The Fanning Verdict Eurovision 2021: France

Barbara Pravi, France, Second Rehearsal, Rotterdam Ahoy, 15 May 2021 — EBU / Andres Putting
Barbara Pravi, France, Second Rehearsal, Rotterdam Ahoy, 15 May 2021

If you followed the French national final, you’ve already seen Barbara Pravi’s performance of ‘Voilà’. It’s much the same right down to the birds bursting from her shadow to (what I first took to be a misfire) shot of her hand. Joe Public won’t have had that experience and Saturday will be their first encounter with this big old box of something very French indeed.

This isn’t a studio-produced song. It bears the character and glory of being the kind of thing that only truly works live – perhaps with a cup of Merlot. That said, for the first run through, I caught slight vocal shudders at the start – but honestly, that’s just me nitpicking what was a compelling performance. And anything I thought I heard wasn’t there second time through.

Barbara is perhaps the only act who doesn’t need to constantly perform to the camera. It’s often better that she doesn’t. In this way, the effect we get is of a torch singer in a bar working an audience, her face transmitting emotion.

The camera work looked marginally less frenetic today (than in the first rehearsal), particularly at the end as the song speeds up.

I should perhaps mention a suggestion of costume malfunction at one point that will necessitate double tit tape on her bustier for the big night. And look out for the subtle ‘Piaf’ reference.

The Fanning Verdict

Thumbs up iconI make no secret of my love for this song. BUT, no matter what the bookmakers say, France has been high in their ranks before and not made the top five. I also disagree with those who say it stands out by being different. Although the semi-finals are upbeat-female-heavy, there’s a fair bit of weirdness on offer. Notably, none of the big five have gone down this path! ‘Voilà’ is strangely familiar though and maybe that’s the level of comfort a confused televoter needs.