Out of the Big 5 countries, France sits somewhere in the middle with their results. They don’t always deliver, but occasionally there will be a mid-table result which is more than some of their other Big 5 nations achieve. After two years of Destination Eurovision, the French broadcaster decided to drop the national final format and select internally, and so Tom Leeb was selected with the song The Best In Me, which was then renamed to Mon Alliée.
Anita (Eurovision Union)
Song and Vocals
When this track was first released, I noticed that John Lundvik and Amir worked on the song with Tom and another songwriter, Léa Ivanne, while Thomas G:son and Peter Boström composed the entry. When you look at that line-up, John Lundvik finished 5th at Eurovision last year, Amir finished in 6th place in 2016 while Thomas G:son and Peter Boström are known for creating some of the best Eurovision entries in recent years, including winning entry Euphoria. All that talent to create a mediocre song for France this year.
My first impression of the original version was underwhelming. Uninspired, dull and destined for the bottom 5. After that one listen, I never went back to this song. Even now, I am listening to the new version for the first time as I write this review. That says something. The new version features more French, and has become more acoustic. Is it better? I definitely prefer the majority of the song to be in French rather than English, but music wise, I am still completely uninspired. It just feels so dated, and surely would have been completely overshadowed by the other entries this year. In a sense, I think acoustic style numbers are hard to pull off at Eurovision. Unless it’s insanely good, it’s immediately forgettable and place an upbeat song after it, and it vanishes completely. Unfortunately, this song vanishes.
Performance and Act
As far as the performance goes, we got a glimpse of the plans when Tom described it to NikkieTutorials in their chat published online. The plan was for Tom to be set on stage with his guitar, which would feature projected images and words, directly onto the guitar. There were also plans for him to engage with the audience in the middle stage, and for the audience to be flashing lights during the performance. Using audiences for atmospheric lighting is always a nice touch, and from that perspective, there was potential for this to look great on stage. Unfortunately it was likely not going to be enough to really capture audiences and sell them on the song.
Next Up: 2021
Considering that Tom was selected internally, it feels like the natural progression to let him return in 2021. There has been no announcement yet from the French team, but I can’t see why they wouldn’t continue with Tom. His music style always leans towards that acoustic and relaxed sound, so should he return, I suspect we will have another entry in a similar vein. If that’s the case, I’d love to hear something that’s less dated and less cliche.
Overall, France failed to impress me this year. Now that this review is out there for the world, I can’t see myself playing this song again. From Amir and Alma, to Madame Monsieur and Bilal Hassani, France seemed to be on a better track. This year felt like backpedaling to bottom 5 territory, and I just want more from France.
Song and Vocals
There is a market for cheesy, dated, romantic pop songs such as ‘The best in me’. But, the first version of the French entry would have been outdated even in the 90’s already. The song structure of verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge and key change is so, so cliché. If you milk that, it could still work though. The change to the acoustic version of the song was a very wise one. Still not so fond of the multilingual concept though.
Performance and Act
Tom was not able to bring the Eiffel Tower to the stage in Ahoy, to copy his impressive video clip. So what would they have done? The song needs something to be impressive, and I am keen to find out what the French delegation had in mind.
The acoustic set-up is a smart move, but I am not completely convinced about Tom’s vocal performance, as I was waiting to find a decent live performance of his song. Tom has the looks to get in some extra votes, so that speaks in his favour.
Next up: 2021
France has not confirmed yet what will happen with Eurovision and Tom Leeb in 2021. The nation has been hit hard by the corona crisis, and probably has other things on its mind now than picking their act for 2021. Also because it makes sense that Tom Leeb stays their singer, as they picked him internally, without any preselection. When everything is over, and Tom still wants to go (why wouldn’t he?) I predict he will come to Rotterdam for the contest in 2021 after all.
Overall, I was initially disappointed with the French entry for 2020. After hearing the song ‘Are We Too Late’, a previous single by Tom, I had high hopes. It is mainly the composition of ‘The best in me’, so dated and cliché, that made me disappointed. But changing it to something acoustic and more updated, it got me on the hook again. So perhaps with a better song, it could still work out alright for Tom Leeb in 2021, should he stay the French artist.
Additional Scores from Eurovision Union and ESCDaily editors:
Average Score: 4.8/10
What do you think of Mon Alliée? Follow our Eurovision 2020 reviews here.