What’s this? France not sending a song in French shock! Well, it has happened several times before, though more unusually, it means we have a contest completely bereft of French after French language songs finished in second and third last year. But in its place, we have the delight of Breton making a return to the contest, a language most closely related to Cornish, and more distantly to Welsh. Breton singer Alvan has teamed up with Breton vocal group Ahez to bring Celtic electronica to Eurovision. Once again, France has not played things safe – will they be rewarded with another high finish?
France retained their national final this year and “Fulenn” triumphed in “Eurovision France, c’est vous qui décidez!”, winning both the jury vote and the public vote. After the failure of Tanxugueiras to win in Spain (despite winning public vote by a mile), I think the fandom were very happy that a slice of Celtic/folk electronica is heading to the contest and maybe it’s worked out for the best as we don’t have two big 5 entries with similar genres. There were some grumblings in France that there was no French (despite that having happened several times before) but curiously no outcry over the Breton lyrics which amount to a woman dancing at night with the devil!
I was very happy that this won the French selection – it’s exactly the genre I love – ethno/folk electronica and I have a particular connection to this Celtic/Breton fusion side as I was a big listener of Manau, a Breton hip-hop band, who had a couple of big hits while I was studying in France in the late 1990s. It’s not only the genre I like – I really like the tempo and the darkness of this, it’s a cracking track.
Alvan is incredibly energetic in his live performance and also he has been gracious and polite when handling rather a lot of adulation from the fandom… It’s his energy that really drives this entry as if there was a small fault I’d pick with is that not all the girls from Ahez bring quite the same stage presence and at times the vocal wavers a little. However, these are minor points as far as I am concerned and this is very much one of my favourites.
It’s not just me who is enjoying this from France – it’s a firm fandom favourite. Bookie odds for the win aren’t quite as high, but it’s still in the top dozen or so. It’s tricky to say how this one will go – there is potential for this to be a bit of a hot mess on the Eurovision, or equally they could go the way of Go_A last year and provide one of the big live performance moments. I think they may be pushed to match the runner’s up spot France got last year, but top 10 is definitely achievable, especially if this connects to the public and gets a big vote there.
France in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 1956
Appearances (excluding this year): 63
Best result: Winner 1958, 1960, 1962, 1969, 1977
Last year’s result: 2nd