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Arts, Briefly

French Singer Stirs Storm

Published: April 17, 2008

A French singer who plans to sing in English at the Eurovision Song Contest next month in Belgrade, Serbia, has outraged many of his countrymen, Agence France-Presse reported. The singer, Sebastien Tellier, 33, intends to perform “Divine” with almost exclusively English lyrics, becoming the first French competitor to do so since the contest began in 1956. “Many of our citizens will not understand why France has chosen not to uphold its language before millions of television viewers around the world,” said François-Michel Gonnot, a French legislator. Christine Albanel, the culture minister, said France should be “solidly behind” Mr. Tellier, above, but added that “it is a shame that there is no French song” to represent that nation. Mr. Tellier’s producer, Stéphane Elfassi, said, “Out of the 40 countries participating at least 25 will present a song in English.”


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