France: Barbara Pravi – Voilà
Martin: A wordy Kaas-meets-Piaf number, in waltz time, filmed in pseudo-monochrome, called “Voilà”? Why didn’t they go all the way and give Barbara a baguette to wave around while she sings?
Then again, if you’re going to play the cliché game, there’s something to be said for leaning into it like this rather than doing things by half measures.
“Voilà” won this year’s French final with ease, and it’s not hard to understand why: Love it or hate it, it’s an entry that grabs your attention.
There’s something artificial about the way Barbara performs to camera, or indeed how the camera performs around her, almost like this is an extract from a biopic about a classic chanteuse instead of a chanson in its own right. But that kind of knowing artifice hasn’t stopped musical set pieces from La La Land or The Greatest Showman from being hugely popular in recent years.
For me personally, I think the song is quite good, but I’m holding off on watching the performance too often because I suspect the dramatics will wear thin quite quickly. As three minutes on a Saturday night, though, I think there’s an outside chance this could go very far indeed.
Felix: In a year when every other country tries to sound American, hardly any other song is as obviously “its country” as this one, and that fact alone will give them support in the form of votes: France is France. And it’s so good at it. For many people, this is Eurovision.
Shi: It’s one of those songs that make me feel that I’m supposed to like them – much like that recommendation algorithm, “if you liked this, you might like this too”. But I can’t help feeling that this song started as a checklist of things its (extremely talented) songwriters wanted it to be.
video and title image source: eurovision.tv