NF Review (kind of): La France veut avoir une “Moustache”!

Okay, this weekend’s selections haven’t entirely resulted in the best choices the countries could have gone for *ahem* Lithuania, Estonia *ahem*, but today we finally learned who would represent France in Copenhagen. Hallelujah, it’s TwinTwin who will go to Denmark with the song Moustache! Félicitations! So how did they come to win the chance to go to Eurovision? Read on to find out!

It's TwinTwin for France!
It’s TwinTwin for France!

The French public had several weeks to vote for who they felt should be the winner of the ‘national final’ – the first one in seven years (yes, SEVEN). After all three songs were premiered on a special edition of Les chansons d’abord, Destan, TwinTwin and Joanna were put on loop on France 3 and France Bleu. The public votes were combined with the votes from a jury and today we finally got the result. This is what will represent France at Eurovision..in all it’s moustache-y glory:

The song:

First of all, I must thank the French public for picking the group to go to Eurovision. For me, ‘Moustache’ is the catchiest song France has sent in a long, long time – and that’s saying something as I believe ‘Echo (You and I)‘ and ‘L’enfer et moi‘ are absolute CHOONS. You get what I mean though – Twin Twin has actually brought France a decent pop song – and I for one am welcoming them with open arms. The song is utter fabulousness, as we both agreed in the preview article, and TwinTwin’s performance is infectiously energetic and positive. Hopefully it will translate well onto the Copenhagen stage, because I honestly believe this is the best chance France have had in years: despite the fact I’ve loved most of their recent entries, “Moustache” is the first one that I believe could hoover up votes from all four corners of Europe.

Here’s why.

  1. It’s modern and chart-friendly. Now, of course, we have explored this in the past, and sometimes it can be more of a hindrance than a help, but in terms specific to this entry, I’d like to reference the much-highlighted parallels between “Moustache” and Stromae’s “Papaoutai”. No, there’s not a whiff of plagiarism in sight, before somebody starts, but there is a definite emulation of the concept here. Look at “Papaoutai” as a style model, if you will. “Moustache” is a new composition which draws on everything which made Stromae’s hit so successful last summer, and reassembles it with the Eurovision Song Contest in mind. It’s electropop with a punchy melody and craaaaazy synth riffs that stick in your head after one listen. If juries or televoters are looking to vote for a good modern song, France are handing it to them on a plate.
  2. It’s *funny* enough to be misconstrued as a joke entry. The three of them are hyperactive, to put it nicely. And he’s singing about facial hair. Your Western European Saturday-night voters are going to LOVE this; to them, this is exactly what Eurovision is, and when they’re pissed out of their senses at a Eurovision party, this is exactly the kind of thing they will pick up the phone for.
  3. It uses the old Siegel trick of “international” language. Rewind to 1994 a sec. “Wir Geben ‘Ne Party” sounded almost exactly like “We’re Giving A Party”. Ralph Siegel, back in the days where he used to be able to write decent songs, was an absolute master at making songs in foreign languages more widely accessible through use of international cognates. TwinTwin have chosen to anchor their composition around the word “moustache”, which, aided by the inevitable hand gestures, is pretty much a universally understandable concept. Yet another tick.
  4. The vocals are on point. Granted, it’s not the most challenging song to sing, and you don’t need Rona Nishliu-esque vocal dexterity to pull it off, but the live performance of “Moustache” from a few weeks ago was nigh on perfect. A jury looking for a well-executed three minutes of singing wouldn’t be able to fault it.

This. Song. Is. Dangerous.

Of course, in the light of day, there really wasn’t a lot of competition standing in TwinTwin’s way. Destan’s song had literally been dragged kicking and screaming out of 1994, whereas Joanna’s chanson-inspired ballad was just a little too bland. I hope France 3 are happy with the public’s decision, because I for one have sent “Moustache” straight to the top of my current rankings. Love it, love it, love it.

The show:

As the French decision was announced as part of a pre-existing television show – as opposed to a designated selection show – there isn’t really much show analysis we can realistically do, as we’re not exactly here to pass judgement on French evening television are we!

… I said that about Macedonia, and then went on to analyse the show anyway, but seriously this time.. I got nothing. Eurovision.tv didn’t even stream the French announcement as far as I’m aware, so I haven’t even seen the whole “Les Chansons D’Abord” show from earlier today *cry*. However, one teency little point I’d like to mention is that it’s lovely to see Natasha St-Pier again, still approaching Eurovision with enthusiasm despite the fact that she’s been rocketed to mega-stardom in the thirteen intervening years since her participation in the contest. It’s not uncommon for participants to shake off the Eurovision tag as soon as they get the chance, and even though her role in this national selection was simply a continuation of the hosting job she does on a weekly basis anyway, she was a familiar face for all us international fans.

At Eurovision:

Hmm… see above, really. I can see so many reasons why this *should* do well, and why I would *like* it to do well. Whether it gets the eventual result it deserves is another thing entirely. We can’t forget that this is France, a country who had the (horrendously overrated) bookies’ fave in 2011 and flopped to 15th, a country who is coming from two consecutive twenty-something results with brilliant songs… a country whose best recent placing with Patricia Kaas was about as stylistically “safe” as it is possible to be…

Their decision to send “Moustache” was most certainly the right one to make, but I’m not as confident as I’d like to be when trying to foresee its Eurovision fate. Harking back to Jessy Matador, whose high-octane performance of “Allez! Ola! Olé!” in Oslo could be something of a precursor to this 2014 song, even a good draw and strong vocals couldn’t propel him any higher than 12th. Which, admittedly, would be lauded as a good result for the French. But still. If the result was entirely decided by Rory and I, this song would finish a hell of a lot higher than 12th! Obviously, with them being a pre-qualified finalist, they have the benefit that they will be seen on the Saturday night no matter what… I’m guessing it will be knocking on the door of the top ten, but might not quite have the mileage to get any higher, how about you?

Your Views:

What do you think of the 2014 Ukrainian entry?
What do you think of “Moustache”?

Nick van Lith from the Netherlands: France have clearly lost the plot. I like Moustache, but what happened to the times of Natasha St-Pier or even Patricia Kaas? This song is fun, it’s enthusiasm, but I’m afraid it just goes nowhere for someone who will see this for the first time. Dommage, la France.

Gijsbert Groenveld from the Netherlands: This might get a result like Jessy Matador (although he had a far better act) Rate it 6/10

Mette Sternersen from Norway: WTF!?!?! The big 5 is complaining about bad results in ESC…and then France choose THIS load of crap?? I’m beginning to think that I won’t care who wins this year, since I’m not a fan of ANY of the songs chosen so far. Not good.

Steinar Mogen from Norway:  Fresh, groovy song…like it a lot! Thank heavens Ma liberté didn’t win

I’m sad but not surprised that “Moustache” seems to be attracting so much criticism already. At the end of the day, like I said above, it’s very easily misconstrued as a joke song, whereas any French speakers like me will realise that there is a kind of social message buried in the lyrics, below the fabulous layers of infectious melody and enthusiasm from the guys themselves. Hopefully this song will tap into a few different voting markets, but judging by some of the condemnatory fan opinions here, this might not be met with much reverence!

What do YOU think of France’s 2014 song? Feel free to let us know below!

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