Home / Song Reviews / Eurovision 2019 / France: Bilal Hassani – Roi

France: Bilal Hassani – Roi

The winner of this year's Destination Eurovision is Bilal Hassani with the song Roi. Bilal was the early market leader before being quickly dethroned by Seemone following what was a messy semi-final performance. Support for Seemone was somewhat shortsighted too, as Tous les Deux was too arty-farty, too dull and too much like last year's entry in lacking a call to action in the form of a visual or musical hook. If N'oubliez Pas wasn't supported by juries and televoters, why would Tous les Deux be any different? Even Et s'il fallait le faire only finished 17th on the televote in…
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Bilal won largely due to his super-fans: the Instagram and YouTube hoards who have become so obsessed with gender and identity.

User Rating: 2.1 ( 23 votes)

The winner of this year’s Destination Eurovision is Bilal Hassani with the song Roi.

Bilal was the early market leader before being quickly dethroned by Seemone following what was a messy semi-final performance. Support for Seemone was somewhat shortsighted too, as Tous les Deux was too arty-farty, too dull and too much like last year’s entry in lacking a call to action in the form of a visual or musical hook. If N’oubliez Pas wasn’t supported by juries and televoters, why would Tous les Deux be any different? Even Et s’il fallait le faire only finished 17th on the televote in 2009. And then we have the similarly styled, though arguably more accessible, Blackbird from 2017 which failed to qualify for Finland. An audience needs to see a glimmer of hope amid 3-minutes of despair and sadness.

So back to Bilal, who incredibly failed to register a single maximum 12-points from any of the 10 jurors involved in the Destination Eurovision final. I say incredible, it was a deserving indictment of what was a sub-standard vocal performance on the night. Bilal won largely due to his super-fans: the Instagram and YouTube millennials who have become so obsessed with gender and identity that literally any twink could crank up the androgyny dial to 11, sing some empowering platitudes and romp the televote. That televote will not sustain Bilal in Tel Aviv, so France look set to return to the Eurovision bottom-5 subject to them improving the staging and vocal mix.

Bilal also won because he had the strongest USP in what was a fairly tame lineup. And to be fair to Madame Monsieur, their song is fine as a Contest or radio track, it’s just that Bilal isn’t a compelling enough performer to deliver the required impact.

About Gavster

ESCtips Owner   I’m a qualified designer and dedicate a lot of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.

12 comments

  1. The songs alright, the vocal karaoke standard amateur.
    Eurovision really doesn’t need any more “Look at me, I’m different” numbers. I suspect most juries and voters will see through this for the poor package it is, yet some will inevitably go for it- maybe enough to escape the bottom 5.
    A poor selection from France this time around.

  2. Of course I respect everybody’s opinion and we all might like or dislike things personally. However for me Roi is a risky but worthy top-5 bet from a pragmatic money- making point of view. It strongly reminds me of Italy 2018 (in terms of its Eurovision potential). So where does my betting optimism come from?

    1) Love or hate. Granted, it is a hate or love song / personality / package. I already see the esteemed readers of this site positioning Roi in bottom five for the grand final (exactly where the esteemed readers were positioning Italy 2018 last year). But similarly to Sanremo 2018, the DE 2019 demonstrated that those who will love the song / singer will not just vote, they will vote with religious devotion and passion and will be challenging jury. As for those who hate it… doesn’t matter for public votes, can’t vote down in televote.
    2) It is cross-border translatable. The song has an ironclad message which is easy to grasp from a single look on Bilal, though his backdrop helps too. You can’t be much confused here. You can then like or dislike but this is back to number 1) above. I think it is an underestimation to claim that the song was supported by Bilal’s hard-core French fans only and would not have a pan-European appeal. This is the pitfall the betting community fell into with Italy 2018 as well.
    3) Market one. It appeals to the right type of demographics, such as young people, middle-aged women and LGBT community. The comments I am reading on-line is that many young people (and their moms watching with them) had not known Bilal before the DE but liked the message and voted. Young voters see this as a manifesto of young people, not just LGBT folks.
    4) Market two. Moms, among many other factors, love this because any story of a child growing into a strong young man by overcoming bullying melts our hearts. Just give us a child and appeal to our mummy-sensors – and will get you through (hello, Doutson).
    5) Market 3. LGBT. Enough said

    Of course I am not confused about jury appeal (or lack of it at the present). Meta & Moro failed Sanremo jury too of course.. So. Potentially mid-table with jury and a top-3 with the televote. This could give top-5 and that’s the risk I would like to go for. I bet for enjoyment and excitement of it, hence embrace the risk.

  3. Catriona Colville

    The line about gender identity seemed out of place and a little personal.

    • His blog, his article and his opinion. I can honesty stand behind that statement. I love Eurovision because it’s a great celebration of all things gay but ESC should still be about quality music, not every single gay issue.

      • Catriona Colville

        At no point did I say otherwise. Of course it’s about the music. And I’m not a fan of the song. But music with a message can be powerful, especially in a time where gender identity is under attack from some quarters, there is nothing wrong with having a message like that. It just felt to me that Gavin brought his personal politics into a discussion about a Eurovision entry.

        I’m not disputing he can do that if he wants. My question is : Should he?

        • Yes, because it’s relevant to the result. Bilal wouldn’t have won on song alone. It is his gender identity based following/fanbase who supported and voted for him. Had it been Ugo or Lautner singing Roi, I suspect I’d have been reviewing Seemone’s song.

          And as Ruudisss says, ESC should be about the music, not supporting someone because they are gender fluid or disabled and riding the oppression/empowerment wave.

  4. If ROI can only come 5th with international juries in a field of 8 mediocre songs, the prospects for it being anything other than jury bottom 5 in Tel Aviv would appear bleak.

    Like Destination Eurovision, Bilal will be relying on the public vote. But is the social media support there beyond France’s border? Also, will the gender identity message capture the public imagination this time round knowing that Conchita got there five years earlier and did it a whole lot better?

    For me, the only question is how much televote support Bilal can muster, but I can’t see this finishing on the left hand side of the board.

  5. The main reason did so poorly with the juries is that he his staging was really bad, and that he sung really badly. In the Eurovision final he is going to have backing vocalists, which will make the live performance better vocally, and they might have a better staging by then.

  6. The fact betting on the selection to get a book green was so easy tells you all you need to know about the chances of this at ESC.Zero,because it has so many holes in it.People backing France on the outright down to 12s must of lost their minds,though layers are happy,and i doubt many will bother laying this off as it could be any price come May and i wont be.Poor song,poor artist,that the juries spotted a mile away.I expect a very low jury score at ESC,and a televote to go with it.The idea the juries voted it down due to poor staging is wrong.They voted it down because they saw it was a generic,poor song and that wont change at ESC.Bottom 8 looks very likely.

    • Somebody is still teeny-tiny upset about Seemone it seems. Well even titans of betting have emotions and feelings (and thank you for sharing them with us), the rest of us will just be shamelessly making money then

  7. They shooda voted Seemone!!

  8. The song is the thing. Conchita won as she had a huge ballad to go with the staging and the message.

    I’m afraid I find this song meandering, not that well sung, and the kind that will disappear in the memory once all the others get in the mix.

    As it’s a big 5 country it means bottom 5 is definitely possible.

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