From our special correspondent in Turin (Italy)
We knew the singer Mika and the coach Mika from The voice† This week we discover the animator Mika. Alongside Laura Pausini and Alessandro Cattelan, he is one of the masters of ceremonies of Eurovision, which takes place in Turin. Still as lively as ever, the 30-year-old never stops chasing time. From Monday to Saturday he does rehearsals and live performances. On Thursday, however, he found a niche between the ultimate seamstress and the live performance of the semifinals to answer questions from 20 minutes†
How did you experience the life of the first semi-final on Tuesday? What do you remember?
I find this experience remarkable. RAI has decided to invest in the three evenings in almost the same way, it is very courageous and even very risky. It’s hard to put on a show like that. Three climbs in one week is unheard of. I feel electrified by what is happening. The secret of all this is that we have started writing, with Laura [Pausini] and Alessandro [Cattelan], months ago, remotely or together. We are part of a discussion about the structure, the narration, the tone of what we see, the intros, the performances.
Everything is very precise. There is little room for improvisation. For someone who is spontaneous like you, isn’t that frustrating?
This stopwatch and the precision do not make the exercise any easier. All this is based on interpretation, on energy, sometimes even a look or a gesture that has to be magnified… It is really a television language. We’re on macro TV. Since everyone talks to our voice, that’s the first thing you need to understand. So it’s all in a gesture, a look, in the bond between us [avec Laura Pausini et Alessandro Cattelan] and the camera. As soon as we enter this arena, we do television for people at home. You have to talk to the camera 99% of the time and not to the audience in the room. We improvise anyway, but with precision, in a timed way. I’m telling you the truth, if I’m prepared, I like it. I prepare as best I can so that if I’m wrong I can catch up and stay human and sincere, but not frozen.
In the Italian magazine “Sorrisi e Canzoni” you recently stated that the French commentators were “cattivissimi”, “very mean”. Do you have a message for Laurence Boccolini and Stéphane Bern commenting on the final at France 2 on Saturday?
(He laughs) We know very well that there was more evil than Stéphane Bern. Marc-Olivier Fogiel, who I know very well, and Dave were fired for being so mean… At the same time, that’s part of the drill, isn’t it? This duality, there are the things we like, the things we don’t like, the waterfalls… It’s part of the game. But, Stéphane, please be nice, I ask.
You spoke quite harshly about Eurovision a few years ago. How do you view today’s competition?
There are always things you really like and things you don’t like. This format has had remarkable success in recent years, thanks to streaming. If Albania brings a good song, or if there is a hit from the Netherlands, it can become a hit all over the world. When Italy presents a song like shut up and good, the number of games is unbelievable. Streaming has changed the way people watch this match. The caliber of the authors, the caliber of the artists, the social networks, make it possible to understand who is the person who sings, where they come from, what their song is about… These songs are no longer necessarily discoveries on the night of the final. This increased the musical credibility of this competition.
This edition takes place in a particularly tense international climate, with one of the participating countries, Ukraine, in particular, which is in the midst of war. What impressions do you have: people are looking forward to the party?
More than ever, there is the heart of the party. However, not everyone is constantly jumping for the air. When Ukraine showed up recently [en demi-finale mardi], there were many tears. There was an intensity. I thought, ‘Damn, I’m going to remember this moment for the rest of my life. “I never thought that I would be at a variety show or a song contest and experience an intense, collective socio-political emotion, such as I experienced when the Ukrainians [le groupe Kalush Orchestra] arrived and people started shouting and cheering regardless of which flag they had in their hands. More than ever, there is an urgent need to celebrate our differences on the same stage. I gave an interview to New York Times where I tried to make the United States understand what the Eurovision phenomenon was… I explained that artists are singing in their own language more than ever and it’s quite surprising because there used to be the idea that there was a “Eurovision sound”. Now we hear different languages, but also instruments from different cultures, we see embroidery, patterns… Just the fact that France voted for a Breton group to represent it in the Eurovision Song Contest… do we like that or not? That’s another question, but is it interesting from a socio-political point of view?
Nikos Aliagas sent you a congratulatory message after the first semi-final?
No. He didn’t text me. I actually don’t know why.
Do you expect it? Is there a message to convey to him?
Yes I love him ! He is also influenced by what I have just discussed. It would be a good question for him: who is he going to support on Saturday night? Will he cry for France? Greece? And if it’s both, which one will he scream louder for?
Nikos Aliagas will be back soon to host “Star Academy”. You were the artistic director of the Quebec version, would you like to reproduce the experience in France on TF1?
In Quebec I was artistic guest director. So far there has been no discussion between me and star Ac’ in France, so all the announcements that have been made are not reality at all.
Will we see you again in France soon?
my new single, me me, which comes out this Friday, will definitely take me to France. I hope you will hear me in France before you see me. This summer I’m going to do a lot of festivals in Europe. There is the moment for TV, the moment for music and the moment for the stage. Everything must take its place when it must. It’s so important to me, that’s why I’ll be singing in the final. i do the hostthen I become Jekyll and Hyde, completely change my outfit and attitude and become the performer on stage.