It’s Amaury Vassili for France!
It looks like we have our second name out of the Big Five for Düsseldorf! As we already knew, defending champion Lena Meyer-Landrut will be representing her homeland again this year (her new album “Good News” will be released in February, with all of the songs considered for her participation on it). Today we got news of France’s choice for the ESC: 21-year-old tenor Amaury Vassili. Here’s a clip of one of his earlier live performances (details on his song for Eurovision have not been released yet).
Vassili, despite his young age, is already an accomplished performer; he has released three successful albums that have made some significant impact on the charts in France and Wallonia (the French-speaking portion of Belgium). His style tends more towards “popera”, and while his song has yet to be announced, it’s more than likely that he’ll stay in this general genre. One minor caveat: Amaury tends to sing in either Italian or English, and France, more than any other nation, tends to be a stickler for their language to be featured in their Eurovision entries. (Some ESC fans might remember the uproar back in 2008 when Sebastien Tellier wanted to sing “Divine” entirely in English; the French Parliament basically forced him to include at least a few lines in French!) We’ll see what Amaury decides to do when his song is presented to the public.
More after the jump!
“Popera” has become more popular in Eurovision over the past few years, with middling results. Generally, songs in this style will often qualify for the final, but rarely have a massive impact on the scoreboard in the end. Here are a few examples…let’s hope Amaury will break the trend!
“Cvet z Juga (Flower of the South)” by Alenka Gotar (Slovenia 2007) – Placed 7th in the semifinal, but only 15th in the final in Helsinki (this, however, has been the only time that Slovenia has made it out of the semifinals since they created the system).
“Questa Notte (Tonight)” by Bonaparti.lv (Latvia 2007) – The same year as “Cvet z Juga”, “Questa Notte” placed 5th in the semifinal, but only 16th in the final.
“Pe-o Margine de Lume (On the Edge of the World)” by Nico and Vlad (Romania 2008) – This bilingual performance came in 20th place in Belgrade, despite a 7th place finish in its Semifinal.
“Nomads in the Night” by Jeronimas Milius (Lithuania 2008) – This one didn’t even make it out of the semis, placing 16th out of 19 entries (and, frankly, that might have been a bit generous…).
“Lijepa Tena (Beautiful Tena)” by Igor Cukrov featuring Andrea Šušnjara (Croatia 2009) – This operatic ethno-ballad barely made it out of the semifinals that year, coming in 13th place in its semi (it was saved by the jury’s vote). It eventually came in 18th in the final.
“La Voix (The Voice)” by Malena Ernman (Sweden 2009) – After coming in a respectable 4th place in her semifinal, this accomplished mezzo-soprano only came in 21st place out of 25.
“Illusion” by Krassimir Avramov (Bulgaria 2009) – Don’t even get me started on this one…it ended up with only seven points in its semi, in 16th place out of 18.
“My Heart is Yours” by Didrik Solli-Tangen (Norway 2010) – Despite a good vocal performance and the natural goodwill of being the representative of the host nation, Didrik only came in 20th place in the final. This was one of the lowest placements for a host nation in years.
Opera and opera-infused pop walks a tightrope in Eurovision. Even if a performance is technically skillful and beautifully presented, it might not be as naturally catchy as more traditional rock, pop, or ethnic songs. A casual Eurovision viewer may only see these songs once; a contestant has to be able to capture a potential voter’s attention in only three minutes. Otherwise, their moment in the spotlight becomes a viewer’s convenient bathroom break.
I genuinely wish Amaury the best in Düsseldorf, and I look forward to hearing his song. He has the luxury of being automatically qualified to the Grand Final on May 14th, but he (and his songwriters, producers, and delegation heads) should not rest on their laurels.