It’s been 40 years since France last won the Eurovision song contest. Tonight, the country is pinning its hopes on an unknown called Alma and her song Requiem.
France, like the UK, used to fare very well in the contest. It took home pop’s grand prix 5 times between 1958 and 1977, thanks to André Claveau, Jacqueline Boyer, Isabelle Aubret, Frida Boccara and Marie Myriam.
Its last winner, Marie Myriam’s L’Oiseau et l’Enfant, has become an evergreen and you will still hear it played in bars and on the radio today.
The tiny neighbouring principality of Luxembourg, also did well thanks to France – 4 of its 5 winners were, in fact, French nationals. Of greatest note, perhaps, is yé-yé girl France Gall, who won in 1965 with the Serge Gainsbourg composition Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son.
Monaco also scored in 1971 with Paris’ Séverine and her Un Banc, Un Arbre, Une Rue.
But France has suffered in recent years.
“France is riding high in the global popularity stakes this week. The election of Emmanuel Macron has given the civilised world cause to celebrate”
It has languished at the bottom of the leader board. In 2014, Twin Twin scored just 2 points and finished last with their entry, Moustache.
Last year, Amir provided France with a well-deserved return to the top 10. Can Alma do better?
Her song is catchy and she sings a few lines in English, which may increase its international appeal. Plus, she’s been drawn in the second half of the contest.
What’s more, France is riding high in the global popularity stakes this week. The election of Emmanuel Macron – and the defeat of Marine Le Pen – has given the civilised world cause to celebrate.
The Alt Right had hoped for a Brexit-Trump-Le Pen hat trick, but, mercifully, it wasn’t to be.
The outcome of the French election reminds me of when the UK last won Eurovision. Back in 1997, Katrina and the Waves scored a runaway success with their Love Shine a Light.
Just a few days earlier, the UK had elected its youngest-ever Prime Minster to power, Tony Blair, and the country was full of hope…
So the omens for Alma are good.
Paris to host next year? That would be good.