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!