France opts for contemporary electro pop with a message
It is that time of the year again! Countries all around Europe have started their national selections to choose their representative for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018, taking place in Lisbon in May. France is the first country that chose their entry, completely ready for Eurovision (I know, Albania chose an artist and a song, but I will wait with my judgement until they actually present a version that is in line with the 3 minute rule). After Alma’s slightly disappointing 12th position last year with ‘Requiem’, the French broadcaster chose for a national final format under the name ‘Destination Eurovision’ this year. The final took place on Saturday night and duo Madame Monsieur won with their track ‘Mercy’.
Madame Monsieur consists of vocalist Émilie Satt and producer Jean-Karl Lucas. They started their career as a band back in 2013 and released their debut album Tandem in 2016. Their style is best described as contemporary electro pop witch catchy hooks and swinging synths and that is exactly what they deliver on ‘Mercy’. The track builds up subtly and both the chorus and the extended outro (which is the climax as well) are easily memorable, even for those who don’t speak French. But ‘Mercy’ is not just a catchy little electro pop tune. The lyrics are actually written from the perspective of a kid born on a boat full of refugees. “Je suis tous ces enfants que la mer a pris” (“I am all those children who were taken by the sea”), Émilie sings over a pulsing electro beat. The track contains a beautiful message that is not so much political, but more written from a humanitarian point of view.
So does Madame Monsieur’s ‘Mercy’ stand a chance to go all the way in the competition? Well, it might not be winner material per se, but if they work on the act and manage to get across their message through visuals as well, I could see this going in the direction of the top 10 (dependent on what other countries come up with of course). It is a modern pop song with a relevant message that I could see in the charts outside of the competition. Émilie’s vocals are on point and she knows how to sell the song. Regardless of what will go down in Lisbon in May, France comes up with a more than respectable entry for the third year in a row!
Update: Madame Monsieur debuted the video for ‘Mercy’, which powerfully depicts the refugee crisis theme of the song. In France, they received quite some criticism from nationalists and others who do not approve of their message. I still believe in a top 10 result for them if they manage to get the story of ‘Mercy’ across on stage in Lisbon in May!
Review of Final Performance:
France was one of the pre-contest favourites, but with both their performance and result, they did not live up to the expectations. Duo Madame Monsieur performed the song ‘Mercy’, about a baby born on a boat with refugees. The French delegation did nothing on stage to emphasize their message of compassion visually, with might have cost them votes as not everyone understands the French lyrics. Vocally, the performance was decent enough and the crowd interaction with pointing the arms in the sky gave a nice effect. After juries awarded France the 8th position, televoters were less impressed. They only voted Madame Monsieur on the 17th spot, which resulted in a 13th place overall.
Read our other Eurovision 2018 reviews: ALBANIA – ARMENIA – AUSTRALIA –AUSTRIA – AZERBAIJAN – BELARUS –BELGIUM – BULGARIA – CROATIA – CYPRUS –CZECH REPUBLIC – DENMARK – ESTONIA – FINLAND – FYR MACEDONIA – GEORGIA – GERMANY – GREECE – HUNGARY – ICELAND –IRELAND – ISRAEL –ITALY – LATVIA – LITHUANIA –MALTA – MOLDOVA – MONTENEGRO – THE NETHERLANDS – NORWAY – POLAND – PORTUGAL – ROMANIA – RUSSIA – SAN MARINO – SERBIA – SLOVENIA – SPAIN – SWEDEN – SWITZERLAND – UKRAINE – UNITED KINGDOM