It has been only a few days since the French national broadcaster France 3 confirmed Amandine Bourgeois would represent France at the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest. Many reactions have been heard in France since this announcement and one can only admit they are generally not very positive.
The choice of the 2008 Nouvelle Star (French Pop Idol) winner to represent France in Malmö is being harshly criticized on the Internet and in the media. The French do not seem to understand for which reasons Amandine Bourgeois was selected since she is not a popular artist. It is true that her debut album titled 20m2 has sold pretty well with over 60,000 copies in France and 10,000 more copies in Europe since its release in 2010 but those are no big figures in the end and her second album Sans amour, mon amour has sold merely 4,000 copies since its release in 2012. Due to her lack of exposure in the media and the failure of her latest album, the young singer even had to cancel the totality of her tour a few weeks ago only.
Amandine Bourgeois is neither a total newcomer nor a very famous artist then and this seems to be quite confusing to most of the French people. In a recent poll conducted on the Internet by famous radio journalist (Europe 1) and TV presenter (NRJ12) Jean-Marc Morandini, over 70% of the voters believe she is a bad choice to represent France in Sweden in May. Many believe that doing Eurovision is more a way for the young singer to try and save her declining music career and most fear a bad result in Malmö.
Sure we have not heard the song yet. Titled L’enfer et moi, the entry was penned by two respected musicians: David Salkin and Boris Bergman (the latter wrote the 1973 and 1975 Monegasque Eurovision entries as well as many songs for quite a few popular French and international artists including former Eurovision participants France Gall, Patrick Juvet and Nana Mouskouri). The song was unanimously chosen by the members of the French selection committee following a blind audition. Everybody in France is now eagerly waiting for the song to be officially presented, hoping that it is as good as it is said to be and that it suits Amandine Bourgeois better than the songs she has recorded so far.
This is precisely what people fear. A majority of the French agrees that Amandine Bourgeois has a stunning voice, an awesome personality and a great stage presence but that she generally does not have the right songs. Even André Manoukian, songwriter and one of the jury members of Nouvelle Star, stated in the French magazine Télé Loisirs that Amandine is not backed by the right people, lyricists and composers. He also fears that doing Eurovision might put an end to Amandine’s young career if she fails in Malmö.
Despite the critics, Amandine Bourgeois strongly believes in her chances and declared to the French weekly magazine Télé 7 Jours that she will do everything she can to make the French audience proud of her performance. The young singer hopes she can also revive the popularity of the Eurovision Song Contest which is often seen in France as a kitsch and old-fashioned extravaganza. In the article, we also learn that Amandine did not apply herself to the French national selection. Her manager, Vincent Carpentier, did so without informing her. Amandine accepted with the only condition to submit L’enfer et moi as an entry. France will not sing in English then, not even partly as Anggun did with Echo (you and I) in Baku last year.
I truly enjoy having a challenge, I am a warrior! I promise I will give everything on the Eurovision stage! Whatever happens, I am convinced the Eurovision Song Contest will open many doors, that it will boost my career. Sometimes it is good to go through hard times in life! I learned that I should follow my instinct and stop making compromises, she stated.
It will not be the first time France is represented by a Nouvelle Star winner at the Eurovision Song Contest. In 2004, Belgian singer Jonatan Cerrada did the job in Istanbul after having won the first edition of the popular French TV talent show aired on private channel M6. Placed 15th after all the votes were given, the singer literally disappeared from the music scene soon after. Let us hope Amandine Bourgeois will not experience the same tragic destiny.