I have a very exact recollection of my first impression of Céline Dion - she came onto our tv-set as the second song in the second part of the 1988 Eurovision previews and had some raw, inexplicable energy that made her stand out from the rest.
She was wearing a horrific outfit, somehow reminiscent of what the sea looks like after an oil tanker disaster, but the way she nailed the camera was very special.
I distinctly remember thinking, a couple of days after my 12th birthday, that this girl is very special.
A few years later, as Célines international career took off, it was a good thing for Eurovision to boost having launched someone like Mademoiselle Dion into the international spotlight. It wasn't entirely true, perhaps, since Céline had been recording in France since the age of 13 and was by no means any inexperienced little performer.
However, at this point in her career, Céline seems to have needed Eurovision just as much as the ESC would later need her. No longer a child, her new mature material failed to enthuse the record buying audience and the French labels seemed to be giving up on her.
Rumours - impossible to verify, but still - have it that Sony music in America were ready to give her a record deal if she made an impression at Eurovision, showing she had public appeal.
The rest is history - a few successful singles later, Céline turned into one of the most successful singers on the planet and could afford to forget about flop singles like the one below.
I still find this one an interesting choice of song, musically way more challenging than most songs she has been recording for her English-languaged repertoire. It seems to me that Céline was always better in French, where her producers were more interested in her interpretation and nuances rather than showing off her vocal capabilities.
Céline Dion - La réligieuse