ESC Wish List: France 2012
Since 2008, France has chosen their Eurovision representatives and songs via an internal selection. Over these past few years, broadcaster France 3 has given us genres ranging from ambient electronica to jazz chanson to afro-dance-pop to operatic bolero, with results generally bouncing around the middle of the scoreboard (often despite expectations or critical acclaim). One thing is for sure: over the past few years, variety has been key. You can’t expect France to offer up the same thing twice in a row anymore, which leaves us with the question: what should we expect them to serve up in Baku next year? Well, as a fan with way too much time on her hands during the off-season, allow me to come up with a few suggestions. (Again, as I said when I did this series last year, these are only my opinions, and I do not intend to start any rumors.)
1) Caravan Palace: Following Raphael Gualazzi’s surprisingly high result for Italy on 2011’s scoreboard, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a rise in the usage of jazz or other unexpected genres in future Eurovisions. Continuing on with that trend, might I recommend taking a look at Caravan Palace, an electro-gypsy-swing combo:
They seem to be masters at crafting jazzy earworms that sound both classic and updated at the same time, and any band that can claim both Django Reinhardt and Daft Punk as influences is more than fine with me! It’s hard to find music that you can both dance to and chill out with, but this Parisian group has found a nice balance. Plus, considering Baku’s surprisingly avid fondness for jazz, this might be an interesting option for France 3 to consider…
2) Julien Doré: I have been a fan of Julien since blogger Perez Hilton featured him on his site a few years ago. The winner of Season 5 of “Nouvelle Star” (the French equivalent of the “Idols” series), Julien is quirky, sexy, and unabashedly talented. Here’s his first single, post-“Nouvelle Star” (and. for the record, he’s the one dancing in the background, not the one clutching the chicken):
The 29-year old singer from Languedoc-Roussillon has released three albums, including 2011 release “Bichon”. In all honesty, I’ve been unable to get that album’s first single, “Kiss Me Forever“, out of my head, and his oddly dark and twisted cover of Alizée’s “Moi…Lolita” (which he performed on “Nouvelle Star” itself) raises the hairs on the back of my neck in the best possible way. Having Julien representing France would hearken back to the lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek entries of 2007 (“L’Amour à la française”) and 2008 (“Divine”): flirting with parody, but without delving into full-on Verka Serduchka territory.
3) Phoenix: Ok, now I know this one is a long shot. One, they’re a globally-known act (even in that ever-elusive American crossover market), and Eurovision might be an unexpected step for them. Two, they sing almost exclusively in English, which as we might remember from Sébastien Tellier’s “Divine”, might have the potential to raise the hackles of many. And finally, they’re currently working on the follow-up to their highly successful 2009 album, “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix”, so they’ve got a bit on their minds at the moment. But lead singer Thomas Mars is currently married to Oscar-nominated film director Sophia Coppola…so can you imagine the promotional video we’d potentially have on our hands, people? An upbeat alt-rock smash like “Lizstomania” or “1901” might be just the trick to get France to the top of the leaderboard for the first time since 1977.
(Plus, a participation by Phoenix might raise more interest in the ESC in the United States, a personal hope of mine…a girl can dream, right?)