Eurovision 2017

FRANCESCO GABBANI – Lost in the Jungle? The Dangers of being a #EUROVISION Favourite


Francesco Gabbani, born 9th September 1982 in Carrara, Italy, is the name that every Eurovision fan already knows and loves this year… wait, you DON’T already know?! Of course you do! Namasté, Ommmmm… no? The guy with the gorilla? There you go…

These very special elements, together with quite unique lyrics, have made Francesco a big favourite this year. Even if this does sound very simple – and in the end, it’s that simpleness that makes it special – Francesco has made some big hurdles for himself to clear if he wants to conquer Europe and bring back the Contest to Italy for the first time since 1990. So the question is … will Francesco get lost in the Eurovision jungle? Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of being a favourite …


Italian / Italiano

The fact that the entry will be completely in Italian is maybe the biggest challenge for Italy to win. Don’t get me wrong, songs in any native language are more than welcome and can also be a big plus as viewers appreciate the difference to the almost only English entries. But when you don’t understand Italian, you won’t understand the deeper meaning behind the lyrics and the way the song is performed (such as why there is a gorilla!) in first place. Hopefully for Italy, the commentators will jump in at this part and let the home viewers know what the meaning behind the song is.

Three minutes / Tre minuti

One rule of the Eurovision Song Contest is that the maximum duration of a song is three minutes in total. So far, we only know the 3 minutes 34 seconds version of “Occidentali’s Karma” – so which of the 34 seconds will be scrapped from the song? Will it change the meaning or the feeling of the song? Could these missing 34 seconds ultimately make people not vote for the song? Luckily the majority of the voting public watching on the Saturday night will only know the 3 minute version of the entry, so it’s unlikely to matter.

Charisma / Carisma

Every Eurovision entry rises and falls with the performing artist. One strange look into the camera and the millions watching at home can quickly form a negative opinion of you. Francesco, in this case, is a special example in this theory. Starting his performance in a quite serious manner with closed eyes and not smiling at all, people may think that he looks kind of narcissistic. But within just a few seconds he turns into a happy grinning jumping jack. As this change is part of the whole attraction, this also may confuse many spectators. But on the other hand, it will also attract people even more into the song and Francesco with his positive, energetic performance will be able to get a smile even from the grimmest grandma!

The Gorilla! / Il Gorilla!

Kids and animals always work on TV … that is one of the unspoken secrets of TV producers … but with Eurovision, we all know that exactly these two things are forbidden. So you may call it quite clever to put a person in a Gorilla costume on stage with you to avoid a disqualification. With this special staging of the Italian entry, you can be sure it will be firmly in everyone’s memory at the end of the night – and the beginning of the voting process, when potentially millions of Europeans will say “I’m voting for the guy with the gorilla!”. Of course, this could potentially backfire. Some will dismiss it as childish and if the commentators fail to transmit the meaning of the lyrics to the viewers at home, then many will be left wondering why there’s a gorilla on stage at all…


Alé Francesco, Alé Italia – and all the best in Kyiv! As a member of the Big Five, Italy will automatically perform in the Grand Final of the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv, Ukraine on 13th May 2017.

Author: Sascha Frasz

Source: Eurovision Ireland

Images Source: Sascha Frasz, Eurovision Ireland


3 replies »

  1. Let’s see if Italy can achieve what Germany did in 2010 and become the second winner from Big 5. The biggest hurdle is that ESC viewers will only hear/watch Italy perform once while they have already made their mind if with their favorites in the semis. Germany was a rare case in 2010(which is still debatable whether their win was pure effort or partially driven by political financial situation).

  2. He’s gorgeous, and I absolutely love his song, but I worry that he’ll succumb to the same fate as most runaway Eurovision favourites by finishing just outside the top spot on the night. Could it be yet another case of close but no cigar? Quite possibly.

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