returning to top 10 at Eurovision Grand Final.
#6. Casanova – Tutti (Eng: All)
Casanova is a Corsican singer. His song “Tutti” is being performed in 2 languages: French and Corsican..The song is opened with an instrumental section that’s is based on string instruments with happy vibes. The song has strong roots of Latin and or Middle-east music. The introduction melody is the basis for the beat that builds the verses melody. In the verses his singing can be classified as half speaking- half singing. The chorus has a faster and optimistic character and therefore it is the best part of the song. However, I would change part of the lyrics. The “La la la la” part seems to me as a default text.
Among the verses, the last one is more memorable due to a change in the production.
Casanova is a good looking guy with charisma. The only part I could remember from the song is its chorus. I do see it as a nice song to hear on the radio, still I’m not sure about its chances at Eurovision.
#7. Céphaz – On A Mangé Le Soleil (Eng: We Ate The Sun)
It’s an optimistic enjoyable song.It is opened with a “La la la” singing accompanied by acoustic guitar playing. Céphaz has a unique and clear voice. The first verse sounds like a ballad that has no connection with the introduction and the following chorus. The melody in the verses is quiet basic and simple. The chorus is faster and more memorable. There is an acoustic instrumental section of guitars after the chorus. Something in the chorus melody and arrangement sounds really familiar for me. However, I can’t put my finger on a specific song it remind me.
The last verse is more interesting, comparing the former verses in the song. The singer is trying to reach the limits of his voice.
I have some issues with the song: First of all, the whole experiment for me is a little bit too cheesy. At a specific point, it becomes predictable, too sweet and generic. Second of all, it is a radio-friendly song but it hasn’t any competitive component in it. Furthermore, the verses are not that strong.
#8. Juliette Moraine – Pourvu Qu’on M’Aime (Eng: As long as you love me)
It’s a classic French ballad with foundations of Chanson. The song is opened with a piano playing solo. Thereafter, Juliette is starting singing with her soft and gentle voice. The verse has a faster rate than the chorus. It includes more words and it seems like its aim is telling a story.
The chorus is more interesting although it is a little bit monotonic. Not only the piano playing, but also the accordion playing can be found in the chorus. In the following verse, the singer is using a higher voice and the excitement is growing. The tension is well built and explodes with a wonderful vocal peak. In the end, she is almost whispering and it proves that Juliette is a versatile singer.
Some listeners may tag this song as dated, but I think the right word will be classic, a culture item that France should put in the front and be proud of as part of their music, history and heritage.
In my opinion, the whole package is excellent : Starting with the song and production and ending with the performance and the singer herself.
#9. LMK – Magique (Eng: Magic)
It’s an urban uptempo song. The opening can be misleading in the mission of genre recognition.
The song is starting as a modern piano ballad. Eve is singing with a serious face and a careful pronouncing of the words. After a half-minute, a surprising rhythmic beat is coming and it’s here to break the song into a totally different genre and style. Eve is singing in an urban style which includes a little bit “aggressive” attitude and impressive synchronization with the rhythm. The singer has also a dancing that fits the song and I can praise her for doing it while singing.
The melody is almost clean of music instruments, it is namely based on modern beats, urban production, processed backing vocals and etc
To sum up, it would be the most contemporary choice for France. But I can defiantly see not a small group of people who will find it noisy or annoying.
#10. Philippine – Bah Non (Eng: Well, no)
It’s R&B pop song. The song has the “In your face” attitude. The singer has a lot of to say and she son’t skip a single word. The first verse starts with keyboard playing and a best that is built carefully and slowly. In the bridge, she is getting close to the R&B zone. The chorus is more rhythmic and in addition included bass guitar playing. The bridge is namely relying on her voice.
In the second occurrence of the chorus, the singer is repeating on the “Bah Non” words while she id dancing with a little bit different movements. The rhythmic beat is disappearing out of the blue. The production is returning to be what it was in the beginning of the song. We can only hear keyboard playing accompanying the singer. She is kind of calm down until the last chorus.
In the ending there is a female backing vocalist who is singing in a soul genre.
The song is modern, catchy and shows a different size of France music.
Watching the live performance of the song made me feel comfortable because it is a song that has the potential to fail on stage. Nevertheless, Philippine proved it is wrong.
#11. Poney X – Amour Fou (Eng: Crazy love)
It’s a Funk-pop song which is opened with keyboard and guitar playing. The lead vocalist has a warm and unique voice. He is singing it effortlessly but with some mannerism. The first verse and bridge are Funk-pop unit by the book, with a bouncy-slow rhythm together with bass playing.
However, the chorus is starting in a electronic dance club gene. There is a long danceable section before the singer is singing the chorus. Furthermore, in the chorus the language of the song is changing from French to English. The third verse is being performed in a kind of “rough” style, the singer is singing with hoarseness and a more smokey voice.
The closure of the song includes recorded backing vocals alongside techno beat and singing in English.
I find the song effective and catchy. We could have heard it even 15-20 years ago, which meaning it isn’t that original or modern.
#12. Terence James – Je T’Emmènerai Danser (Eng: I’ll Take You Dance)
The song is opened with a dominant instrumental introduction of bagpipes playing.
The first verse contains a drum beat alongside a weakened bagpipes playing. The rhythm is keeping changing during the song. The chorus is based on “Je T’Emmènerai Danser” words.
The part that comes after it is stronger and more interesting. It also included backing vocals.
During the last part of the song, the production is taking over the melody and Terence‘s singing. The song is ending with the singer almost screaming “Je T’Emmènerai Danser”.
In my opinion, there is something generic and underwhelming in the song. It isn’t bad at all, but there are some other better options.
My full ranking:
#1. Barbara Pravi – Voilà
#2. Juliette Moraine – Pourvu Qu’on M’Aime
#3. Philippine – Bah Non
#4. Poney X – Amour Fou
#5. LMK – Magique
#6. Casanova – Tutti
#7. Céphaz – On A Mangé Le Soleil
#8. Andriamad – Alléluia
#9. Terence James – Je T’Emmènerai Danser
#10. 21 Juin Le Duo – Peux-Tu Me Dire?
#11. Ali – Paris Me Dit (Yalla Ya Helo!)
#12. Amui – Maeva
I will stat by saying that the best choice (and one of predictions) is Barbara Pravi .
There are 4 possible winners: