The Xtra Files 2019: We review France’s ‘Roi’ by Bilal Hassani

Welcome to The Xtra Files, our new series which will give you an insight into what the team at ESCXTRA think of your favourite entries into this year’s contest! Today, we review France.

Now that all the songs have been released, we are able to review each and every one of them. Our honest and brutal reviews will keep you entertained until the rehearsals start on 5 May! We will also each give a score out of 10 for every entry, and create an ESCXTRA leaderboard of the entries!

The series begins today, with reviews of the French entry, ‘Roi’ by Bilal Hassani, from Costa, Dan, Emanuel, Nathan W, Riccardo and Vincent. Let’s get started!


The Reviews


In Roi, we have a classic case of ‘love the singer, but not the song’. Bilal is a star – brave, eloquent, resilient, unique…everything the song is not. ‘Roi’ is a pretty standard ‘thank you for hurting me, because I am now strong’ pop number. In a post-Fighter-by-Xtina world, I can’t help but feel underwhelmed by such a message. Bilal has the potential to make music that speaks directly to the thousands of people he inspires, and I can’t wait to see what he does in the future. For now, as a Eurovision entry, Roi underwhelms me.


I have to admit that this one didn’t initially catch my attention and I was left rather baffled at how well it performed in the national final. However, I’m finding myself humming along to it more and more as the weeks have gone by. It’s not the best musically but I applaud its lyrics and the message Bilal is putting across. Given that, in my opinion, this is a particuarly weak year of songs, I think this may not do as bad as I initially thought although I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it still misses out on reaching the left hand side of the scoreboard.


This song wasn’t my favourite in the French national final at all. Actually I think there were several better options. Bilal has a lot of charisma and he really wants this, but I don’t think this is THE song, and it is even hard for me to believe that it was written by Madame Monsieur. I also don’t get the mix between English and French. Mixing these two languages is like mixing wine and vodka. It can sound like a good idea at first, but at the end of the night you just get wasted and end up doing some cringy stuff. I know that they wanted to pass the message, but lyrics like “I’m not rich but I’m shining bright” aren’t worthy of a Literature Nobel Prize at all. So I think my life could go on without understanding them. With this, I agree the song has a great message, but I just don’t think the song and those lyrics make justice to that message. I would rather prefer if you made a conference about it and not a song.

Nathan W

Bilal has a lot of work to do with the presentation of Roi, as the performance in Destination Eurovision comes off a little arrogant rather than empowering. However, at its heart is another brilliant song co-written by Madame Monsieur, with clever bilingual lyrics which will be easily identifiable to many viewers of the contest. His styling is smart and yet quirky, his personality is strong and infectious and his stage presence keeps you focussed on his performance throughout. This has all the bones of a strong result for France if staged much simpler, allowing the lyrics and story of the empowerment anthem to shine.


I attended France’s national final live and had they chosen Chimene Badi’s “La Haut” they would have been my winners. Instead they played it safe and chose this. Insert annoyed emoji here. I like Bilal, his personality and his determination and I like part of the instrumentation. But the whole package instead of making me feel like a royal makes me feel like I am stuck outside on a cold, rainy day. And I really hope he improves his vocals before May, otherwise this is bound to struggle.


The song itself, the melody is nice with a good chorus that can stay in the head of everyone (especially “and I know-o-o-o”). However, Bilal wasn’t a good performer in Destination Eurovision: though his stage presence has improved, his vocals are still weak. And while many praise the lyrics, I find them a bit too immature at times, disconnected: “When I dream, I am a king”, like a teenager who stays stuck in his little world


Costa6Nathan P2.5Simon4
Dan6Nathan W7Tim9.5
Dominik7Nick4.5Tom O4.5
Emanuel6Oliver6.5Tom R8.5

Therefore, the average score for France is 5.74.


France reaches 1st place with a score of 5.74.

  1. France – 5.74
  2. Australia – 4.65

Tomorrow, it will be the turn of Lithuania to be reviewed.

Do you agree with our reviews of France? What are your thoughts on Roi?

Let us know on social media @ESCXTRA!

Luke Malam

I've watched Eurovision for as long as I can remember, but my interest really built in 2008, after I decided to watch the semifinals online, out of boredom, before the final...I was blown away by the quality of the show and have been hooked ever since! I'm a competitive trampolinist and I love baking. I've also just completed a master's degree in Research Methods in Psychology at University College London.
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