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La Zarra to represent France in Liverpool for Eurovision 2023

French broadcaster France Télévisions internally selected risint French-Canadian star “La Zarra” to represent France in Liverpool in May. The song will be released in the coming weeks.

This afternoon, the French broadcaster France Télévisions held a press conference regarding the delegation’s plans for Eurovision 2023 in Liverpool. The conference was led by Alexandra Redde Amiel, the current French head of delegation.

She reminded the pool of journalists of France’s recent victory in Junior Eurovision in Yerevan last month. Her goal is still to win the main contest in May. For this purpose, France Télévisions internally selected La Zarra a few months ago, and is putting the national selection on hold for at least one year.

La Zarra, a mysterious artist from Canada

La Zarra is a rising French-speaking Canadian singer whose real name is Fatima-Zarra Hafdi. She was nominated in the “French-speaking musical revelation” category for the 2021 NRJ Music Awards.

First a hairdresser (and she says she’s still practicing), she was discovered by a music producer during a party at a her home. The day after, she was in his recording studio. She has then been featured in songs and clips of bigger artists like Niro, and first published covers, but in her own style.

This style mixes the worlds of rap and French chanson, and it’s a style she carried in her own songs, first published in 2021 (with “Tu t’en iras”), with a first album published in December 2021 (Traîtrise, aka “betrayal”).

A song release “in the coming 2 or 3 weeks”

The French song was not revealed at the press conference. However it should be released “in the coming 2 or 3 weeks”, according to the journalists present there.

The song will be true to La Zarra’s style, modern and with a classic French touch. We may expect something close to Europe’s expectations of what France should bring ot the Eurovision stage, perhaps what brought Barbara Pravi so close to victory in Rotterdam.

The most popular song form La Zarra, “Tu t’en iras” (You’re gonna leave), with more than 18 million views on Youtube, is a good example of her style.

In previous years

France has used both internal and national selections in its long history with the contest. The 2010’s started as a decade of mainly internal, but often not very competitive selections (with the exception of Amir in 2016). Starting in 2018, and with the exception of 2020, France 2 went back to national selections, first with “Destination Eurovision”, and now with “Eurovision France : C’est vous qui décidez”.

The results have been mixed, ranging from runner-up in 2021 to second-to-last in 2022, with the same format used both times.

The format is now “temporary on hold”, although the delegation started meeting several artists to prepare for a national selection. It’s only after meeting La Zarra that the decision was taken to cancel the plans for the 2023 edition, and internally select her directly.

Not the first French-Canadian at Eurovision

La Zarra is not the first Eurovision act from Québec. Céline Dion, who took part in the 1988 edition for Switzerland, is of course the most famous one. Her victory by 1p remains one of the closest ever, only behind Sweden’s tie-break in 1991.

Natasha St-Pier is also a French-Canadian singer who took part, this time representing France, in 2001. Her fourth place was, until 2021, the best French result of the current century.

What do you think of France Télévisions’ choice? Are you happy with this selection? Was it a good idea to cancel the national selection? What do you expect from La Zarra’s entry? Tell us more in the commenst below and on social media at @escxtra !

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