France is a country that very often finds its way into my top 10 or even top 5. It happened in 1977, 1991, 2001, 2004, 2009, 2013 and 2015, just to mention a few. However, it’s rarely my favorite. That’s only happened once that I can remember; Sébastien Tellier’s “Divine” from Belgrade in 2008.
Was there ever a more fitting title to a song? In the history of forever?! I think not. The song is divine, the singer is divine and the live performance was a divine mess!
A complete (golf) car(t) crash!
If I had only watched the final this song and artist would have flown totally under my radar. The final performance was a total mess, and the vocals were, shall we say interesting (?!). It all rather resembled a joke entry. Sébastien himself seemed like some sort of an absurd joke. Add to that a golf cart, a helium filled globe beash ball and five backing singers who were all totally off key, while also wearing wigs and fake beards to resemble Sébastien. Thank heavens I had already listened to and fallen in love with both the song and the singer well before the night of the final! The studio version is 100% genious! If I hadn’t I would have missed out on a lot of wonderful music by this amazing artist.
Live in Oslo
2008 was before I started travelling to Eurovision, so I never really thought I would get to experience this masterpiece live. However, just two weeks before heading to Belgrade, Sébastien came to Oslo! He played a gig in one of my fave clubs, “Blå”. I was on a bar stool only a few feet away from the stage, and though he didn’t take his sunglasses off even once during the gig, it was one of my most intense concert experiences ever.
My students are also pretty divine!
I’ve always used my students as “lab rats”; having them vote on all the entries to get a picture of what songs might be popular. And they LOVED “Divine”! I have to admit, though, that more than anything they loved the official vidoe and Sébastien throwing the microphone back and forth…to himself! During lunch hour they would do the same thing, except they would use a banana instead!
If you want to know more about this divine artist; check out our “Unforgettable Artist” feature about Sébastien.
What the others think
To be honest with you, when I watched his performance back in 2008 it was like “WTF is going on”. Watching it now still gives me a bit of that feeling. But now it feels like it aged very well. I absolutely love his backing singers and the way he makes it feel like he has no idea what he is doing, but at the same time gets all the camera angles and just feels his music. If you like the song or not, this is one of the iconic performances we will remember for a long time.
I just can’t get this song but I understand those who are really into it. I just think I would need a good amount of alcohol to enjoy this, and unfortunately I’m completely sober now, so it is a no from me. France was lost at the time and they just got back on the game in 2009. I appreciate the originality of the performance, but I just can’t figure out if there is some meaning behind it or if they were just like “Hum, what can we do to catch viewers attention?”. The wonders of the 100% televote years. I respect this, but as I said it isn’t a song I would play. This is the “France at Eurovision” I would like to forget about.
In 2008 France desperately needed am entrant, so the man, the myth, the legend that is Sebastien Tellier grabbed his favourite beach ball, got on his golf buggy and drove all the way over to sunny Belgrade to save the day. Time was of the essence, so he burst through the security gate and drove right on stage to sing for millions of people. And what a song it was…The years have gone by fast, but I still consider it one of my favourite French entries in the contest. Some of that might have to do with all the car commercials I keep hearing it in, but it really is just a catchy tune, perfect for any occasion. Sure, his falsetto technique mostly consisted of sucking on some helium and he had 5 homeless looking clones on stage, but one of those went on to win the entire contest in 2014 so clearly the man was a trend-setter. There really is only one word to best end this all on: Divine!
I just love this song. It’s very 80s synthpop with a great instrumental hook and with a fabulous chorus. Who knew that Sébastien’s backing vocalists would predict Conchita? The performance was a bit of a trolling, but still – a great song is a great song. Underrated.
Next week Rodrigo will throw you all back to Germany! What year, you ask? No idea yet; you’ll have to wait and see!