France — the last of all 43 countries to have their first rehearsal at Eurovision 2018 — had the press room waiting in silence. And over the course of three minutes they left them there – watching with bated breath — until the very last note. What came in between didn’t live up to most people’s expectations. But it still seemed to put them in with a shot of winning, should they tweak and progress what they already have.

In our interview shortly after their rehearsal Madame Monsieur revealed that they aren’t satisfied with the colour scheme. It doesn’t fit with the brief that they sent to RTP’s production team and they were literally having it worked on as they performed in Altice Arena on Friday evening. They hope to tell a story of birth and hope — one that moves from blacks and blues to a subtle orange, from darkness to that first early morning sun.

Unfortunately today the emphasis was definitely on the former, with black, black and more black making it difficult to see the singers, who naturally wore their signature colour….black. The opening shots focus on Émille’s striking face before panning out to show the vast stage. Madame walks the entire space, climbing the stairs and coming down the bridge, eventually reuniting with Jean-Karl. But in the time between wide angle shots take the focus totally off of them. It’s a shame: So much of the emotion and mood come through her expressions. We want to see more of them.

There’s a lovely shot toward the end — when the song picks up and the pair entreat the audience to perform their signature hand move. The camera goes right back and pans down at an angle. When a sea of fans make the motion in time with the group, as we’ve seen at preview events all spring, this will really come to life. That alone could pushed them up the scoreboard.

The French delegation is busy tweaking and refining. They know what must be done and during the second rehearsal we’ll see if they’ve managed to have their way.

Madame Monsieur — “Mercy”: Reviews and Reactions

France: First rehearsal at Eurovision 2018

France: First press conference 2018

Video coming soon

Read all of our Eurovision rehearsal reviews

Read all of our France Eurovision news here

Photo: Andres Putting (EBU)

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Stephan
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Stephan

Not convinced at all… Boring like a music you could perfectly listen on radio only… Bad

Yulia
Guest
Yulia

Their styling was a choice. I honestly don’t get the support for this, but there obviously is a lot of support and I wish them well.

AngieP
Guest
AngieP

It was only the 1st rehearsal, so I don’t worry, they’ll fix things. The outfits were beautiful and the performance stunning as always. I can see it looking great with audience. Go France!!

Victoria
Guest
Victoria

What the heck is that? France will so get a bottom placing…. lol

Azotman
Guest
Azotman

Bonsoir Lisboa, Tout le monde se calme, ce n’est que la première répétition. Je suis convaincu qu’il faut abolir “le big 5”. La qualification directe n’est pas un avantage car tu as moins de temps de répétition et surtout, la demi-finale permet une répétition supplémentaire en public pour préparer la finale. De plus, la qualification directe est perçue à juste titre comme un privilège par tous les pays hors big 5 ! Deux demi-finales avec 21 participants et 12 qualifiés seraient mieux. Seul le pays organisateur devrait être qualifié directement ! Si on doit perdre en 1/2 c’est que de… Read more »

Yaaf
Guest
Yaaf

Quand tu risque de ne pas entrer dans la grande finale tu te prepare un peu plus, je dirai! Et l’adrenaline monte, et monte….

Donald duck
Guest
Donald duck

after i see all what i see , i think Cyprus and Spain , have the best entrys this year,some people say that Spain is overrated, please,, we see that is the other way ,Hope is some justice and Spain come in the top 5 or ,,,, who knows, maybe more

Eric
Guest
Eric

No, Sweden is the best.

Henry
Guest
Henry

Spain will Flop really hard, that snoozefest will end bottom 5.

Lili
Guest
Lili

Oh maybe Portugal who knows… You’ll have a big surprise! My fav Portugal

Holstrom
Guest
Holstrom

Cyprus is cheapppp!
Spain WTF? This will end 23

Sweden
Norway
Denmark

Top 3. Book it.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

I see it went down a bit in the betting odds. Regardless it deserves a great placement.

4lwe
Guest
4lwe

Madame Monsieur deserves a reality check.

Denis
Guest
Denis

Not convinced it is a winner. Though none of the other songs are convincing either. The field is wide open!
The performance is not bad but not great either. Will give France another top 10 for sure.

bercolata
Guest
bercolata

ESC is being “I must give a message to people and whatever forget about the fun stuff” more and more. I really miss the old days.

Dave F
Guest
Dave F

What about Finland and Israel 😛

Pera
Guest
Pera

One of most overrated song this year, same for Israel, Czech Republic, Buglaria,Spain and Finland.

Mary Lou
Guest
Mary Lou

Israel Or Cyprus or Estonia will win.

Jean
Guest
Jean

We are tired of this refugees topic.

Pal
Guest
Pal

Song is beautiful but there is not vau moment to pick up phone and vote for that. I dont know but something is missing…… and i m bit tired of this refugees topic. No offence! Song is realy good anyeay.

CyxCy
Guest
CyxCy

Mercy is not a staging song, it’s a song with a message that lives in interaction with the audience. Remember the concerts where Emilie was so close to the audience that she could touch their hands. It’s a moment of sharing, not a moment of “oh look at me, I have the most beautiful dress, and I’m the most in love with my sweetheart and I dance really well and I have lots of lights. artifices and I make a … Oops , fail. ” Madame Monsieur, don’t make movies, they sing and they share. and that’s the way most… Read more »

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

And with that, they are my #1 going into this contest.

Pachaz
Guest
Pachaz

The most beautiful song of this contest ! Bravo Madame Monsieur
Let’s Have a look to this amazing new version with violin, so moving, it gives me chills…
https://www.facebook.com/EurovisionFrance2/videos/1893918550899349/

Maki
Guest
Maki

Funny and apsurd in same time. They will sing about refugees on Eurovision stage in clothes of high fashion designer Jean Paul Gautiler

CyxCy
Guest
CyxCy

Even if they are dressed in Jean-Paul Gaultier (Oh, because the other candidates come with clothes found at the local supermarket, perhaps?), They have the merit of talking about refugees, rather than the ignore or despise them. What makes this song unique is like no other before in the contest, and we’ll talk about it again in twenty years. Offer your country a better idea next year.

please
Guest
please

I agree.They said in some interviews that they wear black to let the song be the focus. But if that’s the case then why go to a high fashion designer?

Florian Rahn
Editor

Why let go the opportunity of having him as your designer? He also immediately pointed out that he’s not going to change their style and as you can see from the first rehearsal it definitely suits them very well!

Henry
Guest
Henry

Omg! I cringe so hard when they do their arm movements (Stomping in the air) It looks so weird.
Estonia will win Eurovision 2018.

Frau Loch
Guest
Frau Loch

And let’s face it, red or orange lights will make a boring act not any more exciting. Italy does the exact same trick. Starting together, walking apart, cross the bridge and reunite with more conviction and a stronger song.

Frau Loch
Guest
Frau Loch

France, the Italy of 2017, hyped by the fans, ignored by those who really vote.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

But you forget one thing: They are not #1 on the bookies’ board; Israel is.

ikkl
Guest
ikkl

very bad song

Mary Lou
Guest
Mary Lou

Using refugee propaganda to win. it will be flop!

Sede
Guest
Sede

Some countries basically have no staging and everyone still says they’re good. However, some countries hated by others have put money on the staging, people still think they’re overrated and bad. The Eurovisin fans are one of the most biased people in any competition. It should be named “Countries that got the least hate competition.” Bring countries togeher my axx!

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

It seems they know what they want to achieve, but it needs refinement. Their outfits are awesome, keeping their trademark style at the same time that they don’t look like mimes anymore. It’s good that Jean-Karl is more integrated to the performance, even if he doesn’t seem comfortable yet. It’s all very discreet (and French). Since Mercy’s story tend to reach the international media, what they need to sell the song are Émilie’s expressions and that sing-and-gesture-along moment with the audience on the final.

Pal
Guest
Pal

Hmmm Estonia is second in Betting odds- seems to me that opera song will win first time in history of Eurovision . But this song is realy good with a lot of WAU moments.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

Elina is my #2, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one wins the jury vote and the other wins the televote. Then again, Estonia and/or France (my #1) could pull a Ukraine 2016, and come in second or 3rd in both the jury and/or televote, and one of them wins the whole thing.

Filip
Guest
Filip

By for the best song of the year and I really want this to win I’m not sure it will but it will do well no doubt about that

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

It’s not a song, it’s a story…
The melody is catchy but boring, nothing special
Decent vocals and a forced hand movement to drag people in
People in 2018 are into trends and want to be a part of a trend
So they will do that hand movement just to feel a part of something
Way overrated, shouldn’t even come top 10, let alone winning

marie
Guest
marie

Perfect staging for the song!
Simplicity, humility for this song.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

If it worked for Salvador last year, it could work again.

Malin
Guest
Malin

Oh France, how I love your beutyfull language. France was in my top 3 last year, and thougt that your own language was perfect to the song. But not this year. First time I heard it, I didn’t know anything about what it meant and listend at it as one of all the songs. Did’t conect whith it at all like I did last year whith Portugals song. I didn’t know if Sobral was singing about children, his mother, beeng bullied or what. But his voice, eyes and the melody was more importent. He deliverd feeling. In Kiev the staging… Read more »

Eric
Guest
Eric

Anyone who thinks France will win this year….. Sorry to burst your bubble but it will NOT happen. Perhaps top 10 at best

hahaha...lol
Guest
hahaha...lol

Unfortunately you’ve already bet on France and Greece.
Fools and their money are soon parted…like you like to say.

hahaha...lol
Guest
hahaha...lol

If Il Volo could not win the jury, Elina has even less chances. Opera is jury poison. Even Rybak has more chances than Elina.
Israel still has chances to first place, they listen to critics and have changed everything was wrong in the first rehearsal.
I believe Israel will win because a)is open minded and wants to hear critics…b)the others are falling by themselves

Yaaf
Guest
Yaaf

She still has a catchy song, unlike others!

netta winner
Guest
netta winner

Her looper is like any other instrument. She will have it on stage like others have pianos that don’t really work….The song will be the same.
i believe too that Netta will win. In the end it might be a very close score, like in 2003 when Turkey won with just 2 points more than Belgium.

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

They kept everything quite simple and posh. It’s very similar to the national performance.
This is a clear candidate to win Eurovision. Great song, great stage presence, it was difficult to ruin it.
Surprisingly the vocals were not very impressive on the snippet. I am sure she will do better next time.

Kobe
Guest
Kobe

Still my number one! Go France..

Ally
Guest
Ally

I just love their outfits, serving that 60’s existentialist intelectual realness, as would wiwibloggers say 😀
Regarding France and Italy, both songs ”suffered” from today’s ESC obsession with ”stagings”. What kind of staging do you expect for these songs anyway? They are here, singing their songs, and I’m just thankful that we have these two at Eurovision, it brings it on higher level.
Having said that, if audience don’t recognize this, I hope at least juries will reward it, ’cause imo opinion both deserve top 5.

Anthony de France
Guest
Anthony de France

France’s staging is often below expectations
In 2016 Amir had in my opinion a song with a winning potential and all of this crumbled with a really bad staging
as for Alma last year i don’think she could win with her song but the staging did not help her
Nothing special with the staging this year ; the song is really good and Emilie’s voice is ok
france will definitely not win this year

Douzepoints
Guest
Douzepoints

IMO Requiem was a much better song than J’ai cherché and deserved a better place than the latter but the staging didn’t help her at alla. It should have a tango choreography on stage and and shots of eiffel tower at dusk in the background. This year’s entry is mediocre, i don’t understand why it’s so high in the bookies

NickC
Guest
NickC

I do not care the actual result. This is my winner for the year. And I still think it may win, just based on the quality of the song, it may win.

Pazzo
Guest
Pazzo

Political issues should not be given attention. Or do we also need a song showing the problems, which “refugees” bring to Europe?

hiuh
Guest
hiuh

smart comment

Anthony de France
Guest
Anthony de France

Absolutely right !

marie
Guest
marie

I totally agree with you.

Yaaf
Guest
Yaaf

It needs a shivering baby in a blanket ASAP, but even that will not bring them jury votes coz the song is not so good, it was 3rd for the jury in the selection. However Portugal televoting is assured, they adore Messi there!

Stephanie
Guest

The live vocals were still very consistent from what I saw in the brief clip, it was great to see Jean-Karl interacting more rather than stand behind a microphone and I can only imagine how amazing the performance will be once there’s an audience and they’re all doing the hand gesture at the end of the song. They’ve laid down the foundation today, now they’ve just got to build on it – I still have no doubt that France is a solid contender for victory!

Catriona Colville
Guest
Catriona Colville

Incredible reaction to a first rehearsal. People need to get a grip on reality. Judge more after Sunday, but right now it was a test session, and some people are already saying it can’t win…mainly people who weren’t even in the press centre.

hadden
Guest
hadden

So, what Gaultier did? Only those weird shoulders? Some countries spend money for nothing, while Moldova has a great staging for only 5000 euros.

marie
Guest
marie

They didn’t spend money for that. It’s Gaulthier’s will to dress Madame Monsieur.

Curve
Guest
Curve

My favorite artists to win. But I am not confident that they’ll easily win the contest. There is still Rybak, Netta, Fabrizio & Ermal, and then Elina who could win it instead.

Victoria
Guest
Victoria

Hello, you forgot Albania’s Eugent!!!

Curve
Guest
Curve

Why not. But it seems around top 10 for me.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

That moment when she lowers her voice (almost in the end), that gives me winner vibes. If they get everything right, I think Paris 2019 is a real possibility. At least, I don’t see them getting out of the Top 10. Well done, France.

Co-Co
Guest
Co-Co

A shot? No. Pretty much is 50-50 between France and Italy

I’m fine with any of these two taking the crystal mic back home

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Look at me, Coco, I’m Italian and we ain’t winning anything this yr. Let’s hope for Turin 2020.

Yaaf
Guest
Yaaf

Nor is France.

Yaaf
Guest
Yaaf

But Italy has good chances in the years to come.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

In the 5 years that I have watched this show, soon to be 6, I have never seen Italy send a bad song. Bad results, more or less, but their songs were outstanding.

They are my #3 with “Non Ni Avete Fatto Niente”.

Yaaf
Guest
Yaaf

I liked all Italy’s songs, Francesca Michelin most, but this year are somewhere at the bottom, sorry guys, next year will be better!