France: Amir Haddad to Stockholm!

FranceFrance – Internally chosen by France 2, but supposed to be revealed only on March 12th, Amir Haddad was announced officially by the French broadcaster as the French representative to Stockholm with the song J’ai cherché!

Here’s the full story on how it leaked…

So the secret leaked last week, on Thursday, on Cyril Hanouna’s incredibly popular talkshown “Touche pas à mon poste” [Don’t put your hands on my tv]. Cyril Hanouna has been a rather big advocate for the contest in France, having been the French commentator in 2009 and 2010 (the last two good results France has had in the contest for the last decade). He also invited Conchita, and even dressed in heels and gold dress the monday after she won in 2014. In 2015 he invited Lisa Angell and put her song as the end credits for his show to through 2015 Spring to help her.

For the past few years, his new hit talkshow has been more or less the deicision maker and who’s hot and who’s not on French TV. And yet, it’s only on D8, a new small channel that features mostly 100% live shows, and it belongs to French TV competitor Canal +. So we can congratulate his team for having leaked out a news that was supposed to be kept secret by amateurish French TV…

After France 2 took back the show after France 3 triple failures in 2012, 2013 and 2014, cumilating to France’s first ever last place with Twin Twin in Copenhagen, they chose Lisa Angell in a rush after the events of January 2015. This year, and after another bottom 3 failure, they had more time to see what Eurovision was really about. And they chose Amir Haddad with J’ai cherché, a bilingual song that sounds indeed a lot like the radio-friendly modern pop tune we’ve had in Eurovision for the past few years. Amir was a finalist in the third season of “The Voice”. In Eurovision 2015, the last The Voice contestant that did Eurovision for neighbour Belgium, Loïc Nottet, also won “Dance with stars” in France and is now a rather big name. So French TV turned to French “The Voice” artist but all those that have a career now declined, the contest being at a desperate low in France, so Amir Haddad it was! Charismatic and a good vocalist, he really never made it through. This is his try at a big comeback.

After being leaked by Cyril, France 2 tried to calm things down and stayed quiet through the weekend, but this morning French TV made it official. The song will be performed live on March 12th still, but Amir has done a performance of it this Saturday in another song-show on France 2, which was seen as a first hint.

This is the song:

Cyril Hanouna, having been confirmed, has his team of editorialists to comment on the choice. It was very much unanimous that it was better than last year, and a chance to finally escape the bottom 5 where France ended every year since 2012 included. However, not many saw chances for it to be in the top 10 either. They all saluted that the singer was finally chosen “inside the usual Eurovision category” where they said most Eurovision singers, and those that do well in the contest, come from. “It can be anyone, as Patricia proved, but then it needs to be, first, a great song. And without a great song, you at least need someone modern and that checks the usual contest’s boxes and this does that” concluded the editorialists. A pop radio friendly song, by someone who can sing, has quite a lot of charisma, and is not totally unknown to the public, were all signs that were cheered. An online poll hosted by the show led to 46% of voters thinking that “we have a chance to do well”, against 54% who didn’t think so. A jump of 25% from last year sad 21%.

So what do you think about this entry? What are its chances in Stockholm?

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175 comments on “France: Amir Haddad to Stockholm!

  1. I just had a chance to listen to French song for the first time and on first listening I more or less agree with above comments, easy to listen to, radio-friendly song which could be quite catchy after a few listenings but maybe wouldn’t be a “I’ll pick up the phone and vote for it” on the night for first time viewers, maybe with a good live version and stage production it will do better for France than in recent years , besides I have a soft spot for French language songs! what is a bit worrying is that it’s nearly 40 years since France last won ESC and I remember watching MM win! (showing age!)
    anyway bonne chance la France!

  2. Nice entry! And Ukraine makes one more step towards trophy :)

  3. I am listening to the Israeli hopefuls (thanks for the link, mermaid :) ). While I go through them, I must say that every year I ask myself if the Swedish music scene is reflected in what we hear in MF. The same type of songs and singers (several pretty boys who cannot sing mostly) are chosen by Björkman and his team. The older singers who reach the semis are quickly eliminated by the televoters. If their songs are so bad, why are they selected? What about the hundreds of songs that never see the light (gillter and gloss mainly) of MF? Are they all so bad? I am sure Sweden has much more diversity to offer ESC.

    • exactly my dear friend ( see previous comment re selection process involving Swedes etc), maybe we are getting too old and we should give way to to the younger ESC generation? :-( ! don’t know, anyway as it’s a thread re French songs here is my favourite French song of all time outside ESC! :-)

    • I think Melodifestivalen reflects a certain part of the Swedish music scene quite well, the traditional Swedish pop scene. What we got to remember is also that MF is such a strong factor in Swedish music life that what becomes successful in MF is also successful on the lists afterwards. Of course there are several big names in Sweden that will never do MF or ESC, but even here, I think we’re starting to see a change since the last years – going from “adult contemporary” to a more “youth contemporary”. Many of the old big names have already done MF and they don’t have much to add nowadays. That’s where the younger generation steps in.

      • That is all very well. I am alluding to diversity. If the old names have nothing to add, so be it (I suppose you’re referring to big schlager names). However, I sincerely doubt that the new names have only this kind of stuff to offer. Give the audiences other choices and see how they react. Moreover, I also doubt that the new names are so much about pretty boys who cannot sing live. That’s what I get from watching MF. What about Jens Lekman or Jay-Jay Johanson? Or are they too old for MF?

        • I admit I don’t know much about the real Swedish music scene outside of Melfest, but I’ve always assumed that Martin and Christer have spent so long presenting the “old people = old schlager, young people = pretty but can’t sing” image, they don’t know how to give people anything?

          The contest has been fundamentally the same for as long as I’ve been watching, and apart from the odd Linda Bengtzing cd that might have found its way into my collection (cough), very little of the Swedish music I own matches up with the music they select each year.

        • I think that the finalists of this year kinda reflects quite well what’s being played on Swedish radio nowadays, though in a little eurovisionized way, of course: Lisa Ajax = Zara Larsson, David Lindgren = Axwell & Ingrosso… It has much to do with the app; the younger generation has got more power and thus we’re seeing a change in music style too. Ten years ago, MF looked completely different. No contemporary pop singer in his/her twenties, but mostly singers being more popular with the more adult audience; Nordman, Tommy Nilsson, Lena Philipsson, Christer Sjögren et cetera. To simplify it, we’ve kinda moved from BBC Radio 2 to BBC Radio 1 recently…

          The thing is also that not all kind of music fits Melodifestivalen, just as some styles don’t fit Eurovision. Doing an opera aria wouldn’t work f.e. The same goes for the more alternative stuff, that we’ve of course tried a few times. Björkman himself invited the new, innovative band Eskobar for Melodifestivalen 2008. And it fell flat because it didn’t work at all in this arena, with this audience, with this song, with this performance.

          • I can’t say that I know the current Swedish music scene, Niclas, but despite what you say the diversity is absent and musical talent as well in too many cases. Moreover too many of the same composers are chosen everyear. ESC is about music, so all the genres should be welcome. ESC and MF are also about all generations, so ways of attracting older people to vote should be adopted, otherwise it all sounds too bubblegum. According to what you wrote, MF went from one extreme to the opposite extreme – some kind of middle ground should be found.

            • Well the thing is, MF is big enough to where it comfortable exists as a peer to ESC, in many ways, rather than a subordinate show. So it makes much more sense for the producers to curate a show with a lion’s share of entries that appeal to a wide viewing public. It guarantees that Sweden will send something predictable to ESC, but then again, picking something for ESC is an afterthought compared to picking something to win MF, which isn’t a huge problem. Sure it’s a little disappointing, but at least it guarantees we’ll have a “contemporary Swedish” entry every year, something that can’t be said for every country *coughs at Norway and Finland*.

            • I realise that, but the main question remains unanswered. Why so many similar songs and untalented singers? From one extreme to the other. Sweden has much more to offer, I am sure. Anyway, there are enough songs to please everyone’s tastes during the season, at least for now.

            • “the main question remains unanswered. Why so many similar songs and untalented singers”

              The simple answer to why the songs are sounding rather similiar is, I guess, “been there, done that”. When the semis were introduced in 2002, together with scrapping the language rule, one of the main purposes was to “deliver” Melodifestivalen from the Svensktoppen music land, and instead bring in new genres. It was a goal they were trying to follow quite well for a couple of years. Reggae, rap, bossanova, latin, country and so on were added to the traditional schlager sound. Plus that MF also brought a couple of songs in different languages. In a five year period, we got songs in both Spanish, Portuguese, Bosnian, Iranian, Italian and Greek.

              Often, these songs did score pretty badly, but were still there as some kind of spice. But after the peak in 2008, the MF popularity slowly started to decline. 2010 was a year that involved a lot of criticism from people who thought the songs were too off the radar, and many of them lacked the hit potential. This resulted in a change of the rules in 2011. Björkman & Co’s power increased. Before that, a jury were responsible for choosing 28 out of 32 songs, with Björkman then choosing the 4 wildcards. Now it was a 50/50 case instead between jury and Björkman. Another thing is that the jury were not allowed to know the names of the songwriters, nor the singer on the demo tape. Now everything changed here too, plus that the focus was reversed. Instead of choosing the song first and then add the right singer, they often started to do it the other way round. And finally, the “exotic” entries became fewer for each year, because SVT thought they had went out of steam after those years, and did no longer fit any real purpose.

              Still, I don’t think the problem with diversity is THAT big in MF even today. I was talking about before of how MF is supposed to match what is being played on the radio, and I can definitely say that there are more variations here. But then again, diversity is of course not necessarily the same as quality. For example, the classical schlager songs feel mostly like fillers today, and they are often really bad.

            • Thanks for the complete and detailed answer. There are tweaks that could be implemented. MF is hugely popular and it could risk being more daring and more demanding when it comes to musical talent. If MF refelcts what is played on Swedish radio, then I won’t spend time listening to it if I ever go bak to Sweden. MF has become monotonous and it lacks creativity when it comes to the songs; trying to emulate playlists can have that effect. Anyway, they’ve made their choice and it is their right to do as they wish.

          • Meaning that when the “app generation” has grown up, it might go for something more mature, and we may get a more diverse line-up again?

            I would hope so, because this year’s MF is the weakest one I have ever followed, sadly.

            • Or they will ignore MF and start listening to different stuff. The next generation of teenagers will take their place. Let’s hope I am wrong.

            • It’s so hard to tell. One important group is of course the kids too, who are extremely powerful (around 50% of all Swedish kids between 3-14 years watch MF). Plus that more or less every kid owns a mobile phone already in kindergarten age, so they have “SMS fingers” too. So acts directed towards kids, like Sean Banan and Samir & Viktor will always work. When boys then turn into teenage guys, they often abandon MF because male teenagers and young men are the most underrepresented MF age group. Which perhaps could explain why genres like metal (and not 80’s hard rock a la The Poodles and HEAT) are more or less absent here.

              I try to stay positive. In my opinion, one can’t say that MF goes either uphill or downhill but rather up and down like a roller coaster. This year is indeed one of the weakest we’ve had recently, but a lot can be changed. I’m sad to say though that I don’t think we’ll get back to the MF “golden age” that lasted for like two, three years (between 2006-2008). It was at the time when MF had big names who only wanted to do it once in a lifetime. Now they’ve done it too and there are not many people of the same caliber to replace them with.

          • Eskobar were amazing and in my top 3 of MF 2008, but they didnt’ make it to BoNF with my genuine-music friends, who had “Hero” in BoNF instead (besides BWO)

        • JAY-JAY <3 Forever in my heart

        • MF isn’t about diversity, it’s about finding a truly potential winner for ESC in this Swedish national sport. Pretty boy Saade was a game changer and answered prayer for Björkman. MF was in crisis with years of no success. Saade saved not only Björkman’s head but also extravagant MF tour. SVT have their own distinguished style in ESC – Nobody does contemporary pop like it does. And it has given Swedes the success they are hungry for. They are again european champions of pop. I’ve waiving flag for Eric, Loreen and Måns. And I wave flag for SVT and Björkman. They have a task to do and they take it seriously. They found a winning formula. It won’t last for ever and then MF and only then MF is in crisis. And it’s then when ESC will change again.

          • Saade still did MF with a Kempe song, who had won MF in 2008 and 2009 (being given the last spot in the last semi, so Björkman was always going to help him along), so Saade didnt change anything much, he just was way prettier for televote than Charlotte and Malena so he did well in a recognized poor year in Eurovision with a winner by default. The real game changer was when, after Saade was a MF winner, Björkman gave the last spot to Danny, who was the huge pre-MF favorite, not knowing that a storm like Loreen would win it all, including Eurovision, for being THE real MF changer.

            In 2010 Björkman already gave a Kempe song the last spot the in last semi, with a hot pretty guy like Peter, but the televote liked another semi 4 song better and made an upset (Anna even performed two from last in semi 4): but as feared, since Björkman knows esc better than the random swedish guy, it failed in esc (barely though). In 2016, I feel Molly disappointed as the big favorite, the song performing two from last in semi 4, Frans, is now fvorite to upset BjÖrkman ;)

          • It’s a way to put it. My sport is more about good songs, performed by people who can actually sing live, but to each his own. :)

      • By ‘this stuff’ I mean the kind of music that we hear nowadays in MF.

  4. On Israel – songs 1 and 4 are the ones who pleased me the most. The former is radio-friendly stuff, a bit anonymous, but it has nice elements, such as the orchestration. The latter makes yet another anonymous song sound much better. Waiting for those pivotal live performances. Good luck

    P.S. – I know that songs 3 and 4 are the same one.

  5. It sure reminds of Sweden 2013 with its “youououou”. It wants to be a lightweighted and simple radio pop song and I guess it succeeds with that, but I’m not the one who fall for this. It’s too lightweighted and fluffy for me and I find myself partly annoyed and partly bored by the whole tune. It has its charm too, can’t deny that, but it’s overshadowed way too much with the rest. A weak (5/12) for now. Good luck!

  6. Serbian entry to premier on March 10 at 21:00 CET.

  7. off topic a little, TVE did some kind of survey about Spanish entry, and noted via Internet etc Spanish song was in top 10 of every internet user , and 90% in top 5 of users/ESC fans, in top 3 of all ESC fanbase, don’t know about that, but it seems her impact in Europe will be her boots, Spain across Europe going for her “her boots are made for walking” as a “gimmick” ! :-)

    • which she will send across Europe, it seems, before Eurovision :-) watch out for those boots!!

    • Not sure if Barei is in my top 5, but it’s certainly high up my list of favourites.
      Isn’t her gimmick just being able to do Kurt’s dance from 2012 but in a dress though? ;)

      • difference to previous Spanish songs is that Barei , sending song on her own without any kind of back up nor record label, won Spanish NF and thus now is getting advice from Euro fans about how best to approach ESC, I guess is better in some ways , at least she’ll go to ESC with a fan fave song , with lots of advice behind her and no doubt will win the hearts of ESC fans! win or no win!

  8. I like it. Not a winner but I’d say a top 15, maybe top 10 potentially. I don’t expect a low tally for France this year :D

  9. I say let’s leave MF as it is, it’s doing fine. Or if we are going to have a deep conversation about the whys behind every national final, we should extend it beyond MF. Why can’t FiK or San Remo feature credible contemporary music for example ?

    The nf season offers nfs for all tastes – let’s not try to make things what they are not.

  10. Another live performance of the French entry during La fete de la chanson Francaise:

  11. And the official video:

  12. After some more runthroughs I have to say this is growing on me. Contemporary french vibes. The verses are better than the chorus but as a whole it works. It’s fresh and breezy. Good job !

    8.2/10 and 6th place on my list for now. Good luck !

  13. Amir’s song has been remixed and shortened. Here is the official version that will be sung on May :

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