Marion Cotillard could win an Oscar on Sunday night for her remarkable portrayal of French chanteuse Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose." But there's another amazing Piaf performance in the movie, and it's delivered by someone you never see: French vocalist Jil Aigrot, who re-recorded many of Piaf's songs—including the crowd- pleaser "Padam Padam"—for the big screen. (Yes, Cotillard was lip-syncing.) Aigrot was discovered by Piaf's own secretary, Ginou Richer, who had written a book about the icon. In 2005 Aigrot went to a book signing by Richer and performed a Piaf song right there on the spot. Richer was startled by the similarity, so a few months later, she suggested that Aigrot audition for the film's director, who decided against using nothing but original Piaf recordings because some songs didn't exist or the quality wasn't good enough.
Aigrot says she's proud of her work, except for one thing: she thinks she sounds a bit too much like Piaf. "I'm very blessed that people think it was Edith Piaf singing," she says. "But it's also difficult because I'm an artist. I have a career. My name is often in the dark." Aigrot's debut album, "Words of Love," could change all that when it's released next month. Or maybe not. It's an album of more Piaf songs.