#FRANCE: Live Blog of Destination Eurovision Semi-final Two!
After several years of internal selections, it appears that France Télévisions has bigger plans, with a three-week run to pick a song for Lisbon.
Tonight is the second semi-final of Destination Eurovision, and nine songs will compete for the final four places in the Grand Final on 27 January.
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If you subscribe to Sky or Virgin, you should be able to watch it. Or you can follow it on Eurovision France’s Facebook page HERE.
In addition to each competing song, each performer will sing a cover of another song.
The four songs will be picked by two professional juries. One consists of three Francophones – one of whom is the 2016 representative Amir. The second jury are three non-Francophones, including the sainted Christer Björkman.
And we’re off. As is customary on this sort of programme, we get a quick recap of the story so far.
Into the studio with our genial host Garou, we get introduced to the three home jurors. Isabelle, Christophe and Amir. We then get the international jury – Christer, Olga and Nicola.
And then it’s onto the important bit – the songs!
Lucie Vagenheim – Savoir aimer
She gives us a dramatic version of the Florent Pagny song. It’s quite a strong voice from someone who’s only slightly built. She engages with the camera and emotes feeling throughout. A good way to open things.
Lucie Vagenheim – My world
She’s now joined on stage by four dancers. This is quite a funky little number that has the crowd clapping from very early on. There’s a Latin vibe too. The crowd really like this, and it’s actually not bad. One to watch definitely.
The French jury is very complimentary of Lucie and the song, even likened to Shakira. They obviously like it.
Madame Monsieur – Désenchantée
It’s duo time, and we get a Mylène Farmer song. She sings and he plays keyboard and guitar. That’s some skill. It’s a quirky performance of a quirky song that again contains a lot of feeling. It’s another popular choice judging by Amir’s reaction and appears to be quite a good cover.
Madame Monsieur – Mercy
We’ve missed finger-clicking so far on this show, but here it is. An interesting start for a song that seems to have a lot of words in the verse. It’s quite a modern ballad that has electronic overtones. It might strike a chord, or not. If retro is the way to go, this could be in.
The jury debates whether the song title is ‘merci’ in the French sense or ‘mercy’ in the English sense. There’s a reasonable enthusiasm for the song which might help later on.
Jane Constance – What a wonderful world
Jane gives us Anglophones a more familiar cover, in the form of Louis Armstrong’s song, but in a relaxed stylee. A tad reggae. A different take that was well-received.
Jane Constance – Un jour j’ai rêvé
We get dry ice now. And five swaying backing singers. It’s a classic ballad that has a classic construction to match. Verse, chorus, shorter verse, chorus, bridge, key change, chorus. You know how it works. It’s pleasant enough, but perhaps a tad too formulaic to stand out – if it were to get any further. But the crowd like it.
There’s more general positivity about the song and Jane – it’s her dream to be in Eurovision – hence the song title.
Nassi – Superstition
Nassi picks the Stevie Wonder classic as his cover. There’s no alternative take, it’s just how you’d expect Stevie to sing it, but perhaps just funked up a bit. Not bad, although he seemed to be trying quite hard.
Nassi – Rêve de gamin
We get more dancers trying to get in on the act, and a space rocket backdrop. I wasn’t sure to start with, but it’s grown on me. There are more words than I can remember in a song, and there’s an almost arabic beat to it during the chorus. It’s catchy, but I still think it misses something though.
Our jurors are nice about this song. It’s effective apparently.
Igit – Tout va bien
Orelsan is the inspiration for Igit’s cover. He’s in a hat and stubble and carrying a battered suitcase. He gives another quirky performance that has lots of emotion and theatrics. it has Amir standing up. Whether Amir’s a fan of Igit or Orelsan is up for debate.
Igit – Lisboa Jerusalem
We keep the battered suitcase, and Igit’s prop is a musical box. The lyric contains a lot of geographical references which flash up on the map behind him as he mentions them. It’s certainly very different and contains lots of Gallic emotion. He doesn’t quite ‘nag’ to music but he has a lot to say. This could either win by a country mile – erm, kilometre – or end up dead dead last.
The jury likes it, even calling it a classic!
Before the next song, we go to Christer thing. He even sings at us. Something the French like but it’s unlike any Eurovision song I recognise.
Max Cinnamon – Perfect
Max has gone as up to date as is possible to go, with his Ed Sheeran cover. He looks young enough to have only been born after Ed Sheeran’s first ever hit. His English is OK – not perfect, not dreadful. His singing is better. The choice of song is a definite crowd pleaser though.
Max Cinnamon – Ailleurs
His backdrop is a huge spinning moon. There’s definite nod to Ed Sheeran’s style here, and Max has his guitar with him. The song has potential, but there needs to be a bit more power from him. However, the English chorus doesn’t jar as bi-lingual songs sometimes can. It’ll be him rather than his delivery that will get him through.
The jury seem to be bigging Max up, citing his youth as a plus.
Sarah Callibot – Tu m’oublieras
Sarah covers a Larusso song in a slightly breathy style. She has a pianist with her, and what appears to be no backing track. She gives it all emotion and tries to smoulder. It’s OK.
Sarah Callibot – Tu me manques
We’re in ballad country again, with lots of lyric that’s almost spoken. There’s drama and emotion. She stays on her spot and gives it everything. I’m not totally convinced as to me it’s missing something. Perhaps it’s a two-minute song that’s been padded out. Or the long gaps between lines towards the end. I don’t think it’s a qualifier.
The jury seem to be polite about Sarah’s performance.
Sweem – Quelques mots d’amour
A Michel Berger song featured last week, and it does again here. He’s a hipster with tattoos, so bang in trend. The song is nicely downbeat and he performs it well. The jury were even singing along. His main song has potential if her performs it like this.
Sweem – Lá-haut
His main song is also downbeat and I’m not too sure. It’s got words that don’t quite seem to fit the tune that is dominated by an electric guitar. It’s got a lyric that’s quite repetitive that goes up and down the range. I think we have another two-minute song that’s been padded out.
Our jurors are polite and a little constructive.
June the Girl – Poupée de cire, poupée de son
June’s cover needs no introduction and is definitely playing the Eurovision fan demographic. Her take is a tad more sultry and very crowd pleasing. But a tad – just a tad mind – karaoke.
June the Girl – Same
We’re still doing sultry and modern, which does actually work here. Her accompaniment of a guitarist and drummer (with a single drum) add to this minimalist and contemporary vibe. In places, it does get a bit shouty but it might just be eye-catching enough to get the jury vote tonight.
She’s called an ingenuée and sincere by the jury. They have lots to say, and it’s all quite good.
With all the songs sung, we get the interval. Last week it was Amir, this week it’s Isabelle looking all winsome and commanding on stage.
Onto the voting, and here are the results of the three international jurors:
And with the three French jurors…
So our four qualifiers are Madame Monsieur, Max Cinnamon, Nassi and Igit. Will the winner come from these, or one of last week’s qualifiers?
We’ll be back next week to cover Destination Eurovision – the final. Will you be there?
Did your favourite get through? Tell us what you think.
Author: John Stanton
Source: Eurovision Ireland, France Télévisions, Facebook