The Scoop

Eurovision Stars going lyrical tonight!

Several Eurovision singers, from very different generations, will be singing tonight on a lyrical show broadcast by France 3.

Singers and Chorists

This unique program is called 300 choeurs chantent les grands airs lyriques (300 chorists sing the great lyrical tunes). The show has already been recorded, and will be broadcast tonight at 20:55 (CET) on France 3.
Several singers will sing famous lyrical and opera pieces with different choirs. Covers will be completely exclusive versions, arranged specially for the occasion. There will be some very classical pieces (like Carmina Burana, worldwide famous for its opening), but also more modern songs, like Vivo Per Lei.
According to France Télévisions, more than 20 singers will follow one another on stage, including 8 Eurovision veterans:

  • Serge Lama (France 1971)
  • Patrick Fiori (France 1993)
  • Natasha St-Pier (France 2001)
  • Amaury Vassily (France 2011)
  • Lisa Angell (France 2015)
  • Il Volo (Italy 2015)

Since Il Volo is a male trio, that does make 8 artists.
Before the show starts, let’s rewatch a bit of Eurovision history through those different generations of singers and performers.

Before the 2010’s : Serge Lama, Patrick Fiori, Natasha St-Pier

These three singers are not from the same generation, yet they share similarities. Unlike the three (well, 5) others, they did not sing at Eurovision in the 2010’s. And they are also among the few singers who represented France once and who are still famous today in France (although, not necessarily for their Eurovision entry).
Serge Lama represented France in Dublin, in 1971. His song, Un Jardin sur la Terre (A Garden on Earth), ended up 10th with 82 points. Interestingly, the winner in 1971 was Monaco, represented by the French singer Séverine, who had lost against Serge Lama in the French national selection a few months before.
The lyrics of Lama’s song were critical of the changing attitudes towards life, of its chaotic nature, where everything became too fast and disposable. Instead, Serge Lama wanted stability, a “garden on Earth” to live happy.

Serge Lama’s most famous song, Je Suis Malade (I am ill), was covered in Hebrew by Israeli singer Harel Skaat. He represented Israel at Eurovision in Oslo, in 2010.

Patrick Fiori represented France in Ireland too, but in Millstreet, in 1993. He finished 4th, with 121 points. The young singer (he was 23 at the time) came from the island of Corsica, one of the few parts of France that still keeps a very strong local culture and identity. His song, Mama Corsica was mostly in French, with a few lyrics in Corsican, and celebrated the island. It was very important to Fiori, since Corsica doesn’t have a good reputation in mainland France, despite its touristic appeal.

This entry was in line with the three previous songs sent by France at Eurovision, all of them representing an exotic aspect of France. White and Black Blues in 1990 was full of african sounds and sung by a black woman, who celebrated her origins as well as equality. C’est le dernier qui a parlé qui a raison, the almost-winner in 1991, was more arabic, and sung by Amina, a singer born in Tunisia. And in 1992, Monté la Riviè was written in Creole, and sung by Kali, who was born in the French Carribean island of Martinique

Natasha St-Pier represented France in 2001, in Copenhagen, Denmark, where she ended up 4th with 142 points. The Canadian singer sang Je n’ai que mon âme (All I have is my soul), a power ballad with, for the first time in French Eurovision history, a full verse in English. This caused a bit of controversy in France at the time, but the song was still among the favourites to win (and the favourite of the late Terry Wogan).

The 2010’s : Amaury Vassili, Lisa Angell and Il Volo

In 2011, Amaury Vassili represented France. He is an opera singer and a professional tenor. His song Sognu (I dream) was written entirely in Corsican, going a step further than Patrick Fiori almost twenty years before. Despite being a favourite of both bookmakers and fans (2nd in the OGAE Poll), he only got 82 points, ranking 15th. That didn’t stop the entry from winning the Marcel Bezançon Award for the Best Composition, though.

In 2015, it was Lisa Angell who represented “the hexagon”. Her song, N’Oubliez Pas, was written and composed by Robert Goldman (brother of the famous french artist Jean-Jacques Goldman, and author-composer of Je n’ai que mon âme), and was first performed in November 2014 for Armistice Day, 100 years after the First World War had begun. The lyrics tell the story of a woman, victim of the War, who sees here village destroyed by foreign soldiers. Despite a very strong performance, France ended up once again on the right side of the scoreboard, with only 4 points, and the 25th position (out of 27).

The same year, Sanremo’s winners Il Volo represented Italy, with their “popera” love song Grande Amore (Great Love). The trio consists in Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto and Gianluca Ginoble. They were the 27th and last to sing, closing the Grand Final in Vienna. Despite winning the televote, they were only 6th in the votes of the jury. As a result, they only took the third place, with 292 points, only 8 points behind Russia. Had the new system been used, they still wouldn’t have won over Sweden, but would have placed 2nd.
In spite of this defeat, the Italian trio received the Marcel Bezançon Press Award, and their international career skyrocketed.

Tonight, according to France 3’s TV trailer, they will be singing a cover of the famous Italian song Nel blu dipinto di blu (Volare). The song represented Italy in the 1958 Eurovision Song Contest, but didn’t win.
In any event, what do you think? Do you like these artists? Do you intend to watch the show? Tell us on the comments below or on social media at @escxtra !

Vincent Mazoyer

I'm a French Eurovision fan, and an ESCXTRA Editor since August 2017. I love following national selections and live tweeting on Destination Eurovision / Eurovision CVQD for ESCXTRA. Outside of this nice Eurosphere, I'm a "fan" of the audio medium, from radio podcasts to commercialy-released audios, Modern Pentathlon, and more generally a business and law student.

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