France, Alma, 1

She’s the cute chanteuse flying the flag for la Belle France at Eurovision 2017 in Kyiv in May. But despite her charm, warmth and killer song it seems Alma can’t please everyone. That’s because Eurovision fans in France have (repeatedly) criticised her decision to add English elements to her Eurovision entry “Requiem”.

The original version released February 9 was French through and through.

Then on February 21 Alma revealed work had started on a bilingual version and the final Eurovision version of “Requiem” dropped on March 11.

The criticism started then and there. Among those throwing shade was French government minister André Vallini, who took to Twitter to air his view:

In the tweet, the Secretary to the Prime Minister in charge of relations with Parliament criticises what he sees as “Anglicisation” of France at Eurovision.

Eurofans will remember Vallini similarly criticsed Amir’s “J’ai Cherché” last year, saying that the inclusion of English verses in the song amounted to surrendering the French language.

Now Alma has clapped back against the haters.

“We have to touch 200 million viewers,” she told PureCharts, “and if people don’t understand it they won’t vote for you.”

For Alma it’s about connecting with the audience. “If you hear a few words you know in English and can sing along it changes everything! We want to seduce a wider audience.”

She was supported in her comments by French Head of Delegation Edoardo Grassi, who pointed out that haters should recognise it as a way of opening the song out to audiences across Europe.

ALMA’S ROAD TO EUROVISION

The French delegation are also approaching the task of taking “Requiem” to Europe literally, as they’ve intensively toured the track during the Eurovision season.

Alma kicked things off with an appearance at the Ukrainian national selection and has followed that up with appearances in London, Tel Aviv and Amsterdam.

She’s also scheduled to make a final stop in Madrid at the Eurovision Pre-Party Spain on April 15 before preparations for Eurovision 2017 begin in earnest.

What do you think about the controversy? Do French Eurofans need to chill out? Or should national languages be promoted more at Eurovision? Let us know in the comments below!

*BUY THE ALMA EMBRASSE-MOI SHIRT IN WHITE

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CyxCy
CyxCy
5 years ago

It’s a national sport in France to criticize our song of the Eurovision. If it’s in French it’s “too French”, if it’s in English it’s “too English”. And I do not even talk about the polemic that occurred when Amaury Vassili chose to sing in Corsican, a regional language. Even Jessy Matador was criticized for two words, “ola olé”. In short, the general public is NEVER CONTENT. This is not the opinion of the true fans of Eurovision, who know how to recognize when we have a good song that deserves to be supported. Last year poor Amir took a… Read more »

WKBII
WKBII
5 years ago

Aaaaah. Typical French pessimism. Commenting on the bad staging even before it’s revealed. All I’m saying is, if Germany can win in 2010, so can France.

Ino
Ino
5 years ago

@TwistedFrench Yes we just want a good place for Alma maybe a top 10 that’s all. We will never win anymore and it’s not the exception of Molidva and maybe Italy this year that will change anything about it. English songs even partially win that’s it. Our staging are not adapted to the program and the audience too it’s a show and they are to “simple” for the foreigners ! We don’t have the neighbors-voting for us we can count only of Armenia that we back-up too (strong diaspora and excellent relationship between our countries) So I don’t understand all… Read more »

TwistedFrench
TwistedFrench
5 years ago

Plus I agree with Ino, these English lyrics that have been added didn’t create any controversy in France. This André I don’t know what is barely known in France, except in the political sphere and he’s one of the few who complained about the song. Nor the medias or the French people make a fuss about it. So there’s 0 controversy. Or maybe 0.5.

Ino
Ino
5 years ago

There’s no polemic at all in my country Eurovision is not very popular in France and it’s the foreigners which are mostly unpleased by this version. I like both of them. And for the persons who are full of hate (French or non-French) well haters gonna hate so I don’t care. Anyway full support for our candidate and thanks for the people who write kind comments. Merciiiiiiii bonne chance for your countries ^^

TwistedFrench
TwistedFrench
5 years ago

Whether the song is 100% French or bilingual doesn’t matter much, neither Alma nor the song have the potential to win. A TOP5 would be already great for France. Last year’s Amir’s 6th made everyone happy. Let’s be honest, France will never win Eurovision again, whathever the song is. All that matters is a good place.

Tatzuk
Tatzuk
5 years ago

French people can be so childish… when will they understand that no one wants to hear their language?

Hiro
Hiro
5 years ago

I’m neither an English speaker nor a French speaker, but I thought the first one with full of French made me understand the message of the song more than the English addition part. The song speaks in the french part, and the magic is gone when they add nonsense English. I’m not against English at all tho, I love last year’s Amir.
But I admit the fact that they butchered Requiem with nonsense English that doesn’t fit the whole song
Alma was my 1st back then, now she got 5th in my top.

Justin K.
5 years ago

Adding on top of Angus’ comment, I believe the reason Patricia Kaas did so well in 2009 was her sound—it was a chanson through and through, and kept the image of romanticising France and French (plus the styling was simple; almost the precursor of Lena in 2010). Jessy Matador did reasonably well with his entry since it was a football anthem. Excluding the surprising finish in 2013 (since that was a pretty good “French-sounding” entry), every year from 2011 to 2015 finished in the bottom half of the final, most of which 20th and below. Moustache may have done better… Read more »

doluvic81
doluvic81
5 years ago

she wants people can sing with her and she is right, Iagree with her, go ALma

AngieP
AngieP
5 years ago

Alma says it all! I’ve nothing to add!

French people need to chill out a little! And it’s not an english song but it’s only the chorus. Not a big deal.

Of course countries should use their native language at Eurovision! Especially the ones with a history like France, Italy, Spain. But a little english can make the song reach a wider audience!

Domin
Domin
5 years ago

Unfortunately so is Alma, all or almost all songs in eurovisiom are in English, and I think it’s bad because English is not the most talked about language in the world, Spanish is more spoken worldwide and yet nobody makes the attempt To learn it.

Education Sentimentale
Education Sentimentale
5 years ago

So you have to sing in English because ”if people don’t understand it they won’t vote for you.”? She must know more than most of us to defy the bookies and polls with such certainty. Italy and Portugal, with this year’s best lyrics, were wise enough not to change them. They (and Belarus) manage to transport enough feelings through music, melody, and performance to make people smile in blissful happiness or even move them to tears. For me that’s more “understanding” than what I get from those mumbled, vacant, run-of-the-mill English sentences in Alma’s song. Of course if you don’t… Read more »

Skrim
Skrim
5 years ago

Europe doesn’t speak English (except Malta, Ireland, UK and good level in Nordic countries and the Netherlands), I’m spanish I prefer 100% french lyrics. Look Armenia, she doesn’t speak English and her song is in English: S shameful.

Nuage
Nuage
5 years ago

I think it’s just totally unnecessary this English Chorus but it’s like this. No one can’t do anything about that. As a French I prefer the French version, the other version I don’t care, I really like her two other song on her YT channel. I’ll buy her album, I love her sweetness. It’a good discovery after Amir.. For the Italian song it’s actually a good thiing if it’ll win because there’ll be no excuse about the language (though some words are not in Italian “singing in the rain”, “démodé”, “panta rhein” “namaste” but yes so many songs for the… Read more »

Voxtaylor
Voxtaylor
5 years ago

Adding English to your songs is fine! Bilingual songs are fine! In fact, a second language can take your song to heights not possible before! But sloppily adding it in, like in “Requiem,” is bad. I supported Alma in her decision to revamp the song and add English, as Requiem needed a revamp (it was quite good, but it little too messy in some areas). However, the revamp only added things, rather than streamline the song as a whole. This only made it messier, and the thrown-in English verses only worsen that. “J’ai Cherché” is one of my favorite Eurovision… Read more »

Gabi
Gabi
5 years ago

I start to enjoy the song only after the English part has been added. I’ve been able to understand the message and what the song is about, not only listening the song. I’m not a native English speaker, therefore, this is not connected to anything national etc.. I simply can enjoy the song and sing with Alma the part in English I understand and I can follow.. Alma is such a nice and warm person, so elegant, modest, well educate. She deserves support from French people and authorities. I’m really sorry they do not appreciate within the country what a… Read more »

Mascha
Mascha
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabi

I speak english and french, also Italian while my native language is german. J’ai cherché was a great decision, I couldn’t imagine it with a french chorus and it’s perfect just the way it is. The chorus of nessun grado di separazione was also uite fitting, it was also a straight translation from italian. But Requiem is just cheap. I like the song in both versions, but the english part just doesn’t match the song.

PP
PP
5 years ago

France this year made mistake like Italy last year. English lyrics don t fit to both songs.

Celeste
Celeste
5 years ago

“French Eurofans need to chill out” ??? sorry ??? it’s pretty clear when your read comments on youtube, or better, the comments on this article to see it’s no french peoples complaining but non french!! except the guy who work for the francophonie, and i understand him, since he work for promote french language, we french, are really happy about the revamp of requiem.

Mar
Mar
5 years ago

First of all, it’s like 30% English, not 10.
Second of all, “claps back”? Are you guys trying to be BuzzFeed? lmao
What’s gonna be her excuse when Francesco wins with a song all in Italian?

Enva
Enva
5 years ago

“French Eurofans need to chill out” ? Excuse you ? Even if we weren’t the most supportive of the first version now we are (almost) all happy. Most of the people complaining of the english part aren’t French. Don’t think this PAST (yeah past because he isn’t even in fonction) Secretary to the Prime Minister in charge of relations with Parliament represents all french people.

D
D
5 years ago

I think as for Eurofans, language choice doesn’t matter. However, to appeal to the casual viewers it either needs to be in English or it has to be able to cross language barriers. You were able to understand the meaning to “Molitva” whether you understood Serbian or not, and I think this year Italy and Belarus have succeeded in that too. I think adding English to the song was a very good decision as what Alma said, now people can sing along to it and have some sort of understanding. Not to mention the English is extremely minimal, send the… Read more »

Domino
Domino
5 years ago

There is a more deeper problem regarding her message. This year for example Sweden had a couple singing in Swedish Malta too had beautiful Maltese ballad. She is right about one think, the televotes, the juries (for external selection) and the one who choose the artist (internal selection) almost always send English songs, I insist on Almost ! Only Latin countries (Italy, France, Spain, Portugal) care to sing in their language ! But no one can force countries to sing in their language if they don’t want so I don’t know how this issue can be solved. Because hearing every… Read more »

blondboybc
blondboybc
5 years ago

I really beg to differ. Italy, Belarus and Hungary felt no need to anglicize verses of their song, so why was it necessary for hers? None. Pointless. In my mind it diminished the entire essence of the song. This need to anglicize songs needs to stop. Je m’excuse, Alma!

SebastienPablo
SebastienPablo
5 years ago

Alma have u ever thought that some of the haters are fans of the original version…

azaad
azaad
5 years ago

@Kris

The transition wasn’t messy per say, but the English seemed to come out of nowhere, whereas with France this year there appears to be a build towards the English, although it could’ve been better.

Kris
Kris
5 years ago

@Azaad

I’d respectfully disagree.Last year’s Italian entry had a great transition between Italian and English. I didn’t realize the language changed at all.

ESC DK
ESC DK
5 years ago

Italy is the favourite to win, did they change to english, NO, not even 1% more than before, are they still favourite, yes, their odds keeps getting better and better, it’s down on 2.00 now.

escESCesc
escESCesc
5 years ago

it’s not your song, she does what she want with, and the ogae poll is showing that she is right to do that.

azaad
azaad
5 years ago

And irregardless of what you think, we can all agree that government ministers criticising the revamp is just annoying. You have a country to run, and you should get behind your entry even if it’s trash, and especially when it’s great! And considering the rise of anti immigrant sentiment in French, a bilingual song seems a lot better in context.

azaad
azaad
5 years ago

Yes it might compromise the “French” essence of the song, but the revamp is still really good- especially the last 20 seconds, while the end of the original was a tad monotonous. The instrumentation is also better suited to the bittersweet philosophy the song talks about. And yes the transitions aren’t as smooth as in J’ai Cherché but they are a lot better than Nessun Grado di Separazione. The English lyrics aren’t the best but we’ve heard far worse this year.

Honestly this could be a dark horse to challenge Italy.

Penguin
Penguin
5 years ago

And those 10% were enough to ruin a song, but they had their reasons to do so. Oh well..

Polegend Godgarina
5 years ago

Scalp them, kween. I’ve gotten used to the Eurovision version with English lyrics, I don’t think a few lines will affect the result that much anyway.

Eve
Eve
5 years ago

Disagree, or go fully English or fully French, that mixture is funny, calculated and ”sitting on two chairs”.
Btw, I don’t see that she used word ”haters”, so stop overusing this awful word, ’cause it’s sometimes confused with people who had different opinion, the real ”hater” is totally different thing.

Racal
Racal
5 years ago

No one criticized her because 10, 20 or 50% of her song is in English, but because the English lyrics obviously don’t fit her song. It sounds forced and kinda butchered the song.

On top of that, I can’t even understand what she’s saying in English (and French is my mothertongue)… Kind of a weird way to make your song more “understandable” to more people.

M_K
M_K
5 years ago

Je crois qu’il y a aussi des gens qui pourraient comprendre les paroles même si Alma ne les chantait pas (partiellement) en anglais… 🙂

However, as I wrote before, for once I actually enjoy the addition of English lyrics. They make “Requiem” sound even more “dynamic” and it gives the impression of a dialogue. something which will also go well with the tango dancers (IF they decide to bring them on stage in Kyiv).

Joe
Joe
5 years ago

The fear of the juries is making more and more countries sing in English.
I think this is getting worse after Il Volo in 2015.
I suggest that EBU could pick one year in five (for every country) when they must sing in their own language (or at least 51% of the song).

Kris
Kris
5 years ago

Its okay to add English as long as it doesn’t destroy the mood of the song!! Nessun Grado Di separazione is a great example on how to do that!! Sadly the same can’t be said for Requiem

Toinousse
Toinousse
5 years ago

@Paul D. you can disagree all you want since Moliva every single winner song was in English (except a few lines in 1944) and since english was introduced, Molitva is the only non english winning song. Maybe that will change with Francesco but it’s obvious that the general trend is to vote for songs in english.

Bg
Bg
5 years ago

I am not against to English lyrics , BUT, don’t you see music and lyrics do not fit! Listen ‘ you take my smile and make it bright’ part and you will understand what i am trying to tell. The lyrics are ALOT for the music and it makes tiring for listener.

Pastora Soler haha!
Pastora Soler haha!
5 years ago

Enough to destroy the song

Write it in english, in french, or at least 50%

But that?? It’s just pathetic, has no sense, and noone is going to vote for you for just add english in 10% of the song.

It’s a pity cause i really like her and i wish her the best.

Leaf
Leaf
5 years ago

She is truly right.
Sometimes you need a little something something to connect with the voter.
Especially for an uptempo song that doesn’t grab you with emotion.
The English parts were a good addition in my opinion ……. They make the song even more playful.
It’s the inverse Poli …… she had Bulgarian in the chorus while Alma has French in the verses ……………… AND IT WORKS.

Aleksi
Aleksi
5 years ago

It was a big mistake to add english lyrics to song.

Lucy
Lucy
5 years ago

The transition to English isn’t as smooth as Amir’s last year but it’s better than Francesca from Italy last year. But musically the song is stronger, I like the added strings in the song and it has a stronger ending.

ESC84
ESC84
5 years ago

I am hoping Italy winning this year will stop countries ruin their song in ENGLISH

Paul D.
Paul D.
5 years ago

”if people don’t understand it they won’t vote for you.”

I deeply disagree with her here but I respect her opinion