France, continuing with recent tradition, made an internal selection for Eurovision this year. Here’s Anggun with “Echo (You and I).”
I am in like–not in love–with the song. It’s a perky, upbeat dance-pop song, but there’s a strong melody behind it. The whistling in the mix does bug me. Obviously what we are hoping for as the entries roll in is something that captures the imagination, inspires us. “Echo (You and I)” is not that song. However, I think we saw last year is that under some circumstances a song can win by just being good enough. Those other factors include the mix of songs in the contest, placement in the draw, presentation. Except for presentation, these factors are largely out of control of the artist and the national selection.
So does this Indonesian beauty have what it takes to win? Vocally, Anggun has a distinctive alto that will be remembered. Also in her favor is she’s no novice. Anggun was an established recording artist in Indonesia before moving to France in 1994 and has been actively trying to establish an international recording career since 1997. However, she never quite got the breakout success she wanted. Eurovision, in this sense, offers the 37-year-old singer what is likely her last best chance to raise her international profile.
France is playing it smart this year, having her actively tour the National Final circuit to promote the song. Though she may be lip-synching some or all of these early performances, YouTube is full of her live vocal performances, many in front of large crowds. Vocally I suspect she’ll be ready come May, and even if she goes a little pitchy, which could happen, I don’t think it would be so bad it’s to the song’s detriment. Anggun can handle herself on stage, and it’s not playing to the large audience that I think will be her weakness. Rather, for me, I’m concerned about her likability on camera with first-timers who do not already know her.
We’ll keep our eyes peeled to see how her stage show develops and what else shows up from the competition. Hopefully they’ll change up that orchestration too. Whether to contend or simply one of the stronger entries, I think France will be part of the conversation this year.