France in the Eurovision Song Contest
|Member station||France 3 (1999—)
Antenne 2 (1983–92)
France 2 (1993–98)
|National selection events||National Final (1957–1959, 1961, 1970, 1973, 1976–1981, 1983–1987, 1999, 2000, 2005–2007, 2014–present)
Internal Selection (1956–1958, 1960, 1962–1969, 1971–1972, 1975, 1988–1998, 2001–2004, 2008–2013)
|Best result||1st: 1958, 1960, 1962, 1969, 1977|
|Worst result||24th: 1998|
|France 3 page|
|France's page at Eurovision.tv|
France is one of the most successful countries in the Eurovision Song Contest and has entered the competition fifty-six times since their debut at the very first contest in 1956. France is one of only seven countries to be present at the very first contest, and has only been absent from two contests in its history, missing the 1974 and 1982 contests. Despite appearing in the Contest for over 50 years, France has never taken last place, although they ended up placing second to last five times.
France has gone through a number of broadcasters that presented Eurovision to the French. From 1956 to 1964 Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (RTF) was the French broadcaster. ORTF (Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française) took over from RTF in 1965, and showed Eurovision until 1973. TF1 took over from ORTF from 1975 to 1981, when they withdrew. Antenne 2 took over from TF1 in 1983 and its current incarnation, France Télévisions, is the current French broadcaster from 1992.
With the introduction of the semi-final in 2004, France 4 (part of France Télévisions) from the 2005 presents the Eurovision Song Contest semi-final, with France 3 continuing to organise a selection for the participant song and present the Eurovision Song Contest final.
France is one of the most successful countries in the Eurovision, winning the contest five times, coming second four times and coming third seven times. France was ranked first in number of victories (either alone or tied with other countries) without interruptions from 1960 to 1993. More over, Amina was close to win with the song "Le Dernier qui a parlé..." in 1991, when she finished at the same points as Sweden. Both countries had an equal number of twelve points, but the victory went to Sweden, when France had fewer 10-points. Today, with the new rules, France would have won the competition, because they received points from more countries than Sweden. One year before, France was also close to win, when Joëlle Ursull performed Serge Gainsbourg's song "White and Black Blues". The song came second.
However, in recent years, the French results have been somewhat disappointing. Since 1998, when the televoting was invented, France has almost always been in the bottom-10 countries in the final, coming 18th (2003 and 2008), 19th (1999), 22nd (2006, 2007 and 2012), 23rd (2000, 2005 and 2013) and 24th (1998). Despite this France has never come last in the contest since their debut.
Yet, France have had some good results during the 21st century. In 2001, Canadian singer Natasha St-Pier came 4th for France with her song "Je n'ai que mon âme", being the favourite to win the contest by fans and odds. This good result was carried into the 2002 contest, when Sandrine François came 5th with "Il faut du temps" and received the Marcel Bezençon international press award for the best entry of that year. Finally, the positive experience with Sébastien Tellier in 2008 created considerable interest among the French show business for the contest, which resulted in the fact that Eurovision is seen now in the French media as a great advertising campaign and it has been decided that big names will represent France in the future. With these ambitions, the French superstar Patricia Kaas represented France in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 in Moscow, Russia. Kaas is one of the most successful French-speaking singers in the world and she has sold over 16 million records worldwide. She ended in 8th place. Kaas received the Marcel Bezençon artistic award, which was voted on by previous winners and presented to the best artist.
Since their debut in 1956 France has only missed two contests, in 1974 and 1982. In 1974, after selecting a singer and song to represent them at the contest, France withdrew after the President of France Georges Pompidou died in the week of the contest. If they had participated in the contest, France would have been represented by Dani with the song "La vie à vingt-cinq ans".
In November 1981, TF1 declined to enter the Eurovision Song Contest for 1982, with the head of entertainment, Pierre Bouteiller, saying, "The absence of talent and the mediocrity of the songs were where annoyance set in. Eurovision is a monument to inanity [sometimes translated as "drivel"]." Antenne 2 took over the job due to public reaction of TF1's withdraw, hosting a national final to select their entry as well, from the 1983 contest.
France and the "Big Five"
Since 1999, four particular countries have automatically qualified for the Eurovision final, regardless of their positions on the scoreboard in previous Contests. They earned this special status by being the four biggest financial contributors to the EBU (without which the production of the Eurovision Song Contest would not be possible). These countries are the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain. Due to their untouchable status in the Contest, these countries became known as the "Big Four". Italy returned to the contest in 2011, thus becoming part of a "Big Five".
- Second place
- Third place
- Last place
- Automatically qualified to the final
- Did not qualify for the final
- Did not compete or was relegated
NOTE: The full results for the first contest in 1956 are unknown, only the winner was announced. The official Eurovision site lists all the other songs as being placed second.
As of 2013, France's voting history is as follows:
- Winner – France gave 12 points to a winning song.
- Second place – France gave 12 points to a runner-up song.
- Third place – France gave 12 points to a third place song.
- Qualified – France gave 12 points to a song that qualified to the Grand Finals.
- Non-qualified – France gave 12 points to a song that did not qualify to the Grand Finals
|1975||United Kingdom||1988||Denmark||No semi-finals||2001||Portugal||No semi-finals|
|1978||Belgium||1991||Cyprus||2004||Turkey||Did not broadcast|
|1982||Did not participate||1995||United Kingdom||2008||Armenia||Portugal|
|1984||Belgium||1997||United Kingdom||No semi-finals||2010||Turkey||Serbia|
1 The voting for the 1996 pre-qualifying round is unknown to date.
|1959||Cannes||Palais des Festivals||Jacqueline Joubert|
|1978||Paris||Palais des Congrès||Denise Fabre and Léon Zitrone|
Marcel Bezençon Awards
|Year||Song||Performer||Final Result||Points||Host city|
|2002||"Il faut du temps"||Sandrine François||5th||104||Tallinn|
Artistic Award (Voted by previous winners)
|Year||Performer||Song||Final Result||Points||Host city|
|2009||Patricia Kaas||"Et s'il fallait le faire"||8th||107||Moscow|
Lyrics (l) / Music (m)
|2011||"Sognu"||Daniel Moyne (m), Quentin Bachelet(m)
and Jean-Pierre Marcellesi (l), Julie Miller (l)
Commentators and spokespersons
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2012)|
Since their debut in 1956 French television have sent their best television presenters and entertainers including Pierre Tchernia, Léon Zitrone, Robert Beauvais, Olivier Minne, Michel Drucker, Patrick Sabatier and Laurent Boyer. Every year until 1979 Monaco shared the French Commentary.
|Year(s)||Grand Final Television Commentator||Grand Final Dual Television Commentator||Spokesperson||Semi Final Television Commentator||Semi Final Dual Television Commentator|
|1956||Michèle Rebel||No Dual Television Commentator||N/A||No Semi Finals||No Semi Finals|
|1957||Robert Beauvais||Claude Darget|
|1959||Claude Darget||Marianne Lecène|
|1971||Georges de Caunes||N/A|
|1974||Did not participate|
|1975||Georges de Caunes||Unknown|
|1977||Georges de Caunes|
|1978||Léon Zitrone||Denise Fabre|
|1979||Marc Menant||No Dual Television Commentator||Fabienne Égal|
|1982||No television broadcast||Did not participate|
|1983||Léon Zitrone||Geneviève Moll|
|1985||Patrice Laffont||Élisabeth Tordjman|
|1987||Patrick Simpson-Jones||Lionel Cassan|
|1988||Lionel Cassan||Catherine Ceylac|
|1990||Richard Adaridi||Valérie Maurice|
|1991||Léon Zitrone||Marie-France Brière|
|1992||Thierry Beccaro||Laurent Romejko|
|1995||Olivier Minne||Thierry Beccaro|
|1997||Frédéric Ferrer & Marie Myriam|
|1998||Chris Mayne||Laura Mayne||Marie Myriam|
|1999||Julien Lepers||No Dual Television Commentator|
|2001||Marc-Olivier Fogiel||Dave||Corinne Hermès|
|2003||Laurent Ruquier||Isabelle Mergault||Sandrine François|
|2004||Elsa Fayer||Alex Taylor||No broadcast||No broadcast|
|2005||Julien Lepers||Guy Carlier||Marie Myriam||Peggy Olmi||No Dual Commentator|
|2006||Michel Drucker||Claudy Siar||Sophie Jovillard||Eric Jeanjean|
|2007||Julien Lepers||Tex||Vanessa Dolmen||Yann Renoard|
|2008||Jean-Paul Gaultier||Cyril Hanouna|
|2009||Cyril Hanouna||Julien Courbet||Yann Renoard|
|2010||Stéphane Bern||Audrey Chauveau|
|2011||Laurent Boyer||Catherine Lara||Cyril Féraud||Audrey Chauveau||Bruno Berberes|
|2012||Cyril Féraud||Mireille Dumas||Amaury Vassili|
- History - Eurovision Song Contest 1974 Eurovision.tv
- 1982 Eurovision source in French
- O'Connor, John Kennedy (2005). The Eurovision Song Contest 50 Years The Official History. London: Carlton Books Limited. ISBN 1-84442-586-X.
- Fulton, Rick (2007-05-14). "The East V West Song Contest". Daily Record. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
- Barclay, Simon (June 17, 2010). The Complete and Independent Guide to the Eurovision Song Contest 2010. Silverthorn Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-4457-8415-1.
- Huffington Post analysis
- French Eurovision site
- French website
- Myspace Eurovision France
- Points to and from France eurovisioncovers.co.uk