Je veux une explication

B.A: Maybe one of our European friends, more familiar with this show, can explain (the subject line means “I want an explanation”):  As near as I can interpret, this kid was disqualified because of some… technical problem? He’d certainly have had my vote.

The Zaz original, by the way (with English subtitles):


  1. It doesn’t say anything about disqualification. The guys in the seats are very impressed by the performance (‘It’s her’, meaning Zaz) but hesitate selecting the kid for reasons they do not mention. At the end, one of them guesses it’s a boy singing. Then the clip ends and the host invites us to subscribe to the program.

  2. Local newspapers (Haute Provence Info) at the time covered the boy’s performance but did not mention any problem, just that none of the coaches (the three guys in the seats, professional singers Jenifer, Patrick Fiori and Matt Pokora) selected him for their teams.

  3. Oh, and the guys in the seats don’t get to see the candidates: it’s a blind test.

  4. There was a group of audience standing and watching the singer, it seemed. Not the main audience, seated. So were these his family / team?

    Sign language from the judges:
    “Too square”
    “Needs to be shorter”

  5. Thanks, I thought it could be his family.
    I know there are also ways in English to get “square” to count positively; but difficult in a music context!

  6. “Das Himmlische Leben” (from Mahler Sym. no. 4) is one piece written for a woman singer, where it has become not entirely a stunt to substitute a boy soprano. Perhaps because the text is in the character of a boy who has recently died and now wakes up in heaven and describes his impressions. (If you fill in the back story from “Das Irdische Leben” [the earthly life] it seems he starved to death; and this sort of explains why “Das Himmlische Leben” is so concerned with food.)

    Liu Shen

    Aksel Rykkvin

    Helmut Wittek singing — Bernstein conducting Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra — Bernstein seems to have “credit” for modern revival of using a boy soprano in this part. This recording though is from 1984 or 1987.

  7. Those are some tough judges. In the American version at least one would have turned around, just to see who was singing if nothing else.

  8. Such clarity, although I thought the French boy was a bit flat on the lower notes. I really like to listen to boy sopranos; Hubby calls them ‘The Screamers’, so I usually play my recordings when he’s not home, or just in my office. But then, he finds Philip Glass’ ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ repetitive, as he can’t hear the nuances in the notes.

  9. They’re not judges per se; they’re team managers: the first to turn around gets the candidate in their team.
    After the selection is completed, the teams will compete against each others and members will be eliminated until one member is left: the winner.

  10. That should be “Je voudrais” in polite language. “Je veux” is considered impolite. One means “I would like” and the other means “I want.”

  11. @Pete: ‘Je veux’ is the title of the song. And when asking someone something, the only important word is ‘s’il vous plaît’. And a smile. 🙂

  12. Pete is correct, of course, but… I was expressing the fact that I wanted it, not demanding that somebody provide it.

    Plus, of course, I wanted to submit a good subject line.

  13. Poor Martha in “Das Himmlischen Leben”. Her reward for having a bit part in the Bible is she gets to do ALL the cooking for EVERYBODY for every meal.

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