Congratulations! You’ve reached the summit of my personal top 40 of Eurovision 2022. It was a really tough choice on who would end up as number 1, and to be honest, I feel like I could have placed almost all the songs in my top 10 as a number 1. But it is last year’s winners that I have placed the top of my list, with former Eurovision runner up Mahmood pairing up with Blanco to sing “Brividi”, that rare thing at Eurovision, a male duet. Not since Ireland’s remarkable run of victories in the early 1990s has any country won back-to-back contests. Can Italy pull off an extremely rare double?
The famous Sanremo Music Festival was once again the source of this year’s Italian Eurovision entry, and it saw a triumphant return for Mahmood. He won Sanremo in 2019 and went on to finish second at Eurovision with “Soldi“. That was in my fact my number one in 2019 so it’s a double win from me too… His career since his first Eurovision has flourished, particularly in Italy, but he has toured around Europe as well. Blanco meanwhile is only 19, but already has had a lot of success with a string of top 5 singles in Italy over the past year or so.
“Brividi”, which means “shivers” in English is a really beautiful modern duet ballad. It genuinely does give me shivers, or at least goosebumps (Mahmood’s vocals in particular). Contrary to what some might think it is, or hope it is, it’s not a male couple’s duet, but it’s a connection of two individuals both struggling and making mistakes in relationships. One happens to be gay (Mahmood – though he doesn’t like to be labelled) and the other, Blanco, straight. They put on a spellbinding performance at Sanremo and were rewarded with a sweeping win – they won the press jury, the demoscopic jury and got over 50% of the public vote.
Mahmood and Blanco have such a funny dynamic – on the one hand you have the very cool Mahmood, and on the other this energetic goofball that is Blanco (and who spends most of his time in his music videos wearing just white underwear – maybe not a surprise he seems to be Calvin Klein’s latest pop star turned model) Yet despite these seeming temperamental differences they genuinely have chemistry and seem to find each other’s company amusing and entertaining. They have been pursuing their solo commitments since Sanremo but seem to be re-establishing that connection now the contest is under way.
Italy have been one of the favourites to win the Eurovision 2022 throughout the pre-contest season and rightly so. There has been a bit of a wobble since rehearsals started – Blanco was not around for the first rehearsal (running around New York in CK underwear) and in second rehearsal they were definitely having to feel their way back into both the chemistry and their vocals. Yet I think it’s coming together, and they look to be enjoying themselves and getting back into that chemistry.
Big question – can they win? They certainly can in my view – this has both strong jury and televote potential (and it’s been number one in Italy for weeks and huge number of Spotify streams in multiple countries). Italy doesn’t always get the love it deserves from juries, but this is one you could do see doing well – provided there isn’t a subconscious (or conscious) bias against Italy in terms of jurors not wanting to see same country win twice in a row, or as some kind of vengeance for the broadcaster’s staging woes that have impacted many countries. If they DO win, it will be deserved.
Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 1956
Appearances (excluding this year): 46
Best result: Winner 1964, 1990, 2021
Last year’s result: Winner