ESC 2023 Song Review: “Évidemment” by La Zarra (France)

1) The Result

Sometimes a song can be brought down by its position in the running order. “Fulenn” by Alvan & Ahez had a lot of things going for it, not least some striking staging and a language rarely heard at Eurovision (Breton). Regrettably, it drew a position in the first half of the final, which ended up being crowded with other attention-grabbing entries like Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra, Norway’s Subwoolfer, Spain’s Chanel and Finland’s The Rasmus. — not to mention the host entry itself. 24th place certainly didn’t feel like the song was done justice but that’s the way the cards fell.

2) The Process

Despite the fact that Eurovision France, c’est vous qui décidez has been a highlight of recent national selection seasons, producing a classy line-up of diverse sounds, the powers-that-be opted to go for an internal selection this time.

3) The Artist

Fatima Zahra Hafdi, or La Zarra, is a Canadian singer born to parents with a Moroccan background, and hence is only here because she hails from the province of Quebec, where French is the primary language. Her first appearance on the music scene was as a feature on a track by French rapper Niro released in 2016. In 2020 she released her first in a string of singles which culminated in her debut album Traîtrise, which came out in late 2021.

4) The Song

Everything about this song screams French, from the fusion of chanson and disco to La Zarra’s outfit in the video clip. Clean enunciation of each word, with extra strong ‘r’ rolls (although I can’t tell whether she sounds like she’s from Quebec) along with a title which is easy to sing along to make this at least accessible. If Alvan & Ahez were considered a bit left-field, then La Zarra marks a return to the familiarity of acts like Barbara Pravi and Madame Monsieur.

5) The Verdict

I’m not entirely sure what the goal of the French selectors is this year. If they were looking for a winner, I don’t think they’ve found one. If their goal is for a top 10 finish to banish last year’s demons, then they have a good chance of achieving this, on the assumption that the staging is as classy as La Zarra herself. I only hope that this means we’ll see the national selection process return again for 2024.

The song is very much mid-range for me. I like it, but it sounds a bit too familiar and safe — sometimes it almost passes me by as I’m listening to the playlist.

My ranking: 21st