It’s been some time since we attended the recordings of the Destination Eurovision semi-finals. But the memories burn bright and we are thrilled to present our report from the second semi. Don’t worry: there are no spoilers below and you’ll still have to wait for the results.
After hearing the first performances of tonight’s semi, Christophe Willem, one member of the national jury confesses: “It is so hard to make a choice between all these talents tonight!” It sets the tone of the night: semi final 2 of Destination Eurovision is a rollercoster of feelings. Be prepared to be torn between enthusiasm and disappointment, surprises and tough decisions.
— Eurovision France ?? (@EurovisionF2) January 20, 2018
DESTINATION EUROVISION: SEMI-FINAL 2 RECORDING
Compared to semi final 1, this second show is stronger and so becomes the competition. Again, you will find candidates inspired by their multicultural roots. Marie Myriam introduces the show with a warm and smooth interpretation of Salvador Sobral’s “Amar pelos dois “.
“I have been so happy seeing that song winning last year. That’s a good sign of how a quality song can win at Eurovision,” she told us backstage. Is that the reason why she sings as if the lyrics had been written for her? “Portuguese is my mother tongue and it is special to me to perform in Portuguese — it was a very pleasant moment for me.” Marie Myriam strong performance is not the last of the night.
“You came with the sun on stage” Amir says to Lucie Vagenheim after she performs “My World” — a good song to open the competition with. But Lucie’s choreography seems to catch her energy and sometimes to cut her breath.
And then, the roller coaster starts.
Madame Monsieur has released a snippet of their title “Mercy” that shows nothing compared to their interpretation tonight. “Last March, we discovered the story of that little girl born on a boat of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. It suddenly inspired us to write that song. We have written the song without thinking at the Eurovision Song Contest. But when we heard about the selection, it became obvious for us: ESC is the best stage for this song. That’s a story we want to tell to Europe. This is not a political or a humanitarian song. It only tells a real story, the story of Mercy.”
The duo formed by Emilie Satt and Jean-Karl Lucas – they are married in real life – is incredibly elegant onstage. They are part of a wave of new French singers creating sophisticated but easy-to-listen pop songs such as Juliette Armanet or the now famous Christine and the Queens. Backstage, producers, fans and journalists get crazy: could it be the track we are looking for to reach a top 3 at Eurovision?
Following Madame Monsieur, Jane Constance, originally from Mauritius, delivers a very classical entry with “Un jour j’ai rêvé” as an anthem for tolerance and respect. The 16-year-old blind singer succeeds in catching your attention as she deals perfectly with the codes of the emotional song. “My inspiration comes from the great American voices,” Jane says. “When you want a better world, you have to fight for it, always. I would like my song to be an inspiration for people.”
With “Rêves de gamin” – that’s “kids’ dreams” – Nassi is probably one of the dark horses of the French selection process. At first sight, this is not as elegant as the previous songs. But the energy coming from the interpretation of Nassi works very well. Mix Khaled’s “C’est la vie” with Jessy Matador “Ola ola Olé”, and you get that magic potion.
France has done well in avoiding too many clichés during the selection…but that doesn’t mean you won’t see any of them. Take Igit and his “Lisboa Jerusalem”. He transformed European geography of capitals into a grid of verses and images for a love song that could convince all romantics on the continent. “My song is inspired by the futility of borders when two people fall in love,” he told us.
That’s probably what happened to the parents of Max Cinnamon, the candidate who comes on stage with “Ailleurs”. British as well as French, Max is one of the youngest performers tonight, and one who looks really, really young. But make no mistake: it is his first appearance on television and the first time he sings in public, but his outstanding confidence makes him one of the surprise of this semi final. What is his recipe to be so inspired on stage? “When the public is happy, the happiness transfers to you.”
Then, after the sun comes the rain. Sarah Bernhard, pardon, Sarah Caillibot, sings “Tu me manques” – I miss you – with such dark feelings that you would not like to be the person she misses. Close to being scary, Sarah has everything one needs to become a diva, but not at Eurovision.
If Luka was the guy-next-door of semi final 1, Sweem could be his rival in semi final 2. With “Là-haut”, a classical pop song, he didn’t succeed in convincing us, perharps because of the difficult tones the song is made of.
And eventually, the selection ends with June the Girl and her song “Same”.
Her performance comes with a lot of hype online. Thanks to an army of supporters, June the Girl, who defines herself as an outsider of the traditional star system, succeeded in making her performance one of the most anticipated. June the Girl knows the score: “I know that I don’t have the same means of traditional music majors productions, so I have to develop my fan base in order to be visible”. After hearing her performance, perhaps she should have worked on her voice rather than focusing on a digital marketing strategy… what a disappointment.
Just before the vote, the production asked us to share our choices. We won’t disclose them but who do you think is going to win tonight? Tell us in the comment section below!