Bon Soir Europe! – Rating the Finalists of Destination Eurovision

This coming Saturday (27th January), France will select their entrant for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. Their selection process, Destination Eurovision, has passed the semi-final stage with eight songs moving through to the final, where one will get that golden ticket to Lisbon.

As is the case with my Eurovision reviews, I have not heard any of the songs yet, nor do I know how they ranked in their respective semi-finals. I will be basing my judgement on their semi-final performances, looking at the voice, melody, lyrics and staging to see which songs could do well in the contest.

Here is what I think about France’s potential entries to Eurovision, in the order they will perform on Saturday.

(All videos courtesy of the Destination Eurovision official YouTube page)

Song One: Louka – “Mamma Mia” – 4/10

When the song first started I thought we were on for a French reprise of Spain’s last-placed entry from 2017. However I’m not even sure it is unique or fun enough to even warrant that title. It is, simply put, a nothing song. I struggled during the performance to find anything exceptional that could make this stand out. The song is quite dull and doesn’t go anywhere and, bar one section towards the end, Louka’s voice struggled to make the song go anywhere. Seeing that this is the first up, I think it’s safe to say that this has no chance in winning.

Song Two: Max Cinnamon – “Ailleurs” – 7.5/10

This song can be summed up in one word: Cute. This kind of song is very on-trend right now, with the likes of Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes serenading with their guitars. The whole performance made me smile as it felt so natural and effortless, with the exception of the English sections that felt slightly awkward to my ears. I also wished there was more of a build up towards the end but a great effort; would this kind of song receive votes though?

Song Three: Emmy Liyana – “OK ou KO” – 8/10

The most modern and chart-friendly song so far, the heavy beat infusing excellently with Emmy’s striking voice. The vocals really stand out from the rest of the song, the pronunciation is clear and she doesn’t get drowned in the backing track. My only critique, for it is a really well performed song, is that it takes a while to get to the climax but once it comes, it pays off in spades. If she performs that song to the same level or even better in the final, Emmy has a great chance to KO the competition.

Song Four: Madame Monsieur – “Mercy” – 7.5/10

Another song that sounds like a studio version when performed live, the singer of Madame Monsieur has great vocals throughout and she worked the stage and camera angles really well. One thing I really liked was the chemistry and the togetherness of the act on stage, maybe there could be even more of that. The song itself is another modern production and there is great potential should it go on to Lisbon. My only critique is again I’m not sure if there is much of a journey within the song but a great performance.

Song Five: Nassi – “Rêves de gamin” – 6.5/10

A very fun entry and one that stands out, this song takes the modern influences that we have seen in virtually all of the songs so far and turns it into a whole spectacle. I love his energy and that of the backing dancers, who maybe were a bit random at times, but it added to the fun nature. The chorus was also a real crowd-pleaser and the energy really took off at that point. Unfortunately, the verses were a miss from me; I’m not sure whether Nassi was missing his cues or there are too many words to fit into the line but those felt too wordy. If this was to go to Lisbon I think there would need to be a revamp of the verses to be more accomodating to an international audience.

Song Six: Lisandro Cuxi – “Eva” – 8.5/10

18 year old Lisandro definitely showed why he won the Voice of France with that performance; he was magnetic and a real powerhouse with his vocal and dancing abilities. The backing track to this was modern but it suited the vocals perfectly and it felt like the audience were being taken on a journey through the song instead of just being three minutes of much of the same. There isn’t much more I can say about that, maybe turn the track down a touch so the lyrics can be a bit clearer but it was such a great performance.

Song Seven: Igit – “Lisboa Jerusalem” – 6/10

So when the song began and he winded up the musical box, I didn’t know what to expect. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by what followed. Part travelling showman and part stage musical singer, the song stands out for not being the typically modern fare. The classical music sequences were magical and really added to the overall performance of the song. The vocals and the lyrics are hard to really judge in this kind of song; I wasn’t that impressed by him listing off various European cities to then reveal that the joining of said cities became, shock, a heart. It was sweet but also incredibly cheesy. This may get some votes in the final just for being so different to everything else.

Song Eight – Malo – “Ciao” – 7/10

The first thing that you are struck by is the intimacy the singer has with the song, playing at his piano and then getting up towards the audience, he is really feeling every word that he sings. I am not sure that he hits every single one of the notes, particularly the high ones but in general he is singing with passion and meaning. This is another song that shines because it is not going down the expected route of a 2018 Eurovision performance, it is like an intimate concert and he performs his role with ease. The song is haunting but maybe lacks the instant memorability of some others; it is still a fine effort and I expect this to also do well in the final.

So that is all eight songs competing to win that ticket to Lisbon. At this stage my money is on either Lisandro, Madame Monsieur or Emmy Liyana to win Destination Eurovision.

Who do you think will triumph in the French national selection? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.


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