ESCountdown 2019: #5 – “Roi” by Bilal Hassani, France

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! Welcome to my ESCountdown 2019, presented by eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica! Between April 7 and May 12, I will countdown my picks of the entries in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019! There are 41 countries participating this year, and we’ll bring you each and every entry from them all!

At this point in time we are now less than ONE WEEK away from the Grand Final for 2018, and only three days from the first semi final. Today, I will wrap up this year’s ESCountdown, bringing you my top five picks. As always, I know the ESC fandom community is a rabid one, and fans are all over the road with their own personal tastes and choices, so as always with my personal picks, your mileage may vary…:-)

In at #5 on my countdown this year is the official entry from France, “Roi” by Bilal Hassani, written by Bilal Hassani, Madame Monsieur, and Medeline. The song is performed in English and French, and as France is one of the “Big Five” it has an automatic “Bye” to the grand final on May 18.

19-year-old Bilal Hassani has been making videos on YouTube for a number of years, both music and commentary, and he came to national fame in France when he was a participant in the second season of France’s “The Voice Kids” talent show franchise, getting eliminated in the battle rounds (REALLY?). He came out as gay in 2017 and has frequently had to fight back against bigotry and hatred on social media since that time.

Although I have a different personal favorite, I have known in my gut since I first saw the video for “Roi” that Hassani was the one to beat at this year’s Eurovision contest. This song is so powerful, so beautiful, so commanding in it’s presence that it demands to be taken seriously. His unique “Frencnglish” delivery -alternating lines of English and French – is seamless, and his voice is truly sent from the Gods; the song gives me chills every time I listen to it. I am convinced he was put on this Earth to help defend against bigotry and hatred regarding those who identify as LGBTQ, and he’s going to do it in a big way. “Roi“, English translation “King” (well, duh…even I know that, and I speak ZERO French), sends a message to others struggling with who they are to stand up, accept yourself as who you are, and go for the crown, and, to put it bluntly, FUCK everyone else, you WILL succeed no matter what you have to face. Even if the song doesn’t win the whole shebang at the Grand Finel, Hassani DOES win – because I truly believe with this performance, we are witnessing the birth of someone meant to be a superstar worldwide very, very soon, and i will do whatever I can to help him get there…he is just FUCKIN’ AMAZING….

France made its EuroVision debut in 1956 (the first year), and has appeared 61 times since then. They have won the Grand Championship five times – with “Dors, mon amor” by Andre Claveau in 1958, “Tom Pillibi” by Jacqueline Boyer in 1960, “Un Premier Amor” by Isabelle Aubret in 1962, “Un jour, un enfant” by Frida Boccara in 1969’s one-of-a-kind four way tie (with Spain, The Netherlands, and the UK), and “L’oiseau et l’enfant” by Marie Myriam in 1977. Their luck ran out after that last win, and they’ve made the top five only twice in the 21st century, and finished last for the first ever in 2014.

There are simply NO WORDS for this video, I have watched it over and over again..I can’t get enough of it…or of Hassani..

Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica each day through this year’s finals on May 18 – be sure to check each site, because some of the features will be exclusive to just one of the sites! My daily song countdown will appear on all three sites, with some additional material coming to both Planet BM and TKR in the days and weeks’  ahead. I missed a few days due to personal issues, so I’m playing catch-up now, and will have two or three entries per day with my #1 pick being revealed on Sunday May 12.

I will be LIVE BLOGGING during both semi-finals and the finals this week – coverage will start at 3 PM Eastern/12 PM Pacific in the US – I suck at time zones so you’ll have to figure that out if you’re not in the US – where I will comment on each performance, the ongoing spectacle, the hosts, the crowd, the performers, and everything else. Please check it out at http://ecinemaone.com !

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Catch all the official EuroVision action at their official Website and on their official YouTube channel!

EuroVision ’18 Song By Song: “Mercy” by Madame Monsieur, France

eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica will have daily coverage of the days counting down to the Eurovision Song Contest 2018!

Over the next five weeks, sometimes more than once a day,  we will bring you daily previews of the contest, spotlighting each of the songs individually in random order, where they come from, who will be performing them, and more, as well as some historical info on the contest and some of the past winners and participants.

Next up on our Song-By-Song preview is the official entry from France, “Mercy” by Madame Monsieur, also written by the artist. The song is performed in French. I don’t speak French, but Wikipedia tells me that the song is “about a girl named Mercy who was born to Nigerian refugees on a boat on the Mediterranean Sea in the midst of the European migrant crisis.” Okay, if you say so…

Don’t get  me wrong here – this is a very beautiful song, the syncopation is elegant, vocalist Emilie Satt has an amazing voice, and the melody is very pretty. But if the song is about what the Wikipedia article indicates, why is the music video a totally abstract travelogue of French landmarks interspersed with studio shots of the duo singing, pouting, and in the case of the guitarist, looking like he’d want to be anywhere but where he is?  There is not ONE “true’ shot of Nigerian refugees anywhere in the video – well, in an abstract for there is, people wrapped in mylar blankets walking at the landmarks above and on the set as well – but it’s not really terribly definitive. I would have thought they’d want to include at least something more directly relating to the subject matter of the song, like news footage of the migrant crisis or something. Geez. The song will probably be a massive hit in France and in other French-speaking countries, but it has a very limited scope as far as non-French success, and I seriously doubt it has any real shot at making the US Charts.

France made its EuroVision debut in 1956 (the first year), and has appeared 60 times since then. They have won the Grand Championship five times – with “Dors, mon amor” by Andre Claveau in 1958, “Tom Pillibi” by Jacqueline Boyer in 1960, “Un Premier Amor” by Isabelle Aubret in 1962, “Un jour, un enfant” by Frida Boccara in 1969’s one-of-a-kind four way tie (with Spain, The Netherlands, and the UK), and “L’oiseau et l’enfant” by Marie Myriam in 1977. Their luck ran out after that last win, and they’ve made the top five only twice in the 21st century, and finished last for the first ever in 2014. As one of the “Big Five” with Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK, the song automatically gets a place in the Grand Final.

Here’s the official music video  – take a look. you’ll see what I meant above…

Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica each day through the finals on May 12 – be sure to check each site, because some of the features will be exclusive to just one of the sites! The daily artist and song profiles will appear on each site, with some past winners and historical info coming to TKR and PlanetBM in the next week or so as I complete my research!

In case you’re interested, I will post my list of all 43 songs in the order of my favorites at the end of our song by song preview in early May, so keep tuned in!

This weekend is going to be full, with FOUR song by song profiles each day, so we will have time at the end of the profiles to do some favorites and not-so-favorites…

Catch all the official EuroVision action at their official Website and on their official YouTube channel! And don’t forget to watch the show May 12 on LogoTV!