26 January 2015

Eurovision 2015: France: Lisa Angell: N'oubliez pas

Lisa Angell is the French Representative
Sometimes, the Eurovision Song Contest can take you by surprise. Case in point, the somewhat covert announcement of the French entry for 2015.

After last year's dire result for France, the new Eurovision broadcaster for the country, France 2, has announced in almost hushed tones, that their choice for Vienna is an emotive ballad called N'oubliez pas, sung by the relatively unknown chanteuse, Lisa Angell.

"Participation is a dream come true," states the singer, whose style and presentation hark back to France's more successful, classic era at the Contest. No surprise then that several voices have already condemned the selection as old-fashioned, cheesy and destined to perform badly on the scoreboard come May 23. Quite probably it is not the winner, but this is the type of song that works best for France, in my opinion. Remember Sandrine François' fifth place in 2002 with the stunning, Il faut du temps?

N'oubliez pas, however, was written last November amidst the commemoration services for the centenary of the outbreak of World War 1. Its lyrics are a message of peace and remembrance. Lisa Angell, a songstress of more than twenty years experience, has the power in her voice to deliver the theme of the composition with conviction and compassion. Unfortunately, it's now a message with heightened resonance since the recent events in Paris.

By May, the fallout from those attacks may have faded somewhat and that will leave N'oubliez pas to stand on its own merits. In an ideal world, it would have no problem doing so. Eurovision is not an ideal world, though. These days, it seems it is more to do with the presentation and the 'look' of the singer than it is the song. It's therefore a brave step by France 2 to pick someone who is in her mid-Forties and equally one who does not conform to today's image of the 'ideal pop star'.

That said, the performance will demand good staging and lighting. It will need to be as equally as powerful as the song in order to deliver its message and keep it fresh in the mind of the voters. Above all, Lisa Angell will have to provide a vocal of equivalently outstanding quality as the studio version of the song.

I hope that she can and, in doing so, help France nearer to the top of the scoreboard where this song belongs.

What do you think?

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