Eurovision 2011: Italy

Italy saunter up to the top table in this years Eurovision after a thirteen year absence. Their financial contribution to the contest secures them an automatic place in the final on 14th May.

Raphael Gualazzi represents the country with his easy-listening big band number Madness of Love, proving in Italy’s San Remo competition (below) that he’s more than capable of tackling a technically demanding number in a live performance.

Those of us who hanker after Eurovision twenty odd years ago smile at the sight of an orchestra playing along with him too. As each year passed, Italy coming back to the contest seemed unlikely. Now they’re back, might the orchestra make a comeback too? It’s difficult to see how. Eurovision is present-day. Backing tracks might suit some tracks, but not all. Songs would have to be written for a live orchestral accompaniment in mind. Maybe there’s a trend to establish in future years.

In the meantime however Madness of Love works just fine with a backing track as it’s promo video below illustrates. The song is stylishly different from a lot of other Eurovision stuff and will provide a suitable contrast from the final running order on 14th May. Gualazzi looks like a performer with integrity. And best of all, the song has a big brassy finish. Always a bonus.

For me however, Italy will have to go a long way to surpass my most favourite Italian contribution. Sung by Al Bano and Romina Power, Magic oh Magic from 1985 (below) skidded into a respectable 7th place the year Bobbysocks let everything swing for getting Norway’s first ever win.

If those outfits are all a bit eighties, Romina Power’s gold spangly wrap especially so – she had to be wheeled onto the stage, I’m led to believe – then maybe the smoldering looks of Luca Barbarossa with his otherwise dull rock-esque song Ti Scrivo might be more visually appealing. That song finished 12th place in 1988. Looks clearly aren’t everything at Eurovision.

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