Initial Review: “Fulenn” by Alvan & Ahez (France)

Musically the French national selection was one of the stronger ones this year, but I don’t think it received as much attention as some of the others, mainly because it was announced late (many other selections were well underway) and was over quickly. While I don’t mind the latter, it really would have helped to know the plans of the French broadcaster at an earlier date. I am fully aware this is speaking from a Eurovision fan’s perspective, and the French public are the target audience for C’est vous qui décidez , but other national selections manage to make their planning public without compromising on their local audience.

In any case, with “Fulenn” we have a song in Breton at the contest again — the last time we saw this language was the French entry in 1996. Alvan (the male singer) and Ahez (the trio of women) create a mystical atmosphere, and that’s even before the lyrics confirm this with their references to dancing with the devil in the middle of the forest. Mixing modern EDM beats with traditional instruments works particularly well in a way that didn’t connect for me when Tanxugueiras did something similar in the Spanish national selection. This is going to stand out in an impressive way, as there’s nothing quite like this (closest is probably Albania).

My biggest concern is the staging: what they brought to the national final was messy at times, with Ahez in particular seeming to move about the place randomly. Fortunately, I think the stage design in Turin will allow Alvan & Ahez to focus their movements around the water feature, which ties in nicely to their general vibe. While I don’t see this finishing in second place like their 2021 entry, this is a strong top 10 contender. I can see this being a thrilling performance, especially if is placed well on the evening.