Vive La France! Vive Anggun!

World superstar Anggun takes to the stage to proudly fly the tricolor for France today. Will her global success as an artist translate into success at the contest? That all depends mainly on just how she performs.

Following on as a stark contrast to the rather subdued German entry, France takes it’s turn on the rehearsal stage in the capable hands of Anggun singing Echo (You and I). After their dissappointing result for Amaury Vassili last year, the French are really pushing the boat out this year by getting hold of the world class singer to perform her turbo stomper. With no previous rehearsals in Baku, all eyes were focused on the huge screen in the press centre, curious to get a glimpse of what the French have to offer.

Flag waving patriotic frenchmen made their way to the hall to see Anggun take to the stage. Hers was also one of the rehersals that attracted a lot of media attention, as cameramen jostled to take position in fornt of the stage – some even had to stand on top of chairs further back, that’s how full the press area was.

Professionalism must be Anggun’s middle name. From the second she opened her number with her back turned to the audience, we just knew that what we had in store was a highly polished, thoroughly rehearsed act. Three smaller platforms were spread across the stage behind her, which were used by her 3 male dancers. Two backing singers, one male, one female were each positioned at either end of the stage. During the warm up the male backing vocalist seemed to struggle keeping in tune, but this was thankfully not the case once the song kicked off.

The dancers and backing singers were wearing casual attire for their set with the exception of the final run through when they came back on stage topless. Anggun was in similarly relaxed attire, dressed in jeans, a black and white halterneck top and some killer silver stilletos. On the back of her jeans she had a long white flowing train of chiffon attached, which she used to great effect throughout the rehearsal, creating some very fetching imagery. She came across great on camera with a sultry performance and some brilliant interaction with the camera, flirting openly with those watching and giving the obvious impression that she was thoroughly enjoying herself on stage.

The dancers throw themselves around stage, combining both marching and breakdance in an attempt to recreate some of the music video with all of the marching men, which, it has to be said was highly succesfull. The point where one of the dancers launches himself from the middle platform and does a salto in the air over Anggun is quite spectacular. The long white train comes in very handy and is used to maximum effect both by the artist and her dancers, when they each grab a length of the chiffon pulling it out in a t shape behind the singer, much in the style of Sertab from 2003.

The background is a frantic mix of various images, amongst others pulsating diagonal red beams, and other images of what look like blue sound waves and electronic interference set against a black backdrop. To the left of the stage thre also appears a large panel which shows grainy black and white footage of boxers and gymnasts.

Anggun’s vocal performance was hard to find fault with. On all four run throughs she provided a consistently flawless vocal showing off her abilities. She delivered a performance that packed punch and was extremely energetic as she seemed to glide effortlessly from note to note turning in what was arguably the best vocal performance of the day.

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