• France's news in English

France set for yet more Eurovision calamity

Oliver Gee · 19 May 2015, 11:45

Published: 19 May 2015 11:45 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
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. 
Story continues below…
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)
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available