Wednesday, 25 November 2009


[7.02 - French Time] The French edition of Simon Cowell's Got Talent franchise, whose fourth season started on private channel M6 yesterday evening, is revamped to resemble to Britain's Got Talent, thanks to the global impact of Susan Boyle.

Previously titled Incroyable Talent ("Incredible Talent"), the French GT becomes La France a un incroyable talent ("France's got an incredible talent"). Production company FremantleMedia now clearly relates the French version to its British counterpart. So there's this new title, a new logo similar to Britain's Got Talent, a new intro sequence... actually the theme and the visuals of BGT but with French landmarks, and even a new jury.

The new title seems to reveal a dilemma: La France a un incroyable talent is a mix between the Got Talent brand and the old Incroyable Talent title. The concept is now known here since almost four years, FremantleMedia and M6 certainly don't want to lose the benefit of this implantation so they keep the Incroyable Talent but "La France a un incroyable talent" is too long. Maybe something like "La France a du talent" ("France's Got Talent") would have been much better.

Music and television mogul Simon Cowell knows how to pack an entertaining evening (helped by a great sense of dramatization) but the true stars of his shows, and of every talent show in general, are the judges. Of the previous seasons of the French GT, only producer from Quebec Gilbert Rozon (founder and president of the Just for Laughs Festival) remains in the jury. Actress/director Valérie Stroh and comedian Smaïn enter.

« This is the great return of the show which offers to everyone an exceptional chance to show their talents and change their lives. Remember, when in England Susan Boyle... » begins Alex Goude, who co-presents the show with Sandrine Corman (both for the first time). The Susan "SuBo" Boyle effect is indeed the key of the makeover and the rest is routine for a GT: variety, music, dance, eccentricity, pathetic, spectacular... With the same lines that made the salt of Britain’s Got The Pop Factor and Possibly A New Celebrity Jesus Christ Superstar Strictly On Ice - Peter Kay's parody: "That's the reason why we make this show" or "This show exists for people like you".

The auditions from the premiere gave us a Claude François fan (Claude François is in notoriety the French equivalent of Elvis Presley), a "speed painting" artist, a French cancan troup, a guy who sings the title song of Japanese anime series Saint Seya, a Brazilian carnival orchestra, etc. There was also a 15 year singer girl who held the public and the jury with her rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah (a song you can hear in every modern US TV series in its Jeff Buckley version). « I must confess that when you arrived...» said Gilbert Rozon. Sounds familiar?

Some of the numbers were really depressing regarding the state of the nation but it's a feeling shared by every viewer of the world at a point of each episode of a GT. However Les Echos- Liés, a funny group of humoristic breakdance (remember Diversity won the 2009 BGT edition) and Rachid, an impressive flame spewer, already win my sympathy.

This season La France a un incroyable talent has a companion show called La France a un incroyable talent, ça continue (mentioned as "Incroyable talent, ça continue" in the M6 bumper!) and presented by Jérôme Anthony and comic Anthony Joubert (finalist of last season). No doubt that this duo has been inspired by Ant & Dec, presenters of BGT, but they would be better as presenters of the main show.

At least LFAIT (let's call it so) didn't try too much the SuBo/Kevin Skinner (1) stunt for the first episode, even if - in some respects - we were close with the lady who performed Calling you at the end. The real question is: will Susan Boyle bless French viewers with an appearance in the show? Maybe in the finale?

Verdict: 5/10.

See also:

(1) Singer, winner of the season 4 of America's Got Talent.

No comments: