Yesterday the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — travelled to Italy and stopped by the town of Bassano del Grappa. There we took a walk across the Ponte Vecchio bridge and discussed Francesca Michielin‘s song “No Degree of Separation”. Did we feel close to the song? Or did it leave a divide? Read on to find out?
Francesca Michielin – “No Degree of Separation”
“No Degree of Separation” reviews
Mike: Even though I did not understand a single word from the Italian lyrics, it was love at first listen. Francesca brings the lyrics like she is just reading a newspaper. Sanremo is the national selection with by far the highest quality in Europe and again this year they chose the best entry to represent Italy in Stockholm. This song deserves at least another spot in the first 10 but if I had to choose we will go to Rome next year.
William: Francesca’s voice has a breathy, ethereal charm. But amid that lightness she still packs an emotional punch, tugging on heart strings and creating major atmosphere. She’s a competent, controlled performer and she imbues every note with a feeling. And while I love Francesca, I only like her song. It’s intoxicating, no doubt, but needs a bit more shape to get me going. A steady strand of pleasant is nice, but I really crave a climax.
Angus: Italy has got this down! Francesca’s vocal is razor sharp, “No Degree of Separation” emotively all-conquering and the production a total winner. The slow build of the song gives Francesca time to develop her vocal, only bringing the full force to bear in the final third of the song and constantly exceeding your expectation every step of the way there. The English could sound clunky, but Francesca makes it elegant and flawless. She has her eye on the prize and she might just get there.
Bernardo: Expecting a weak entry from Italy is like expecting Portugal to win the 2017 edition of Eurovision. Not possible. I was a bit worried that the English version was going to lose some of the qualities the Italian one had. Thank God I was wrong. The song was already very international and the English chorus adds an even stronger impact. Francesca’s voice is pure magic and helps build a song that starts slowly and builds up to an intense climax that for sure will please televoters and juries.
Bogdan: “No Degree Of Separation” is a coherent effort that plays on Francesca’s unassuming strengths. It’s not in your face, it even starts shyly, but it manages to envelop you with its ever-growing force, like a river that keeps rising. By the end of it, you’re happily drowning in Francesca’s beautiful voice and the song’s mesmerising flow. Another superb victory for Italy. Oh, and the English lyrics are a welcome addition! I adore Francesca’s accent!
Deban: Stirring, emotive and vocally on-point. Francesca Michielin is owning her ground as she sings this bilingual entry. “No Degree Of Separation” commands the listeners attention whilst it’s on play, but it fails to linger when it’s over.
Zakaria: What I love about Italy in the contest is how they always showcase their beautiful language. “No Degree of Separation” is certainly not the best Italy has sent but it’s still a strong entry. Francesca’s voice is bewitching, somehow haunting and fits the song perfectly. However, even after several listens, I still feel the song is a bit flat and doesn’t evolve much.
Judit: For me, it’s not a love-at-first-sight thing. Francesca has an awesome voice — this girl can sing! And this song could work on the stage, but I think maybe it’s a bit overrated. Il Volo was perfect and came third. This year I don’t think Italy can do better.
Mikhail: For me this song is a little bit bland. I don’t find it unique. However, after a few listens I found a little piece of magic in it. It flows tenderly like a small brook throughout the forest and this way the song steps on a higher level for me and brings me some joy. Nevertheless, I cannot rank it high enough, because my player is full of Emma’s non-Eurovision songs, which are much better, though they are similar.
Padraig: “Nessun Grado Di Separazione” caught me completely off guard. Its simplicity, its elegance and its beauty were completely unexpected. I got chills. And that was just on first listen. Since then it’s morphed into “No Degree Of Separation” and my love remains strong. I don’t get quite the same high as I did back at Sanremo, but I suspect that’s purely down to familiarity. The new English verse is a perfect example of how bilingual entries should be done. Whereas, the original began to become repetitive towards the end, the language change adds a new layer of interest whilst simultaneously furthering our understanding of the song. Francesca’s gorgeous charm is the perfect antidote to Il Volo’s bombast.
Robyn: Italy normally enters songs that have a lot going on, so even if the listener doesn’t understand Italian, there’s some sort of drama/emotion/passion/eyebrow to draw the viewer in. “No Degree of Separation” is a lot simpler and I don’t feel that same connection. It’s very pleasant, delivered nicely by Francesca, but it lacks a compelling hook that would make me fall in love with it.
Tobias: Italy surprises every year and this year is no exception. Traditionally, they send a singer who sings in Italian, and even though I don’t know any Italian at all it still attracts me. I think there must be some kind of genetic code build in us — we just love the beautiful Italian language. “No Degree of Separation” is a strong song, maybe top 5, but not a winner. The melody is sweet and I found myself humming to it so I guess that’s a good sign for Italy, since it may have the same effect on more people.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 40 jurors but only have room for 12 reviews. The remaining 28 scores are below.
William C: 9/10
The highest and lowest scores are dropped prior to calculating the average score. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 3 and a high of 10.