7 Day YouTube Views: 267,317
7 Day YouTube Likes: 8,139
Based on the plight of a newborn refugee, France present Mercy, named after the child. The song highlights the tragedy and suffering of those escaping the poverty and strife of their home countries by attempting to cross the Mediterranean. The music video features (predominantly white) people representing refugees walking around major European cities in life-vests and foil hypothermia blankets. The obvious implication is that these people could be any of us and we should extend our sympathies - as of course we should.
Unable to stomach singing in English, the song is in French. The first and obvious problem arises in the fact that the baby the song is written about is named "Mercy", now, if you're unaware of the inspiration behind this song (which is 99% of the Eurovision audience), you'll simply think this song is saying "thank you" over and over. Unlike Italy with it's aggressive anti-war tone, France could be really be singing about anything. It's likely France will attempt to get the message across by showing images of refugees, but will that help? I really think a French person singing a song with an emphasis on the word "Mercy" is a problem...
As for the song itself, the first three quarters are good, the verses build into a pleasing and catchy chorus. However it's always most important to finish on a high - France fail to do this in the final quarter of the song. I found the change in tone and quality quite jarring with the lyrics basically just the word "Mercy" repeated for 30 seconds. Overall though it's a decent song but there are doubts as to whether it will really stand out at Eurovision - stick this song just before Hungary or Norway in the running order and then ask the Eurovision audience which song they still remember by the end of the night.
Mercy had an initial run of hype which died down only to resurface later, they're now 3rd in the betting markets. I for one am a little perplexed at this, 90% of this song is the message and 90% of the audience either won't understand that message or perhaps won't even agree with it. Again, let's not get lost in our Western bubble, there are plenty of places in Europe not nearly as progressive as we are who may not be on board with the pro-African refugee message.
This song for me is the big false favourite, lacking the punch of Israel and the Czech Republic, the quality of Estonia, the Disney-esque mindless-happiness appeal of Norway - it just doesn't fit. Mercy is currently considered 3rd most likely to win the entire contest, I don't see it happening, France's YouTube hits have also been dismal compared to other songs in the top 10. On purely a musical level, what a poor year it'd be if this song went on to win.