Requiem by Alma
Every year I bemoan the fact that France has rarely been rewarded for the diversity she has brought to Eurovision. Their entries (and their entrants – bonjour Monsieur Matador!) have often been among my favourites, but Patricia Kaas and, last year, Amir are rare examples of top 10 results amid a glut of finishes in the 20s. This year France delights me yet again with this track from newcomer Alma. The punchy instrumentation sits perfectly with Alma’s delivery, the words matching the feel of the piece so well. Who doesn’t want to scream along with her when she implores ‘Kiss me! Tell me that you love me!’ (which sounds infinitely less clingy en Français)? The song has echoes of Stromae for me, which will never be a bad thing. It’s up there not only amongst my favourites for 2017 but amongst my favourite all-time Eurovision entries, and with Italy is the song I’ve listened to most this year so far.
But this is France, and anything could happen on the night. An early audience-filmed clip of Alma performing caused concern vocally, but later appearances in national finals at at the various preview parties have demonstrated she can sing this perfectly well. Her stage presence feels a little flimsy though, and if ever a song needed a strong visual presentation it’s this one. I’m enthused by the EBU’s recently released You Tube clip showing the Head of Delegation stating they’re discussing production elements ahead of the show. The dancing couple in the video are a simple but effective emblem that would be easy to replicate, both live and via projection, and distract the viewer should Alma appear a bit limp. I’ll be mighty impressed if by some TV magic they can get them dancing up a wall and hanging underneath the Pont Neuf.
My marks – douze points!