Just missing out on the top 10 is another of the big 5, a country who took a lengthy break from Eurovision in the late 1990s and 2000s, but have come back strongly since their return in 2011 – Italy. Generally, the winner of Italy’s San Remo Festival goes on to represent Italy at Eurovision (or at least gets first refusal) but this year’s winners, Stadio, a rock band who first formed in 1977, chose not to go and so we have San Remo’s runner up going, and that is Eurovision’s gain, as it’s the extremely talented 21 year old Francesca Michielin.

I for one am very pleased that Stadio turned the Eurovision gig down as I love this song – it’s one of my very favourites. Like a certain other big 5 country (still to come in the countdown), Francesca has included some English into her song. Some people have criticised the introduction of one of the choruses in English but I think it really works – and Francesca herself said it was done as she wanted people to understand what the song was about (and hence why the song title is also in English I guess). The song is beautifully sung and performed by Francesca, and has a real sense of direction and passion – something missing from many of the entries this year. As you’ll also see from her live acoustic version of it below, she’s an all round talented musician.

Italy may only have won twice in their many years in the contest, but they have often finished high up in the final results – since their return in 2011, they have only once missed out on the top 10 and last year, although coming third overall, would have won if the contest was by televote alone. This is certainly in my top 10 and I’m sure it will do well in the final. Buona fortuna Francesca!

Live acoustic performance:

Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest:Italy Eurovision flag

First entered: 1956

Appearances (excluding this year): 41

Best result: Winner 1964, 1990

Last year’s result: 3rd