Slimane sings for the love of France in war-torn Eurovision contest

After big flops the past two years, France is betting on the well-known Slimane and his song Mon Amour (My Love) bringing everyone together in one of Eurovision's most politicised contests ever.

France has not won Eurovision since Marie Myriam in 1977.

It came close in 2021 with the Piaf-inspired Voilà by Barbara Pravi in second place. But the last two years have been a national disappointment.

La Zarra, from Quebec, finished 16th in 2023 and Breton group Alvan & Ahez hobbled in second to last in 2022.

Slimane Nebchi, known professionally as Slimane, has the heavy task of trying to take France into the top 10 at least in Saturday's final in Malmo, Sweden.

The bookies are on his side: his rousing ballad Mon Amour is tipped to come in 7th.

Grandson of Algerian coalminer

Born in France and of Algerian descent, Slimane has come a long way since starting out in the bars of Paris’s red-light Pigalle district.

He shot to fame after winning The Voice in France in 2016 and has since sold over 2 million albums, reaching 3 million monthly listeners on Spotify.

“Representing France means a lot,” the 34-year-old singer told France Inter radio in November 2023 when he was picked to represent France.

However, the singer has also had to deal with xenophobia since it was announced he would represent France.

“Every day I get a racist comment like ‘Oh, it's the Arab who's going to represent us’ or 'There's no French singer’," Slimane told AFP news agency.

He’s opted to brush it off.

Organisers have rejected the calls.

Read more on RFI English

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