Raphael Gualazzi – Follia d’amore for Italy!

After fourteen years of absence, Italy has finally given us an entry for Eurovision!  Going on at this very moment (or, as I’m writing this article, anyway) is the final night of the San Remo Song Festival, one of the most popular musical traditions in Europe.  In fact, Eurovision itself was modeled on this Italian song competition over fifty years ago.

A few weeks ago, it was announced that the Italian singer would be selected form the pool of San Remo entries and determined by a special jury including network representatives, the Mayor of San Remo, and performer Gianni Morandi, who was one of the event’s hosts.  The winner of the festival wouldn’t necessarily be the Italian representative to Eurovision, so rumors and hopes began flying everywhere.  Would it go to Nathalie Giannitrapani, the singer-songwriter who won the Italian version of the X-Factor last year?  Would it possibly go to Al Bano or Ana Oxa, two veterans with Eurovision experience?  Would it go to Giusi Ferreri or Anna Tatangelo, two young and promising performers?  Or would it go to one of the unknown performers from this year’s “Giovani (Newcomers)” category?

It looks like the answer came from the latter question; the winner of this year’s Giovani Competition, jazz singer-songwriter Raphael Gualazzi, will represent Italy with his song “Follia d’Amore (Folly of Love)”.

The 29-year-old Gualazzi has been active in the Italian jazz scene for a few years now, but he only just released his first full-length album, “Reality and Fantasy”, this past year.  He’s undoubtedly talented, and definitely has that Michael Bublé vibe about him, but I’m not sure if this song was the right choice for Eurovision.  As good as the song might be, there’s often a distinct separation between “good songs” and “good Eurovision songs”.  Will this have the far-reaching appeal to get to voters from Moldova, Sweden, Malta, and Ireland?  I’m not sure yet…

But, then again, Eurofans have been drooling all over themselves once the news broke that Italy would be returning to the ESC…RAI could probably send a drunken man in a chicken suit to sing a polka off-key and dance the Macarena, and they’d probably do half-decently!  Viva Italia!

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Posted on February 19, '11, in 2011, Italy. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Ooh, I really like this one. 🙂 I do agree that's a bit of a not-very-"Eurovision-y" choice…but hopefully the fact that Italy's coming back after so long will help out with that.

  2. The more I listen to it, the more I like it…but many people voting during the ESC finals are hearing the songs for the very first time, so will it stick as easily?

  3. He seemed cute in an unself-aware kind of way, like Bublé. Then I heard… he is going to Eurovision! O… boy…RAI is not taking this seriously. Throughout the program I watched, I heard no variation of the word "Eurovision" whatsoever until this guy performed, then the host started saying "Eurosong", which took me by surprise. It's like they forgot they were selecting for Eurovision until last moment. Of course they would not send the winner of San Remo because, what if their winner, (gasp), did not do so well? When I heard that San Remo would be used to select the Italian entry, I immediately thought of Albania, whose winner of FiK goes straight to Eurovision. Apparently they are different.As for the song: if I hear it out of Eurovision contexts, will I recognize it? I am really trying to like this one, but I just will never be in the mood for certain elements thrown in. When I was much younger, I used to be into jazz, but now, I almost do not care for it; the only jazz artist I love is Patricia Kaas. I have a feeling she would wear this song better than Raphael. Even then, I would quite love it as much as her 2009 entry, which was so avant-garde and so my thing.

  4. *Even then, I would NOT quite…

  5. I'm almost thinking that, for Italians, Eurovision/"Eurosong" is so far off of the radar that most Sanremo viewers don't know or remember much about it, and therefore don't remember how to approach the event. Keep in mind, they haven't participated since 1997! So, in a way, I think that they either under-thought their Eurovision participation or completely over-thought it. By under-thinking it, I mean that they didn't take into consideration that their song would have to appeal to San Marinese, Moldovans, Icelanders and Azeris, all at the same time. By over-thinking it, I mean that they picked a serious musician with a serious song, thinking that the way to victory is quality, not mass appeal. I'm not sure if I'm expressing myself as well as I'd like…it's 8am on a Saturday morning here in Minnesota, and I haven't had my coffee yet! 😉

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