Italy has returned to the Eurovision Song Contest after a 13 years absence. The Italian broadcaster RAI has lost the interest of participating after the great success of “Fiumi di parole” by Jalisse (#4) in 1997. The major interest has been focussed on the annual San Remo Festival, the forerunner of the Eurovision Song Contest. This phenomenon has also happened to Malta, they returned after16 years of absence. Indeed the winner of San Remo Festival has mainly been the representative of the Italian entry in the ESC. Many Italian entries have been hits all over Europe and are still played in the radio stations around the world like “Gente di Mare” by Umberto Tozzi & Raff (#3) in 1987, “I treni di Tozeur” by Alice & Battiato (#5) in 1984 and “Non so che darai” by Alan Sorrenti (#6) in 1981. Many people have missed Italy in the contest over the absent years. Italian music is very popular all around the world – it has a class of its own. With the growing family of participants, the competition has become tougher. Luckily the microstate San Marino has joined the family, but will sing in English this year. Italy has won the ESC twice with “Non ho l’eta” by Gigliola Cinquetti in 1964 and “Insieme 1992” by Toto Cutugno in 1990.
This year’s Italian entry is called “Follia d’Amore” – it’s a smooth-jazz song, which is a bit unusual for Eurovision, catchy though. Due to the fact that the music genre is open to all kinds of styles from hard rock to schlager, from opera to jazz, it suits to this event quite well. In the video clip Raphael sings half in Italian and in English, let’s see how he is going to sing in Düsseldorf. Unfortunately, the Italian choice is not the expected Italian ballad, therefore it surprises and can really do well. Great to have Italy back at Eurovision and good luck.