Arriving at the premises of France Télévisions, on the evening of Saturday 14 May 2016, Elodie Gossuin can hardly imagine that she is about to become a cult figure of Eurovision. In a few hours, a satellite link will reconnect her to Stockholm, Sweden, where the competition will be held that year, and she will appear in front of hundreds of millions of television viewers to announce the points of the French jury.
While waiting to complete her mission, she waits with the technical teams, watches the performances of the twenty-six finalists, including that of the Frenchman Amir, one of the favorites of this edition with his song I was looking for† The chorus in English is accessible to the widest possible audience, which picks up the emblematic “You-ou-ou-ou-ou”. The kind of gimmick that gets stuck in your head right away. So much so that when it comes time to go live on a green screen, Elodie Gossuin doesn’t greet Swedish presenter Petra Mede with an agreed-upon “Good evening.” No: the impeccably dressed French presenter plays ‘You-ou-ou-ou-ou’, which is as playful as it is full of false notes.
In their cabin the commentators are incredulous. Stéphane Bern is hilarious. Marianne James asks, “But why? “The ex-Miss France will later make sure that she had not prepared anything, that her “You” sang was the most spontaneous. Moreover, she was not yet aware that she would pass on to posterity. While in Sweden the Ukrainian Jamala wins Eurovision, she salutes the France 2 teams that accompanied her this evening. She returns to her car and goes straight home.
“The next day when I woke up I had a headache”
“Then my phone wouldn’t stop ringing and I realized the impact, the buzz effect,” says Elodie Gossuin. 20 minutes† There was a wave of very contrasting reactions between “Congratulations, you are fresh” and “My God, you are the shame of France”. It was quite violent in its suddenness. The next day when I woke up I had a headache. We cannot prepare for this kind of comeback, with this intensity. †
“An embarrassing sequence”, “a big moment of embarrassment”, “Elodie Gossuin is kidding herself” … If this moment makes you smile at that moment, in certain media and on social networks, the main concern is vilified. “If I had known that a ‘you-ou-ou’ could cause such reactions, I might have abstained, that’s for sure! My luck was to be supported by several people who made it to the second degree , she tells today. The following Monday I had Amir as a guest on the radio, he gave me a singing lesson, we laughed about it. Since then we have a very strong bond. Daphné Bürki called me to have a good laugh about it on her show The new edition [sur Canal+]† This helped to defuse things. They gave me their support and that they could joke about it encouraged me to make self-mockery. †
If Europeans were quick to forget that the French jury awarded its 12 points to Italy in 2016, many of them have fond memories of the spokesperson. France Télévisions also asked him to re-register for the 2017 and 2018 editions of Eurovision. “They contacted me again because all the delegations wanted the “you-ou-ou girl”, the “French you-ou-ou-miss”, continues Elodie Gossuin, who became aware especially last autumn of her popularity on the field of the competition , during the Eurovision Junior press conference organized in Paris: “I was present as master of ceremonies of the event, but the ‘you-ou-ou-ou-ou’ was mentioned in the questions of all foreign journalists! †
“It brings lightness to the most tense moment of the evening”
When it was announced in mid-April that she would once again be the spokesperson for the French jury for Eurovision 2022, the news delighted fans of the competition, for whom she is now a figure in her own right, a member of the competition family. “I feel like I’ve ever won Eurovision without remembering the year,” she laughs.
Why so much love? “She has personality, she brings levity to the most exciting moment of the evening and she is a very competent accompanist. Many spokespersons don’t have a natural gift for expressing themselves on television, which is undoubtedly why Elodie stands out,” replies Briton Nathan Waddell, editor-in-chief of the ESCXtra site.
“In retrospect, I am proud of this series,” assures Elodie Gossuin. All things considered, of course, because it’s not one particular achievement I should be bragging about, but today I think we need you-either-or-or-or, merry, festive entertainment. If it smiles, as I try to do in the morning on the radio on RFM, it’s okay. †
“There is a fear of managing”
This Saturday she will therefore be present to announce the points of the French jury. Should we expect her to hum? Fulenn or say a few words in Breton with a nod to Alvan and Ahez, the French representatives? “I won’t prepare anything,” she warns. Apart from what will be imposed on me in the technique, the repetitions, the language to be used, I will come without anticipating anything. †
Elodie Gossuin clarifies that, contrary to appearances, this exercise is not a formality. “It may seem very long, there is a fear to manage. From one second to the next we go from loneliness to being seen by millions of viewers. We are not in the party mood as we are not in the room to witness the event. Many think that one sentence can be enough, but even with the teleprompter, on a green screen, it is very complicated to manage. Professionally it is very formative. And it can even worship you.