France: First Semifinal Tonight!

France – French TV will host the first semi-final of Destination Eurovision 2019. Nine artists will participate: they’ll sing covers first and then present their official entries. 4 will get a ticket for the final! Check out tonight’s line-up!

Fun (and sad) fact: in 2018, France TV produced its first national final that did not pick with a song that got bottom 5 result in the contest. Indeed, while TF1 produced very strong national finals that often resulted in Top 5 results in the contest (6 out of 7 years between 1975-1981 when France got 5 Top 3 results), the sudden end of TF1’s run lead to France TV to take over. Struggling at first, France 2 managed a good run in the 90s (and one can dispute that 1992 had a national final, though it was a “Francophone” contest that picked the representative). Handing to France 3 in 1998, the national finals turned a disaster affair then: bottom 5 every year they tried to pick the entry through French televote (1999, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2014). All other years, which often had better results (except 2012, 2013 and 2015), had internal selections (including the Top 10 results in 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2016).

So, after last year’s success (at least the show produced a national hit in France, a good OGAE result, a decent 8th place by the juries and an overall result on the left hand-side of the scoreboard), Destination Eurovision got picked up again as the selection method for the French entry.

After revealing the line-up and a snippet of the 18 entries, we had the allocation draw for the semi-finals. And tonight’s line-up is easily regarded as the strongest one (it has the biggest name in the competition, Chimène Badi, and the huge favorite, who gets more than ten times the number of views Chimène gets on Youtube, Itunes or French Deezer, Bilal).

Tonight’s line-up is:

  1. Battista Acquaviva – Passiò
  2. Lautner – J’ai pas le temps
  3. Chimène Badi – Là-haut
  4. Aysat – Comme une grande
  5. Mazy – Oulala
  6. Florina – In the shadow
  7. Bilal Hassani – Roi
  8. Naestro – Le brasier
  9. Silvàn Areg – Le Petit Nicolas

However, just like last year, the artists will first present themselves through a short cover. Tonight’s covers are:

  1. Battista Acquaviva – Parla più piano (Gianni Morandi)
  2. Lautner – J’ai cherché (Amir)
  3. Chimène Badi – Je ne regrette rien (Edith Piaf)
  4. Aysat – Dancing Queen (ABBA)
  5. Mazy – Si seulement je pouvais lui manquer (Calogero)
  6. Florina – L’hymne à l’amour (Edith Piaf)
  7. Bilal Hassani – Carmen (Stromae)
  8. Naestro – Perfect (Ed Sheeran & Andrea Bocelli)
  9. Silvàn Areg – Un homme debout (Claudio Capéo)

The voting is a bit different than last year, since the semifinals are now live and will therefore feature televote. First, a French expert jury will comment on the entries after each performance, but unlike last year they will not vote. Then, after all the performances, an international jury (5 members) will vote, but their vote will only represent 50% of the results since televote will represent the other 50%. The international juries have also been drawn in the semifinals, so that tonight’s jury will not be back in the second semi or in the final. Remember that French televote works in a mysterious way. For instance, last year, televote pushed the juries’ favorite Lisandro down to third, giving the victory to Madame Monsieur and the second place to Malo’.

The French experts are:

The international juries are:

The show starts at 9pm CET and will be hosted in Parisian studios by last year’s host, French-Canadian singer Garou. The show is set to last almost 3h! It can be watched from France 2 or their Facebook or Youtube page. If you watch it live, try to look for your Eurovision Times webmaster who will be in the audience!

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544 comments on “France: First Semifinal Tonight!

  1. At least Chimene is in the last four instead of Lautner thanks to the televote….

  2. I wonder if Bilal’s success/popularity will actually translate to eurovision though. I liked the choreography and voice was good until 2nd half of the song.

  3. Save us Ugo in the next semi :/

  4. Disastrous televoting results giving “n the Shadow” and “Passio” the 4th and 3rd place respectively. Thank God we have juries too.

    ALL songs in my top 4 made it through :)
    Le Brasier was underrated imo

  5. Weird results. My fav tonight gone. Surprised and happy Silvan went through. The public’s last place, Aysat, got through lol. Surprised Chimene did badly with the juries.

    Feels like Bilal and Roi will run away with the whole competition unless something big comes from Semi 2. Can’t say I really like the song at the moment, its’ got nothing that stands out.

  6. Let’s hope for a stronger second semi!
    Good luck, France!

  7. Pretty boys, knocked out , winner not sure best to represent France,? Kind of weak performance on the whole

  8. I’m okay with 50 % of the finalists: Silvàn and Aysat. That is more than I hoped for. :)

  9. Silvan quite stole the show and “Comme une grande” which was the best song of this semi qualified thanks to juries.

    Chimène had the best vocals ny far but the song’s meh to me. Mazy had a weak chorus but the whole package would have been above Chimène for me

    Bilal was huge in the audience I think it’s obviously his to lose. Christophe (another amazing vocalist) told him this wasnt enough for esc and shouldnt be considered his full package yet if he wants to do well… I hope he hears that.

    Next week Ugo will do a Bilal (runaway win) and Emmanuel Moire will do a Chimène (low with int’l juries but 2nd in French televote)…

    Id love to see Silvan in esc but televote wouldnt let it would it?

  10. Insane but my uber is already getting me home Ill do the article then maybe but Im starving first lol

    I miss Malo’ he was second last year and would win this!

  11. After tonight’s traumatic experience I needed to go back to this for some comfort and to remind myself how this NF started last year :

  12. So the most calculated entry won the SF? Sounds like last year’s winner; I guess it works on some level. Curious to read a breakdown of the different voting groups.

  13. Not really excited for these results. Looks like it’s Bilal’s to lose and I’m not the biggest fan.

  14. Phew! A reconciliatory end to an underwhelming show. The four artists who got the tickets to the final were the most deserving. Such a relief that neither Battista nor Florina made it. Lautner doing so bad was quite a shocker, but I couldn’t care less.

    I’m so over people covering Édith Piaf. She must have been turning in her grave a dozen times. Tu devrais avoir honte, Florina!

    Naestro: Standard midtempo ballad. Next!

    Florina: Édith Piaf will haunt her in her nightmares.

    Chimène Badi: Coming right after ”In the shadows” – that’s the producers throwing shade at Florina. Vocally good like expected, but I forgot the song right after it has ended. Wouldn’t place higher than 22nd at Eurovision.

    Battista Acquaviva: The WTF moment of the evening. I feel sorry for her, but she sounded so bad. The staging was nice – deity worship all the way. I was waiting for her to sacrifice a lamb in front of her half naked dancers. Just to make it weirder.

    Silvàn Areg: Je suis tombé amoreux! His stage charisma is infectuous! J’adore! Yeah, and the song is ok, too.

    Bilal: This is it. The winner. Hands down. The chorus is memorable and so is Bilal. He could do well in Tel Aviv. But I’m not sold on this.

    Aysat: Was her mic off? I barely heard her in the beginning. The choreography was great, the styling not so much. Nevertheless I’m happy she’s through.

    Lautner: Ugh! That Sacha guy is full of himself. The skaters were a bad choice. Is it just me or did I sense homoerotic chemistry between the two everytime they sang to each other?

    Mazy: I like her style. The Dalida reference in her song was the best in her somewhat flat song. I get she wanted to write a song for an international audience, but I’ve never been a fan of songs with too much ”Oulala”.

    To the judges:

    I said once before that I can’t take Vitaa seriously, but I wouldn’t have expected the other judges were also turning out to be jokes. How delusional are they? Everyone names Florina as one of their finalists. ”Passio” would be a great song for Eurovision? Hell to the no!

    What’s left to say: I’ll keep my fingers crossed for PhilipElise in the 2nd semi!

  15. The four that had to pass passed.
    I am floored at Aysat being last. That was insanity. It wasn’t perfect, but she carried herself confidently, and it seems her issues were not just on her, as the mic sounded off.

    Silvan deserved it as he carried himself with a great live and a cool staging

    Bilal was gonna pass duh. It looked good but it needs a lot of work, and maybe a revamp.

    Chimene owned this. I doubt her song is the best option, but she ate Florina up.

    P.S: Battista is the worst live I heard in this NF season. Bar none. Thank you juries

  16. The amateurism of France TV never stops to amaze me. I dread the year a masterpiece will be sent to Destination Eurovision, get to the contest, win and France TV has to host Eurovision :o

    I was given a screen to see how it was turning live at all time, so I saw all the little imperfections, but the sound I hear on youtube is disastrous… sigh…

    • I will say, you picked the best four that there were all things considered :)

      And hopefully the final is more polished.

      • I’ve always been a strong advocate of 50%-50% system as shown tonight, as both votes were flawed (Lautner for juries, Florina and Aquaviva for televote)… Also, televote’s top 5 were songs 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6… I guess French didnt tune in for the rest honnestly…

        French televote has always picked a song that got bottom 5 in eurovision in our NF that’s why internal selection works best for us :/

    • So there were sound issues hurting some performances.

  17. Bilal got 27,14% of televoting vs.Chimene’s 20,95%.

    • The singer got 21% and the positive message had 27%. This is a song contest; Bilal should focus more on the song. Conchita did just that.

      • It’s not a landslide win with the televoters like it was with the juries who got collectively starstruck by Bilal.So, hope remains he won’t be going to Tel Aviv.

      • +1, Shevek… we always say how it’s usually a deserved recipe for disaster to copy the past year’s winner but this seems a lame attempt at Conchita 2.0 minus the talent or voice. The only positive I can see about this going to Tel Aviv would be that it’d drive the reactionaries nuts.

        • I agree. Gute nacht. :)

        • You need at least a modicum of talent to “upset” people. And a message which is something more than “it’s all about me, in front of my mirror I am the king”. That “crown” they made of palms was just so lame, lol.

          • Agree, Michos – as I think I may have alluded to before, gender fluidity is a real issue but often can also be “I’m interesting, look at me”, Which is fair if it highlights an issue but without talent itfeels more like a cry for attention.

            • Fluidity is just another millennial catchphrase. Androgyny used to be exciting when it was done by people like Bowie or Freddie Mercury, not a guy with a blond bop who can barely sing :)

            • Yeah I think the first time I came across the term was during one of Miley Cyrus’s numerous re-inventions; then it popped up more frequently just like being allergic to gluten. Speaking of Freddie – did you see Bohemian Rhapsody and if so, what did you think?

          • This only makes me appreciate Phoenix even more, which I did already quite a lot. Girly gay boy might be roi amidst his hairspray boys, but to us he came through as epitome of delusional pauper. Then again, don’t think they have given Conchita a second thought. This fashionable cause liberal, is perfect continuation for Mercy. France, the fair minded concious of ESC.
            Poor boy, even as die hard guardinistas don’t seem to be hailing for new king.

            • well the insults in social media are huge here, so it’s a tad annoying to see them continuing on ET to be fair… anyway, France doesn’t care for the contest, so only he and Chimène had a fan base that really voted last night (Bilal is first in youtube views with 300,000 and chimène is at 70,000… remember, we’re a country of 67 million and a lot of these views are European esc fans anyway)… the only thing the social media cared was the gay-moroccan kid and they insult him online! not the best weekend for French esc world if you ask me

            • Sorry I don’t follow French social media and I didn’t know that I shouldn’t have critisised and analyse this overhyped forerunner here as it seems to me that I’m not only one.
              Last night was like BBC and ESC. After contenious good run, France 2 really could have put a bit more effort on the songs. This weekend was self inflicted pain.

            • Oh yeah, no, I think saying he sucks live is enough, but I don’t think the fact he’s a millenial who believes in this stuff should really be taken into consideration for why he sucks and it should be turned to Fr2 instead

            • FR2 doesn’t have enough gays in their team. Only virtue hunting leftie straights can fall for this. That’s why the lyrics should be taken into account as well. Phoniex tells exactly the same story, but succesfully. Millenial or not, you should know how to tell your big story to get the message through. Now it turned against itself. It really wasn’t that big or exceptional at all.

            • Yet the song wasn’t written by delusional teen aspiring to be pop star. MM did it, which make it even more ill fated.
              The problems of France are problems of most of the countries. You really don’t get Sergey Lazarevs to participate in this competion. When dealing with youngster, the only way is internal selection and to start very early and nurture and coach the talent. Whisking kids from bushes to stage and expecting them to shine is just silly. It won’t happen.

            • Couldn’t have said it better myself. Conchita was a force of nature and one of the most memorable ESC performances ever (not to mention a very accomplished song both lyrically and in terms of orchestration). If their PR thinks some of ms. Wurst is going to rub into them by wishful thinking, they should think again.

            • but no one thinks that really: it’s Fr2 look at the delusional artists we had in the competition! it’s just youngsters and wanna-be singers, and just two come-backs of has-been (chimène and emmanuel)! we can’t do better, no one cares here!

            • our only true option is, like conchita, getting an internal selection

              but please remember that before 2014 conchita took part in a poor austrian nf as well with a ridiculously camp and bad song that wouldn’t have been top 10 in esc either!

            • I remember that. France should go back to internal selection, I agree…

            • there is no solution, besides a quirky and small nf last year that had a few good surprises (Emmy, Malo, Masoe, Sweem, MM), this year it’s “trying” to be eurovisiony and it fails, and all artists are youngsters way too green for it… and two has beens that will smash the competition vocally but wont bring good music to the table :'(

            • That being said, they made an effort with the staging this year, which was not the case last year.

            • @Hjallis 16:00 +1 … I’m having similar discussion on PB about the fact that viewers and commentators aren’t going to get into some didactic analysis how this is different from Conchita and therefore relevant so lack of voice and performance don’t matter. As for millenials, I’m guessing you had similar work experiences to mine.,. based on that many would rather connect to a YT persona than than the acgtual gay kid right next to them.

            • I have, unfortunately. If Phoenix is LGBTQ… anthem, Roi is millenial anthem – supercharged exhibitionism meets supercharged exceptionalism with no relevance what so ever, yet demanding us to admire it and buy it in very millenial arrogant and aggressive way. Lacklustre performance only underlined that.

            • @Hjallis – you were kind in phrasing “without making an effort”, as shown by the singing. My favorite millenial work encounter:
              Me: Did you get the research?
              Jr marketing manager: Yes, I got this printout from wikipedia for you. Also I can forward the links of my google search if you want.

            • Let’s not diss all millenials though – I’d take Alex/amped up buzzcut guy from Lautner as my personal assistant any time!

            • LOL Deal, as I would have Sasha!

            • Fun fact – just noticing that both Alex and Sasha are derivatives of the same name, Alexander.

            • Ha! Of course! From now on I will use Finnish derivatives Leksa and Santtu (Aleksanteri -> Santeri -> Santtu) of these cute young things!

  18. On a happier note: Dimitris has posted the link with the complete A Dal 19 line-up:

    I have to find the time to go through all of them. What I heard sounds promising. :)

    P.S. – France has dodged a couple of bullets this evening. Let’s hope for the best next week.

    • Oliver Berkes, yesyes and Mocsok 1 Kölykök have songs that I like very much and there were a couple more I enjoyed as well, if I remember correctly.

  19. Ugh. To be honest, I’m glad I didn’t watch the show yesterday. I just checked the performances and most of them are disappointing. First of all, I don’t understand why Naestro got the last place. I know his performance wasn’t that good, but the last place? :( Anyway, I’m happy with the Top 4. But after the live performances, my initial ranking has turned upside down LOL.

    1. Silvàn Areg – “Le petit Nicolas” 7/10 (I still think that the song is not that strong, but he delivered an amazing performance. He’s very charismatic and the staging is on point. I think that it would stand out in Tel Aviv.)
    2. Bilal Hassani – “Roi” 7/10 (I really like the song despite the clichéd English lyrics. But that performance wasn’t impressive tbh. Perhaps my expectations were too high Idk. Hopefully, there will be some improvements in the final because for now, it seems like a runaway winner.)
    3. Aysat – “Comme une grande” 6/10 (I like HER!! She’s so cute. The song is good too. I think that there were some sound issues because I can barely hear her in some parts of the performance. I don’t understand why it came last with televoting.)
    4. Naestro – “Le brasier” 6/10 (God, I love this song. But that performance wasn’t really good. :/ His vocals weren’t as good as I expected and I don’t really like the weird gestures he’s doing on stage. I’m so disappointed. Nevertheless, he DID NOT deserve the last place IMO.)
    5. Chimène Badi – “Là-haut” 5/10 (The vocals were really good. But the song is just forgettable and that staging wasn’t good either. I expected that she would free herself from that cube, but she stayed there during the whole performance. She deserves much more than she has tbh.)
    6. Mazy – “Oulala” 4/10 (I like the overall performance. But I don’t like this song at all. It’s tad repetitive and kinda annoying. What a waste of talent.)
    7. Lautner – “J’ai pas le temps” 3/10 (The song was really enjoyable. But the performance is terrible. The staging is too busy, there’s too much going on and the vocals are bad.)
    8. Battista Acquaviva – “Passiò” 3/10 (What have you done, Battista? I expected an amazing live performance from her and she literally butchered the song. LOL I actually knew this was going to bad once I saw the half-naked men on the stage. xD)
    9. Florina – “In the Shadow” 2/10 (The song was good. But the performance was terrible. Ugh. It was just cringy.)

    I hope that there will be much better entries in the second semifinal.

  20. For anyone intersted (Hjallis, 4porcelli), LAUTNER have an official clip for their DE entry :P

  21. Comme Une Grande is the only song I listen today :)

    • If it was Comme UN GRAND, it could be a Lautner title! I actually kinda like the studio version enough to put it on my gym playlist; Silvan was my favorite though (i.e. the cute mal singer who could sing).

  22. Just checked entries. Poor semifinal some vocals were abysmal. Lautner were better of all. Bilal is overhyped and banal. I needed Bilal to appreciate Conchita’s charisma, vocals…I hope 2nd semi will be stronger and France won’t disappoint this year either.

    • Armenian David Tserunyan is a part of inernational jury as you can see..also Sanja Vucic our representative form 2016! :D
      But I’m disappointed in the NF for now!. :(

      On the other hand i find my fave pre esc entry for now, it is in Ukraine – Kira Mazur “Dihati”! <3

  23. Bilal’s performance video has reached 1.2 mil views in a day and is trending in Belgium as well lol (number 12 on YouTube trends currently).

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