La canzone è femmina! Italy changes its song.

It seems Per Sempre (Forever) was not meant to last as Italy’s Eurovision Song Contest entry. Instead, the big bosses at RAI and Universal Music have confirmed that Nina Zilli will take to the stage with L’amore è Femmina  (Love is feminine). Check it out below:

Italy 2012: L’amore è Femmina performed by Nina Zilli 

L’amore è Femmina was one of the three original songs in contention to represent Italy but was intially put aside in favor of San Remo entry Per Sempre. Now the songs have been switched.

I reckon this was due to two reasons: firstly, L’amore è Femmina is exactly three minutes long, as per EBU rules so they will not have to edit and re-record it as they would have had to with Per Sempre and possibly ruining it. Secondly, L’amore è Femmina is the title track of Nina Zilli’s new album so mayhaps the big wigs thought having it as the Eurovision entry would be very good for promotion and translate into album sales. It makes sense, especially since its the next single.

Whatever the reasons, I am personally quite happy with this decision. While I loved and lauded Per Sempre, I also had a nagging feeling that it was a bit too subtle to make an impact on the televoting audience. It would have done well with the professional juries to be sure, but it may not have been enough to score a good placing this time around. On the other hand, L’amore è Femmina is much more ‘instant’ and has a hook you can immediately latch on to, without compromising Nina Zilli’s unique sound and musicality we were introduced to with Per Sempre.

Was it the right choice? I guess we’ll find out in May. But it’s very nice to see the Italians take Eurovison seriously in their own, roundabout fashion.

Flying the flag high: Eurovision entries scale the iTunes charts.

As the 2012 national finals season for the Eurovision Song Contest approaches its final stages, we can see that plenty of Eurovision entries as well as national final entries enter the iTunes chart in their respective countries. Have a look below:

Perhaps the most surprising is the Netherlands, with the Dutch entry You And I by Joan Franka at # 2 (previously #1 last week). The last time a Dutch entry was a commercial hit on home soil was in 2010 with Sieneke’s Ik Ben Verliefd (Sha-la-lie). I suppose John de Mol deserves some credit in drumming up interest in the Eurovision Song Contest again and for making the entry a commercial hit, thus restoring some credibility to the Contest in the eyes of the Dutch public and media as well creating a bit of pride. That still doesn’t exonerate him from hijacking the Nationaal Songfestival and turning it into a ‘The Voice’ after-show.

Another welcome surprise can be seen in the Spanish iTunes chart, with the country’s newly selected Eurovision entry Quédate Conmigo in at #9. This has never happened before, at least in my recollection, to a Spanish entry. It means that the people are getting behind the song and are very proud of it. I think we can expect some really good viewing figures from Spain this year.

Unsurprisingly, we can see Cyprus’ entry La La Love in the Greek chart at #9. No surprises for guessing where Greece’s douze points are going to.

As usual, Sweden’s Melodifestivalen dominates the iTunes chart in the run up to the Finalen i Globen and we can expect this to continue over the next coming weeks as the Swedes turn their attention to Eurovison Song Contest preparations.

A few entries have fallen off the charts but will most likely appear again as the Contest looms closer. These include Norway’s Stay by Tooji and Italy’s Per Sempre by Nina Zilli, which I suspect may return re-incarnated in its Eurovision form.

I have to say, it’s really great to see countries getting behind their entries and turning them into commercial hits as well as worthy showcases of their country’s music heritage, culture and industry. Goes to prove that the Eurovision Song Contest is more commercially relevant than people are prepared to admit.

Nina Zilli’s Italian trio for Baku.

Since being declared Italy’s representative for the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, it has been revealed that Nina Zilli and her management are torn between three songs that could go forward to the Contest. These include her Sanremo entry Per Sempre, the title track of her latest album L’amore è Femmina and the third being Per le Strade. As RAI stated before, Nina would not necessarily be singing Per Sempre in Baku, so now we have the other contending songs. Check them out below:

Per Sempre 

L’amore è Femmina 

Per le Strade 

Personally, I’m loving L’amore è Femmina. It’s got a whimsical, distinctive sound that seems to strike a fine balance between appealing to the general televoting public and scoring big with the professional juries. According to sources, the Italian entry may not be revealed until 19th March.

Italian chatter and Swedish surprises.

So the Sanremo Music Festival and the third semi-final of Melodifestivalen has concluded and I’ve only just recovered from Super Saturday to muster the gumption to write about it.

First off, I’m pleased as punch for Molly Sandén and her qualifying direkt till Globen with the song Why Am I Crying. It was an emotional performance of a beautiful song. Wish I could say the same of Mirakel by Björn Ranellid & Sara Li. While it is a certain bonkers-kind of brilliant, I was in no way prepared for its qualification. However, I was very disappointed in both Youngblood and Love Generation, especially after the hype for an epic showdown. Youngblood’s song was a pale imitation of Manboy (Kempe needs to stop taking such liberties with the English language) and Love Generation’s furor doesn’t seem to be coming across well. Plus, the song was lacking a certain oomph  but definitely deserved Andra Chansen over Youngblood.

Next, we had Sanremo. It was while watching did I realise why Sanremo started in 1951 and the Eurovision in 1956: so that Sanremo would have concluded in time for Eurovision! Goodness, how the show went on and on thanks to the Italians’ love for chit chat. At one point, it seemed more talk show than music festival. But in the end, we got a great winner and an even better representative for Italy at the Eurovision. Nina Zilli was handpicked by a special jury to defend the Italian colours and I am thrilled that RAI got a singer from the established artists category, or ‘Artisti’, to go on to compete at the Eurovision Song Contest. Helped no doubt thanks to Raphael Gualazzi’s spectacular second place finish in Düsseldorf. We’re not sure if Nina will go to Baku with her Sanremo entry Per Sempre as her management want to select the best possible song, so we can only wait and see what happens next. Given some of previous work, we can expect something magnificent.

All in all, Super Saturday ended on a bit of mixed note. Still smarting over the result in Melodifestivalen. I sincerely hope that Danny and Charlotte pull it out of the bag this week.

Fast Cars, Amazing Music: An Italian Legacy.

Ever since Italy’s withdrawal from the Eurovision Song Contest (with the fantastic farewell song Fiumi Di Parole) in 1997, fans have been eagerly anticipating their return. And in 2011, when RAI made the unexpected announcement that Italy will be returning with the San Remo Festival once more as their national final, fans and Contest enthusiasts welcomed them back with open arms, much like the father embracing the prodigal son.

It’s a well known fact that Italy is famous for its fast cars, soulful music and delicious food. However, on a recent trip to Ferrari World I realised what the Eurovision Song Contest was truly missing out on.

It is that Italian zest for life in the fast lane, to dare to dream and then the determination to see it through, much like Enzo Ferrari and his pursuit of excellence. And then have all this passion embodied in music… No one can do it like the Italians and this is what they bring to the Eurovision Song Contest, what we’ve been missing this past decade. No wonder then when Raphael Gualazzi took to the stage for Italy with Madness Of Love on the 14th of May, it just felt right.

So welcome back Italy. Keeping your Eurovision-winning entry Insieme: 1992 in mind, its indeed wonderful that we are all together again in 2012, twenty years on.

New album art for Raphael Gualazzi’s ‘Madness Of Love’.

Here’s my take on Italy’s much-celebrated Eurovision entry this year: Madness Of Love by ‘San Remo Newcomers Winner’ Raphael Gualazzi. I kept the original band design element from the original and played around with the typography and selected a more suitable picture that fits with the song’s title. Stay tuned for more reworked album art!

Italy returns to Eurovision!

Not just the best news of thew season, but easily the best news of the decade! After an absence of 13 years, Italy will be making a comeback to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011. The news has the set the Eurovision community on fire and I for one, am really really excited. Italy has provided some of Eurovision’s evergreens, among them Domenico Modugno’s ‘Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu‘,more commonly known as ‘Volare‘. The country has won on two occasions, the first in 1964 with ‘Non Ho L’età‘ and the second in 1990 with ‘Insieme: 1992‘. Italy’s last participation was in 1997 with the utterly magnificent ‘Fiumi Di Parole‘ (below).

With such vibrant musical heritage and a rich history at the Eurovision Song Contest,  I am confident that the Italians will pick up right where they left off and bring that passion and magic we all missed back to the Eurovision stage.

Bentornato in Italia!

It seems I’m having my way this year

What with Düsseldorf being selected as the host city, Italy discussing a comeback, Sanna Nielsen and Danny participating in Melodifestivalen 2011, and the fab Léa Clément being selected for the next round of qualifiers in Belgium, it seems like the Eurovision gods are heeding my prayers. Next, Enrique Iglesias to represent Spain please!