All opinions expressed in this article are those of the person quoted and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the other team members or ESC United as a whole.

It’s 15 days to go until Junior Eurovision 2019, and we are counting down the 19 nations who are participating in Gliwice-Silesia on Sunday, November 24, 2019.

Every day we will do an overview of a participating nation in alphabetical order, recapping how they got to Junior Eurovision, a brief history of the nation’s participation, a brief biography of the artist, and finally, our “expert” panel of editors give the entries a score out of 10 and a brief review.

Next up we check out France, a country that came in from the cold in 2018 and excelled, and threatens to do so again.

France’s history at Junior Eurovision:

Believe it or not, 2019 is France’s third tilt at Junior Eurovision. They debuted in 2004 with Thomas Pontier’s “Si on voulait bien,” came in 6th, and then vanished.

Until 2018. And when they came back, they meant business, coming in 2nd with Angelina’s “Jamais Sans Toi.” How does a country that seems to half-ass it at the senior version suddenly come out of the blue and decide to go full murder-dozer on the competition at Junior Eurovision 2018? It almost worked, and it will be interesting to see how France can top “Jamais Sans Toi” in 2019.

Before Junior Eurovision 2019:

Easy one – Carla Lazzari was internally selected to represent France by state broadcaster France Télévisions. Another Eurovision country with a now popular national selection but still internally selects for the Junior version, maybe France will consider a Destination Junior Eurovision for future installments?

The Artist:

Carla Lazzari is from Nice, France, and is 14 years old. As with many other competitors in this year’s Junior Eurovision, she has been on her country’s franchise of The Voice Kids, reaching the final of Season 5. Patrick Fori, who represented France at Eurovision 1993 with “Mama Corsica,” was her mentor.

The Song:

“My song is about a girl who falls in love for the first time,” Carla told junioreurovision.tv. “She is confused and has difficulty understanding her feelings. When she sees him her heart is jumping. She thinks of him all the time when he’s not there and she can’t wait to see him again.”

“Bim Bam Toi” is co-written by Igit and Barbara Pravi. Igit tried out for France for Destination Eurovision 2018, coming in 5th with “Lisbon Jerusalem.” He was also a semi-finalist for France’s franchise of The Voice Season 3. Pravi is a singer-songwriter in her own right with two albums to her name in the past couple of years.

And with the background out of the way, here are…

The ESC United editor verdicts:

Boris – 9.5 – “If you don’t like this unplugged mirthfest, you need to reassess your life.”

Connor – 7 –  “C’mon deeply Parisian entry from France! What I appreciate from this entry is that it’s not trying to be a cute French song like last year or “J’ai Cherie” was in 2016. It’s going for impact. For being memorable. For your votes. This has energy and is all about love, which we can all relate to. The one thing I’m a little iffy on is the laughing pieces of it, as it could come off as forced live. The track flip into the second verse is honestly my favorite part of this whole song. I think France could easily repeat their success from last year with this song.”

Daniel – 10 – “This song is so prototypical French pop with the horns but also so creative. Rather than being repetitive with the onomatopoeias, this song is extremely dynamic and has so much potential for a colorful and expressive staging. It somehow combines a musical maturity with a childish aura of fun. I think that France have really been eyeing a win in JESC and they have a serious chance, bravo.”

James – 10 – “I can’t believe that for the second year running my favorite JESC entry is from France. I will set fire to my Yorkshireman card behind the bins at the Sainsbury’s in Brighouse, once I wrap my head around a place like Brighouse having a store like Sainsbury’s and one of Britain’s best drag queens. However, “Bim Bam Toi” is very different to Angelina’s great “Jamais sans toi.” It’s a fun song about falling in love for the first time, yet is almost Frances Gall in attitude in that it pokes fun at stereotypical depictions of first love of the sort you heard sung with earnestness at Eurovision with the heavy use of onomatopoiea and the laughing. It is bright, cheeky and vibrant and if Carla wins, she will be a winner for the ages.”

Melanie – 8.5 – “So Carla brings me the kinda song that I expect at Junior Eurovision. This song is so upbeat and silly, but somehow I’m loving the childish vibe around this song. I really see this song in a big musical production and that everyone is singing along. And to be honest, who expected a song without a real meaning to be a potential winner?”

Roy – 9 – “I know that you should always try to start a review on a positive, but I want to state my concern very clearly. This song has a big danger in focusing too much on the little quirky sounds that. They aren’t super present in the studio track necessarily, but live it could be tougher to pull off this mixing. It is a bit what ruined the chances of the big favourite in the Belarussian selection (“Vetra”) and it could make this song less good then people expect and hope it to be. Now only positives from here on out, because France is not afraid to take a risk. Last year they returned with a banger of a song that felt very appropriate for the contest. This year they take this up a notch and even as an adult you get pulled into the child’s world of Carla. Carla’s vocals are very suited for this type of song as well. I was having a conversation not too long ago with our Melanie after one of our national selection reviews was published. We were talking about it being such a bummer that JESC has become so serious and adult-like. Back in the days you could win with bees or a guy singing about his passion for tapdancing. Nowadays a lot of Junior Eurovision songs feel very loaded and they often have a message. I really really hope that this wins just to have that type of winner back. Just sing about nothing in particular and just have fun on stage! France and Carla, you rock!”

Sean – 8 – Well, France really haven’t come to play around in Eurovision contests lately! A fun, engaging entry blends the unbridled joy and innocence of youth with a funky, Caravan Palace production to create unique listening experience, one which also represents French culture well. Carla treats the track with the right amount of playfulness and the song lends itself to a memorable staging in Gliwice. Going to be one of the ones to beat!

Stefan – 10 – “Now this is a real kids song! Carla’s song is so hip and trendy and the video is so colorful and it takes all of your attention. That’s how love should be like when you’re a teenager. France is coming really strong since they returned to the contest last year. This is probably my fave entry this year.”

Five countries in, here are our current rankings by ESC United editor scores:

1.) FRANCE – 72 points (Average = 9.0)

2.) Armenia – 59 points (Average = 7.375)

3.) Albania – 55 points (Average = 6.875)

4.) Belarus – 48 points (Average = 6.0)

5.) Australia – 38.5 points (Average = 4.8125)

Well this is a rare thing at ESC United – near unanimous love for an ESC entry from our diverse box of misfit toys. Three perfect ratings, and a “low” of 7 points, puts Carla firmly in the lead five days into our Junior Eurovision reviews. As with 2018, but with a very different type of song, France is in it to win it. It will take something remarkable to beat an average of 9.0, but we shall see over the next two weeks if one of the remaining 14 can do it.

Are #YOU ready to feel love for the first time again with “Bim Bam Toi”? Or are #YOU like Werner Herzog, convinced “the common denominator of the Universe is not Harmony, but chaos, hostility, and murder”? Let us know in the comments below, on social media, or in our forum.

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