Eurovision Song Contest: Back for the future: Luxembourg back at the ESC

Eurovision Song Contest
Back for the future: Luxembourg back at the ESC

Tali Golergant lived in Chile and Argentina until she was ten years old before coming to Luxembourg with her family. photo

© Daniele Reuter/RTL Luxembourg/dpa

It’s a comeback with an announcement. Luxembourg is back on the ESC stage after a good three decades. And wants to finish as high up as possible with singer Tali.

Luxembourg is back. For the first time in 31 years, the small country will enter the big show stage of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in Malmö, Sweden, in May. Tali Golergant (23), a Luxembourger with Israeli-Peruvian roots, is set to reclaim the Grand Duchy’s place on the international pop map with the ethno-pop song “Fighter”. “We want to show what we can do in our comeback and think we have good chances,” says RTL Luxembourg’s ESC media representative, Jeff Spielmann, to the dpa.

At the ESC, Luxembourg is not just anyone. Even after three decades of absence, Luxembourg, together with Great Britain, France and the Netherlands, is still at the top of the winners list with five ESC victories. Only Ireland and Sweden managed seven wins.

The ESC in Malmö is also a political project for the Grand Duchy. In May 2023, the government, then led by the avowed ESC fan and Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, decided to support the return. Around 1.1 million euros were made available because they hope to have a “positive impact”, especially on the music industry – and to strengthen Luxembourg’s “brand image”. Spielmann puts it this way: “We want to show after all these years that the music scene in Luxembourg has developed a lot. And that we exist.”

“Such a break was good for developing new artists”

In 1993, Luxembourg took part in the ESC for the last time after a few years without top results. At that time, 25 countries took part – whereas there were only seven at the first competition in 1956. Apparently in 1993 the “respect” of winning the ESC and having to host a major event was one of the reasons for leaving. And: “Such a break was good for developing new artists,” says Spielmann.

Tali is supposed to represent exactly this new Luxembourg scene. Luxembourg has 660,000 inhabitants, only around half of whom are Luxembourgers. A good 47 percent of the residents are foreigners. In the city of Luxembourg, more than 70 percent of around 130,000 residents are foreigners. “Tali represents Luxembourg,” says Spielmann. “Because there are a lot of people here in the country with very different backgrounds.”

The singer went to school in Luxembourg, studied in New York and now lives back in Luxembourg. The government’s requirement that the representative of Luxembourg must definitely have a connection with Luxembourg was more than fulfilled. Tali is unimpressed by criticism that she doesn’t speak the Luxembourgish language well enough. “I grew up here. This is my home and I definitely feel Luxembourgish,” she tells dpa.

Music is her life

She was “extremely excited” before her performance: “I feel super honored. And I can’t wait to make Luxembourg proud.” With her French-English song “Fighter” she wanted to show Europe: “That everything is possible if you work hard and if you believe that you can do it. With perseverance and kindness.” For her, “music is her life,” says the singer-songwriter, who also plays theater.

In the past, roots in the Grand Duchy were not a big issue. All previous winners for Luxembourg have been foreigners. Jean-Claude Pascal (1961), France Gall (1965), Anne-Marie David (1973) and Corinne Hermès (1983) came from France, Vicky Leandros (1972) from Germany and Greece.

Tali, who also works as a singing teacher, prevailed against seven competitors in the Luxembourg preliminary round at the Rockhal in Esch-sur-Alzette at the end of January. They continue on to the semi-finals of the European competition on May 7th. The final will take place on May 11th. A total of 37 countries are taking part in the ESC.

No megalomania, but anything is possible

Luxembourg’s application is of great importance for the country, says Spielmann. “If a Luxembourger is successful somewhere abroad, then it is also a success for the country. Then the people here are happy too.” Nevertheless, it was “a courageous step” by the government to decide to take part in the ESC. You are “not megalomaniacal”, but everything is possible. Even a win? “If it came to that, we would manage it too.”

But first it’s about offering “a show that won’t go down in Malmö.” And then a decision must be made as to what will happen next with Luxembourg and the ESC: “We are actually assuming that we will continue to be involved.”

dpa

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