France set for yet more Eurovision calamity

Oliver Gee
Oliver Gee - [email protected]
France set for yet more Eurovision calamity
France's entrant Lisa Angell rehearsing in Vienna. Photo: Elena Volotova/EBU

France has suffered an absolutely shocking run at the Eurovision song contest in recent years, but could Lisa Angell turn it around in 2015 with her song "N'oubliez pas"? Definitely not, says The Local's Oliver Gee.


At first glance France's credentials for the Eurovision song contest look pretty impressive. 
It's a five-time winner and is one of the five countries that essentially funds the contest. And while everyone talks up the demise of French, the Eurovision tournament continues to use it as one of its two official languages.
But a closer look makes pretty grim reading. France finished last in 2014 winning a meagre total of only two points. The year before it finished 23rd (out of 26 entrants) and the year before that it was 22nd. 
The last time it had a top five finish was 13 years ago, and even then it only finished 5th. And the five victories? They were in 1958, 1960, 1962, 1969, and 1977.
Yes, the glory days are well and truly over - France has not been on song for a long, long time.
So surely this year in Vienna, it's about time that France put in a performance to remind all these new-ish upstart European contestants (and Australia), of who really is le Roi d'Eurovision.
But it almost certainly won't happen.
Meet Lisa Angell, a 46-year-old Parisian whose entry "N'oubliez pas" sounds like a B-side track from a Disney movie. The songwriter suggested it's about World War One, Angell herself says it's about peace and solidarity, and the lyrics say it's set in a village that burned during some kind of conflict.
Here's the song. No one will judge you if you skip it and carry on reading below. 

Ah, you're back. How much of that did you honestly listen to?
Here's a taste of the lyrics, in case you don't understand French:
"All that remains to me are ashes of my village, plunged into silence. I am but a wound, a heart without an armour. How do I survive after this?"
There's nothing actually wrong with the song, and Angell seems like a lovely woman, but why oh why bother entering something like this? And what's more, although we can admire their insistence on singing in French, surely the French realize that you essentially have to sing in English to have a chance of winning.
Besides the Serbian song that won in 2007, all winners since 1998 have sung in English. 
In 2007 France did enter a group who sang in franglais - a mixture of the two languages, but it didn't go down too well with judges and the group Les Fatal Picards finished second to last (see video below).

The absolute best odds for France's Angell to win are 40 to one, with some bookmakers suggesting well over 100 to one.
Last year, a bearded lady singing about a phoenix was the winner. You can't jump from that to apocalyptic opera. It just doesn't work. 
France's no-hope entry seems to show how little the country cares about the contest, which many may consider both admirable and sensible.
But compare it to Sweden, where there is a six-week Idol-like contest to decide the winner -- or Australia which has been allowed to send an entry just because they are such die-hard fans.
It's a shame really, because France's pop music is actually pretty cool, and many of the radio hits have their choruses in English. And let's not forget the international artists coming out of France like David Guetta and Daft Punk.
But no, France doesn't care about Eurovision, and the great shame is that it's surely going to come last, or almost last, once again.
As France is one of the five biggest financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union, Angell skips both semi-final contests for a place in the final on Saturday night. Check in on Saturday night for The Local's live blog.

(France's entry Lisa Angell in Vienna. Photo: Thomas Hanses/EBU)


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