France in the Eurovision Song Contest
This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2013)
|Member station||France Télévisions (1993–present)|
|National selection events|
|Best result||1st: 1958, 1960, 1962, 1969, 1977|
|French broadcaster page|
|France's page at Eurovision.tv|
| For the most recent participation see|
France in the Eurovision Song Contest 2021
France has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 63 times since its debut at the first contest in 1956. France is one of only seven countries to be present at the first contest, and has been absent from only two contests in its history, missing the 1974 and 1982 contests. Along with Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, France is one of the "Big Five" countries that are automatically prequalified for the final, due to being the largest financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). France has won the contest five times.
France first won the contest in 1958 with "Dors, mon amour" performed by André Claveau. Three more victories followed in the 1960s, with "Tom Pillibi" performed by Jacqueline Boyer in 1960, "Un Premier Amour" performed by Isabelle Aubret in 1962 and "Un jour, un enfant" performed by Frida Boccara, who won in 1969 in a four-way tie with the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. France's fifth victory came in 1977, when Marie Myriam won with the song "L'oiseau et l'enfant". France has also finished second five times, with Paule Desjardins (1957), Catherine Ferry (1976), Joëlle Ursull (1990), Amina (1991), who lost out to Sweden's Carola in a tie-break, and Barbara Pravi (2021).
After reaching the top five in 24 contests in the 20th century, France has had less success in the 21st century, only making the top five three times, with Natasha St-Pier fourth (2001), Sandrine François fifth (2002) and Barbara Pravi second (2021). France's other top 10 results in the century are Patricia Kaas's eighth place in 2009 and Amir's sixth place in 2016. France finished last for the first time in 2014, when Twin Twin received only two points.
Several French broadcasters have been used to present Eurovision in the country, formerly RTF (1956–64), ORTF (1965–74), TF1 (1975–81) and Antenne 2 (1983–92). Since 1993, France Télévisions has been responsible for France's participation in the contest, with the final being broadcast on France 2 (1993–98, 2015–present) and France 3 (1999–2014), and the semi-final which France votes in broadcast on France 4 (2005–10, 2016–present) and later France Ô (2011–15). The semi-final in 2004 was not broadcast. The viewers which were close enough to Monaco, were able to see the semi-final via TMC Monte-Carlo. Radio coverage has been provided, although not every year, by France Inter from 1971 to 1998 and since 2001, France Bleu (also 1976). In 1982, RTL Radio transmitted the contest due to the country's absence that year.
France has often changed the selection process used in order to find the country's entry for the contest, either a national final or internal selection (occasionally a combination of both formats) has been held by the broadcaster at the time.
France is one of the most successful countries in the Eurovision, winning the contest five times, coming second five times and coming third seven times. However, France has only hosted the Eurovision contest three times (1959, 1961, 1978). France was ranked first in number of victories (either alone or tied with other countries) without interruptions from 1960 to 1993. Moreover, Amina was close to victory with the song "Le Dernier qui a parlé..." in 1991, when she finished in joint first place (with the same number of points as Sweden). Therefore, the 'countback' rule applied, but both countries had an equal number of twelve points (four lots), but the victory went to Sweden, when France had fewer 10-point scores. 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 winning with Joëlle Ursull performing Serge Gainsbourg's song "White and Black Blues". The song finished in equal second place with Ireland's entry.
However, in recent years, the French results have been somewhat disappointing. Since 1998, when the televoting was introduced, 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), 24th (1998) and 25th (2015). France finished in last place, for the first time in their Eurovision history, in 2014 with only 2 points.
Yet, France have had some good results during the 21st century. In 2001, Canadian singer Natasha St-Pier came 4th 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 would represent France in the future. With these ambitions, the French superstar Patricia Kaas represented France in the 2009 contest. 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. In the 2016 contest, Amir with his song, "J'ai cherché", ended in 6th place and broke a 40-year record by scoring the most points in France's Eurovision history, by scoring 257 points in the final. That record would later be broken once again in 2021, as Barbara Pravi with her song "Voilà" finished in 2nd place with 499 points, France's best result since 1991, only 25 points behind eventual winners Måneskin from Italy.
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 withdrawal, hosting a national final to select their entry as well, from the 1983 contest.
France and the "Big Five"
Since 1999, four countries – the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain – have automatically qualified for the Eurovision final regardless of their results in previous contests. They earned this special status by being the four biggest financial contributors to the EBU. Due to their untouchable status in the Contest, these countries became known as the "Big Four". Italy returned to the contest in 2011, thus upgrading the countries to members of a "Big Five".
|Entry selected but did not compete|
|1959||Cannes||Palais des Festivals||Jacqueline Joubert|
|1978||Paris||Palais des Congrès||Denise Fabre and Léon Zitrone|
Marcel Bezençon Awards
lyrics (l) / music (m)
|2002||Press Award||"Il faut du temps"||Rick Allison (m), Patrick Bruel (m&l), Marie-Florence Gros (l)||Sandrine François||5||104||Tallinn|
|2009||Artistic Award[c]||"Et s'il fallait le faire"||Anse Lazio, Fred Blondin||Patricia Kaas||8||107||Moscow|
|2011||Composer Award||"Sognu"||Daniel Moyne (m), Quentin Bachelet (m),
Jean-Pierre Marcellesi (l), Julie Miller (l)
|2018||Press Award||"Mercy"||Émilie Satt (m&l), Jean-Karl Lucas (m&l)||Madame Monsieur||13||173||Lisbon|
|"Voilà"||Barbara Pravi, Lili Poe, Igit (m&l)||Barbara Pravi||2||499||Rotterdam|
Winner by OGAE members
|1978||Alain Goraguer||François Rauber|
|1992||Magdi Vasco Noverraz|
|1998||Martin Koch||Host conductor[k]|
Additionally, many French conductors have conducted for other countries (not counting instances where a French musical director had to step in for another country that didn't bring their own conductor), including:
Heads of delegation
|Year||Head of delegation||Ref.|
Commentators and spokespersons
This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2020)
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.
|1956||Michèle Rebel||No semi-finals||No spokesperson|
|1957||Robert Beauvais||Claude Darget|
|1958||Pierre Tchernia||Armand Lanoux|
|1959||Claude Darget||Marianne Lecène|
|1960||Pierre Tchernia||Armand Lanoux|
|1962||Pierre Tchernia||André Valmy|
|1964||Robert Beauvais||Jean-Claude Massoulier|
|1971||Georges de Caunes||No spokesperson|
|1974||Did not participate|
|1975||Georges de Caunes||Marc Menant|
|1977||Georges de Caunes|
|1978||Léon Zitrone, Denise Fabre||Patrice Laffont|
|1979||Marc Menant||Fabienne Égal|
|1982||Andre Torrent||Did not participate|
|1983||Léon Zitrone||Nicole André|
|1985||Patrice Laffont||Clémentine Célarié|
|1987||Patrick Simpson-Jones||Lionel Cassan|
|1988||Lionel Cassan||Catherine Ceylac|
|1990||Richard Adaridi||Valérie Maurice|
|1991||Léon Zitrone||Daniela Lumbroso|
|1992||Thierry Beccaro||Olivier Minne|
|1995||Olivier Minne||Thierry Beccaro|
|1997||Frédéric Ferrer & Marie Myriam|
|1998||Chris Mayne, Laura Mayne||Marie Myriam|
|2001||Marc-Olivier Fogiel, Dave||Corinne Hermès|
|2003||Laurent Ruquier, Isabelle Mergault||Sandrine François|
|2004||Laurent Ruquier, Elsa Fayer||No broadcast||Alex Taylor|
|2005||Julien Lepers, Guy Carlier||Peggy Olmi||Marie Myriam|
|2006||Michel Drucker, Claudy Siar||Peggy Olmi, Eric Jean-Jean||Sophie Jovillard|
|2007||Julien Lepers, Tex||Peggy Olmi, Yann Renoard||Vanessa Dolmen|
|2008||Julien Lepers, Jean-Paul Gaultier||Cyril Hanouna|
|2009||Cyril Hanouna, Julien Courbet||Yann Renoard|
|2010||Cyril Hanouna, Stéphane Bern||Audrey Chauveau|
|2011||Laurent Boyer, Catherine Lara||Audrey Chauveau, Bruno Berberes||Cyril Féraud|
|2012||Cyril Féraud, Mireille Dumas||Amaury Vassili|
|2014||Cyril Féraud, Natasha St-Pier||Elodie Suigo|
|2015||Stéphane Bern, Marianne James||Mareva Galanter, Jérémy Parayre||Virginie Guilhaume|
|2016||Marianne James, Jarry||Élodie Gossuin|
|2017||Stéphane Bern, Marianne James, Amir|
|2018||Stéphane Bern, Christophe Willem, Alma||Christophe Willem, André Manoukian|
|2019||Stéphane Bern, André Manoukian||Sandy Héribert, André Manoukian||Julia Molkhou|
|2021||Stéphane Bern, Laurence Boccolini||Laurence Boccolini||Carla|
- France in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest – Junior version of the Eurovision Song Contest.
- France in the Eurovision Young Dancers – A competition organised by the EBU for younger dancers aged between 16 and 21.
- France in the Eurovision Young Musicians – A competition organised by the EBU for musicians aged 18 years and younger.
- The full results for the first contest in 1956 are unknown, as only the winner was announced. The official Eurovision site lists all other songs as being placed second.
- The 2020 contest was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Voted by previous winners.
- Voted by the national commentators.
- All conductors are of French nationality unless otherwise noted.
- Also conducted for Austria, Germany, Monaco, Sweden, and Switzerland
- Also conducted for Austria and Germany
- Announced as the French conductor prior to the country's withdrawal
- Conducted at the national final by François Rauber
- Conducted at the national final by François Rauber.
- Koch conducted a small string arrangement added to the performance over the course of rehearsals; he did not take the traditional conductor's bow.
- Although the international final did not feature the orchestra, there was one for the national final, conducted by Rene Coll.
- Co-conducted with Henrik Krogsgård
- Granger, Anthony (3 May 2021). "🇫🇷 France: National Selection Will Be Held For Eurovision 2022". Eurovoix. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
- "History by Events". Eurovision Song Contest.
- 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.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 February 2010. Retrieved 24 May 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Fulton, Rick (14 May 2007). "The East V West Song Contest". Daily Record. Retrieved 24 May 2009.
- Granger, Anthony (3 May 2021). "France: National Selection Will Be Held For Eurovision 2022". Eurovoix. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
- "Marcel Bezençon Awards". eurovision.tv. 2 April 2017. Archived from the original on 16 July 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
- Klier, Marcus (18 May 2009). "The Eurovision 2009 Marcel Bezençon Awards". esctoday.com. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
- "Winners of the Marcel Bezençon Awards". eurovision.tv. 16 May 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
- "Here are the winners of the Marcel Bezençon Awards 2018!". eurovision.tv. 12 May 2018. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
- "The Marcel Bezençon Award". 22 May 2021.
- Cobb, Ryan (21 April 2017). "Analysing ten years of OGAE voting: "Underneath the fan favourite bias is a worthwhile indicator"". escxtra.com. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
- Roxburgh, Gordon (2012). Songs for Europe: The United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. Volume One: The 1950s and 1960s. Prestatyn: Telos Publishing. pp. 93–101. ISBN 978-1-84583-065-6.
|volume=has extra text (help)
- Roxburgh, Gordon (2014). Songs for Europe: The United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. Volume Two: The 1970s. Prestatyn: Telos Publishing. pp. 142–168. ISBN 978-1-84583-093-9.
|volume=has extra text (help)
- Roxburgh, Gordon (2016). Songs for Europe: The United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. Volume Three: The 1980s. Prestatyn: Telos Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84583-118-9.
|volume=has extra text (help)
- Jordan, Paul (28 January 2018). "Find out who is on Germany's global team for Eurovision 2018". eurovision.tv. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
- Granger, Anthony (24 September 2019). "France: Edoardo Grassi new Head of Delegation". eurovoix.com. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
- Farren, Neil (4 October 2018). "France: Steven Clerima Revealed as New Head of Delegation". eurovoix.com. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
- Farren, Neil (6 December 2019). "France: Steven Clerima Steps Down as Head of Delegation". eurovoix.com.
- Jiandani, Sanjay (22 June 2020). "France: France 2 confirms participation at ESC 2O21 with national final". ESCToday. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
- "FRANCE 2019 : Stéphane Bern, André Manoukian et Sandy Héribert aux commentaires". eurovision-fr.net (in French). 20 March 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
- Herbert, Emily (26 April 2019). "France: Julia Molkhou Revealed as Eurovision 2019 Spokesperson". eurovoix.com. Retrieved 6 December 2019.