The first entry in my top 10 of Eurovision 2023 is the grande-dame of the contest, France. They are one of the founder members, five time winners, and were the first country to win three times, to win four times and to win five times. It has admittedly, been a long time since their last win – 1977 (before even I was born!). But France came a close second in 2021, so can La Zarra go one better in Liverpool?
France seemed set to hold a national final again, but then that was cancelled and it was announced that La Zarra (real name Fatima-Zahra Hafdi) was to represent France and her entry “Évidemment” released some time later. She’s a Francophone Canadian, and readers may well remember that French-speaking Canadians have had some success at Eurovision before… The song is co-written by La Zarra, along with award-winning Montreal music producers Banx & Ranx who have also produced the song. It’s a real fusion of a very French chanson feel but allied to a modern thumping disco beat, allied with some stand out vocal moments from La Zarra.
This is a really good entry from France – it combines that genuine sense of Frenchness but with something that is really catchy and uptempo – the best of both worlds really. La Zarra brings poise, drama and elegance as well and the whole thing is a toe-tapping success. Sadly I didn’t get to see La Zarra at LEP as she had to withdraw for personal reasons, but I think she will prove an engaging performer on the big stage. She certainly likes to tease her followers, getting the fandom in a huge frenzy when she was saying she was stopping something and people thought she was withdrawing. Turns out she was announcing she was going gluten-free…
This is turning out to be the dark horse of this year’s contest – it’s crept up and up in the Eurovision scoreboard app and in the fan polls, and has done very well in the simulated jury votes (Eurojury) so I think we are safe to think this could easily be top 10, and perhaps higher still. Is there a chance this could do a Jamala or Duncan Laurence and finish high in jury and televote, without winning either, but enough to win overall? I think it’s still more likely that the win will come from one of two countries (Sweden being one of course) but don’t rule La Zarra out from a shock win.
France in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 1956
Appearances (excluding this year): 64
Best result: Winner 1958, 1960, 1962, 1969, 1977
Last year’s result: 24th