Bilal Hassani will represent France at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv with his song “Roi”. It’s an empowerment anthem, all about overcoming the haters.

France Télévisions chose Bilal through the second series of its Destination Eurovision national selection process. Over its three week run — two semis and a final — the show saw saw 18 songs become eight and then one. “Roi” only placed fifth with the international jury, but it was by far and away the public favourite.

The talented singer has lived quite a life in his 19 years and has a story to tell.

As we draw closer to Tel Aviv, we have compiled a list of 10 facts you need to know about Bilal Hassani. Prepare to have your wigs snatched.

1. He’s the modern face of France’s cultural melting pot

Bilal is the child of French-Moroccan parents, a cultural group making up about 1.5% of the French population. Growing up in the suburbs of Paris, Bilal represents a new wave of French identity — not only as a child of immigrants, but also as a gay teenager who challenges gender stereotypes.

Understandably, Bilal does not see the big fuss about what his background or image represents in France’s political environment. He told The Washington Post earlier this year that he doesn’t consider himself a culture warrior. He’s here for the music:

“I was never really drawn to politics, and I never really paid attention to it.”

2. He competed in The Voice Kids in 2015, going viral

As a timid 15-year-old, Bilal auditioned on The Voice Kids in France — his TV debut. His shyness didn’t stop him from taking on a big ballad from his idol, Conchita Wurst. His audition not only turned all three mentors’ chairs, but also went viral worldwide — amassing over 1.7 million views on YouTube. While he didn’t make it past the battle rounds, his name was remembered well beyond his appearance on the show.

3. He is fluent in English thanks to his stepmother (and RuPaul’s Drag Race)

Bilal’s father remarried when he was just four. His stepmother only spoke English, while Bilal only spoke French. They taught each other small words in their mother-tongues, and soon both spoke both languages fluently. Bilal also learnt how to shantay and slay the English language by watching the US television series RuPaul’s Drag Race, and has even dabbled in drag himself.

4. His trips to Asia have inspired his look and music

In an interview with wiwibloggs, Bilal mentioned that he spent many of his school vacations visiting his father, who works overseas in Vietnam and Singapore. Growing in love with Asian music and culture, it was during these vacations that Bilal challenged his perceptions of the masculine “norm”. He saw what it means to be a ‘man’ in a different light:

“Something that I found really interesting (in Asia) is how masculinity in Asia is very different to how western countries show men. I got to discover new things, and see men with makeup without it being associated with sexuality directly. It was really fun, and it shaped me a bit.”

5. He’s one of the most followed Eurovision stars on Instagram

And it’s no surprise why. Bilal keeps his fans waiting with bated breath for new posts, with his Instagram serving as a pseudo modelling portfolio. Bilal experiments with different weaves, different looks and an evolution in identity. And he’s captured a strong and dedicated following in the process. His account @iambilalhassani has amassed over half a million followers. Only Russia’s Sergey Lazarev and Italy’s Mahmood have more.

6. And we can keep up with Bilal’s life on his YouTube channel

Bilal takes his millennial tag and runs with it — documenting his life in vlogs on his YouTube channel. With almost one million subscribers, he leaves no stone unturned — from revealing his nose job to even undertaking the odd mukbang. There’s no doubt that there’s something entirely entertaining and relatable about the French chanteur. We like and we subscribe!

7. He feels the “Fuego”

He’s never hidden his deep admiration for the “Fuego” hitmaker and 2018 Cyprus representative, Eleni Foureira. He performed his own rendition of the Eurovision track at Destination Eurovision, and previously stated that Eleni and winner Netta Barzilai were his favourite entries from 2018. Bilal has no doubt taken stylistic inspiration from Eleni, channeling some of her serious hairography and signature sunglasses during a photo shoot late last year. Yeah yeah, Bilal.

8. Bilal and Madame Monsieur are creative collaborators

Bilal’s Eurovision entry “Roi” marks a Eurovision return for last year’s French representatives Madame Monsieur, now as songwriters. The duo composed the song with Bilal and songwriter Medeline, with a message of self love and acceptance. Bilal and Madame Monsieur continue to collaborate heavily. Bilal’s upcoming album Kingdom is written in collaboration with the “Mercy” pair. No doubt the three share a strong creative bond.

View this post on Instagram

Bilal c’est une rencontre comme on en fait peu. On s’est connu il y a quelques mois par hasard sur un tournage et les jours passant, on a découvert un garçon aussi doux que fort, aussi humble que fier, fier d’être celui qu’il est depuis 19 ans, depuis toujours donc. Cette chanson qu’on a fait tous les trois s’est presque écrite toute seule, tant ce qu’elle raconte coule de source. Pas besoin de s’excuser d’être celui où celle qu’on est. Bilal est un Roi et il nous pousse tous à l’être aussi, pour nous-mêmes, pas pour les autres ? Go Papillon ? – I am me And I know I will always be Je suis free, oui j’invente ma vie Ne me demandez pas qui je suis Moi je suis Le même depuis tout petit Et malgré les regards, les avis Je pleure, je sors et je ris – Who are we When we hurt When we fight for free Only god can judge you and me Ce qu’on est, on ne l’a pas choisi On choisit Son travail, sa coiffure, ses amis Sa routine, parfois l’amour aussi Et ça passe ou ça casse Mais ça regarde qui ? ?? – @iambilalhassani #roi #bilalhassani Prod @_medeline_ Mix @_memmix_

A post shared by Madame Monsieur (@madamemonsieur) on

9. His wig is taking on a ‘Pokemon-style’ evolution

In an interview with wiwibloggs, Bilal has stated that his signature golden locks will have evolved by the time it gets to Tel Aviv. His first hair-incarnation for Destination Eurovision was a platinum, straight shoulder-length bob, which accentuated Bilal’s angular facial features. On his trip to Israel to film his Eurovision postcard, his shoulder length bob started developing more curls, and most recently, he has experimented with much longer golden wavy locks. His change in hairography is, in his words, an evolution of sorts:

“The hair is going to be different (at Eurovision). It’s not the long hair that you have seen in Tel Aviv (during postcard filming). I really want to give it a full Pokemon evolution – there are three steps. The first one is Destination Eurovision, the second one is for the postcard and the pre-parties, and the last one is going to to be for the grand final in Tel Aviv. It’s going to be long and wavy. It’s going to be exciting.”

Wig. Snatched.

10. He’s here to spread love, not feed the haters

Since winning the right to represent France at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Bilal has spread a message of love and acceptance through his song “Roi” — even doing so at 30,000 feet. The singer performed to travellers and crew on an EasyJet flight on the way to his postcard filming in Tel Aviv. And despite some trolls besieging his social media accounts, Bilal is not standing for it, threatening to take legal action against the haters. Our king doesn’t play around.

Do you think Bilal can make his way to the top of the leaderboard? Could “Roi” cement Bilal’s status as a king of Eurovision? Let us know in the comments.

Read more Eurovision 2019 artist facts here.

 

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Dario
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Dario

No me2

Alessio
Guest
Alessio

im the only one tht dont like bilal ?

La Signora
Guest
La Signora

He stealed your favourite wig?

Alessio
Guest
Alessio

no ha preso quella di tua sorella sto cesso

Frysk
Guest
Frysk

Coming out and be comfortable with oneself is great. It is good that we now see a lot of very differentiated gay icons. What Bilal does turns me of personally. I never wanted to be identified with female men. WHen I struggled with homosexuality inde late 70-ies I did not like these sort of men, but I didn’t know any better. The masculin gays were less obvious. But now we’re in the 21st century and we ahve much more openly gay people in all sorts. Which is wonderful. I have therefor no problems at all with Bilal. He adds to… Read more »

ESCFan2009
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ESCFan2009

Awww, can’t wait to see the wig! To quote Bilal himself at the beginning of his videos: “BONSOIR PARIS, YAAAAAAYYYY” 😀 😀 😀

Hello
Guest
Hello

Why we must all time read about Bilal. Wiwiblogs you only promote “some” singers

Bigger
Guest
Bigger

This is “10 facts about…” Each contestant gets such an article at some point in time

Also which contestant which doesn’t get as much attention would you like to see? There are not many left. And the artists who don’t have a lot of articles are usually more working behind the scenes, and don’t really come with a lot of news

Hello
Guest
Hello

This is not true, we read only about Bilal, Mahmood,Duncan and maybe Sergey. I like Bilal, but this is not nice to talk only about few person all time. Wiwiblogs make favourites.

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

He’s a sweetheart. Very nice look as a brunette, my favorite one I guess. The blue wig rocks, that pic is super-cool.

Una
Guest
Una

🙂

Jene
Guest
Jene

We need good gay icons , some people are afraid to come out cause they think this is what people associate with being gay. Tom Hugo is a better gay icon

Jai
Guest
Jai

Gay people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, nationalities, genders, faiths and can be as masculine or feminine as they want to be. That’s part of the freedom that comes with pride in expressing who you are. If you don’t know that that’s your problem and no one else’s.Who are you to say who is a “good gay” and who is bad? There is no one type of gay. You judging Bilal because he wears makeup and wigs is not too different from someone judging both Bilal and Tom Hugo for being gay.

Jai
Guest
Jai

As a side note though I didn’t know Tom Hugo was gay. I may be wrong but does this year’s contest have the most openly LGBT contestants in Eurovision history? There’s at least Tom Hugo ( from KEiiNO), Mahmood, Bilal, Duncan Laurence, Conan Osiris, Hatari, and Michael Rice.

bryan soullier
Guest
bryan soullier

Je dis respect à son courage . Il reste fort malgré tout les messages de haines envers lui, les menaces de mort .
Il y aura une revamp et une mise en scène grandieuse, il va bluffé par son énergie et son talent

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

Respect, respect et encore respect. Je ne le connaissais pas avant DE et maintenant je suis très fan. Les menaces de mort sont tout à fait odieux. J’attends une performance surprenante et spectaculaire le 18 Mai. Bonne chance Bilal!

Bigger
Guest
Bigger

What I am interested about is how Bilal is being perceived in Morocco. Loreen of course won. Now Bilal is participating for France, and has also Moroccan roots. In Europe probably well known after Eurovision.

Do people in Morocco know about it, do they talk about it, how do they feel about it that a person with Moroccan roots again represents a major European country, and is becoming well known. I know for Angun she got a lot of support from Indonesians when she participated for France

Nikki
Guest
Nikki

My hubby is Moroccan and he knows about him, I showed him all selected songs, he thinks Bilal is nice but he’s not Hubby’s style. But he jokingly defended Bilal when I told him I was with the other Arab on the contest (Mahmood). Fun fact: he comes from the same area Loreen’s family comes from. I might be married to a cousin of a Eurovision winner (someone call my heritage now)

FanESC
Guest
FanESC

He will be high in the end, everyone will be very surprised, positively, by his staging + revamp.

Ioa Ioa
Guest
Ioa Ioa

What a coincidence to release the French entry with the burning of Notre Dame :((

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

Yes you are right. The Earth should have stopped spinning. NOT.

D777
Guest

11. He is too ugly.

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

You are ugly.

uwu vision
Guest
uwu vision

Oh man, the only thing ugly here is your opinion

Jayy R
Guest
Jayy R

Bilal is an amazing singer and performer. I definitely prefer his song “Fais Beleck” to his Eurovision entry (seriously, new video is AMAZING), but still very excited to see him in Tel Aviv 🙂

Nguyet Huynh
Guest
Nguyet Huynh

To be honest, “Roi” is not my favourite song this year and I was really mad when he won DE instead of Agred or Seemone. However, in recent months, he gradually wins me over with his attitude. The way he supports other entries (especially Mahmood and Soldi XD) and makes a video of him and his friend dancing to other songs, etc. That’s Eurovision spirit I always want to see <3 So in the end, I'm gonna support him and wish him all the best <3 You're amazing Bilal.

uwu vision
Guest
uwu vision

Honestly, i too would’ve prefered Silvan, but after seeing his score in the televotes I just stopped watching the DE livestream cause I though Seemone was just gonna win, but after finding out Bilal won I was pretty relieved (I wasn’t too keen on seemones song :^/) and honestly, Bilal is so sweet, I don’t see how people hate him 🙂