Sweden is rightly considered a current Eurovision superpower, but it is not a unipolar world for their superpower rival is Italy. Since their 2011 return, Italy has only twice finished outside the top 10, and have been runners up twice, and of course the 2021 winners. One of those top 10 finishes was from Marco Mengoni a decade ago, and he is back this year. Can he improve on his 7th place finish in 2013?
Marco returned to the Sanremo festival this year, and his victory there with “Due vite” gave him the right to be the Italian Eurovision entry this year. He has duly taken this up, and made some changes to the song to get the track down to the required three minutes length. It’s another classic Italian contemporary (male) ballad (his 2013 entry, “L’essenziale” was also a ballad). The shortening of the track (by about 40 seconds or so) doesn’t seem to have changed it too much and the big money vocal moments are still there, as well as the catchier hooks within the song. The focus of course, is heavily on Marco’s vocal and his emotions. He’s not been idle in the years between his Eurovision entries – he’s done half a dozen albums, several tours, and a string of charting singles – an established and popular recording artist in other words.
This is a really classy song – as we’ve often come to expect from Italy. Sanremo has its flaws as a selection process, principally it skews heavily to male artists winning it, but it does provide quality entries, with artists who have had their live vocals and performances thoroughly tested. Marco is a great singer and really puts a lot of emotion into this track. I prefer this to his 2013 song, though I still like his uptempo summer bop “Ma stasera” even more. It does feel like he’s matured very nicely as an artist. This isn’t a groundbreaking entry by any means, but it feels good to have a representative of the classic male ballad (in Italian form) and it’s a jolly good one at that.
People underestimate this at their peril. Marco hasn’t been to any of the pre-parties (he doesn’t really need to given he’s an experienced artist and has been to Eurovision) so among the fandom there wasn’t much hype or talking about it – though I think people have been reminded recently that this is not to be overlooked when he did a live performance on a German talk show the other day. It’s proving popular in the OGAE fan club vote, and it’s almost certain this will do well with juries (not least as it’s the only male ballad of its kind in this year’s contest). This will not be another win for Italy, but you shouldn’t rule out another top 10 result just yet…
Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 1956
Appearances (excluding this year): 47
Best result: Winner 1964, 1990, 2021
Last year’s result: 6th