Eurovision 2021 Review: France – Barbara Pravi – Voilà

Barbara Pravi will represent France at Eurovision 2021 with ‘Voilà’
With only one top 10 finish in the past ten years, France does have something to prove in Eurovision. They were hoping to do so with Tom Leeb’s generic ballad ‘The Best In Me’ last year, but as we all know the contest got cancelled, because of COVID-19. The French broadcaster decided not to internally select Leeb again and organized a national final with 12 different artists. Singer Barbara Pravi emerged victorious with her song ‘Voilà’.

Pravi, a 27-year-old artist from Paris with two EPs to her name, is no stranger to Eurovision. She co-wrote the two most recent French entries in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, of which the last, ‘J’imagine’, won. From the moment the entries for the French national final were released, Pravi’s ‘Voilà’ was the front runner and fan favorite. She lived up to all the expectations as she won both the jury vote and televote.

So what is it about this song that seems to capture and impress audiences? ‘Voilà’ is a traditional ballad with a truly French character. The raw emotion and drama in both the melodies and vocals somewhat echo the style of legendary chanteuse Edith Piaf. It is the type of chanson you could picture being performed in an old school Parisian club. The lyrics, co-written by Pravi, are personal to her: it tells the story of a young singer who lays her soul bare and wants to tell her story and have her voice heard.

Pravi’s vocal performance is intensely emotional. There is a deep emotional connection to the lyrics with every word that she sings. Although the song seems quite challenging to perform, she absolutely nailed it live during the national final. The sober staging with some visual projections was spot on, with the camera work already capturing her emotive performances from all the right angles. She is an expressive performer who sells the song with passion.

France is definitely going to stand out during Eurovision 2021. They stay very close to the music the country is traditionally known for and the last time they sent a chanson remotely comparable to this (Patricia Kaas with ‘Et S’il Fallait Le Faire’ back in 2009), they reached top 10. ‘Voilà’ seems a sure fire jury pleaser, but with a simple and captivating performance like she did in the national final, I could see voters at home fall for her too. Either way I applaud France for sending an authentic, pure song with a stellar performance!


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