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Why Favourites Fall: What Happened To Italy At Eurovision 2017? Written by , , and on May 16, 2017 | 25 Comments

What happened to ‘Occidentali’s Karma’ at Kyiv 2017? Why did the long-time favourite lose out not just on the top spot but all the podium places? The ESC Insight team looks back to see what, if anything, went wrong.

The general consensus during April was pretty clear, “Italy needs to make a mistake if it is going to lose the Eurovision Song Contest.” Given we’ve all booked our hotels in Lisbon, what happened to Francesco Gabbani and ‘Occidentali’s Karma’? We all sat down to workshop the fall of man.

Ewan Spence

On paper, ’Occidentali’s Karma’ has everything that I love in a Eurovision song. It has a strong vocal performer, it has key visuals to grab the attention of the voting public, it is sung in the performer’s first language, and it tells a story over the duration of the song. Only when all of these line up correctly do you get perfection. When you start to stray, even minutely, from that path, it all collapses like a soufle.

It’s illuminating to go back to the first performance at Sanremo and realise that almost every element from the Festival Della Canzone was on stage in Kyiv. The overpowering and busy backdrop that graced the stage in Kyiv… is the same one used in Sanremo, the late switch to using a bowtie on Gerlad the Gorilla happened in February as well, the energetic dance routines and mugging to the camera were always there.


…if you asked which was the earlier performance and which was the one that benefited from rehearsal time, you’d have to say Sanremo. Take the almost spoken word intro. The shot count is pretty much the same, but in Sanremo you have quick cuts, Gabbani dominating the frame in every shot, and you are left in no doubt who the star is and why you should love him. Storytelling wise, the quick cuts, the jumps, they all fit the principle of the busy western life.

In Kyiv you have a similar shot count but the cameras are always zooming the frame in and out, it’s more important to see the whole backdrop loom over a small and weak Gabbani, and theres no thematic link between the visual and the verbal. “The west” should be represented by those sharp camera cuts, not a motley collection of sluggish pans and zooms.

Gabbani failed to command the stage while the camera was more concerned about floating around the venue, showing off the big screen, the huge stage, and the cavernous arena.

Unlike Sanremo, Kyiv was not showcasing Gabbani the charming performer who can win you over with a smile that guarantees votes. The language of the framing has subtly changed the focus of the storytelling. ‘Occidentali’s Karma’ was, physically, lost in translation.

The Sanremo staging on screen portrayed Gabbani as an electrifying, dizzying, and powerful performer. In Kyiv the production decisions meant the audience had no chance to bond with the star or to build up a connection that would guarantee votes.

The energy that we know Gabbani could bring to the screen was never delivered.

Ellie Chalkley

If Ewan thinks that Francesco’s Grand Final performances were lacking in energy, I can make a guess as to why that is. The promotional period for ‘Occidentali’s Karma’ was too long, and too focused on the single issue of the gorilla.

Normally, an artist will promote a new single for a month to six weeks, and then take some time to regroup before releasing a second single. Francesco didn’t have this option for ‘Occidentali’s Karma’; he’s been performing the same single song with the same dance and the same gorilla in public since February 8th.

Looking through all the footage, I think we can locate the peak performance of the song as being the one at London Eurovision Party on April 3rd. In terms of Francesco’s energy, the crowd reaction and everyone’s overall excitement, I never saw this song performed better than on the tiny Café de Paris stage.

And then there’s ‘Magellano’, Francesco’s album which came out in Italy on April 28th, meredays before rehearsals started in Kyiv. The second single from the album, ‘Tra le granite e le granite’, came out on May 8th, right in the middle of the Song Contest. In an ideal album promo campaign, I don’t think you would want to have your artist in Ukraine answering a limited set of questions about the first single off the album at the point where you’re trying to get the second single and album to chart back in Italy. Three months is a long time to be playing one song, especially when you’ve got more to give. I would totally understand if Francesco was not at peak enthusiasm for ‘Occidentali’s Karma’ and the accompanying gorilla related circus by Saturday May 13th.

Personally, I went out to Kyiv thinking that Francesco had a 90% chance of winning, and that any other winner would have to capitalise on any strategic errors made by Italy. In the end, I think that the die was cast a lot earlier on, when the 3 minute edit was revealed. By removing the second verse in its entirety in order to maximise the time that our simian pal Gerald was on stage, and remove the problematic lines about Chanel and cocaine, the song structure was fundamentally altered. The build to the chorus was removed, and the whole thing became a bit unbalanced and repetitive. I should have realised that something was going wrong when I switched the San Remo full version back into rotation instead of putting up with the truncated version.

Why didn’t I voice any of these doubts? I don’t know. Momentum and groupthink is a powerful thing. I know that the last time I did the Gerbear favourites sorter that Italy had fallen out of my top 5 in favour of Belarus, Portugal, Belgium, Armenia and Estonia, but I assumed that everyone else was still Team Francesco and the drop-off was just me being a contrary hipster, as usual.

The RAI Orchestra at Sanremo

The RAI Orchestra at Sanremo

Jon Jacob

There is an element of groupthink about these things. This is a powerful thing in the Eurovision bubble. When people you speak to explosively reply ‘It’s country X, or country Y’ there’s little point in disagreeing. At least, that’s how it seems in the moment. “They’ve got it sorted, so I figure they’re right.” That’s what I thought up until I heard the song for the first time in the hall.

For me, the song didn’t fly. It didn’t raise the roof like it did when I listened to on my headphones. It didn’t transport me like the truncated middle eight did when I listened to it on the plane over to Kiev. It didn’t live up to expectations. It didn’t uplift me in the arena.

I figured this was just the typical arena-based incongruence. The Eurovision Song Contest is a TV programme after all. You need that cropped image. But back home, I’m sorry to say that in the context of everything else around it, Francesco looked tired and the gorilla looked comedic. It catapulted Italy’s song in the same fenced-off pen as Croatia’s effort. Three minutes isn’t long enough for the mainstream audience to consider the meta-narrative. They take far less time to dismiss a track than those of us who willingly invest in the backstory.

Where Russia failed in 2016 failed to win me over, Italy succeeded in 2017. Francesco’s number is a keeper. It will live on long after the Sontest. It’s a rousing thing. A pleasing thing. And his warm smile and twinkly eyes still make me go a little wobbly at the knees too.

But on the night, it demanded too much and focused on the wrong areas.

John Egan

Several things conspired against ‘Occidentali’s Karma,’ but on a fundamental level, none worse than the three minute rule. The Eurovision edit ripped the guts out of a perfectly crafted, contemporary Italian pop classic: we lost the narrative, the ratcheting up through verses and choruses, until the “Namaste… Allez!” launches the rocket. Instead we got a quarter verse, the chorus twice, and the last verse. It really didn’t make much sense musically.

And…I don’t think Francesco’s soul was in it, with “it” being the television show.

At Sanremo he was much more focused on the cameras and the song. It was a simple storyboard: singer in repose, kick it up a notch on the first chorus with the simple yet effective dance, keep singing the next verse, chorus again with Gerald, bridge, then take it home once more with the chorus. Performing for the camera without coming across cold is a tough thing, but Gabbani did it studiously at Sanremo. Alas in Kyiv he was – like any former cockroach dude would be – swept up and then dwarfed in the energy of the arena.

But the honest answer as to why Italy did not win the Eurovision Song Contest is this. Even if everything had lined up, even if Italy had made all the correct decisions, even if everyone watching understood the metaphors and the gorilla… nothing would have impeded Portugal this year, not even a suite of perfect performances by Francesco Gabbani.

Simply put, ’Amar Pelos Dois’ was unstoppable.

About The Author: Ellie Chalkley

Ellie Chalkley is an all-round music, media and culture enthusiast and citizen of the internet. As an overly analytical pop fan and general knowledge hoarder she finds the Eurovision Song Contest bubble to be her natural home. She comments gnomically and statistically on Eurovision matters at @ellie_made.

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25 responses to “Why Favourites Fall: What Happened To Italy At Eurovision 2017?”

  1. there were three point where the song fell on its sword.

    first was the re(de)vamp. i think the cut were to severe that some fans doubted the song

    second was the staging. one of the complaints was the of how black the gorilla was ans hot too colorful the background was. staging also did not help. and what he wore was a bit meh

    third was the competition. i think press and fan were less excited that italy was winner anointed that other entries shun better like portugal and bulgaria.

    for me, i’m cautious of three hypes at eurovision. a spanish, a english and a italian. mainly because of how big the press and fan population are in there’s countries, you get a bubble effect.

    i also think that we should never over/underestimate any country. nothing it set in stone until it get to the stage to sing for points. even rehearsal aren’t a good barometer to find a winner (like JESC last year. i put geogia last because i thought it went no were in the rehearsals. but she pulled it off where it counted)

  2. James Triggs says:

    Really appreciated seeing multiple members express their views. It really strengthens this as a piece.

    I’d like to note that the fate of Occidentali’s Karma is ironically a story of appropriation. Instead of western appropriation of Eastern culture, here we had appropriation of the San Remo performance for Eurovision.

    The ESC Insight team has already identified, quite rightly in my view, two of the most important factors – the Eurovision edit which was a huge disruption to the song and issues with the staging. I won’t go over the same ground here.

    I would sum up the underperformance of Occidentali’s Karma as due to complacency. At San Remo, we were introduced to a magical Italian pop song which was in some ways groundbreaking. The use of visuals, camera angles and audience (and orchestra) interaction, even the small changes in costume from round to round at San Remo resulted in a package that shined in a way that no other entry at San Remo could.

    But at Eurovision, we had a one-man duet courtesy of Croatia, yodelling combined cannons and a bright fusilade of colours from Romania and a bouncy, quirky wedding party song from Moldova.

    At San Remo, Occidentali’s Karma was the most fun around. A dancing ape on stage was an outrageous concept yet one that made sense given the Italian lyrics. But at Eurovision, it was no longer the only song with such a high fun factor or shareable and memorable talking points. I think this was another factor in the lower-than-expected televote. The competition at Eurovision was a whole different level, but Italy didn’t rise with it.

    Occidentali’s Karma was never going to be the top favourite of juries. Even if the Eurovision edit hadn’t damaged the structure of the song, the voice and vocal techniques of Occidentali’s Karma meant that even if an entry like Amar Pelos Dois wasn’t around, a strong televote was going to be crucial. Italy was complacent and inflexible, or perhaps unaware of the appeal that competing songs had for televotes.

    Italy didn’t come second or third to one or two winning-level entries. It came sixth. Italy allowed other entries to pass it by and make a stronger impact.

    In the end, Portugal won with a song absent of appropriation from any other musical tradition or country. A pure song won and there’s good karma in that.

  3. Mr Triggs, I am loving your final para. A delight to read. 🙂

  4. Chris Leese says:

    I listened to the ESC Insight podcast where Italy was reviewed. One of the panel members was proved correct at least. 👍

  5. Joni says:

    Well, as someone who never really got the hype about Italy, I would simply say that the song wasn’t as great as everyone claimed it was. A lot of my friends who are not into Eurovision were shocked when they heard the song and I told that he’s basically an even bigger favourite than Rybak or Loreen were in their years. This year’s results are really a prime example why people should not get too carried away with pre-rehearsal predictions. Declaring someone a favourite beforehand is one thing, but the extent to which Italy had been annointed the winner by the fandom while others were unneccessarily bashed for whatever reason (e.g. Belgium), seemed more excessive to me than any Eurovision season I can remember.

  6. Ewan Spence says:

    Chris, that’s one reason we make sure Juke Box Jury has a good spread of judges.

  7. Ewan Spence says:

    Bonus points for the appropriation theory. Love it.

  8. David Jørgensen says:

    Here’s the reality: if Italy had won the show, it would have been because there was a man in a gorilla costume on stage. The vast majority of people who watch Eurovision aren’t in the fan bubble and don’t care if a song is based on Desmond Morris’ work and has meaning. They’re tuning in for the first time on Saturday night and want to be entertained. Portugal did so well because it managed to transcend language and give us a tiny break from the madness – something Occidentali’s Karma had no hope of achieving. It was clear from the moment that the 3-minute version was released this was the case, but as referred to in the post, it’s difficult to avoid ‘groupthink’ when the majority of Eurovision fans have made their minds up.

  9. Ben Cook says:

    It’s simple. The minority of fans who were made to feel stupid to openly doubt Italy were just right all along.

    I really like the song in the studio version but I always thought it looked and sounded lame live, even at Sanremo. And the lyrics just went over most people’s heads because they were in Italian, and even if they were explained by the commentator (Graham Norton didn’t, he just pointed out the gorilla ruined a decent song) or they tried to convey it with the staging, it was never going to come across in 3 minutes.

    Coming to it for the first time, most people would have just seen it as another novelty song. And Moldova and Romania did that better.

  10. Alex C says:

    There are so many potential answers to the question of “Why did Occidentali’s Karma failed to live up to expectations?” that to single out any specific one rather misses the point (as the article makes abundantly clear, great work guys!). All of the different interpretations offered so far are totally valid but I would like to offer a few more potential reasons:

    1. It was never all that good a song to begin with and the fan bubble that (in a bizarre parallel to how the Swedish entrant is usually received) has a generally over-romanticized view of Italian music were so infatuated with it that they/we couldn’t see the wood for the trees. This in turn meant virtually every other song was, if not dismissed outright then certainly not taken as seriously as they deserved to be.

    2. Lack of an obvious emotional strand to the song. Yet again this year’s top two songs worked primarily on an emotional level. Portugal’s was a mix of sweet and sincere lovesong with the emotional nostalgic stylings of the 50s jazz genre and Bulgaria’s was about being lost in the world but “love is untouchable” (1944 and Sound of Silence were both also songs that primarily worked on this level, perhaps we should keep a look out for songs like that in the run up to Lisbon 2018).

    With the best will in the world, Occidentali’s Karma mostly works on the clever and witty lyrics in the original Italian, the catchy tune and the novelty of the dancing gorilla. This is enough to get a good result, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t tug on your heartstrings in a way that most of the serious contenders in contemporary Eurovision need to in order to really go for the win.

    3. The ‘herding’ effect – this is a concept that they use in polling a lot where, in the run up to an election, say, all the pollsters public results start somehow, as if by magic, to all converge with each other to get the same result. I think you can definitely see this with all the fan polls such as OGAE ect who, the further you go, seem to both become an exact mirror of the betting odds and each other (I lost count of the amount of OGAE vote results where it was Italy first and then some combination of Belgium, Estonia ect just below them in near identical orders). This ‘herding’ leads to a certain false sense of certainty about what’s coming next if you’re not careful which is what happened to Italy in 2017

    Keep up the good work as always!

  11. Maclaren says:

    To me, it looks like Sanremo was THE competition for Francesco. He was on point, professional and sharp with the delivery in Italy. In comparison he must have perceived Eurovision as one big joke, only good enough to promote his album. He engaged into an erratical dancing and looked tired & sloppy. He did not take it remotely as seriously as Sanremo

  12. Edmund says:

    I very much agree that the truncated version of the song really hurt it. I got used to the new version but it really impacted Gabbani’s performance and the overall feel of the song especially for first-time viewers. But I also agree that even if everyone had gone perfectly and even if he could’ve done the full song, Portugal still would’ve won.

  13. Martin says:

    Some good points raised here – Sanremo was the high point of this entry competition-wise, Ellie is spot on that the LEP performance was probably THE fandom peak and it was really all downhill from there…

    I was one of those who didn’t like the Eurovision cut and felt that the song lost a lot (as did some musical professional friends of mine) in the way it was done. I also second Ben’s first line in that if you weren’t ‘praying to the shrine of Francesco’ in the run up to Eurovision, you were considered a heretic for even considering that this wouldn’t win by at least 100 points – it was quite deafening on Sunday how few of those zealots were still supporting “Occidentali’s Karma” at all but now were suddenly proclaiming that “Portugal was their second favourite all along” – funny that, eh? I would like to think that if I had been so vociferous in my support for a song that I’d at least hold my hands up and say that I got it wrong. My personal favourite this year was “Blackbird” and it always will be from the crop of 2017 – I didn’t suddenly switch because I didn’t get the result I wanted! After Norma John had gone, I almost settled into just watching all the entries and judging them as they came – I haven’t done that for years and it was telling how there were many more acts that had a slicker show and sounded better than Italy on the night.

    One thing that has been touched on was how commentators can really influence the non-fan public – Italy’s entry was, to paraphrase Graham Norton, a really good entry but then they introduced a dancing gorilla and also that they could have made a better gorilla suit as the one on stage looked like two car seat covers sewn together. If other tv people were saying much the same thing, it is not surprising that Italy’s entry became yet another novelty act on Saturday night, no more, no less, and as was mentioned above, not the best one visually.

    There was one other thing that has really only just sprung into my head about the Italian entry – did Francesco have the rainbow strips down his jacket arms at any other performance? I didn’t notice that before – anyone more observant than me? A nod to the LGBT fans in the hall perhaps?

  14. Robyn says:

    A few weeks ago I noticed something curious on Spotify – the ESC edit of the song was nowhere near as popular as the full version. No other country with two versions of a song had this big a difference in listens.

    But it’s said that it was over for Italy when all the “lol Harambe” tweets started on Saturday night.

  15. Jake says:

    THREE THINGS– jury, fun song competition and super finals.

    Ewan as a huge fan of Sanremo I am surprised you did not highlight the biggest clue as to why Francesco would have a challenging time at Eurovision–he didn’t win the Jury’s vote at Sanremo either!!! In fact, he wasn’t even in the Top 3 in the first round of voting. In Round 1 of the final Karma finished 5th with the jury and 2nd in the opinion poll. In Round 2 Final he still trailed Ermal considerably with the jury vote–and Ermal shares more with Salvador in terms of coming across more like an artist/singer-songwriter emotional singer.

    Francesco did lead with the public but less than 2% separated him from #2 in Round 1. And the public judged him as the sanremo’s only “novelty” song–I use that term in the most kindest way possible and mean no disrespect. But most sanremo performances are “stand there and sing” and Francesco added some flair and a gimmick.

    When you then boiled it down to Round 2 of the sanremo Final (or superfinal), then you saw Francesco break through more. His song stood out more when not compared to 16 other songs. He was the happiest and most fun alternative compared to Ermal and Fiorella helping it stand out. In Eurovision his happy song had to be compared to Moldova and Romania and to some extent Sweden who were bringing the energy and the fun equally. So he did not stand out as much.

    I’m guessing if the Eurovision had a superfinal and it came down to Italy, Portugal and Bulgaria then Italy might’ve won. Unfortunatlely he wasn’t even the most popular fun entry–so Moldova might’ve won a superfinal of Top 3.

    Portugal stood out because there was nothing like him in the final. Italy was compared to other similarly fun songs. And lyrically you might not understand Karma’s message, but with Portugal you “felt” the message.

    I still love Karma and Francesco but think those were his biggest obstacles. I do blame him for coming across more like the drunk uncle at a wedding at Eurovision than he did at Sanremo.

  16. Eurojock says:

    In my opinion the best performance was at (I think) the San Remo semi-final where Francesco wore the orange jumper and the gorilla just appeared out of nowhere halfway through the song. I also thought the orchestra joining in the fun was a masterstroke which, of course, couldn’t be repeated at Eurovision. But these and all the other changes from San Remo are details which I would argue we are in danger of making too much of. Looking at the videos of San Remo and Kyiv in the grand scheme of things there isn’t a great deal of difference – certainly not to those who don’t spend half their waking hours on Eurovision fansites.

    If anything sunk Francesco it was probably the other 3 highly effective fun/novelty songs in this year’s Grand Final which meant Occidentali’s Karma didn’t stand out. And for that matter the running order wasn’t kind to Italy either.

    I put my hands up as one of those who before last week thought Occidentali’s Karma would walk away with this year’s Eurovision, not because I was ‘worshipping at the shrine of Francesco’ or thought his sung was unbeatable. It was just that I looked at every other song in this year’s contest and found even greater reasons why they wouldn’t win it.

    Of course I was ultimately proved wrong about Portugal (but recognised this just in time to avoid a loss at the bookies). Momentum is a powerful thing and it was clearly behind Salvador in the days leading up to the final. The very same ‘herding’ that had boosted Francesco was now working in Portugal’s favour.

  17. John egan says:

    I too think the orange jumper performance was the best!

  18. mk says:

    Well, for me Occidentali’s Karma regardless of how was cut from San Remo version to Eurovision version, remains the best overall (song + interpretation).
    Moldova and Romania in my top 10. I actually don’t consider any of these three as novelty songs.

    If I have to choose between Blackbird and Amar Pelos Dois, I would choose Blackbird without thinking…
    Belgium, France and Norway also ahead of Portugal in my books.
    So, it’s a matter of taste…

    Salvador’s song maybe the 10th for me. It’s sweet but not memorable, not something that makes me ‘replay’ it…Happy for Portugal though.

  19. Mark Bartlett says:

    Maybe the fall of Occidental’s Karma illustrates Salvador’s point about the disposability of modern pop music. Also, I can’t agree with anyone who says Francesco has a ‘great’ voice. Unique, yes, but not great. When I played the Italian song song to a friend, he asked if Francesco had been smoking since he was a baby!

  20. Sagand says:

    I agree with some of the points made. The Eurovision edit was quite jarring. The cameras were more focused on showing the huge backdrop than the whites of Gabbani’s eyes, which is almost always a mistake.

    Italy were screwed over by the running order. The audience naturally compare performances that are near each other. Italy had the strongest upbeat song from the semis two songs before it, the strongest foreign language song right before it and the strongest overall song two songs after it. Portugal on the other hand ended the ‘quality’ block in the first half and were followed by two Wtf stage shows, then two inconsistent vocalists then Spain. If producers have to decide the draw (they don’t; lets go back to a random draw) they have spread the quality acts better rather than two blocks at the end of each half. If you swap Portugal and Italy in the running order, I think Portugal still wins but Italy moves to top 3.

    Italy also suffered from fighting against the zeitgeist. It was a ballad heavy year, not by chance but because voters and internal selectors kept choosing ballads. There was every chance when grand final came voters and juries were going to choose a ballad again. The late 00s in pop music can defined by the EDM trend which as the recovery from the Great Recession dragged became more and more out of synch with how people were feeling. It’s evidenced in politics people aren’t accepting the same old solutions looking more radically at the left and right. Authenticity matters more than it has in a long time. La La Land was supposed to sweep the Oscars, as an escapist love letter to Hollywood, it lost to the more grounded authentic Moonlight. The last three years the public has gone to songs partly in their native language. Italy was perhaps too slick, too by the numbers Salvador and Jamala still have the raw emotion O.K. lacked. Italy was still a party song when for now at least the party is over.

  21. James Triggs says:

    Don’t know how to reply to individual comments, so…

    Thoroughly Good: Thanks! Receiving such a comment is very gratifying.

    Ewan Spence: Many thanks! Maybe one day yet I’ll end up doing freelance writing on Eurovision here and there.

    Martin: The rainbow stripes were only at the Grand Final. Also, the ape was wearing a new golden(?) bowtie. Also, the backing singers were wearing coloured jumpers that referenced both the orange jumper Francesco wore at San Remo and combined to form another kind of rainbow.

    It fits with the costuming changes done during San Remo – in his first performance Francesco wore an orange jumper, in the second the ape wore the orange jumper and Francesco wore the ape ‘body’ and in the third, the ape had the a bowtie (can’t remember what Francesco wore in that one).

    The rainbow stripes were there to reflect diversity (like the painted arch seen in the first of the Verka Seduchka videos) and the golden bowtie was, like the bowtie at the final of San Remo, there to celebrate the occasion of the Eurovision Grand Final.

    To me, such costuming is part of Italy’s complacency. Italy’s staging was more about call-backs and extending upon the San Remo performance, not about creating the best possible Eurovision performance.

    Jake: Excellent point!

    I think Ermal Meta was most like Sobral during the ‘cover round,’ with his cover of Amara Terra Mia – which was the winning cover. That could have been another early indication of the success Portugal would find with Amar Pelos Dois.

    If you are a fan of Amar Pelos Dois, I recommend checking out Ermal Meta’s Amara Terra Mia cover, if you can.

  22. Melania says:

    I’m Italian and when I read this post in twitter I was very surprised that someone had made an analysis about this “lost”… oh… wow!

    I agree with almost all your observations, except for Francesco enthusiasm for ‘Occidentali’s Karma. A few days before ESC, he played live this song in Rome with a good energy ( I think that the problems in ESC performance were the lack of spontaneity (in ESC all is encoded) and the lack of an orchestra/band.

    As all Italian entry in last years, Occidentali’s Karma was composed for Sanremo (in Italy more important than ESC) and just adapted/re-edited for the ESC without changes in staging, except for the awful needed cut. Eurovision version of the song is nonsense, song structure and meaning were both losses, and I think that even a 2’30” cutted version performed last Sunday night at Italian TV (after a Kiev-Milan flight) was better than the Eurovision one (!

    About the rainbow strips on jacket I don’t know if there is a meaning, but in Italy same-sex civil unions were approved in May 2016 e perhaps he wanted to celebrate the 1st birthday! 😀

  23. Shai says:

    It’s 2 days and 22 messages later, so I’m bit late…

    in hindsight, it’s easy to see and understand why it’s all went wrong for Italy.
    For me the alarm bells should have been ringing when the Eurovision version was revealed.
    My first reaction was that it doesn’t sound right as it hammered the flow and built up of the song.

    A song is a small story told in a short time. Text and music and stage show all helps to convey the story to the audience.
    The Sanremo version was a perfect story. The Eurovision version was missing the coherent line the Sanremo version had. When you change the structure of the song you basically has a new story and you will have to adapt the stage show so it will fit the new story. Unfortunately it never happened, the stage show remained more or less the same and by this only emphasizing the the erratic structure of the song, in its Eurovision form.
    TBH in the final he was flat and it all seemed like he just wanted to finish his 3 minutes and go away. He was not the happy chap he was during Sanremo.

    Like many I was blinded by my love to the song. I can give a thumb up to those who said from the start, Italy is no going to win. They couldn’t explain why and no one took them too seriously.

  24. Frances says:

    La Scimmia Nuda was too literal: it was a guy in gorilla suit! That took it into the novelty category where it had Romania and Moldova already gathering steam. The Naked Ape should have been a dancing silhouette with sparse references to the Eastern elements on the backdrop.

    That would have meant there was one more person allowed onstage. The band should have been there and two backing singers onstage in stage blacks for the vocals. No Wiggles! Simple, pared back but explanatory, fun and definitely not novelty.

    Once Portugal turned up with the pared back performance, Italy panicked. They threw too much at the stage performance when the tip they should have taken from the vibe around Portugal was that less is more – and gone for less. That would have taken OK out of the novelty area into a wider pool of competition. They got boxed in. Might still not have beaten Portugal but would, at least, have been competing with it rather than the two novelties. Really bad strategising from Italy. They didn’t play the competitive aspect of the comp well at all. Mannaggia!!

  25. Chris Bellis says:

    As I said on sofabet, I loved this song but there is a simple rule in betting. In a field of over 40, when the favourite is odds on, you always lay the bet. Doesn’t matter whether it’s horses, songs or camels. Odds on is wrong, unless the whole field has only three legs except the odds on favourite. And even then….

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