Catherine Lara Eurovision France

It’s the country that’s lost a popular national selection and Head of Delegation in quick succession. And amidst this upheaval, a veteran voice has had her say on France’s Eurovision fortunes.

According to pop-rock violinist Catherine Lara, the French “must stop writing bad songs” and sending acts that “can’t sing”.

Catherine Lara on France at Eurovision

The chanteuse touched on the song contest during a wide-ranging interview with RTL Radio. Marking 50 years in the industry, Lara also discussed coming out in the 1980s while branding the Miss Universe pageant “distressing”.

But, of course, it’s her comments on Eurovision that are of most concern to readers of these pages!

Stop writing bad songs

What do France’s most recent Eurovision entries — “J’ai Cherché”, “Requiem”, “Mercy”, and “Roi” — all have in common? Well, in Ms Lara’s opinion, they’re all “bad”.

“If France wants to win Eurovision, the only solution is to stop writing bad songs. People think we need to write hype songs. A beautiful French song, not only something which sounds techno, it’s fashion. There’s no recipe to do a good song”.

Techno is a form of electronic dance music. And it would be a stretch to place even France’s most left-field entries inside the genre.

The 74-year-old adds that a good song must have “heart”, which has apparently been lacking in the country’s efforts of late.

The French representatives can’t sing

Catherine soon turns her focus to the French acts. And in an attempt of “no tea, no shade”, she alleges that the likes of Amir, Alma, Madam Monsieur and Bilal “can’t sing”.

“I don’t want to spill on the last French representatives but they have no voice, they can’t sing. They are all about who can sing the loudest. We don’t care. We want voices with emotions because there’s nothing else to sell as singer”.

In fact, she admits that the only performer she’s liked at Eurovision of late is Raphael Gualazzi, Italy’s 2011 singer.

“These last few years I never get any goosebumps by watching Eurovision. Or only in 2011, by listening to the Italian, alone with his piano and wow. He was so different to everyone but he finished second by the way. Everybody wanted listen to him”.

I could try to write a song for France

After all that, the opinionated chanteuse concludes by saying that she’d be open to writing a song.

“We need to be different. If they ask me to write a song for the French representative, why not? I could try. But not me as the French contestant because I’m too old now”.

Following these comments, one gets the feeling that Catherine might not be top of the French delegation’s wish list.

Who is Catherine Lara

Catherine Lara first broke into the mainstream in the early 1970s. In the decades since, she’s established herself as an acclaimed composer and popular performer.

Her biggest hit came in 1985 when she recorded a career-high of 13 in the charts with “Nuit magique”.  It stayed in the countdown for 22 weeks. None of her other releases have troubled the top 40.

She’s had slightly more success in the album chart. She’s featured on five top 100 LPs, two of which cracked the top ten.

She co-commentated for French TV on Eurovision 2011.

What do you think of Catherine’s comments? Is she simply bitter? Or is there any truth to what she says? Let us know in the comments.

Additional reporting by Oranie Abbes

Follow all of our France Eurovision 2020 news.

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Cyxcy
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Cyxcy

I have a lot of respect for this lady, but her last success was 33 years ago. So pretending that she can write the song that will win us, it’s laughable, and judge our candidates “bad”, even more. She has no idea what music is today. And as I write these lines, Bilal has just won an award at the “Olympia Awards” ceremony.

Cyxcy
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Cyxcy
Yossarian
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Yossarian

I’m not fond of her, but she has a point. It’s getting annoying that we so often find ourselves wondering if singers can actually sing live. Shouldn’t that be a prerequisite to be, well, a singer? I’m OK with singers with a more limited range, as long as they sing a song fitting that range (Madame Monsieur). But Amir couldn’t hit the higher notes, Alma’s voice was very thin, and I’m not even talking about Bilal. When the songs enjoy some degree of popularity (J’ai cherché, Requiem), they’re let down by a poor performer (Amir’s lucky he’s a walking bundle… Read more »

Aitor Robles Morillas
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Aitor Robles Morillas

I agree her. I think the nearest Entries to her thinking are Alma and Madame Monsieur but Both of them sing so pretty, They Can Sing!!! If France wants, They can Win Eurovision so widely????

wkbii
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wkbii

I am French and the only times I hear about her in the medias is when she criticizes something. Whether it’s the Eurovision, the Miss Universe pageant, or even same-sex marriage even though she’s a lesbian. She seems to have fallen into the pattern of people reaching a certain age and spewing criticisms at things, people or ideas that don’t belong in the 1970s.

bzzzik
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bzzzik

Ask Celine Dion to return to the contest. You’d easily have another victory in the bag.

Dawid
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Dawid

“What do France’s most recent Eurovision entries — “J’ai Cherché”, “Requiem”, “Mercy”, and “Roi” — all have in common? Well, in Ms Lara’s opinion, they’re all “bad”.” Not really. She hadn’t list them nor said that 4 last songs were bad. She was talking in general and I bet that she’s talking mainly about Bilal. I don’t think she cares enough to remember who represented France 2 years ago, let alone 2016. And if she’s talking about last year, then agree. Bilal won not because he had good song, not because of great singing, but because of his fandoom. Similar… Read more »

cmh787
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cmh787

ok boomer

Mr Vanilla Bean
Guest

Yes. The truth will set you free.

Arrivederci
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Arrivederci

Come collect your grandma!

Pandelis
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Pandelis

I wouldn’t say she is far off the mark. In 2018 and 2019 their efforts were based purely on hype and “message” and that’s how they fell sort. And it is true that none of their last four representatives were great live singers (with the last one being hands down the worst singer of the final).

Henrikh Mugosa
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Henrikh Mugosa

Worst singer of the final? Sure. Serhat couldn’t even sing.

Vangelis
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Vangelis

Serhat is a true entertainer though and the whole thing brought a smile to one’s face. Bilal’s entry was just a narcissistic trip for an untalented and uninteresting youngster.

Bella
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Bella

I wouldn’t go as far as saying none of them could sing: all the recent French representatives delivered more than decent live performances. “Bad songs” is another thing, the latest French songs were ok at best.

There’s been a VAST improvement since 2016, I think they just have to finally send a song that has some kind of “wow” factor instead of just being “ok”. Also, wow doesn’t mean it can’t be simple (Amar Pelos Dois is a great example: classy, simple, but still wow).

grft
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grft

I’m French and I have no idea who that person is. Can somebody take her outside ?

Efraim
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Efraim

Off topic alert: A Spanish website has made a top 10 of the Eurovision winners of the decade, and I’d like to know your thoughts: #10: Running Scared (2011) – “Ell & Nikki showed up on stage with the most forgettable, boring back-catalogue ballad, objectively the only truly bad song in this ranking.” #9: Toy (2018) – “A song that wasn’t a hit, because there was no way it could be: it might have turned out playful and catchy during the night of the Contest, but in the real world, Europe had already moved on from a song that arrived… Read more »

L'oiseau
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L'oiseau

Agree on top 2 and bottom two. I would put Duncan in third place and 1944 in forth. But thet are great comments

Sara
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Sara

agree, but I feel like Toy lowkey was a hit? I live on the “countryside” in the NL and back in June I saw guys on the football field I believe play an ESC playlist?! Just surprised, but I heard Toy on it. Also if you ask people if they remember that chicken song, a lot here probably will.

Not that it was my favourite winner tho, I agree with this top for the most part

Pandelis
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Pandelis

I’d put “Amar pelos dois” and “1944” on a league of their own in terms of composition, performance and arrangement and then all the rest. Third place for the David Guetta rip-off is pretty ridiculous by the way, the usual over-rating of Sweden by ESC “experts”.

Alaska
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Alaska

My personal TOP 10 (I’m not from any of the winning countries):

#10: Running Scared (2011)
#09: Only Teardrops (2013)
#08: Heroes (2015)
#07: Toy (2018)
#06: Satellite (2010)
#05: Arcade (2019)
#04: Euphoria (2012)
#03: Rise Like a Phoenix (2014)
#02: 1944 (2016)
#01: Amar pelos dois (2017)

Mr X
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Mr X

Your first und your last position in this ranking are exacty equal of mine.

Dawid
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Dawid

Heroes a couple places lower and Amar pelos dois one, maybe 2 spots lower. Everything else is great

Okan idu?
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Okan idu?

Id put porteguesse song out of the list if I could. Id put Satellite a little lower as well and Conchita to second place because her song is aging much better than most

Mr X
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Mr X

My list of the 2010th decade winners:

10th Azerbaidjan
9th Israel
8th Germany
7th Denmark
6th Sweden 2015
5th Sweden 2012
4th Austria
3rd Ukraine
2nd the Netherlands
The winner is Portugal !

Elina
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Elina

Bring back Patricia Kaas!

Étoile
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Étoile

Long comment incoming, sorry! I know some people will be mean with her but when you have a career of 50 years, she can say what she thinks. Sincerity should always beat politeness! How many singers in many countries are doing their « expertise » thanks to one hit or two and vanished. I don’t believe in the « it was better before » it’s just different. Now her comments, all the singers sent by my country had not be very good on stage not just because of the staging but because most of them where unknown and didn’t did big concerts/tour. Also our… Read more »

Stardust
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Stardust

Actually Alma didn’t just change the language of her chorus “for no reason”. Since Requiem was already released before the deadline, they had to change something to make it fit the rules, hence the slightly updated instrumental and the English chorus. (Now I could be totally wrong about this, but this was the narrative that I’ve constantly heard over the years).

Étoile
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Étoile

Thanks for the reply. I heard about that story too but my broadcaster and even Alma never mentioned that in an official statement. They just said that the song will be revamped and then we had the Eurovision version on Requiem on March. I guess we’ll never know.

Jim
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Jim

It is true though that Amir, Alma and Bilal were never the strongest vocalists. But that lady is wrong in every other way.

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

the good sis still lives in the last year she was successful in, which is certainly not in this century. i mean, she thinks techno is ‘trendy’ but it’s literally an 80s-90s genre that stayed in the last millennium skjsksjksjkds. btw ain’t nothing wrong with france’s last four entries

hksunshine12@gmail.com
Guest

How dare she speak of France’s recent Eurovision stars like that! 🙁

Efraim
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Efraim

I think most of us can agree that Bilal’s live vocals need some work. But saying that none of the recent French entrants can sing is quite the stretch.

Bart
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Bart

Finally someone says this out loud! Thank you!!!! Bar Madame Monsieur, evrthing else has been over-hyped trash, especially Alma and Bilal.

Briekimchi
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Briekimchi

Agree or disagree with her, to me, if you’ve managed 50 years in the industry, you have the right to express your opinion about it. My take is that France have not had a top quality song during the last five years so although she could’ve expressed it more nicely, she might have a point.

Africavision
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Africavision

I understand what you mean… Yes, she’s been in the industry for 50 years, but that also means she had 5 decades to compose/perform a not so “bad song” for Eurovision, which meets her criteria of a good French entry, during that time. I just think that it is in very poor taste to shade other artists, who actually did make the effort to go to Eurovision, while you just sit there and criticize them, yet claim you are now too old for Eurovision. Engelbert Humperdinck, Buranovskiye Babuskhi, and 75 Cents were older than her when they went to Eurovision,… Read more »

Africavision
Guest
Africavision

Also, in the last four years, France finished, on average, in 12th place at Eurovision. The four years before that, they placed 24th, on average. So this lady is four years late to join the complaining bus. Also, where was she when France was sending musicians singing with helium gas, and wearing hot pink and a dead cat on their shoulder? Lol she chose the wrong time to come out the woodwork.

Gilad
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Gilad

Sorry but I don’t agree, maybe Billal is not the best singer but France had good songs in the last 5 years.

Rasmus
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Rasmus

NO and Bilal isnt a good singer.

Nata
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Nata

Please let others have their own opinions. Stop criticising everything that isn’t Swedish. Trust me, you’ll feel better.

Alybloggs
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Alybloggs

Apparently, she did not watch Destination Eurovision and moments between that (or Amir and Alma’s internal selection) and the actual Eurovision nights because to make quick negative judgment like that is definitely absurd. These moments give the viewers an opportunity to see some improvements from the French artists. Take a look at their pre-Eurovision concert performances for example.

John Everyman
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John Everyman

There is some merit to her comments. I wouldn’t say all the entries they recently sent are “bad” and that the singers “can’t sing,” but I can say their performances could have been better. I do give credit to France 2 for actually trying to send better quality songs since their takeover from France 3 in 2015. Even when the country didn’t do well (or as well as they thought), many people believed it was still a good song in its own. Also, I think they should reach out to artists either come from or their heritage is from other… Read more »

Funkycoffin
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Funkycoffin

OK BOOMER

Adam
Guest
Adam

This lady really has no idea what she’s talking about, just spewing the typical talking-points that most Europeans do when they think of Eurovision. Do they ever give clear examples of these “bad songs” or “bad singers”? Nope, never. Because while there are definitely some every year that they can city, people like Catherine instead just repeat the same vague criticisms that Eurovision has gotten for decades, showing they don’t actually know anything about it since there are plenty of newer things to criticise the ESC about.

Thomas
Guest
Thomas

If we are being honest Bilal couldn’t hit a lot of his notes and Alma’s voice was pitchy. Amir had literally lost his voice the only solid vocal performance was from Madam Monsiuer. As for songs I do think that Mercy had heart, it was just the performance was lacking. Bilal really tried but it just wasn’t that good of a song. Alma’s lack of stage pressence and well off staging was the death of her. Amir could have won in my opinion if the staging and vocals were perfect. A lot of her comments make sense, but at the… Read more »

Lisianthus
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Lisianthus

She’s stuck in the 60s. It’s the 21st century, Catherine. Get with the times.

Rasmus
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Rasmus

yes horrible kareoke voices and artists is your choice then. good for you:)

Bart
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Bart

For once I have to agree with you. The singers for France have been terrible. But, let me ask you, do you pay taxes also in France?

Jo.
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Jo.

I think maybe a festival like Sanremo, FiK and FdC could work better for France than a NF like those in Nordics. Even with the internal selection they never reach as high as they expected. It takes time tho.
Idk… France’s situation is rather complex.

Liam Lindsay
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Liam Lindsay

But all this initiative is encouraging and proof that France is taking it seriously unlike the UK who just phone it in and then blame politics when they finish in their deserving place.

Ashton
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Ashton

oof Liam out here speaking the sad truth

Jack Pricefield
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Jack Pricefield

France have been okay in the last 3 years, the live performances and staging are the key issue for them. Requiem, Mercy & Roi were quite overrated by the eurofandom tbh and had no chance cracking Top 5, though imo Bilal would’ve been much better alone on stage.

I loved J’ai Cherche though, France should send something completely fun, upbeat and action-packed like Allez Ola Ole again, especially with an improvised breakdown that Jessy delivered which was utterly brilliant! It isn’t a wonder he’s still the highest scoring French entry on televoting.

Colin
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Colin

After Scorcese, Coppola, Roger Corman and Dame Maggie Smith, I guess it’s her time to join the growing group of old artists who complain about how “kids these days” know nothing. Oh, well, c’est la vie! 😉

Jack Pricefield
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Jack Pricefield

DO NOT EVER shade Dame Maggie Smith!

Colin
Guest
Colin

It wasn’t my intention. I absolutely love Dame Maggie. She was the one who was shading her newer work in the Harry Potter franchise and Downtown Abbey (Look it up). While I respect her opinion (as I do Scorsese’s and Coppola’s), I am merely stating they criticized the new styles of cinema or music. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but it does indicate how some older artists have a different perception of what makes for a good art.

Timi
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Timi

She’s right if we talk about Bilal and Alma, at least in my opinion, but Madame Monsieur’s entry was a GREAT song.

Natalie
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Natalie

I mean, Lara Fabians and Celine Dions don’t come everyday, but seriously they can’t sing? Bilal didn’t have the most amazing voice when he started, but he constantly improved and gave a good show, and the rest of the competitors from the past few years preformed quite well also. Also techno?? She sounds like my grandma. Whatever, we all have our opinion, I suppose.

Michael
Guest
Michael

The fact that she literally only enjoys one performance during the last decade, which just so happens to be the snootiest jazz you can send to Eurovision (I like Madness of Love, but it still feels snooty) should really tell you that her opinion shouldn’t be taken seriously.

123
Guest
123

She is not wrong tho

Gigii
Guest
Gigii

Who is she again?

Loin dici
Guest

You can hear the OK Boomer coming but i’ll leave this here.

Qwerty
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Qwerty

While I disagree with her comments that meme is both ageist and stupid, besides she isn’t even a boomer as she was born in 1945.