Bilal Hassani is in Israel this week to film his postcard for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019.
French YouTuber Bilal Hassani, the representative for France at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019, arrived in Tel Aviv Tuesday morning to begin production on his video postcard. The short clip, a staple of every Eurovision show, will introduce the artist before his live performance at the Grand Final in May. This year’s set of postcards will reportedly feature each country’s acts dancing in various styles in tourist destinations throughout Israel.
The French Embassy in Tel Aviv posted photos of Bilal’s arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, accompanied by his mother and delegation.
— La France en Israël (@ambfranceisrael) February 26, 2019
This follows his live performance of “Roi” at Vidbir, the Ukrainian national selection show, last weekend. This was his first live performance of the song on a foreign stage.
The singer was also in headlines last week after Israeli broadcaster KAN said that they would be continuing with the broadcast of a special satirical comedy mini-series called “Douze Points.”
The fictional program revolves around an international song contest similar to Eurovision. One of the featured characters is a gay Muslim singer from France who is recruited into the plot of a terrorist attack at the contest. The uncomfortable similarity between Bilal and the character led to reports of France Télévisions threatening to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest.
The European Broadcasting Union released a statement stressing the importance of both freedom of expression and the reputation of the Eurovision Song Contest. However, France Télévisions denied threats of a boycott in a statement saying that they were not considering withdrawal.
The trailer for “Douze Points” is available with English subtitles below:
Who is Bilal Hassani?
Bilal first came to the attention of the French public in 2015 when he participated in The Voice Kids. He performed “Rise Like a Phoenix” which won the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest at his audition, before being knocked out in the battle rounds.
He swept to victory in Destination Eurovision having received 50 points from the international jury, but 35.7% of the televote. From the first performance of “Roi” it took just 10 days before it had exceeded 3 million views.
France was one of seven countries to participate in the first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. Since then they have participated in every contest aside from 1974 and 1982. Their withdrawal in 1974 was caused by the death of President Georges Pompidou, while 1982’s withdrawal was a result of TF1 declining to enter the contest. France has won the contest on five occasions, the most recent being in 1977 when Marie Myriam performed “L’oiseau et l’enfant”. France’s best result of the 2000s came in 2001 when Natasha St-Pier finished 4th in Copenhagen, Denmark.