Five things to know about France’s 2021 Eurovision entry

Five things to know about France's 2021 Eurovision entry
Singer-songwriter Barbara Pravi will represent France at Eurovision 2021. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP
With the French entry to the 2021 Eurovision song contest among the bookies' favourites to win, here's what you need to know about singer Barbara Pravi.

1. She’s got form

France is represented this year by singer-songwriter Barbara Pravi, a 28-year-old Parisienne.

This is her first entry into the contest, but she composed the song which won the Eurovision Juniors contest in 2020.

2. She’s one of the more serious entries

While Germany has a man dressed as a giant hand running around the stage, Norway has a collection of chained devils and Ukraine is bringing some traditional throat singing to the contest, Barbara’s act is a little more sober.

Her song Voilà is in the classic French chanson tradition of singers like Edith Piaf.

It’s actually really catchy and builds to a great climax and is also very French – her official video has her wearing a beret and features some mime artists.

3. She will definitely be in the final

France is one of the ‘big five’ countries that go directly into the final every year. France, the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy get guaranteed places in the final because they are the biggest financial contributors to the contest.

The host country, this year the Netherlands, also gets an automatic spot in the finals, but all other countries have to qualify through two semi finals, which take place on the Tuesday and Thursday before the final on Saturday. 

4. She’s singing in English

Haha, don’t be ridiculous, of course she’s not! Over the years more and more countries have been sending English-language songs to the contest to maximise their chances of being understood by the largest numbers of people and singing at least most of your song in English is widely seen as improving your chance of winning.

That cuts no ice with France, of course, for whom francophone pride comes first. In recent years some French entries have had English choruses or phrases in English and that reliably sparks outrage in France and often questions in parliament.

Last year the Culture Minister declared that the song, which had alternating French/English couplets, “broke his ears”.

Barbara’s song is entirely in French. Also, this year the English-speaking nation of Malta has given its song a French title – Je me casse.

5. She could win

France’s recent form in Eurovision has not been great. They haven’t won the contest since 1977 and many of their entries have finished towards the bottom of the table. Unlike countries like Sweden, where Eurovision is huge, France tends to send relative unknowns to the contest, rather than chart-topping stars.

But this could change . . . The site Oddschecker, which collates odds from dozens of bookmakers, on Thursday had France as third favourite to win at 18/5, behind Italy and Malta.

The final is on Saturday, May 22nd at 9pm on France 2 TV.


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