We have reached the summit! And I don’t think this year’s winner will come as any surprise to you It’s the second year in a row a Big 5 country has topped this chart – last year it was France, and they ultimately finished 6th in the grand final. Since their return in 2011 from a 14 year long break, two-times winners Italy have had claimed a runners up spot, a third place and two other top 10 results. They won the public vote in 2015 but came 3rd overall – will 2017 finally be Italy’s time?

If all the polls, fan rankings, preview parties and of course, the bookies, are to be believed, we could be looking at a runaway winner on the scale of Alexander Rybak in 2009. I could well agree with that – from the moment this won San Remo (the long running Italian musical festival where the winner can choose to represent Italy at Eurovision), I was sure this was going to either be the winner or very high up indeed. Nothing I’ve seen or heard since then has made me think otherwise.

Francesco is so charming and SO Italian – his live performances are always great. This song isn’t about the vocal really, but it’s so uplifting, catchy, and of course, it’s got an easy to remember dance move AND the dancing man in a gorilla costume. What is the song about then to merit a dancing gorilla? According to Gabbani, the lyrics of the song are a mockery of westerners who believe they can take Eastern cultures and “westernise” them. The song cites aspects of Eastern and Indian religions as well as man’s evolution from the ape, the idea for which he got from reading The Naked Ape, written by British ethologist Desmond Morris.  Francesco got the opportunity to meet Desmond during his visit to London and the great man himself praised the song.

So, will it win? I’ve never seen a song with odds this short on it BUT I think post-rehearsals a few countries could be running it closer than we first thought – notably Portugal, Bulgaria, and possibly Sweden (ALL male solo singers!). It’s still the one to beat though and I wouldn’t object at all to Eurovision making a return to Italy (probably hosted in Turin from what we’ve heard).

Namaste, ale!

Mum’s reaction: “This is the favourite?!”, then on watching live version, “Ah, I understand now.”

Official music video:

Live at London Eurovision Preview Party:


Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest:Italy Eurovision flag

First entered: 1956

Appearances (excluding this year): 42

Best result: Winner 1964, 1990

Last year’s result: 16th