National Final Throwback: Louka – Mamma Mia

After opting for internal selections for three years running, France decided to switch things up in 2018 and reintroduce a national final. The new format was called ‘Destination Eurovision’, and after the relative success the nation found with Amir and Alma, the pressure was on to ensure that the national selection featured quality songs.

A total of 18 acts were selected to compete in Destination Eurovision, and looking back now, the line-up wasn’t half bad. The song we are putting the spotlight on today is Mamma Mia, which was performed by Louka. The bilingual French and Italian song caught my attention back in 2018, and every now and then, I’m reminded of the song and I’m charmed all over again.

There’s something about that faster tempo and melody that really grabs my attention straight away, not to mention the dreamy vocal tone of Louka. The pre-chorus does a really great job at setting us up for the chorus which itself is catchy and memorable. The second verse is performed in Italian, and it’s totally seamless. French and Italian have to be among some of the most beautiful languages in music, so to combine them both was dreamy.

The studio version of the song is very strong. It’s a very radio friendly song, and it had the potential to be a strong Eurovision entry provided it was performed convincingly. Unfortunately, the live performance really lacked. Vocally it lacked impact and fine tuning. Louka was pitchy throughout the song, and with few if any backing vocals supporting him, it was blatantly obvious that this was a sinking ship. The fast pace of the song was a challenge, and unfortunately Louka did not rise to that challenge.

There was potential for this entry, but unfortunately that potential was not reached. I think it also highlighted a common theme for the national final that year, which was that the studio versions of the entries were strong, but very few of them had the same impact live. It reaffirms that it’s important to hear how a song is performed, and I only wonder if the competitors had to have an audition or whether it was primarily based on studio song submissions.

It’s unsurprising that Mamma Mia finished 8th in the final. The disappointing performance however doesn’t dim the fact that I still enjoy listening to this song on occasion. For my rating, I’ll consider all aspects, and with that in mind, I’ll give this a 7/10.


Year: 2018

Country: France

Artist: Louka

Song: Mamma Mia