A “lovely surprise” is in store regarding the 2009 French Eurovision Song Contest representative, according to Bruno Berberes, French Head of Delegation. Bruno admits the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest experience with Sebastien Tellier has indeed stirred considerable interest among the French show business for the contest.
The 2009 Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Moscow in May looks like it will attract many resounding names on a national as well as an international level. First Greece announced, back in August, that they are sending Sakis Rouvas, the most popular pop artist in the country. The United Kingdom followed, announcing that the British entry will be written by internationally acclaimed composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber, Turkey will be sendingHadisewho enjoys fame outside her country's borders as well and it seems we will be seeing another big name, from France this time, as Bruno Berberes has exclusively revealed to esctoday.com.
What has been learned after the experience with Sébastien Tellier?
The CD sold well and concerts were sold out. A commercial for Renault is presently using Divine as soundtrack in many markets. I think it's the first time for a Eurovision entry to have this on an international level.
With juries, we wouldn't have placed much better, more than probably among the Top 10. This would have been a good thing for the contest itself. Sébastien is unique. Not another Britney Spears wannabe. Where's the originality between the Ukrainian, Swedish and Greek songs ?
After Les Fatals Picards in 2007 and Sébastien Tellier in 2008, we managed to open Eurovision to other styles of music in France. This makes it possible to have contacts with big record companies and national, or even international artists. At last, French show business has understood that Eurovision can be a fantastic means of promotion. There will be a lovely surprise for 2009. Someone with a big and popular notoriety, a bit like Dima Bilan for Russia or Anna Vissi for Greece. Someone who will accept to go for his/her country.
How will the choice be made?
This will be an internal choice, with calls to record companies. We need to arrange it with a big company, to cover the costs of a participation, for video and promotion, for instance.
There was a polemic in 2008 about the use of English. In which language will be the French entry for 2009?
The song will obviously be in French.
Some French artists have already said that they intend to enter the competition. Castings took place, other ones talk about it on their internet myspace or their personl websites. We reported about Cyndi Sander, Mourad and a project supported by Anne-Marie David. Did they write and send their material to France Télévisions?
They've been in touch with us, but you see… (sigh)
Viewing figures have been low in France the past three years. How will France 3 deal with that? Is there a strategy to make the contest a real televised happening?
We've really been unlucky as we had football or rugby matches in front of us and these events just can't be moved another date. French channels have signed contracts with French federations. In 2009, this will be a bit better. There's a rugby match but not a final one!
What's your opinion regarding the recent changes in the voting for the Eurovision Song Contest final? Are you happy with the introduction of the jury vote?
At long last! My friend from the Big Four and I asked for it since almost 3 years. Our opinions have been heard after the too many bad surprises the contest brought to everyone. When you know that Roger Cicero placed 6th with the back-up juries and only reached 19th position with televoting, you can't deny the injustice. In a way, it's a bit the same with Tellier. We've ben asked to bring something different than the usual divas yelling in their striking-color outfits, who can be sure to have an instant effect, while our song had no chance with one hearing. I'm sure that Amina's entry – which is still a song eurofans love – wouldn't have scored than well with televoting.
But how can you guarantee the objectivity of the jurors ?
The reference committee has decided that the jury willconsist of 5 professionals, which is a very good thing. I would like every jurors to make statement of intent that they will give their opinion in perfect objectivity, outside any political, religious and nationality considerations. I also insisted on the fact that their vote could be made public just in case of any polemics. There's no perfect system but I have experienced terrible cheatings in 2002 and we must avoid such things again.
Once again, I want to thank all eurofans for the love they give to the contest. They can count on me to support them so that the contest can still be an important competition. Without fans, it would have already died.
You were invited to be part of the selection group for the 2009 Swedish selection. How many songs did you listen to? What about the artistic level? Any song you prefer in the final 32?
As a professional casting producer (for many musicals and TV shows in France), I am more used to listening to singers than songs. 3.440 in a week is quite a big job! I have been surprised by the high level of the competition. To be frank, I was a bit jealous as I was always thinking why this couldn't happen in France. Having big names like Bénabar or Calogero, for instance, together with unknown artists is impossible. Unfortunately, artists no longer have that sporting spirit in France.
Back to the selection, we were about 15 persons. Among the final 32, I have a big personal favourite but I just can't tell more ……