Exclusive:First review of French finalists

by Benny Royston 175 views

esctoday.com have been granted an exclusive listening to the ten French songs competing in France's Eurovision 2007, 'et si on gagnait' (what if we win?) final. The finalist show that France is heading in a brand new direction with their approach to the Eurovision Song Contest, the years of seemingly repetitive ballads are over, there is not a single ballad amongst the ten finalists! The list is fresh, vibrant, modern and provides the French public with a clear choice of different styles. The national final takes place on Monday March 5th at 20:50 CET. The show will be hosted by Julien Lepers from France 3 and Tex from France 2

Speaking to esctoday.com about the selection of the songs, Bruno Berberes, the Head of Delegation and this year responsible for the team selecting the competing songs said:

"I'm really proud of my team, last year i agreed with the selection, but this year we have some fantastic songs and we are really trying to bring Eurovision back to France. Have heard some of the songs we have to produce a show that appeals to teh whole French market and not just the Eurovision fans.

We have some famous composers that we have been working with for four months to create a great show and give France an opportunity to select a song that can be successful. I convinced everyone that we need something different, something special and I hope that we have succeeded. We don't just want an improvement, we want top 5 this year at least".

Next week, France Television in association with esctoday.com will be launching a competition for readers of esctoday.com to win their own press pack that is being created for the official presentation of the songs to the French media and music industry next week at the Reservoir Club on 7th February. esctoday.com readers that would like to attend in person still have the chance to email [email protected] to secure a special ticket to the event.

THE TEN SONGS

Valérie Louri – Besoin d'ailleurs
The song is african style with a trendy 60s sound thrown in. There is something reminiscent of White and Black Blues, which came joint second for France in 1990, and a vibe of Amina's 1991 entry that lost to Carola on a count-back of highest marks after tying on the leaderboard.

Les Vedettes – Bye bye papa
The song has a clear retro fun and funky sound. Rap meets 60's swing with a feel of the beach boys and the song is again different to any of the usual sounds seen at the Eurovision Song Contest.

MAP – Grain'sel
This is a political song, feel of Eminem, with rap and an ethnic underlying tune which is undoubtedly French, and will strike a chord with the Ukrainian song by Greenjolly in 2005.

Jennifer Chevallier – Mon étoile
A powerful mid-tempo song, it borders on R&B and the voice smoothly changes between haunting and classy power. There is a rap in English, the first time a song has been entered in the french final including English. Natasha St. Piere changed the last chorus to English at the Eurovision Song contest, but that was only decided shortly before the contest.

Les Fatals Picards – L'amour à la Française
The song is about an Englishman and French girl, and the song is deliberately sung in French with an Englishman's accent and features a few lines where the languages are 'mistakenly' confused. The style also borrows some british themes, Britpop is there, with more than a hint of Blur/Pulp/Oasis and maybe also the Beatles.

Les Wampas – Faut voter pour nous
This song has a similar idea to LT United from Lithuania last year, but with more melodies and a more modern tune. It's not something that the Eurovision Song Contest is used to, but the guitar and drum modern music style is clear.

BZR featuring Cheb Hamid – Galbi
This is an uptempo beat that Bollywood would be proud of. The Eastern vibe is clear and mixed with pop backing vocals and another rap. The song is also written in Arabic with a Morrocan influece. It is a controvertial move, and could cause a major raising of eye brows with the upcoming French presidential elections. It's clear that the French selection places a top priority on the music and to provide something for everyone, and the song can expect to do very well. This is perhaps the ultimate proof that France is prepared to do whatever it takes to be successful at the Eurovision Song Contest, and equally importantly, to make the competition a major and popular event in France again after several years in the wilderness.

Charlotte Becquin – Je veux tout
Once again, this is very clearly a French song, a pop/rock sound and the song builds well as it continues. It is reminiscent of the group Republica and songs such as Ready to go. If this goes to Helsinki, expect 10,000 people on their feet and jumping up and down to this one. There's a great guitar solo and backing track.

Medhi-T – On and on
Another fun entry, this time from Martinique, the Caribbean vibe is clear, but it's not reggae or rap, it's more Jean Paul or 50 Cent than Puff Diddy or Shaggy, but it's further proof that the powers that be in France are of the opinion that in order to rescue France at Eurovision, they need to kick the whole process firmly into the modern music world!

Estelle Lemée – Comme un rêve
This song is a tribute to 50 years of Eurovision and a tribute also to fans of the Eurovision Song Contest. It's close to the styles of Nancy Sinatra, Diana Ross and is unashamedly appealing to fans of the traditional Eurovision Song Contest entries. At the risk of causing an outrage in the reactions section below, I'm close to calling this entry Schlager!

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