Eurovision 2018 Previews: Italy

The penultimate preview comes from the land of pizza, pasta and the Renaissance. It’s Italy!!!

History

Italy was one of the seven countries to take part in the first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. They will send their forty-third entry this year. Italy have won the contest on two occasions: in 1964 with the song “Non ho l’età” performed by Gigliola Cinquetti and in 1990 with the song “Insieme: 1992” performed by Toto Cutugno. They withdrew from the contest a number of times, most notably from 1998 to 2010. Since their return to the contest in 2011, Italy have placed in top 10 four times. Last year, Francesco Gabbani was the pre-contest favourite but could only manage sixth place with “Occidentali’s Karma”.

Selection

The Italian broadcaster, Radiotelevisione italiana (RAI) organised the 68th edition of the Sanremo Music Festival, the inspiration for the Eurovision, to select their artist for Kyiv. The winner of the Campioni or “Big Artists” category would earn the right to represent Italy and first refusal of the offer. After four days of the festival, Ermal Meta and Fabrizio Moro were crowned the winners. Shortly after their victory, they accepted the Italian ticket to Lisbon.

Artist

Ermal Meta was born on April 20 1981 in Fier, Albania, but moved to Italy when he was a teenager. He began his musical career as a guitarist in Ameba4, who competed in the Newcomers’ section of Sanremo 2006. A year later, Ermal became the lead singer and songwriter of the band La Fame di Camilla. The band released 3 albums before splitting up in 2013. From then onwards, Ermal has written songs for many Italian artists such as Marco Mengoni and Lorenzo Fragola, as well as starring as a judge on the Italian talent show Amici di Maria De Filippi. He also took part in Sanremo in 2016, placing third in the Newcomers’ section with Odio le favole (I hate fables) and then returned in 2017, placing third once again, but this time in the Big Artists section of the show with Vietato morire (Forbidden to die). His album of the same name went to number 1 in Italy.

Fabrizio was born in Rome, Italy on 9th April 1975. Kicking off his career in 1996, Fabrizio released his debut single Per tutta un’altra destinazione (For an entirely different destination), and a few years later he participated in the 50th edition of Sanremo, ending in 13th place. In 2007, he returned to Sanremo with his song Pensa (Think), which won the Newcomers’ competition and received a “Mia Martini” Critics’ Award. He competed in Sanremo in 2010, but failed to qualify for the final night of the competition and came seventh in 2017 with Portami via (Take me away). He made his debut as a TV personality in 2011, where he presented Sbarre, a docu-reality about Italian prisons.

The song that Ermal and Fabrizio will sing in Lisbon, “Non mi avete fatto niente” (You did n’t do anything to me), was composed by Ermal and Fabrizio. Andrea Fobo also helped to write the lyrics alongside the duo. The song was written as a response to the Manchester Arena bombing last year.

Song Review

I do appreciate the message behind the song. However, I just can’t seem to like the song for some reason. I find it very monotone and a bit shouty at times. I think that there was so much hype surrounding this song that when I heard it first, I was a bit disappointed. Like Franka from Croatia, I mentioned Ermal as someone I’d like to see at Eurovision during my blogs last year. But I feel he got the short end of the stick as well. I don’t think I’ll ever like this song but if it does well, I won’t cry.

What Could Have Been

Annalisa is one of my favourite Italian artists and she came so close to winning Sanremo this year. Her song “Il mondo prima di te”, (The world before you) got her to second place in this year’s contest. I love Annalisa’s extremely versatile voice and I think it needs to be heard across the continent. If my prediction skills are any good, we may see her representing Italy next year!

 

                             Buona fortuna Italia!

Does this song do anything for you? Leave your comments below. Stay tuned tomorrow for the final Eurovision preview of this year!

(Sources: eurovision.tv, RAI, YouTube)

Advertisements

Eurovision 2017 Previews: Italy

We only have three previews left! Today we travel to the land of pizza, classical art and gelato. It’s Italy!!!

History

Italy was one of the seven countries to take part in the first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. They will send their forty-third entry this year. Italy have won the contest on two occasions: in 1964 with the song “Non ho l’età” performed by Gigliola Cinquetti and in 1990 with the song “Insieme: 1992” performed by Toto Cutugno. They withdrew from the contest a number of times, most notably from 1998 to 2010. Since their return to the contest in 2011, Italy have placed in top 10 four times. Last year, Francesca Michielin came sixteenth in the final with “No Degree Of Separation”.

Selection

The Italian broadcaster, Radiotelevisione italiana (RAI) organised the 67th edition of the Sanremo Music Festival, the inspiration for the Eurovision, to select their artist for Kyiv. The winner of the Campioni or Big Artists category would earn the right to represent Italy and first refusal of the offer. After four days of the festival, Francesco Gabbani was crowned the winner of the festival. Shortly after his victory, he accepted the Italian ticket to Kyiv.

Artist

Francesco Gabbani was born on September 9th 1982 in Carrara in Tuscany. His parents owned the town’s only instrument shop. He started off his music career with the band Trikobalto and left the band in 2010 to pursue a solo career. His first album Greitist Iz was released in 2014. He was on the verge of quitting performing in favour of composing but he was encouraged by his record label to enter a song for the Nuove Proposte (Newcomers) section of the Sanremo Festival in 2015. He won with the song “Amen” which peaked at number 14 on the Italian Singles Chart. His second album Eternamente ora (Eternally now) was released in 2016. He also composed the soundtrack for the comedy film Poveri ma ricchi (Poor but rich). This year, he won the “Big Artists” section of the Sanremo Festival, becoming the first artist ever to win different categories of the festival in consecutive years. His third album Magellano was released at the end of April. The song he will represent Italy with in Kyiv is the song he won Sanremo with “Occidentali’s Karma” (Westerners’ Karma). Francesco wrote and composed the song, alongside his brother Filippo and Luca Chiaravalli. The video for this song broke the record for the highest number of single-day views for an Italian song on Vevo and is the first ever Eurovision entry to get over 100 million views on Youtube.

Song Review

This is the favourite to win this year and it’s easy to see why. Catchy and memorable tune, deep and scathing lyrics criticising Westerners’ attempt to “westernise” Eastern cultures and the Anglicisation of the Italian language, musicality, lots of charm and to top it all off, a dancing ape! This song does not try to be anything else but itself and it is such a breath of fresh air. Standing out from the crowd can get you places and it looks to be taking Francesco all the way to the top. Honestly, unless there is a major slip-up, I can’t see anyone stopping this. Better start brushing off on my Italian then….

What Could Have Been

The songs in Sanremo were of an extremely high standard, as always. Many songs would have made fine representatives for Italy, including Ermal Meta with “Vietato morire” (Forbidden to die). This Albanian-Italian singer came with a drama-filled pop-rock offering that got him to third place on the final night of Sanremo. The song is beautifully crafted, intense and would have continued Italy’s stellar reputation in the contest over the last few years. While I think Italy were right to choose Francesco, it would have been interesting to see how Ermal would have fared.

                             Buona fortuna Italia!

Can anyone stop Francesco and his dancing ape? Leave your comments below. Stay tuned tomorrow for another Eurovision preview!

(Sources: eurovision.tv, RAI, YouTube)