Eurovision 2019 – In an interview given only a day after the 2018 edition was over, the President of French TV has declared that France will participate in the upcoming contest and that it’ll use Destination Eurovision again!
There definitely was deception in the French team after the contest was over. As dust is only starting to settle down and the fans are going in a frenzy analyzing the results, split results, detailed jury by jury, articles all over the French press have come up to discuss the latest edition of our beloved Eurovision Song Contest. The first good sign is that there wasn’t a bitter approach to it all. France was disappointed after the media talked about the country being 3rd in the bookmakers.
First they turned to the Lisbon team, and Madame Monsieur first of all. You can find the article here. The artists said that they were proud about what they did, especially that a very tough topic for music still got many people moved and that they showed their love for it in Lisbon during the week. Jean-Karl Lucas say “We’ve respected the contest. We gave ourselves 100% to it since we’ve been chosen, with both humility and joy. It was a great opportunity to meet many great artists, great Eurovision fans and that in return many people discovered SOS Mediterranean Sea”, the association that helps migrants lost at sea and that inspired their song. On the other hand, one of the French commentators, Stéphane Bern, admitted being extremely disappointed that France did not get a Top 5 result.
Then, the attention turned to Delphine Ernotte. She was appointed President of French TV under the previous socialist government. She looked at the contest and what France 3 was doing. She was shocked and moved it back to the main channel, France 2, and decided to get more aggressive with it. It turned into Amir, Alma and Madame Monsieur and much better results. With Madame Monsieur, France didn’t do as well as expected but the song was still well received among Eurovision fans (second in OGAE votes) and was third with bookmakers. So Delphine Ernotte actually went to Lisbon for the contest and was interviewed during the Interval act in the commentators’ booth. After the contest, she admitted there were mistakes made with the staging. She issued a statement Saturday during the night, proving her total investment, that the results should not be seen as a disappointment, but a place to work from and to improve. “Destination Eurovision is a good formula, and it will be used again next year.” Even if there might be a few changes, plus the chance that juries might not all stay, or the same delegations invited. She saluted Israel for winning, with a great song and a great message. Our message was not conveyed at all and that’s what she focused on. “We need to make people understand our lyrics more, with a detailed work on choreography, staging, looks. […] France has neglected the contest for far too long and we know it. Our hard work will pay off soon.” She concluded with this: “I want to win it. I love winning, imagine how glorious the party would be here!”
And indeed, all the signs are telling her “keep going” in French press. Not a single article against Netta, against the Lisbon show, or about the acts or music quality. Instead, French media pointed out how much interested the French are in the contest, with a national final, caring for our own entry, curious to check what was in it this year. Stats can be found here. For the first time since 2009, Eurovision was first Saturday night with 5.2 million viewers (Patricia Kaas helped gather around 5.7 million in 2009), which means 25.8% of the market share. More importantly, they beat the final of The Voice which was at the same time on the big TF1 channel, which in return hit its lowest ever. To put things in perspective, Eurovision dropped below 3 million viewers in 2013 and 2014.
As far as results go, a lot of people agree it’s disappointing but on par with what France did last year. Alma got 12th being 19th with juries and 10th in televote, gathering a total of 135pts. Madame Monsieur finished 13th being 8th with juries and 17th in televote, gathering a total of 173pts. It’s basically the same results. France wanted to get the Top 10. In 2016 already, Amir missing the Top 5 felt a bit underachieving. It’s likely France will try a more aggressive approach, but how?
In the end, French media wondered, what if we didn’t underachieve, but got the results we were always meant to get considering the song we have chosen anyway. So they turned to bookmakers and stated that they were the ones who made big mistakes these years: like in this article. It amusingly points out all the mistakes this year: sure it got the Top 2, but as soon as rehearsals kicked it moved Cyprus before Israel. And then it went for Ireland, France and Sweden for the rest of the Top 5 when it should have been Austria, Germany and Italy. And the article has a very touching word for Portugal at the end. “Bookmakers did not see coming the last place of the lovely host Portugal. It had the most subtle song, the best lyrics and a very charismatic singer.” Plus being a host usually helps, they mention. So them being last is definitely something the French should be more mad than our own results. As to why they’re last, bookmakers won’t be asked this as they turn already to more predictions to be made in the rest of the world. The article admits: “it will be one of the mysteries of the Eurovision results, and these are part of why the contest is so captivating.”
So what do you want for France in 2019? Can the country finally get that extra push to turn their popular entries into contenders?