You have to feel for France. For a country that only gives marginally more of a shit about Eurovision than the UK does, the standard of their entries has actually remained shockingly high, but time after time it fails to pay off. After Anggun’s humiliation last year, and Amaury Vassili defying the odds in all the wrong ways in 2011, I half expected France to have a gallic strop and send a complete nobody this year. As it happened they did send somebody with some credentials, albiet a far lower profile than their last few entrants – Nouvelle Star winner Amandine Bourgeois.

Nouvelle Star is the French adaptation of the Pop Idol format, and Amandine Bourgeois won the 2008 series. Praised for her strong, distinctive vocal style, her first album was a top 5 success in 2009, but the followup stiffed and many in France considered her a disappointing choice for Eurovision compared to her predecessors, but apparently the French delegation chose to go artist-blind and choose on the basis of the best song that was submitted this year, which was Bourgeois’ recording of L’enfer et moi (Hell & Me).

The sticking point with French entries is their admirable commitment to keeping their entries at least partially in French. It adds welcome variety to an increasingly English-dominated contest, but it does tend to do them a disservice in terms of their results. L’enfer et moi is certainly going to stand out – it sounds like nothing else that’s in the mix this year and she should give it an excellent performance – but I wonder who’s going to pick up the phones for it at the end of the show. Like Anggun, and indeed Patricia Kaas, I expect this to find much higher favour with the juries than the viewers – but will it be enough to keep them out of the bottom ten? I’m not convinced…