Tonight, the duo Madame Monsieur carry the hopes of France at this year’s Eurovision song contest. Unusually, the French entry is one of the bookies’ favourites to win.
Since scoring big at the French national final in January, the couple have wooed fans with their charming song Mercy. Now, bookmakers put them in tonight’s top 5.
The song was inspired by the story of a child born on a boat rescuing people attempting to cross from Africa to Europe. The little girl’s name was Mercy.
It was recently revealed in the French media that Mercy is alive and well.
It has been a long time since France was in the running for the top spot at the pan-European popfest. Indeed, Marie Myriam was the last to bring home the Eurovision prize to Paris – and that was back in 1977.
Her L’oiseau et l’enfant was France’s 5th winner. It’s a great song that builds beautifully and has become a national evergreen.
My other 5 personal all-time French favourites from the 63-year history of the contest are:
- Natasha St Pier – Je n’ai que mon âme (2001)
- Isabelle Aubret – La source (1968)
- Amir – J’ai cherché (2016)
- Frida Boccara – Un jour, un enfant (1969)
- Sandrine François – Il faut du temps (2002)
Like the UK, France has generally fared badly in Eurovision in recent years. That is partly because it doesn’t take the contest very seriously, unlike some eastern European countries which send their top stars to represent them.
It’s also because, like the UK, it has lost its linguistic advantage. In the past, countries had to perform in their national tongues. So the English- and French-speaking entries tended to do better, as their languages are better known.
“The song was inspired by the story of a child born on a boat rescuing people attempting to cross from Africa to Europe”
Now, most countries enter in English, which has the effect of levelling the playing field.
Will France win tonight? Personally, I doubt it – but it would be great if Madame Monsieur could give France a top 5 placing.
Bonne chance, la France!