I have to admit, I was pretty surprised this afternoon when I saw France atop the bookies list. I have no problem with classical opera, but I am not a big fan of the crossover classical pop style. Thus, when France announced they were going with Amaury Vassili, and then when they released the song, it did absolutely nothing for me. Here’s Amaury Vassili with “Sognu.” He’s singing in Corsican, isn’t that nice?
Here are a couple of (relatively objective) observations:
- To be where he is by age 21 suggests a lot of talent and drive.
- He is very good looking, and the camera loves him.
- As an opera singer, there’s a certain depth that I find lacking in his voice, and I’m not confident he really has the power in the upper notes. Either his voice hasn’t fully matured yet, or he hasn’t got the goods. Not sure which.
- I do think all the pieces are there for him to emerge as a popular classical crossover singer, and Eurovision will be a great platform for him to raise his profile internationally. But let’s not fool ourselves, please. We are talking about another Il Divo or Andrea Bocelli, not another Pavarotti.
- Much as I don’t like it, this shit sells.
In case you have any doubts about how this guy wants to position himself, here from his (platinum selling) debut album, is his cover of U2’s “With or Without You.” I threw up a little in my mouth. He also covered Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” because everyone has to.
I have no idea how he’s going to do in Eurovision. Patricia Kaas finished 8th in 2009, my guess is something similar. Regardless, I suspect we’ll be hearing more from him after the Contest is long gone.