Today the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — touched down in Italy, where we visited ancient Roman baths, gorged on lasagna and shopped at a massive Dolce & Gabbana store. Squeaky clean, stuffed and kitted out in overpriced clothes, we stopped to review Il Volo and their track “Grande Amore”. Are we loving Italian opera or are we just waiting for the fat lady to sing so it can all be over? Read on to find out…
Italy’s Eurovision 2015 song
Reviews: Il Volo with “Grande Amore”
Angus: Italy is a nation with rich history and you would expect them to learn from it too. Judging by the selection of Il Volo, though, it looks like Italy needs schooling. So here’s a li’l history lesson: In 2011 everyone thought a Big 5 country was going to cruise to victory with popera. France bombed on the night and Italy will too. “Grande Amore” lacks progression and, like “Sognu” before it, presumes that just the fact of being in opera is enough to make the song remarkable. It is lazy, uninspired and will fall flat in Vienna.
Liam: I’m in the minority here but I honestly do not like this song. It’s just not Eurovision. Boring! Ima be in the toilet when this is on.
Bogdan: I adore this song. It would be a perfect winner for the 60th anniversary of Eurovision, thanks to its timeless quality. It is both minimalistic and grand, sensuous and overly romantic — exactly what you would expect from three Italian pop opera singers. Moreover, Il Volo are unquestionably charismatic and telegenic, and whoever watched Sanremo knows that the guys can deliver a flawless performance. I hope they take Europe by storm with “Grande Amore”. My only regret is that they can’t perform the full version of the song.
Max: I’m getting flashbacks to Sognu from 2011 and that isn’t a good thing. Don’t get me wrong — this is a song that I would happily listen to with a glass of red as I sit by a fireplace reflecting on life, but at Eurovision? There are certain things that the casual Eurovision viewer expects from the contest and a bargain bin Il Divo isn’t one of them. They may be popular in Italy, but I don’t think Europe will connect with them.
Chris: Ever since I first heard “Grande Amore”, I’ve been waiting for the moment where I “got” it. Here I am months later and it still hasn’t clicked. They’ve done a good job cutting down the original Sanremo version and there’s still an awful lot of drama in there, but it doesn’t leave me feeling anything after it’s done. For that alone, it seems to miss the point of being a “popera” entry to me. Great voices, but not much else.
Robyn: Non-English songs seem to work best when the music and the performance convey the emotion of the lyrics – and “Grande amore” is a masterclass in that. Prior to hearing “Grande amore”, I didn’t even think I liked popera, yet I love this song and all its emotional insistence (oh my!). “Grande amore” doesn’t even need fancy staging. If this trio just show up in Italian suits and sing the song as brilliantly as they did at Sanremo, they’ll do very well in Vienna.
Deban: A typical pop-opera effort that’s true to its Italian origins. It’s grand, romantic but also a tad over-pumped. If the music video is an indication of staging, then they deserve a strike for lack of originality. Yes, 24 million YouTube hits may indicate a possible victory, but it shouldn’t. “Grande Amore” is just above average.
Francheska: Ok, I know what I said on the video about Il Volo: I called them old-fashioned and completely boring. I feel the opposite now! Maybe it’s listening to the studio version and seeing the music video, but I’m so intrigued by it. The boys can certainly sing, and the best elements of opera and modern music are married perfectly! My love for the Italian language, adoration of their vocals, and fascination by the instrumentals all come together for a chocolate sundae of Italian music! Bellissimo!
Zach: Fan-wank alert! Fan-wank alert! It’s France 2011 all over again! I’m sorry, but I REALLY don’t understand the hype with this song. It’s incredibly dated, it sounds like something that would fit in a 1960’s era Eurovision, not 2015. I appreciate throwbacks when they’re done correctly, but this feels like calculated vintage attempting to be moving through the usage of male opera singers who also happen to be attractive. The song is boring, I honestly don’t even remember how it goes. And frankly, they really over-sing it. Popera never does well at Eurovision. If Malena couldn’t succeed these guys won’t either.
Padraig: So apparently opera doesn’t do well at Eurovision. Before Copenhagen, people said that about country, but then we met the Common Linnets. In all likelihood, Il Volo will probably do the same for their genre. They can’t be compared to previous classical efforts – they lack the kitsch and wackiness of Sweden 2009 or Romania 2013, while they’re much more dynamic and charismatic than France 2011. I think “Grande Amore” is one of those songs which has to be heard live. It builds nicely, and the closing crescendo of vocals and instrumentation has the potential to bring the house down. I can’t see this winning, but then the party ain’t over till the handsome lads sing.
Our jury consists of 29 people, but we only have room for 9 written reviews. Here are the remaining 20 scores.
William C: 9.5/10
To reduce potential bias, we drop the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. We removed a low of 1 and a high of 10.