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France pitches for Eurovision win with song inspired by migrant baby rescue

Madame Monsieur during the Red Carpet ceremony of the 63rd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest AFP

France could be in with a chance in this year's Eurovision, with a song inspired by the story of a baby born to a Nigerian migrant rescued at sea.

Eurovision fans are gearing up for tonight's final of the song contest in Portugal.

France is accustomed to not winning; the last time was in 1977 with L’oiseau et l’enfant, sung by Marie Myriam.

But this year’s entry from pop duo Madame Monsieur is France’s strongest for years: a catchy melody with a topical humanist theme from a distinctly modern pop duo.

Madame Monsieur are 30-something couple Emilie Satt and Jean Karl Lucas.

Their song Mercy was inspired by the story of a baby born to a Nigerian migrant rescued at sea off the coast of Libya in March 2017 while aboard the humanitarian boat Aquarius.

The photo of the newborn, Mercy, published online just a few minutes after the birth, inspired them to write the song.

Universal story

“We wrote this song wanting to pass on the same emotion we felt when we found out about this birth just 15 minutes after it had happened,” Satt told RFI.

“We were really moved by the story, but it’s universal. The birth was a miracle and it was so strong for us that we thought if we could relay this emotion and this wonderful story in a very simple way without being melancholic it would be great.”

Best known on the hip hop scene, Madame Monsieur will have to win over an international audience with a song in French: always a challenge.

It might not get Hungary or Poland’s vote, given the political atmosphere in those countries, but its infectious beat could win over those looking for a bop.

The couple also have a modern look: Satt is swimming against the Eurovision tide with pared down glamour, wearing black polo-neck sweater and red trainers.

Chicken impersonation

Among the other 25 entries, hot favourites include Eleni Foureira from Cyprus singing Fuego in a body-hugging outfit that leaves little to the imagination and - arguably at the other end of the spectrum - Israel’s Netta Barzilai performing TOY, a song involving a chicken impersonation.

Madame Monsieur were to take to the stage in 13th position, so roughly half way through the show.

The superstitious among us would say that’s a fast-track to “null” points. But bookies suggest it could work in their favour.

According to Britain’s Daily Express newspaper, research conducted by Grosvenor Casinos ahead of the Grand Final suggests the average winning draw position is 13.15.