Last night, France revealed that Twin Twin will represent it at Eurovision this year, and Britain is due to make its announcement today. However, neither country is likely to relive the kind of success they enjoyed during the contest’s golden years.
France, like Britain, had an in-built advantage from the start: countries performed in their own languages. French was understood more widely than most and fared well.
Indeed, the first-ever winner was performed in French – in 1956, Lys Assia won for Switzerland with the song Refrain. André Claveau gave France its first victory two years later.
Ten of the winning songs in the first 20 years of the contest were performed in French. However, times have changed – 19 of the 22 most recent winners have been sung in English, the international language of pop.
France hasn’t won the contest since 1977 and the last-ever winner to be sung in French was by Céline Dion, representing Switzerland with Ne partez pas sans moi, in 1988.
Mind you, the free-language rule, introduced in 1999, hasn’t helped the UK either. Instead, it has levelled up the playing field, linguistically.
Twin Twin (pictured) offer little more than novelty to the contest this year. Having heard their entry, I’d say it’s pretty safe to assume that Paris won’t be hosting next year’s pan-European pop fest.