All opinions expressed in this article are those of the person quoted and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the other team members or ESC United as a whole.
It’s 6 days to go until Junior Eurovision 2022, and we are counting down the 16 nations who are participating in Yerevan, Armenia on Sunday, December 11, 2022.
Every day we will do an overview of a participating nation in alphabetical order, recapping how they got to Junior Eurovision, a brief history of the nation’s participation, a brief biography of the artist, and finally, our “expert” panel of editors give the entries a score out of 10 and a brief review.
Next up, we look at France, a country that came back from the cold in 2018 and began to dominate.
France’s history at Junior Eurovision:
2022 is only France’s sixth tilt at Junior Eurovision, despite it feeling like they’ve been dominating the contest forever. They debuted in 2004 with Thomas Pontier’s “Si on voulait bien,” came in 6th, and then vanished.
Until 2018. And when they came back, they meant business, coming in 2nd with Angelina’s “Jamais Sans Toi.”
Though Carla’s “Bim bam toi” only came in 5th at Junior Eurovision 2019, it went on to become a huge viral hit in France after the contest. In December 2019, Juju Fitcats laid down a “Bim bam toi” challenge on TikTok, where users upload videos of themselves lip-synching to the song. As of time of publication, “Bim bam toi” is also the most watched Junior Eurovision video of all time with 107 million views (winner Viki Gabor’s “Superhero,” by comparison, comes in with 24 million), overtaking Roksana Wegiel’s 2018 winner “Anyone I Want to Be.”
Angelina and Carla provided Junior Eurovision classics that will be fondly remembered above a lot of winners. However, they did not provide the win for France. Step forward Valentina and her whimsical number “J’Imagine,” written by Barbara Pravi, who came in 2nd at Eurovision 2021. Valentina crushed both the fan and jury votes and stormed into 1st, giving France their first victory at Junior Eurovision.
And though Enzo’s “Tic Tac” narrowly won the jury vote at Junior Eurovision 2021, Malena’s “Qami Qami” crushed the online vote to bring the win for Armenia.
Before Junior Eurovision 2022
On October 27, 2022, Lissandro Formica was named as the French representative at Junior Eurovision 2022. He was internally selected by French broadcaster France Televisions.
Écoutez son titre sans plus tarder, c'est par ici ➡ https://t.co/oYLaGrUZPB ✨🎧
— Eurovision France 🇫🇷 (@EurovisionF2) October 28, 2022
13-year-old Lissandro Formica hails from the Eastern French village of Moselle.
An avid lover of the likes of American rock ‘n roll king Elvis Presley, Lissandro has been performing publicly since the age of 5.
He already has a public profile in France, having made it to the Final of Season 7 of The Voice Kids.
If you are wondering why there is something of a retro feel to Lissandro’s entry “Oh maman!,” you can probably thank songwriter Barbara Pravi, who came in 2nd for France at Eurovision 2021 with “Voila!”
“Oh maman!” is Pravi’s third tilt as a songwriter for France at Junior Eurovision – she also co-wrote Carla’s “Bim Bam Toi” and Valentina’s Junior Eurovision 2020 winning “J’Imagine.”
Pravi is joined by Frederic Chateau, a famous French singer-songwriter who has a string of hits stretching back to the 1980s. Young French producer Nico Staf rounds out the writing and production team for France.
With the background out of the way, here is what we at ESC United think of France’s entry for Junior Eurovision 2022.
Providing their thoughts for Junior Eurovision this season: Alice Christine (Washington, D.C.), Boris Meersman (Belgium), Gianluca D’Elia (New York City, New York), James Maude (Los Angeles, California), Roy Postema (The Netherlands), William Carter (Dallas, Texas), and Zephaniah Gabriel (The Philippines).
Alice – 8 – “I like the kiddish swagger of this song. It embodies that confidence and love of entertaining that kids who love to act and perform will relate to.”
Boris – 6.5 – “France hasn’t delivered a bad entry since their return and that’s nice et all, but their standards have slipped with this repetitive electro-swing number. “Oh maman” is the weakest French jesc entry so far (including their 2004 debut) and the first one where I don’t feel optimistic about its chances to do well. I still enjoy it though, but whether this speaks for France being consistently good in JESC or for JESC 2022 being consistently underwhelming is a question I’m unwilling to answer just yet.”
Gianluca – 7 – “This song is irresistibly catchy, and Lissandro is such a charismatic performer! The style feels like something we’ve heard from France before, but its sound is unique among this year’s entries. Lissandro brings personality to this entry and makes it fun, so I don’t really mind.”
James – 6 – “This reminds me of one of the lesser cuts from The Simpsons Sing the Blues, though at least there they tried to give the characters some musical identity. I get the roll ‘n roll swagger they’re going for here, but they need to put in some more horns or surf guitar to sell it better. More focus would do this entry a world of good, as Lissandro himself seems like a charismatic kid who should do well enough to keep France in the top half of the table even with a relatively muddled song.”
Roy – 9 – “France have been nailing Junior as of late. They really look at the artist and make sure the song is fun and completely fits them. This year, that is no different. Lissandro oozes charisma and the song fits him incredibly well. This type of song is also very stageable. Add an amazing participating element of the clapping and you get a magnet for votes in the final. I would genuinely not be surprised if we are listening to the winner right here. Lissandro shows of his vocal capabilities as well in an incredible way with a big sent-off. Can you imagine a big pyro-curtain in the end? I can! Yeah this is definitely a song that is currently a bit under the radar, but I would definitely pick it to end up in the higher ranks of the competition!”
William – 9.5 – “Nobody does JESC quite like France does. They’ve cracked the code. This entire package is GREAT. The song is a blast, and Lissandro is a little firecracker. I can’t wait to see him do his thing on stage. And he’s scatting! Alexander Rybak could never. THIS, in fact, is how you write a song.”
Zephaniah – 6 – “Am I the only one who is getting that “jolly French kid” vibes from their entries? Oh Maman ! is not an exception. Again, another upbeat song. This one is reminiscent of Elvis Presley to me for some reason. The vocals towards the end of the song though, oh my god! France is looking to snatch another top 3 or 5 finish here.”
Total: 52 points (Average = 7.428)
France comes in with a respectable total of 52 points, but it is not enough to knock Armenia from the top of the perch on our rankings.
1.) Armenia – 54.5 points (Average = 7.786)
2.) FRANCE – 52 points (Average = 7.428)
3.) Albania – 42.5 points (Average = 6.071)
What do #YOU think of France’s entry? Do #YOU think they could mount another challenge for the crown? Let us know in the comments below, on social media, or in our forum.