Artist: Bilal Hassani
Betting Odds: 51/1
France’s Eurovision 2019 song is called ‘Roi’ and will be delivered by Bilal Hassani. Here’s what we made of the song.
Bilal Hassani is the wig-wearing, gay, muslim youtube sensation that took France by storm when he won their Eurovision selection show ‘Destination Eurovision’ in January 2019. His song ‘Roi’ is a bilingual bop written by the country’s 2018 representatives Madame Monsieur.
The song flits effortlessly between French and English as Bilal sings about a subject very close to his heart. ‘Roi’ is a song of acceptance. It’s an anti-bullying anthem, calling on people to accept others for who they are, standing up for yourself and although you might struggle, you will always come out stronger. The subject matter could easily turn to cliche, but in the hands of writers Emelie Satt and Jean Karl Lucas along with input from Bilal himself, they manage to steer clear of these and give us a journey that is both nuanced and personal.
Bilal has been subjected to a number of abusive comments on social media in the lead up to, during and following his participation in the French national final. The homophobic slurs were so bad that the police had to be called in to investigate and pursue charges. In light of this, the song becomes even more powerful as it reinforces Bilal’s resilience and flies in the face of those wishing to bring him down.
The piano riffs resonate through out ‘Roi’, as Bilal’s vocal ramps up to a crescendo on the all powerful chorus. While for the most part the song is a ballad, at times it almost breaks out into a Beyonce-esque bop. My favourite part of the song is the ‘And I know oh oh oh, Even though uh uh oh…’ post chorus break down.
As one of the Big Five, France automatically qualify for the final. The past three years have seen a marked improvement in results for the nation with a 6th, 12th and 13th finish. I think that Bilal will finish in much the same position- somewhere between 12th and 15th.