Over the past three years he’s made France relevant to Eurovision again, choosing acts that become fan favourites while strengthening perceptions of the show at home.
And during the most recent Eurovision fortnight, Edoardo Grassi sat down with Le Monde — France’s newspaper of record — to discuss the country’s incredible turnaround.
Speaking to French journalist Aurélie Blondel, he made it clear just how much investigative work he had done prior to taking the helm.
“I was surfing on the wave of French failures at ESC,” he says, remembering when France finished near the bottom between 2012 and 2015, which seemed to mirror the country’s low finishes between 2003 and 2008.
“When I attended the show in 2014 and 2015, invited by the French commentator, I was surprised by the total madness of it. I also felt that France was completely out of step with the other delegations.”
When he came back from Austria after the 2015 contest, he wrote a 22-page memo that he presented to the head of entertainment at broadcaster France 2. The memo, he says, “had to become the bible of the French delegation” and nothing less.
“At the end of our discussion, I was hired and became head of the French delegation.”
You know the story that follows: His choice of Amir and the song “J’ai cherché” propelled France to a top 10 position — a result that hadn’t been seen since global superstar Patricia Kaas took France to eighth in 2009.
Edoardo also discussed his ongoing strategy of strengthening ties with other delegations, letting it be known that France takes the contest seriously. The Italian-born TV executive also oversaw the art direction of Madame Monsieur on the stage of Lisbon’s Altice Arena and lobbied with the media.
For Edoardo, the only limit was the Lisbon sky. “All I want is that everyone talks about France, I want to see France as a focus of attention.” And surely it was, with Madame Monsieur getting shout-outs globally, in publications from Billboard to The New York Times and beyond.
We were happy to see Wiwibloggs on his roadmap as well.
“It was important to me to develop strong relationships with foreign bloggers, like the famous Wiwibloggs, which has many followers,” he said, saying that domestic blogs and web sites are “less visible because there are too many of them.”
Edoardo is also very proud of Destination Eurovision — the very first national selection organised in France for ESC last January.
“It helps to anchor the Eurovision trademark in the French public. It shows our motivation and gets people talking about the contest for the three months” before Eurovision really starts.
It all seems to be working. Ratings for Eurovision 2018 in France were more than double what they were in 2014.
Are you loving Edoardo’s passion and honesty? Do you think that he will lead France to a victory in the years ahead? Let us know down below.