France selects 2012 Eurovision entry

Indonesian-born singer Anggun Cipta Sasmi, known as Anggun, will represent France in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, to be held on May 26th in the Azerbaijan capital Baku.

France selects 2012 Eurovision entry
Ueli Frey

Unlike most countries, which choose their entries through a process of televised competitions and public votes, France adopts a more sober approach to the whole business.

The choice of Anggun was made behind closed doors by executives at state-owned television channel France 3 and announced in the pages of Le Parisien daily newspaper on Tuesday morning.

“To be honest, we’ve been thinking about her for a long time,” said Marie-Claire Mezerette from France 3. “We even hesitated last year between her and Amaury Vassili,” she told the newspaper.

Professional tenor Vassili went on to represent France in the 2011 competition where he came 15th.

37-year old Anggun shot to fame in 1997 with her song “La Neige au Sahara”, also released in English as “The Snow in Sahara.”

“It’s a huge honour,” the singer told Le Parisien. “It’s a real gift for me. I’m Indonesian by origin but naturalized French since 2000. I represent without doubt the France of today, with its many cultures.”

“I live in Paris, I’m married to a French man and my daughter Kirana is French and eats rice as well as cheese.”

The song that Anggun will sing has not yet been revealed, but it is hoped that her performance will help to break the 35-year drought since France last won the competition, in 1977, with Marie Myriam’s song L’Oiseau et L’Enfant.

Anggun: Snow On The Sahara



France 1977 Eurovision winner: Marie Myriam

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‘I’m the hardest working Eurovision contestant’

France's contestant for the Eurovision song contest has tried to rally her country behind her by reminding French people the contest is huge in Europe and that she's been working hard.

'I'm the hardest working Eurovision contestant'
Ueli Frey

France tends to be nonplussed by the annual singing competition. Coverage of Saturday’s final in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku has been largely nonexistent.

Yet the country’s hope this year, Anggun, has been giving some interviews to try to whip up some excitement.

“Eurovision is huge in Europe,” said the Indonesian-born singer, who now lives in Paris, in an interview with the L’Essential online website. “It’s the Olympic Games of music!”

Her costume for the event has been designed by renowned Gallic designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, seen working with her in the video below.

“Believe me, it’s going to be spectacular,” she said.

Anggun has been trying to generate excitement about her song, Echo (You and I), in the French media, even resorting to praising her own work ethic.

“In the little world of the competition, everyone says that, of all the candidates, I’m the most hard working,” she said.

Sweden are favourites to take home the title, with odds of 5/4 according to British bookmaker William Hill. Odds on Anggun winning the title for France are estimated at 100/1.