Last night the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of music unprofessionals—headed to Rome to get down on some spaghetti carbonara and to review Marco Mengoni’s Eurovision 2013 song “L’essenziale”. Did it prove to be essential listening? Or did we call Alitalia to see if we could catch the next flight out? Read on to find out.
HK Dick: Remember when, at school, you wanted to be part of the “cool” crowd so would pretend to like everything the cool kids did even though it really wasn’t your cup of tea? You just wanted to fit in so badly that you’d sacrifice your beliefs and say anything. That’s what I feel with most Eurovision fans and Italy. It’s cool to like Italy even though you don’t really know why. Well, I am standing for it no more. I’m prepared to be the social pariah and call this song for what it is…boring and forgettable and definite toilet break material.
Bogdan: I like Marco Mengoni’s look, voice, and his live performances (of anything). But unfortunately I don’t like this song as much. I expected that, given time and repeated listens (I tried), it would grow on me, but it didn’t happen. “L’Essenziale” is too Eros Ramazzotti, and I’ve never been a fan of the chap. However, I am sure that Marco’s performance will reach and warm many hearts – and eyes – and I expect Italy to do very well in the Final.
Vebooboo: Anyone who can go from looking like a beluga whale to a seal pup is a hero of mine. Throw on top of that solid vocals and you’ve got my future husband. Unfortunately, one of our wedding gifts was not a memorable song. I guess it’s because we forgot to invite Pastora Soler to our big day…big mistake! This song is good, but as a Big 5 country we want to see a big surprise, and this isn’t it. It’s ok. At least Marco and I won’t be bothered by hordes of press on our honeymoon (to San Marino. We’re staying at Valentina Monetta’s Facebook mansion).
Wiwi: Marco Mengoni has the look and the voice—but unfortunately he doesn’t have the song. Yes, “L’Essenziale” is well-constructed and showcases his vocals. But the song—like an interstate in the middle of a desert—doesn’t really take you anywhere you want to go. I feel like I’m staring at wallpaper. What’s essential is that I try to stay awake during this act so I don’t miss out on Denmark, Ukraine, San Marino or any of the other contestants that have a shot of winning this thing.
Deban: Oh boy, I tried! This sounds like Eros Rammazotti at his most introspective phase. Despite repeat listens, it doesn’t wow me in any way. Marginally better than Italy’s 2011 entry, which shockingly came in second place. Marco Mengoni is a star. The video to “L’essenziale” has over 13 million hits on YouTube, and retains the number one position in the Italian music charts. The statistics tell me that this is a quality entry, and a strong contender for ESC victory. But my gut reaction is slowly slipping into a coma. Like Maya Sar, this is likely to pander to music experts, and creep into the Top 10. Hopefully, not ahead of “Crisalide”—this year’s best Italian entry.
Mr Häggkvist: Marco is what an artist should be. This guy is really talented, charismatic and humble. I think “L’essenziale” is a masterpiece. It’s a different type of song for Eurovision—not the pop ballad we’re used to hearing in the contest. If he keeps the Sanremo vibe we saw back in February, this will make the top 10 for sure.
Alexander: “L’essenziale” is a typical Italian boy ballad, and it’s a pretty decent one. Marco is a great singer, but the song is a little too boring for my tastes. San Marino is going to totally outshine Italy in Malmö though, as “Crisalide” is a stronger entry than this.
The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 5.07/10