Italy’s comeback to Eurovision has been phenomenal. The lowest placing the country has received since its return in 2011 has been ninth place, and their average ranking is sixth. Italy seems to break the stigma of the Big 5 being…inadequate, out-of-touch, and too arrogant to take the contest seriously. Although Italy might not have its economy or politics sorted, it certainly knows how to entertain at Eurovision. Here are five reasons why Italy is so successful.
1. The Juries
The Juries love Italy. A lot. Raphael placed first with the jury in 2011, instead of the heavily-favored Amaury Vassili. Nina Zilli also received a good bit of love, reaching fourth place in the jury calculation. Marco Mengoni also placed eighth with the juries this year. As a general rule, the juries tend to favor the Big 5. But Italy doesn’t rely on that: it places quite highly with televoters, too.
Much to the horror of other Big 5 countries, Italy uses a competition for its national selection! Well, sort of. In 2011, Raphael Gualazzi won the newcomers section of the Sanremo Festival, Nina was selected by a panel of artists, and Marco won the main shindig. So unlike Germany’s “Unser Song” series, it isn’t a clear-cut competition. Class, with that undertone of competition.
3. Running Order
Italy has also performed later during the grand final (on average 15th) than France (seventh) and the UK (tenth). Germany (15.66) and Spain (15.33) both overtake Italy, yet Spain has been blessed with two very late performances, and Germany has had a good streak. So Italy’s consistent. And it broke through the middle-time curse.
4. Voting Bloc
Analyzing how other countries voted for Italy also sheds some light on their success. In two out of three years (2011 and 2013) Spain has given Italy douze points (and 1 point in 2012). Malta (8 points in 2013, 12 in 2012, and 10 in 2011), Switzerland (12 in 2013, 5 in 2012, and 4 in 2011), Albania (12 in 2013, 7 in 2012, and 12 in 2011), San Marino (4 in 2013, 7 in 2012, and 12 in 2011), and the Balkans (FYR Macedonia- 10 in 2013, 5 in 2012, and 1 in 2011; Slovenia- 8 in 2013, 5 in 2012, and 3 in 2011; Greece- 6 in 2013, 3 in 2012, and 10 in 2011) and France (10 in 2013, 1 in 2012, and 8 in 2011) all love Italian entries! Could it be the warm weather? The economic troubles? The widespread use of Romance languages in Spain and France and the Italian language trend in Yugoslavia? Or the Big 5 and former Yugoslavia coping with less-than-successful entries? The world may never know.
A lot of the main criticism of Eurovision comes from some people saying that there isn’t enough variety. Well, Italy brings variety. 2011 brought a distinctively jazzy number (but yet again, so did Romania. Coincidence?). Nina Zilli’s entry blended pop with slightly unusual characteristics, and Marco Mengoni branched out into the difficult world of ballads from his pop rock roots.
Now the big question is this: How is Italy going to fare in the future? Will the land of the Romans continue to flourish? Or will it turn into the stereotype of the Big 5 and start cheering like crazy when they don’t get last place (Graham Norton, I’m looking at you)? What do you think of Italy at Eurovision? Let us know in the comments section below!
Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)