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 of our French reviews? Catch up with our thoughts HERE.

The tension and hype is building throughout the week in France as C’est vous qui décidez – the French selection for Eurovision 2021 – nears on Saturday evening. 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?

Today we will take a look at four more 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?

Barbara Pravi – Voilà

Boris – 6.5 – “I was a bit late to the “Voila” party, but the judgment out there seems to be it’s like “Et s’il faillait le faire”, but better. I agree. Sadly, I never really cared for Ms Kaas – I understand why one would love her, but I like my Eurovision songs as uptempo, fun and trash as possible. “Voila” muddles along the “This Is Real Music” tract of snob-pop (honestly, what does that even mean? ‘Real music’ as opposed to what, ‘Fake Pop’ – although the latter is always better appreciated? Anyone who calls a song “real, as opposed to _” should be made aware of their own middle-class privilege and snottitude) until the song finally explodes in a burst of rose petals at the end. It’s a welcome and dreamy final twenty seconds, but I wish the same vibe had been present for the preceding two minutes.”

Daniel – 10 – “The return of the chanson in a beautiful and sleek package. I think this has the power to make cabaret a powerful tool for the French entry. The piano and strings masterfully pack the song with peaks and valleys to make you understand the emotive power. This would be a beautiful entry that showcases France in a way that they have not done since Patricia Kaas. This is a very strong entry especially for Eurovision.”

James – 10 – “Pravi co-wrote Junior Eurovision’s biggest ever post-contest phenomenon (Carla’s “Bim Bam Toi”) and France’s 2020 winner (Valentina’s “J’Imagine”), and now Pravi and her JESC co-writer Igit has come to wow the adults with something very different. Instead of modern, Pravi is clearly inspired by the melancholic French chansons of the late ‘50s and ‘60s and she interprets that style very well. “Voila” starts off slow with a simple piano riff and adds strings and guitars gradually before a frenetic ending, expertly pacing itself over three minutes. There’s a ferocity and rawness to the lyrics (“voila, this is me, take me as I am”) that perfectly matches the track and non-French speakers can latch onto. Pravi is a powerful and charismatic performer, and France would do well to send a song such as this that is both uniquely French but a foreigner can easily identify with and be moved by.”

Melanie – 9 – “I remember hearing this song for the first time in my car. It immediately grabbed my attention and I got goosebumps all over my body. This is just art in its purest form. A modern take of a French chanson. France, there’s just something wrong with you if you don’t send this masterpiece to the Eurovision Song Contest!”

Roy – 6 – “Now we are getting somewhere… This song feels French and would not mis-stand in their massive record of Eurovision entries all too much. Yet I still feel like this song definitely isn’t the choice for them. It wouldn’t end last, but the highest I could see this reach is somewhere between 10-15th. If France’s aim is really to reach that top 10 again they desperately need to look for a good revamp. Barbara’s voice is pleasant though and it is a very unique song, so who knows? I also wish they did a bit more with how they ended the song. All in all not too bad, but not amazing.”

Sean – 7.5 – “This isn’t really to my taste but I know this is a quality piece, and I’m sure there are many who are working themselves into a frenzy over this one. Barbara’s voice is rich with character and emotion and there’s palpable feeling in this one, even with limited knowledge of French. The late tempo change is an exhilarating moment too. With the Eurovision stage at her mercy, this could be one to really stand out if chosen.”

Stefan – 7 – “She certainly knows to send the message, to make you feel the song, but I am missing something here. I mean, I do feel it, but still I am missing something. IMO, the song just doesn’t have that special dose of Eurovision.”

Total = 56 (avg. 8)

Casanova – Tutti

Boris – 6.5 – “It wouldn’t be a Eurovision National Final if a conventionally attractive, overtly earnest Straight Guy didn’t show up for all the fraus to fawn over. Fortunately, Casanova is so… I don’t know how to describe it? Wooden? Vapid? Uncharismatic despite looking like a chad? I legit cannot imagine this guy seducing a woman (I mean, I can, but none of the scenarios involve opening his mouth). It’s all rather bemusing, honestly. As for the song, it exists and doesn’t offend, which is the best one can hope for in these cases.”

Daniel – 6 – “This is a fun French sing-a-long with a Corsican twist. I think that the song is a fun bit and is carried by a great composition. I think it is perfectly fine for the radio along the Cote d’Azur but I think it may be missing just a bit for the Eurovision stage. I will say that it may carry some of the catchiest tunes and that can play to its favor. There is a lot of good with some bits of meh, so I think overall it is pretty fine.”

James – 5 – “Is Putamayo the French selection’s sponsor with this out of time world music dance this time around? This time we’re going to Corsica, adding some mandolins and a boatload of “la la la.” As for expectations from the name, the song and the image just don’t match. He looks like someone my grandmother would call a lovely lad, not the infamous lothario who scandalized France and Italy centuries ago, or even the womanizing troublemaker of LeVert’s “Casanova.” Perhaps the only thing that “Tutti” has in common with Casanova is that after his three minutes he disappears. As with some other songs in this selection, a good revamp will help this Casanova stick around.”

Melanie – 5.5 – “Is it just me, or is this song just trying too hard to be catchy? The beat is really infectious and the “la la la la” part really invites you to sing-a-long, but somehow it just doesn’t work for me. Maybe it’s also not the song for Casanova. He’s not really selling this song in his audition tape. Maybe it’s just missing a great choreography? Maybe it’s the staging? I don’t know, but it just doesn’t work for me.”

Roy – 5.5 – “Bit too many la’s for my liking, but overall this could be fun on a Eurovision stage. Give this a revamp, a bit more oomph a bit better production and I feel like Casanova could sell this like how Miki sold La Venda. Again, I don’t think this would result in a high placement for France at Eurovision, but at least it would be a moment in which you could get the entire audience involved and dance along to the song. Should it win though? No! But it is kind of cool and it could be way worse.”

Sean – 7.5 – “Hmm. Ok, I can’t really judge this fully as it’s OBVIOUS that he’d need to move a lot more, but given the improvements we know can happen at Eurovision with a full production the jury is out on that one at the moment. It’s a strong feel good track with great production and – as long as he can give this track the show and life it needs – could be a strong choice for France.”

Stefan – 7 – “Perfect example how something simple can look perfect. He’s cute. His song is cute. Just make him wear something more interesting and it can go all the way.”

Total = 43 (avg. 6.14)

Céphaz – On a mangé le soleil

Boris – 8 – “He had me at the title <3 Naturally, a song called “Somebody ate the sun” is *never* going to be taken seriously by the unwashed masses, let along get sent to Eurovision, but I really enjoy the upbeat doofus drone of this happiness anthem and I wish it the best (ie: 6th place in the selection).”

Daniel – 5 – “This is such a throwback to those 2000’s pop bops and I think that is rather fun. I do not necessarily think it is dated but it might struggle against some of the more forward-thinking entries. I do like the celestial metaphors; it gives some insight into what the staging concept could be. This would be what I categorize as a perfectly nice song that gets the job done but not a whole lot more.”

James – 8 – “Those who hate “la la la” in a song will really hate this one. I’ll give it a pass, as well as its environmental message that is about as subtle as the Mr. Creosote sketch from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, as this folk pop song is just bright and fun. I rather enjoy the jolliness of the track paired with the descriptions of ravenous humans and their insatiable appetites, and the metaphors contained therein will make for great staging. This song has the potential to be a sleeper hit, though you worry people may write it off as light and fluffy and miss a lot of what Céphaz has going on here.”

Melanie – 6 – “This song is definitely the most dangerous one of the bunch. You will hear it for the first time and think “it’s okay.” But when you turn off this track, the song already had been taking over your brain and the La La La La will be stuck in your head forever. I just think you need more listens to this song to really appreciate it, but Cephaz is really selling it. I’m really curious how this song is going to do at the national final, but I’m not writing this off yet!”

Roy – 7 – “Okay hear me out, this man has such an interesting voice that it will immediately grab your attention. Yes it will have to be revamped, but at least there is something interesting and different happening in the chorus. It is uplifting and he oozes charisma. With a revamp I could see people falling in love with this song. I can picture it on the stage with him looking in the camera’s mysteriously in points. No this isn’t a finished piece as is, but I could actually see a lot of potential in this. Not writing this one off at all, wouldn’t necessarily mind this winning.”

Sean – 6.5 – “His voice reminds me of a French version of Bipolar Sunshine, great soulful quality! He has great stage presence and charisma which works in his favour, and the song isn’t actually that bad either. It just feels a little unfinished. The choruses need a little bit more tweaking to really hit home, but overall this is a decent package and would be a solid choice also.”

Stefan – 5 – “Gosh. Dunno if it’s just me, but it’s more like that it was made for French market and not for Eurovision. Also, if he’s gonna sing a cheerful song like this one, he needs to smile more.”

Total = 45.5 (avg. 6.5)

Juliette Moraine – Pourvu qu’on m’aime

Boris – 7 – “Similar to how Barbara is a better Patricia Kaas, Juliette is a better (good) Seemone. All the feels, but without any of the pretentiousness. Now see it do way worse. *Sigh*”

Daniel – 8.5 – “Ohhhhh this year we have two chansons at play. This song is most certainly a modernization of the chanson in a way that is rather interesting for France. It is engaging despite not seeming to have much in the staging and I think that might be its strength. The build of this song is something I have been waiting for, it really drops you like I do not know if I wanted something big to end of this more restrained version. Either way it was a powerful entry.”

James – 9 – “The slightly lesser of the Frenchy piano chansons with a woman exhibiting raw emotion in this selection, this one has three verses where Juliette hopes that three different people – her father, mother, and lover – love her for who she is. This song is gentler and more pensive than Pravi’s piano ballad but is a solid alternative for someone wanting their melancholy with a lot less freneticism and more nostalgia. We can all identify with the need to be loved in all aspects of our lives and the crushing disappointment that arrives when the love does not come, and this song conveys that feeling expertly.”

Melanie – 7 – ““Pourvu qu’on m’aime” is really a beautiful song. I’m loving Juliette’s voice in the studio-cut. The problem I have with this song is that it’s quite traditional. I love the French sound of this song, but it’s EXACTLY what I would expect what France would send to the Eurovision. I just want something more daring. This would be the safest choice for France, but love to see them take a risk at the Eurovision 2021 stage.”

Roy – 6.5 – “A lovely French ballad with a good singer could actually not be the worst of choices. It builds, but to round off the entire piece it needs to be a bit more grandiose I feel. I feel like Juliette could carry this song and capture a lot of people. I do get some Liza Angel vibes from this song, but it at least has a moment in the end with the high note. I am unsure about whether it would do well or not, but also this has potential and could turn into something cool!”

Sean – 5 – “Everything in my brain right now should be telling me “yes, this is a great French chanson ballad and will be well appreciated”, but honestly I’m not feeling this one. Juliette has a fantastic vocal but the song itself feels threadbare in comparison and for me, I feel it lacks the substance of Barbara’s performance or, dare I say it, something like Patricia Kaas’ excellent 2009 entry.”

Stefan – 10 – “Anyone else getting Simone vibes? People know that I am a sucker for a good ballad and this is a good one. I really got some chills. No matter what happens it will be on my playlist for quite some time. Also she didn’t need any voice effects, so that’s a plus.”

Total = 53 (avg. 7.57)

Let’s see what that does to our team ranking so far…

  1. Barbara Pravi – Voilà – 56
  2. Juliette Moraine – Pourvu qu’on m’aime – 53
  3. Céphaz – On a mangé le soleil – 45.5
  4. Andriamad – Alléluia – 45
  5. Casanova – Tutti – 43
  6. Amui – Maeva – 37.5
  7. Ali – Paris me dit (Yalla ya helo!) – 34.5
  8. 21 Juin le Duo – Peux-tu me dire? – 31

The two chansons at the top, but will any of the final four songs knock Barbara Pravi off of our team’s top spot? Stay tuned tomorrow as we reveal the final ranking of both our team’s views and your votes in our poll!

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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