FRA: Live Blog of Destination Eurovision from 2100 CET
So here we are. France is getting the January 2019 national finals going with the first of two semi-finals. Tonight we’ll see nine songs competing for four places in the Final on 26 January.
A combination of televoting and expert jury will pick tonight’s four. Will we agree with them?
And here we go. Fun and games from France. With, naturally, a recap of the fun and games from Portugal. And then a preview of tonight’s nine acts. It’s dead exciting.
We’re getting introduced to tonight’s expert panel. They won’t be voting, but can give their considered opinions.
And we’re off. Naestro is on first, singing Perfect, covering the Ed Sheeran song, before his competition song…
Naestro – Le brasier
He’s accompanied on stage by a pianist. It’s a big white piano, aimed at giving a big impression. Slow start, but will it build and/or go uptempo? No, it doesn’t. There seems to be a problem with the smoke passing through the lasers shining from above the stage. It’s getting in he way a tad. But the song’s OK. Nothing too special, as it doesn’t really go anywhere. But you never know. I think there will be better to come.
The panel seem to have a lukewarm reaction to this song, that was co-written by Alma (FR 17).
Florina is next with her cover – L’hymne à l’amour, originally by Edith Piaf. It goes down well.
Florina – In the shadow
Flo is flanked by much dry ice. And she’s on stage alone. And standing stock still. The crowd seem to be clapping along already and we hadn’t even got to the English chorus. It is at that point that the song builds and goes all serious. It’s not bad but there are a lot of words crammed into the verses. Towards the end, Flo starts shouting rather than singing. She’s clearly into her song, but it may not be enough.
The panel is more positive here. She’s like Sia says one.
Before the next one, we talk to Tel Aviv. Our contact there is all smiles and very jolly. She wishes everyone well.
Chimène Badi is next with another Edith Piaf cover: Non, je ne regrette rien. It’s very powerful. And popular.
Chimène Badi – Là-haut
Darkness descends for this song which sees Chimène in a box. It has splashes of colour projected onto it, and it’s very effective. I see this as a safe song. It should qualify – the crowd seem to love it – and it’s nicely constructed. It draws you in, there’s a recognisable hook there too. No off-key shouting, even towards the end, and lots of stage presence. The best so far.
There are very good things coming from the panel. They like it too.
A quick word with Lisbon follows, and our Portuguese juror.
Battista Acquaviva is next, with Parla, più piano, in Italian. Gianni Morandi (IT 70) made this famous.
Battista Acquaviva – Passiò
Props here. A large staircase and scantily-clad men. Battista means business. Her song is in the operatic style. She’s not moving much from her mark with her supporters doing lots of gyrating. Think what Anggun had to put up with on stage and you’ll get the idea. Maybe it’s popera rather than opera, but doesn’t really seem to go anywhere. Elina Nechayeva (EE 18) did it better.
This gets a mixed reaction from the panel.
A quick hand over to Sandy in the Green Room. She chats to Chimène and Naestro.
Silvàn is next. His cover is Un homme debout. Claudio Capéo made this famous.
Silvàn Areg – Le petit Nicolas
A bright stage with cartoony elements. It’s bouncy and it’s rap. But he’s in a tie and waistcoat. It doesn’t compute. And he’s a hidden treadmill. It’s bonkers. Just bonkers enough to do well. Silvàn easily wins the prize for the most words in a lyric. I wouldn’t have it in my top four, but I don’t get to vote. The crowd love it.
It’s very French, apparently, the panel tells us. The reviews are generally positive.
We meet Sanja, the Serbian juror tonight. She’s all smiles.
Bilal has a striking look. We get Carmen, from the opera of the same name. But jazzed up.
Bilal Hassani – Roi
Madame Monsieur (FR 18) co-wrote this song. Bilal starts among the crowd and in mixes English and French. It’s a serious song, akin to Rise like a phoenix but uptempo. As staging goes, it’s memorable. Everyone on stage is white, and there’s a revolving ornamental design behind them. The choreography is very effective and doesn’t detract from the song. It draws you in. It has a chance, not only of making the final of Destination Eurovision, but winning it.
The panel sound like they like it.
Our fourth juror David comes from Armenia. Another one all smiles.
Aysat gives us Dancing queen, a cover of a song by some Swedish quartet from the 1970s.
Aysat – Comme une grande
This song has a longer than normal introduction. Aysat sings another wordy song. There are African overtones to this, in the sense that it’s a chant as much as a song. The vocal is OK, but could be a bit more powerful. If this gets through, it’ll be the beat, which again comes across more than the melody of the song. This will struggle.
The panel are saying nice things about Aysat’s song.
More Green Room shenanigans before we move on.
Lautner – a duo – is next with J’ai cherché, which a certain Amir (FR 16) made famous.
Lautner – J’ai pas le temps
There’s stuff going on here. One of Lautner on a violin, getting clapping from the crowd. And skateboarders behind them. Mixing traditional and contemporary. The song seems to be sung at quite a high pitch, although they are sustaining it. I’m not sure about this. The crowd like it, and it’s clearly aimed at a young crowd. But there’s not that much of a tune there. It could be that Lautner may be relying on their looks.
The jury are OK about it.
Our final juror is a certain Paul Jordan from the United Kingdom. Does he dye his hair grey or his beard brown?
Our final singer Mazy sings Si seulement je pouvais lui manquer, orignally from Calogero.
Mazy – Oulala
Mazy finds herself on a large pink box. Looks really high. Her song is a little bit funky. I like this. I can’t quite put my finger on why. It could be the hook. It could be the slightly kooky look. It could be the small wooden box that she sits on which she plays like a drum. Very good.
More general goodness coming from the panel.
Songs ended, voting starts. About €1 if you want to try and call. But you know the drill. After a recap of course.
To fill in, we look at a retrospective. France Gall, Abba, Céline Dion feature.
Then back to the panel. They list some of their favourites. Will this influence the televoters?
Televoting closed – they didn’t get long. But now it’s time for a song from panelist Christophe Willem. You’ve got a friend sings he. Christophe is plugging his new album Rio.
Score time, at last.
UK – Twelve points for Bilal Hassani
Serbia – Twelve points for Bilal Hassani
Israel – Twelve points for Silvàn Areg
Armenia – Twelve points for Bilal Hassani
Portugal – Twelve points for Bilal Hassani
And the televotes…
So tonight’s finalists are Bilal Hassani, Chinène Badi, Silvàn Areg and Aysat. Congratulations from Eurovision Ireland to them.
Destination Eurovision Semi-final Two takes place this time next week. See you there!
Author: John Stanton
Source: Eurovision Ireland, France 2