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Monday, 12 March 2012

What chance for France at Eurovision when up against Gramps and Grans?

It's admittedly a couple of months until that annual musical jamboree the Eurovision Song Contest takes place but it's already making the news as participating countries decide who they'll be sending to represent them in Baku.

Yes - as an aside - this year's "musical jamboree" will take place in the capital of Azerbaijan (break out the atlas) thanks to that country's win last year.

Anggun (screenshot from television interview with LCI)

And following hot on the heels of the United Kingdom's decision to send Engelbert Humperdinck to sing his lungs out, Russia has now decided to uphold a long Eurovision tradition by choosing a song to represent it which taking the Michael (that's putting it politely).

And France?

Well it just doesn't seem to be able to treat the "cultural event of the year" in quite the manner those inverted commas would deem appropriate.

Rather than relying on humour, it seems to take the whole affair far too seriously.

Granted, back in 2007 France sent Les Fatals Picards along to represent it in Helsinki with "L'amour à la française", but after only managing 22nd (out of 24 in the final) seemed to realise that perhaps the rest of Europe didn't "get" the French touch at being lighthearted.

So the Powers that Be at France television, realising that it had perhaps made an error, took the choice of who would represent the country away from viewers and reverted to the tradition of appointing an artist who would carry the colours in a manner more befitting the country's (ahem) musical heritage and cultural diversity

There followed, in order, Sébastien Tellier (2008, 19th in Serbia), Patricia Kaas (2009, eighth in Russia), Jessy Matador (2010, 12th in Norway) and Amaury Vassili (2011, 15th in Germany).

Following up on Vassili's dreadfully awful or awfully dreadful "Sognu" from last year, which bookies (at least as far as the French were reporting) ranked among the favourites but only managed in the singer's words a "shitty finish" it's the turn of Indonesian-born Anggun to try her luck.

While the United Kingdom will be sending along ageing crooner Engelbert Humperdinck, who'll be 76 by the time the contest comes around, and Russia has just chosen a bunch of grannies Buranovskiye Babushki (try saying that after a few vodkas) to, in the words of the song "Party for everybody" (see video), France is pinning its hopes on a serious singer with international success and appeal who has already "conquered France and Europe" according to her official bio and won umpteen awards.

Ah yes. But this is Eurovision, an event which has brought millions of viewers such memorable moments as Stefan Raab "ridiculing the ridiculous" as Terry Wogan put it for Germany in 2000 with "Wadde hadde dudde da" or Ireland's Dustin the turkey reminding everyone that "he comes from a nation what knows how to write a song" in 2008 with "Irelande douze pointe"
and Finland's Lordi head banging their way to victory in 2006 with "Hard Rock Hallelujah" (you can click on the links to jog your memory).

What chance does Anggun's "Echo (You and I)" stand especially when up against the gramps and grans of the UK and Russia?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, I think I'll do like Armenia: boycott the whole show. It seems it's getting more dreadful every year, and increasingly boring!

And I can't help thinking about the Mary Hopkins song, "Those were the days my friend", when the Eurovision song contest meant something.

I must be getting old!


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