9 November – I feel as if I’m in a tale by Edgar Allan Poe

It’s always a good thing when a country tries something different. There’s one thing for a formulaic song, but thinking outside the box can be a breath of fresh air. It can sometimes pay dividends too.

In the 1990s, our friends in France did some experimentation. As a country with global ties, there was plenty of scope to choose from. In 1990, the broadcaster Antenne 2 picked today’s birthday girl Joëlle Ursull. She is one of very few people born in the Caribbean to sing in our favourite TV show, and hails from Guadeloupe. Very exotic. She was given a song written by the legendary Serge Gainsbourg (a former winning writer), know for his cutting edge work. Her song was a breath of fresh air and she finished joint second. She scored the most maxima in 1990, but one of the countries that didn’t give her votes was the eventual winner. Still, 17 points adrift of the win was a big gap in the 1990s, but her song proved that Europe was quite happy to give a less poppy, more ethnic sound a try.

Joëlle is 60 today.

Bonne anniversaire, Joëlle!