By Aline Mahrud
WHEN/WHERE?: 5 March 2022, Paris
HOW DO I WATCH?: France Télévisions
France’s Barbara Pravi was runner-up at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest with Voila and it’s fair to say that the French Eurovision selection procedure in recent years has really upped its game.
- Read on for reasons including our pick of the 12 songs in this final
Douze points: Pauline Chagne Nuit Pauline (Night Pauline) (Pauline Chagne, Antonin Tardy)
The ‘night Pauline’ is an evening where our heroine is in the driving seat of her life with all dreams possible. On first hearing we loved the old school 60s Vanessa Paradis goes Stereolab charm of the song driven by a plucked electro harp hook. The live performance video (see above) boasts Chagne playing that harp and for us it takes a little away from its naive charm but the best song here we think.
Dix points: Alvan & Ahez Fullenn (Spark) (Marine Lavigne, Alvan Morvan Rosius)
Terry Wogan might deploy the ‘whiff of the souk’ line here and its running Pauline close as our favourite song. Alvan is an experienced multi-instrumentalist and Ahez are trio Marine, Sterenn D and Sterenn L. Fullenn is a mix of electro and traditional and tells the story of a young woman who dances by the light of the fire. In complete contrast to Nuit Pauline, it’s in its live version where we suspect its power will be unleashed. Absolute contender for the win.
Huit points: Julia Chut (Hush) (Julia Fiquet, Alban Lico, Fabien Mettay, Anton Wick)
Funky 60s cinematic vibes. Julia started posting covers on the internet when she was 16. Spotted by Mylene Farmer and Laurent Boutonnat who decided to write an album for her, Passe…comme tu sais, released in June 2020. Charming – with even a playful giggle thrown in. Love the rubbery bass.
Sept points: Joanna Navigateure (Navigator) (Joanna Fouquet, Sutus, Gaspard Murphy)
Some really great female-fronted songs in this high quality selection. This is probably the most uptempo of those we have mentioned thus far. Navigateure is a song of hope and the battle for freedom and self-confidence. Inspirations include Bjork, Lana Del Rey and Mylene Farmer.
Cinq points: Saam Il est où ? (Where is he) (Saam, Ness, Charles Boccara)
Remember Voila? The song you would pick if you wanted to repeat the varying time signature of that hypnotic success of last year although this time sung by a young man.
Quatre points: Elia Téléphone (Elia, Anibeatz)
We’re on a dancefloor and we wouldn’t hesitate to continue dancing if this classy banger came on. One which has so much potential that it could be propelled dramatically up our list by a big and committed performance.
Trois points: Marius Les chansons d’amour (Love songs) (Marius Niollet, Igit, Jonathan Cagne)
This 1 does actually boast 1 of the co-writers of Voila, but doesn’t sound much like it at all. It’s the most delicate and ballad-like of our selection so far. Songs about loneliness aren’t necessarily those one associates with Eurovision success but the misery ballad has had marked success particularly with the jury influence in recent years.
Deux points: Joan Madame (Joan, Alex Finkin)
The strength in depth of the French selection really shows and we could plough on throughout the entirety of its songs. However, we will stop with this very old-school musical theatre effort which is close to our hearts but not necessarily packing its bags to Turin.