05 February 2019

2019: France | Bilal Hassani | Roi

Bilal Hassani Eurovision France 2019
Bilal Hassani

Bilal Hassani expectedly won the right to represent France in Tel Aviv with the song Roi, although it was not as smooth a passage to the Eurovision final as some might have forecast.

Once again, decided by way of the French national final Destination Eurovision, Hassani had to endure a vote of indifference from most of the international judges selected to award fifty percent of the points. It was only a landslide of public votes which saved the 19-year-old from a loss to second placed Seemone with Tous les deux: the favourite with the judges.

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Whether either song possesses the power to break France's 42 year run of losses is highly speculative, but the feeling here is that it is distinctly unlikely that Roi will break into the Top 10.

Alas, the lineup at DE 2019 was fairly dull, so it was really no surprise that Hassani's more vibrant and personal performance would stand out against the competition. Unfortunately, the song (co-written with France's 2018 contestants, Madame Monsieur) sounds like a substandard protest, full of hackneyed phrases aimed at the now generation of youngsters seemingly so consumed with their identity.

It was mainly due to this set of fans that Hassani crossed the finish line in first place. However, the wider Eurovision audience is unlikely to be so adoringly fervent about Roi, particularly if Hassani turns in a similarly substandard vocal in Israel.

There has been a strong case that France needed to move forward with their Eurovision choices. Over more recent years, one can argue that they have really tried. While this song fits in nicely with 2019 sensibilities, it nevertheless feels as if it is a step backwards and, consequently, unlikely to do any major damage in May.

Roi is not necessarily bad, it's just that Bilal Hassani does not provide it with the irresistibly fascinating performance that some might think he does.

What are your thoughts?

Artist: Bilal Hassani
Song:  Roi
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