Now that the National Finals season is finished and all songs for Eurovision 2016 have been selected we now have a period of around 4 weeks where we wait for the rehearsals to begin in Stockholm. What better way to fill the time than to look back over the 60 years of Eurovision at some of the best and worst entries that countries have sent to the Eurovision stage. There are 43 countries going to Stockholm to take part in the 2016 edition of our favourite musical extravaganza and we continue our journey with Italy who have won the contest twice, finished second four times and third five times. They have finished last once in the Final. This has been achieved in 41 participations. You can check out the previous articles in the best and worst series for Ireland HERE ,Spain HERE, Austria HERE, Bosnia & Herzegovina HERE, Iceland HERE, Belarus HERE, Denmark HERE, Georgia HERE, Germany HERE, Cyprus HERE, Finland HERE, Belgium HERE and Hungary HERE, Switzerland HERE, Ukraine HERE, Moldova HERE, Estonia HERE and Norway HERE.
So this year Italy are represented by Francesca Michielin with the song ‘No Degree of Seperation’. We will have to wait and see if it turns out to be more of a best or worst song for Italy but the overall reaction is positive so far. You can catch up on our recent article announcing Francesca as the representative in Italy HERE.
So my selections for best and worst entries are based on a combination of actual results and personal taste. Now Italy have forty one entries to choose from making the task a lot harder. There are many great songs from Italy over the years especially some of the earlier ones and this may be reflected in my selections here.
We do not have to go very far back in time to find our first song that is one of the best for Italy. The year was 2015 and we were in Vienna to see Il Volo singing the song ‘Grande Amore’.
Now Il Volo were one of the early favourites after they won San Remo and chose to take their winning song to Eurovision. The original version of the song had to be edited to fit in to the 3 minute rule. The popera song was originally written in 2003 for San Remo but was shelved for 12 years because it was considered too old fashioned. It went on to win the televote in the Grand Final but only finished 3rd overall due to a lower jury vote with 292 points.
Moving along we look at one of the worst entries for Italy. We were in Jerusalem in 1979 to see Matia Bazar perform the song ‘Raggio di luna’.
Now Matia Bazar are a popular band in Italy who originally hail from Genoa. The song is a love song, with the lead singer explaining to his lover that something as simple as a moon beam can simplify their relationship and make any experience enjoyable. It was the very first Eurovision entry to have no orchestral accompaniment nor a conductor. It finished in 15th place with 27 points.
So now we move back to look at another best of entry for Italy. We were in Dublin in 1997 and the performers were Jalisse with the song ‘Fiumi di parole’.
Now Jalisse had won the San Remo Festival with this song and are a pop duo consisting of Alessandra Drusian and Fabio Ricci. They did attempt to return to Eurovision in 2008 for San Marino but were not chosen. It was considered one of the favourites but only managed a still respectable 4th place with 114 points. It was the last entry from Italy until their return in 2011.
Our next song that has to be considered one of the worst for Italy was from the year was 1988 and we were in Dublin to see Luca Barbarossa singing ‘Vivo (Ti scrivo)’.
Now Luca did not win the San Remo Festival that year but finished 3rd and with another song. He was chosen by RAI to go to Eurovision with another song. He did finally go on to win San Remo in 1992 at his 5th attempt of 8 in all. The song was a ballad in which Barbarossa apologises to the recipient(a former lover) of a letter he is writing for using this method of communication. Although performed well enough it was a tad dull and gave Italy its lowest finish in the 80’s finishing 12th with 52 points.
So onto another song that was one of Italy’s best. It was in 1993 and Dublin saw Enrico Ruggeri with the song ‘Sole d’Europa’.
Now starting with the song it is a dramatic ballad, with Ruggeri asking the sun to bathe Europe in light in order that it might forget its troubles. Now Enrico did win San Remo also in 1993 but with another song. So this song was chosen instead for him to sing in Dublin. It was a lively entry and I felt it deserved to finish higher than it did in 12th position with only 45 points.
We now arrive at the last song for Italy that was one of the worst. In 2014 we saw Emma represent her country in Copenhagen with the song ‘La mia città’.
It was a song that was chosen by RAI to represent Italy with no connection to San Remo that year. Emma in actual fact had won San Remo in 2012 and was very popular in Italy. The song had a very lively performance on the Eurovision stage and had very dramatic costumes. It finished in 21st place in the Final with only 33 points and is the worst result ever for Italy at Eurovision.
So many good songs for Italy so we have a bonus best of song. The year was 2011 and we were in Dusseldorf to see Raphael Gualazzi perform the song ‘Madness Of Love’.
Now this was a winner in San Remo that year but in the newcomers category. The song was adapted for Eurovision and had some English added into the mix too. It was the first entry from Italy in 13 years and was a very welcome return. It was a big jazz number with Raphael seating at the piano and went on to surpass all expectations earning 2nd place with 189 points.
Finally we have one last bonus best of song for Italy. This look back would certainly not be complete without Mia Martini who represented her country in Malmo in 1992 with the song ‘Rapsodia’.
Now this was Mia’s second attempt at Eurovision for her country. She had come 2nd at San Remo earlier in 1992 allowing her the chance to return to the contest fifteen years after her first appearance. The song is a dramatic and despairing ballad and was noted for her intense delivery of the song. She finished in 4th place with 111 points. Three years after participating in the contest Martini unexpectedly died, at just 47 years old.
So there we have it folks, my little delve into Italian Eurovision history and some of the best and worst moments over the years. Do you agree with all or even any of my choices? Feel free to comment below.
This series will continue with another look at songs over the years for each and every country competing in Eurovision 2016 so keep coming back for more reflections of the best and worst that Eurovision has had to offer us.
Author: Andrew Main
Source: Eurovision Ireland