The opinions expressed in this article are the personal views of the individual reviewers, and do not necessarily represent the view of ESC United as a whole or its other editors and members.

Missed part one and two of our French reviews? Catch up with our thoughts HERE and HERE.

Tonight’s the night in France as C’est vous qui décidez – the French selection for Eurovision 2021 – is upon us! With 12 songs competing, it is sure to be a spectacular show with some diverse genres in the running and a variety of choice for the French public. But, what did our team think of the 12 hopefuls in France?

Tonight we will take a look at the final four songs and sharing our thoughts on the French Eurovision candidates. What did our panel of Boris, Daniel, James, Melanie, Roy, Sean and Stefan all think of this year’s French selection, and who did we pick to win in the end?

LMK – Magique

Boris – 7.5 – “It’s almost as if an EMA act randomly stumbled her way into France’s NF. Ethereal harpsichord ballad exploding into a hip-swaying R&B pearl <3 LMK’s spiritual mothers Raiven and Lea Sirk would be proud!”

Daniel – 9 – “This is what I was waiting for, here is the modern French pop R’n’B that France is known for. It has those nice harps that contrast with the sass and the sirens. I think this is a bop that would do France very proud. LMK also has oodles of charisma and sells this song, even without the staging. This song is the kind with the right staging will be a total home-run. This is just such a timely song and such a party hit right in time for Summer 2021, a summer like nowhere else.”

James – 3 – “A cheap Rihanna c. 2008 knock-off with all the cheap production tricks from that era thrown in. I’ve said a lot of songs in this selection would be strong contenders with a good revamp, but this is the first one I’ve come across that is a write-off. The “let me be your honey bee” lyric is cringe, so its existence in English on the track will manage to annoy French and non-French alike. And the less said about her performance video the better, as she looked like she was having an off day. Hopefully she can pull off a more charismatic performance on the night of the selection, but she is doomed by a song that is, to be franc, not very good.”

Melanie – 7.5 – “LMK is bringing the sassiness to the French national selection! I’m loving her stage presence in the audition tape. She just needs a solid staging, an amazing choreography and great background dancers to bring this song more alive on stage. I’m just scared how this would sound live, because it sounds like a hard song to sing while dancing. So LMK don’t disappoint with your live performance of this song!”

Roy – 4.5 – “I have something in me that I really desperately want to like this, but I never really get to that moment.. LMK definitely has the charisma and sass to pull off a song like this. In a batch of 26 songs however, this is going to be very underwhelming. I also feel like she is just kind of rambling the lyrics a bit. I don’t know it just isn’t fully working for me…”

Sean – 7 – “Ha, this feels like every chart song from the last five years smashed together into one. There’s a lot to unpack here but at its basis we have a catchy reggaeton-inspired song with a confident performer (who needs dancers!! France!!) and I can see many Eurovision fans falling in love with this one. It certainly won’t sound out of place in 2021, but whether the silent majority Eurovision audience would vote in their droves for this seems unlikely to me.”

Stefan – 8.5 – “Another modern radio friendly song, but this one is a bit funny. It has some special dose of joy. With right choreography it can go far.”

Total = 47 (avg. 6.71)

Philippine – Bah Non

Boris – 7 – “Aggro Accusatory Anthems <3 It stands no chance in France given that this song represents values a French Voting Public would never condone (Assertivity, Drama, Unapolegetic Feminism). So, I absolutely hope she goes all out during the live shows and embraces her fun trash side for our collective entertainment.”

Daniel – 7 – “We have the French rock gal and I think I am sold. I think this has some of the funniest lyrics and is full of strong delivery. The beat and composition is extremely powerful that I found myself bobbing along just by the second chorus. I think there is so much potential that staging will be key for this song to really sell it to everyone else. At the very least Philippine has the sass, energy and bravado to sell this song like nothing else.”

James – 7 – “A bit of a risk going in an indie-rock direction, though doubly so in a song that is dealing with a break-up. It does have one of the catchier verses in this selection that even non-French folk can easily sing along to (“allez, salut, a la prochaine, bah non, bah non”) and is playful. It also has a great groove that any fan can stomp or clap along to. Staging may be a challenge for this one, and it sounds like a lot of indie and alternative out there, with perhaps a little bit too much “too cool for school” French attitude that a lot of non-French may recoil at. But “Bah non” has its moments, and maybe giving a sarcastic “well, no” response to what ailed us in 2020 is the song we need in 2021.”

Melanie – 6.5 – “Philippine is an amazing performer and really brings “Bah Non” alive. I just have the feeling that song would fit better in the 00s than nowadays. It sounds like a generic pop song from that era that Ashlee Simpson, Avril Lavigne or Kelly Clarkson could sing if they were French. Nevertheless, the song has character, but miss some kind of oomph to really hit hard. I really hope Philippine will come back next year with a better song, because she is amazing!”

Roy – 7.5 – “Philippine is the massive star of this song for me. If they can make sure to give her a proper team to work on her dancing and staging then this could really pop off on stage. It is unique, it has swagger, it has a bunch of potential. It does need a revamp and as it is, it definitely isn’t ready to go yet. If they play their cards properly they have a decent shot of cracking into the top 10 in Eurovision. I quite enjoyed this and I am curious to see this performed on stage with her live vocals!”

Sean – 5 – “I… don’t really know where the begin with this one. Philippine seems like a great performer but the song just isn’t really that great to me. The verses are a little too rushed for me and the chorus slams on the brakes and it just doesn’t seem right as a package. No doubt now I’ve said that it’ll be the one song I can’t get out of my head…”

Stefan – 10 – “She’s flirty, she’s cute and I just love her eyes. She got me focused. I see a lot of potential here, regarding stage performance. One of my clear favorites.”

Total = 50 (avg. 7.14)

PONY X – Amour fou

Boris – 6.5 – “I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw the CGI horsehead <3 Daði and The Roop inspiring ridiculous, self-deprecating meme entries <3 Sadly, once the initial laugh faded away, so did the entire memory of the song, lost in the wind like a dandelion.”

Daniel – 9.5 – “Oh wow that voice. Oh this song is a banger oh it is such a fun song. Oh wow I feel like I am having a lot of thoughts and I am not sure how to process it them all. This song is super modern and really cool and exudes swag in a way that makes it super fun to listen and I think there is so much potential. And I mean the keyboardist has a horse head, I feel like we are sending an entry to Eurovision 2061, this song is just so ahead of its time and I think I love it. No, I know I love it.”

James – 5 – “For a song that sounds like it belongs in the Belarus national selection and not the French one, “Amour fou” is not as bad as you might at first suspect. The “you shot me down with love” lyric is daft, but you can’t help but dance when the bass drops. But what the hell is the pony in the lyrics about, and why the pony head on the DJ? It gives the song the same vibe as those middle-aged dads in tracksuits doing Slavic rap as a means to have a laugh at Eurovision. And if those antics cause you to roll your eyes in Belarus’s national selection, it’s only fair your eyes do the same in France’s.”

Melanie – 8 – “Okay, I’m really hating myself for saying this; but I’m really am liking this song! This is the unexpected bop that I didn’t know I needed. This is getting me in a party mood immediately. I’m just really afraid how this would sound live. Also, the staging will be very important for this kind of song. It’s going to hit or break it. I really hope they know what to do at the national final and hopefully we will see people doing the Pony X dance at Rotterdam.”

Roy – 9 – “Hear me out here! You have the opportunity to send a very well-produced EDM dance-banger to the country where EDM is one of their biggest export products. In contrary to the flops we have seen coming from Darude and Gromee, this is definitely more in the ballpark of Jowst and in my opinion has the biggest chances of getting that heavily desirable top 10 placement. The singer is charismatic. It seems like the singer and the DJ have charisma and chemistry as well. The song is also as good as done and wouldn’t need a massive amount of work in contrary to the rest of the field. I just really hope his live vocals are fantastic and that they don’t play it off too joke-y or gimmicky. Believe me, this could do well if France chose it. I am convinced of it and I would bet my money on this song!”

Sean – 8.5 – “Is this the closest I’m going to get to French EDM at Eurovision? Sigh… okay then. It’s a nice Robin Schulz-esque blend of rocky vibes with electronic beats and the English chorus helps to give this a sing-along quality to a wider audience (sorry linguaphiles across the world!). I do like this, but I feel like it will fall flat on its face and not translate to the Eurovision stage, like Gromee’s song in 2018.”

Stefan – 10 – “Some would say typical radio friendly song, something we’ve heard/seen so many times. I would say we could never have enough of it. I can see this in top 10 at Eurovision. My only concern is would he be allowed to use auto-tune at Eurovision. Anyway, its another favourite.”

Total = 56.5 (avg. 8.07)

Terence James – Je t’emmènerai danser

Boris – 6 – “The third of the ethnodance trash anthems in this national final, but also the weakest one. Like a meek ‘Le Tribu de Dana’, if you will? I have heard similar and better songs the national finals of BELGIUM… ten years ago. Whatever, at least it’s harmless.”

Daniel – 8 – “I like the Celtic entrance that transitions into a dance bop. I could do a bit without some of the repetitive lines but it is still a strong entry and it definitely has something relatable where everyone can find something they like about the song whether it’s the beat, the lyrics or Terence. I think that this song is a very strong choice, despite being slightly repetitive and predictable. It is just easily-consumed pop and something people will really back up.”

James – 8 – “If Howdy Doody and Dolph Lundgren had a handsome lovechild, he’d look like Terence James. And he’s going to take us dancing! In a way this is the most unusual entry in this year’s selection, as it’s a cool, distinctly French club track that I could also see working in West Hollywood, let alone Paris. There’s a bit of dissonance to overcome as we don’t expect a fellow who looks like Terence to dance, move and sing as he does on the track he’s performing. But perhaps that’s the point, that this song is not-so-much a simple dance track but a showcase of the duality within each of us, that within those who look like clean-cut, chiseled squares there is a man who wants to let loose with reckless abandon and dance.”

Melanie – 5 – “The intro and first verse of this song was very promising, but then the first “Je t’emmenerai danser” kicked in and it lost me. How many times can Terence sing that sentence in this song? I really think that the song already would be so much better if he only would scrap this sentence from the song. That sentence is really the biggest problem of this song. So fix the chorus Terence and scrap “Je t’Emmenerai Danser” from your song!”

Roy – 5.5 – “We get it, you “t’emmènerai danser”. No need to repeat it an annoying amount of times. Production-wise this isn’t all too bad compared to some other songs in the field. This will get stuck in your head whether you like it or not. Is that what France want to send to Eurovision? I don’t think it should be! Decent showing for Terence however and it could give him some nice exposure! Could see this do decent in the National Final!”

Sean – 7.5 – “This has a punchy, powerful production that some of the other songs could learn from in this selection! However, the constant repetition of the title lacks imagination and starts to irritate me slightly, which is a shame as the rest of this track leaves a strong impression for me. Add a bit of variety to the lyrical content and give this a great show and this is a real radio-friendly contender!”

Stefan – 9 – “That intro is EVERYTHING. I can already see loads of pyro effects. Find him a good choreographer and it will be a full product.”

Total = 49 (avg. 7)

So, with all said and done, which act is our favourite in France?

  1. PONY X – Amour fou – 56.5
  2. Barbara Pravi – Voilà – 56
  3. Juliette Moraine – Pourvu qu’on m’aime – 53
  4. Philippine – Bah Non – 50
  5. Terence James – Je t’emmènerai danser – 49
  6. LMK – Magique – 47
  7. Céphaz – On a mangé le soleil – 45.5
  8. Andriamad – Alléluia – 45
  9. Casanova – Tutti – 43
  10. Amui – Maeva – 37.5
  11. Ali – Paris me dit (Yalla ya helo!) – 34.5
  12. 21 Juin le Duo – Peux-tu me dire? – 31

By the narrowest of margins, it is PONY X who takes the ESC United French crown this year, ahead of Barbara Pravi. Will this be the same result tonight, or will the readers’ favourite Barbara prevail in the end? Or, will anyone else take the title?

Do #YOU agree with our thoughts on the French entries? Have we underrated anyone? Share your thoughts on the French selection with us in the comments below, on social media and on our forum HERE!

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