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EUROVISION

Who is France’s Eurovision entry? Six things to know

France hasn't had a Eurovision victory since 1977. Here’s what you need to know about the singer that could change that.

Who is France’s Eurovision entry? Six things to know
Photo: AFP

The French have lost interest in Eurovision in recent years, no doubt because they've been doing so badly.

French entrants haven't even cracked the top 20 for four years, haven't made the top five since 2002, and haven't had a victory since 1977.

Yikes, not great stats. But could Amir Haddad be the one to turn it all around? 

On May 14th, Amir will represent France at the Eurovision final in Stockholm, Sweden. Seeing as he just might bring glory and renewed enthusiasm for Eurovision in France, you should probably know a thing or two about him.

He’s the product of multiple cultures

Laurent Amir Khlifa Khedider Haddad (say that three times fast), usually known as Amir Haddad or just Amir, was born in Paris to a Tunisian father and a Moroccan-Spanish mother.

They moved to Israel when Amir was eight, and it was there that he first got some attention when he made it to the finals of a televised Israeli talent show in 2006. Unfortunately he didn’t win, but it paved the way for him to start recording his first album. 

If he weren’t a singer, he’d be a… dentist

After the initial disappointment of not winning the talent competition, Amir went on to graduate from dentistry school in Jerusalem in 2012. We can imagine getting your teeth cleaned would be a lot more pleasant if you were serenaded by Amir at the same time. 

He only has one working ear

Yep, Amir can only hear on the left side. You’d think he might be a bit tone deaf since he was born with this 50 percent hearing loss, but he manages to sing better than most humans with two working ears.

He's a fan of franglais

His competition song J’ai Cherché is sung in French with an English chorus, which really ticked off France’s culture minister. The song, co-written by Amir, Nazim Khaled, and Johan Errami, wasn’t even originally intended for Eurovision.

Instead it was just supposed to be the first single on Amir’s new album until he was approached and asked to perform the song to represent France. 

He has influential fans

Not only have some bookies tipped him to finish in the top four, but Amir has the backing of previous winner Céline Dion, as evidenced in this picture he tweeted a day before the Eurovision final. 

Now it's just a matter of the rest of Europe discovering the talent and it could be the crown for France!

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DRUGS

French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test

France's Europe minister on Monday called for "total transparency" over speculation that one of Italy's victorious Eurovision contestants used cocaine during the song contest, saying it should be grounds for disqualification if confirmed.

French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test
France's entry, Barbara Pravi, said she didn't care whether Måneskin had used drugs or not. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Damiano David, the outlandish vocalist for Italian rockers Måneskin, has agreed to take a drug test after video footage appeared to show him snorting something from a table backstage during Saturday’s contest.

“I think there needs to be no doubt here, and total transparency,” Europe Minister Clement Beaune, who attended the show in Rotterdam, told RMC radio. “If there is a problem, there are penalties… Provisions are made for sanctioning measures, including potential disqualification in case of problems.” 

French hopes had been riding high on singer Barbara Pravi, who was a bookmakers’ favourite to end France’s 44-year Eurovision drought with her
moody ballad “Voila.”

But she was edged out at the last minute by a surge in public votes for Måneskin, with a final tally of 524 to Pravi’s 499.

“I don’t want to be a sore loser,” Beaune said, but “in terms of image, we can’t let people think that such competitions can result in such behaviour.”

The president of France’s public broadcasting group, however, said Monday that France would not contest its second-place finish, no matter the speculation over David’s backstage antics.

“France has absolutely no intention to lodge an appeal,” France Televisions chief Delphine Ernotte told the Parisien newspaper. “The vote was quite clearly in Italy’s favour — it didn’t steal its
victory and that’s what matters,” she said.

Pravi herself said she was not interested in the speculation.

“What’s true is that they were chosen by both the public and the jury. Afterwards, if they use drugs or they put their underwear on backwards or whatever… it’s not my problem,” she told France 2 television on Sunday.

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