A few weeks ago France Télévisions suggested that its selection method for Eurovision 2020 could go in any number of directions. The French broadcaster’s new Programmes Manager Alexandra Redde Amiel spoke about the potential of a brand new show, which would be bigger than the previous two editions of Destination Eurovision. Since then it’s been nothing but crickets (bar Gims’ brother saying he’d love to sing at ESC). It’s understandable: The broadcaster is pre-occupied with Junior Eurovision, which takes place later this month.
It’s curious there’s a total absence of a timetable that aligns with the show’s recent past. Over the past two years the French have held an open call for submissions from June to November, with the country’s Eurovision act decided by the end of January. This year France Télévisions didn’t stage an open call. That suggests rather strongly that the French broadcaster could internally select a range of artists for its show, or indeed a singular artist for a show that chooses the song.
It’s also no longer possible to watch the performances from Destination Eurovision 2018 and 2019 on the official YouTube channel of the show. Silvàn Areg, Seemone, Igit, Madame Monsieur — all their performances have been deleted. All that remains are a few videos of Bilal Hassani at Eurovision in Tel Aviv. It looks like the French broadcaster wants to clean up its online platforms in anticipation of its upcoming rebirth.
If France were to go internal, it would follow a trend laid down by a number of other countries of late. Switzerland had great luck with its internal selection in 2019 and has opted to try it again, while the UK has ditched is (notoriously lacklustre) national final You Decide. Reports coming out of Chisinau suggest Moldova will also go internal in 2020.
Perhaps France will choose its act or shortlist of acts from among its Destination Eurovision alums. Cyprus is an illustrative example. In 2015 it staged the national final the Eurovision Song Project. The show’s winner Giannis Karagiannis went on to compete at Eurovision 2015. The following year Cyprus scrapped the final, but continued to draw from the show’s talent pool. In 2016 it internally selected Minus One, who had placed third in the 2015 national final. And in 2017 it internally selected Hovig, who had placed fourth in the same national final.
If France follows that route, it certainly has plenty of hungry stars to draw from.
Surely last year’s jury winner — Seemone — would be a fan favourite to return. And so too would Emmy Liyana, who placed fourth in the first series of the show. Emmy is poised to release her new album later this month.
And we can’t forget Silvàn Areg. While he placed fifth overall in 2019 with his loveable song “Allez leur dire”, he was second with the jury. Besides ultimate winner Bilal Hassani, he’s among the acts who has managed to cultivate the most media attention and press coverage all these months later. The 40-year-old former sports teacher has just released a new single “On va RFR le monde” (We’ll redo the world) and his clip has hit over 300k views on Youtube. Just a day before writing this article I bumped into a poster of him at my uni. I’m taking it as a sign he will be on our radar in the months and years ahead.
How do you want France to decide? Are there any Destination Eurovision alums who deserve their moment in the ESC sun? Share you thoughts in the comment section !