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Monday, 16 May 2011

"A shitty finish" - France flops again at Eurovision

Now there's a headline to knock the stuffing out of a country's national pride.

France had gone into Saturday's Eurovision Song Contest in the German city of Düsseldorf with high hopes that its singing "hairdon't" Amaury Vassili would seduce television viewers and professional judges across the continent in the annual musical jamboree that brings pleasure to millions.

Amaury Vassili (screenshot from France 3 television)

Indeed bookmakers had for some reason made the 21-year-old the favourite and somehow the French media wanted to believe it so much that it was carrying reports on how other contestants were telling Vassili, "See you in Paris next year."

"Amaury Vassili represents France's best shot at topping Eurovision since Marie Myriam won back in 1977," said the national daily Aujourd'hui en France - Le Parisien before the competition,

Instead as we all know by now the couple Ell and Nikki from Azerbaijan - and don't ask Azerbai-where - won, and Vassili finished a lowly 15 with a mighty 82 points.

Only two countries gave the Gallic warbler that much prized "douze points"; neighbours Belgium and (presumably equally tone deaf) Greece (well Cyprus hadn't made it through to the finals so they had to hunt around for another country to whom they could give their votes).

All the pre-competition hype had come to nothing and the less-than exquisite "Songu", sung in a Corsican dialect that not even the French could understand, finished with the same number of points as France's 2010 entry from Jessy Matador (who?) bopping along to "Allez Ola Olé", although three places lower.

Now there's a compliment.

Was it perhaps a case of the French believing in their own publicity? After all what were the chances of a pseudo-operatic voice having widespread appeal when up against the tra-la-la-ing expertise of Nordic, Baltic, Balkan and Eastern European blocs?

Vassili had urged caution in the run-up to the contest and was disappointed not to have done better.

"15th place is a shitty position but it doesn't matter," he said afterwards.

"I gave it everything I had but it wasn't convincing enough. It was a gamble choosing a song like this and in the end we just didn't pull it off."

And when it came to the winners, he had less than tender words.

"For me the Azerbaijan song was completely trite and syrupy and I didn't believe for one moment the performance the two gave as a couple or a duo," he said.

"Besides I think it shows a lack of balls to sing in English (as most of the 43 finalists did) rather than the language of your country or - as I did - a region."

So France won't be shelling out millions of euros to hold next year's contest.

Instead that honour will go to Azerbaijan when the world will discover just how European it is - or isn't - what the capital is called, and who knows, they might actually be able to locate it on a map.

Oh yes, and it'll probably be the only other time most of us will get to hear Eli and Nikki's "Running scared".


But for all those who want a reminder of what real Eurovision was - as far as the French are concerned - here's that 1977 triumph once again from Marie Myriam.

And as a special for all you Eurovision enthusiasts - Vassili and Myriam tackled her one hit on French television just weeks before the Düsseldorf disappointment.

Perhaps France should have tried entering that.


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France Today said...

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Anonymous said...

The Italian song was fabulous. True what Vassili says about the winner. But his song was rubbish too.

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