Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Member station RAI
National selection events Sanremo Music Festival
(1956–1966, 1972, 1997, 2011–present)
Appearances 39
First appearance 1956
Best result 1st: 1964, 1990
Worst result Last: 1966
External links
Italy's page at

Italy participated in the Eurovision Song Contest frequently from 1956 to 1997. It was one of only seven countries that competed at the very first contest. The country competed in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011, marking its first participation in the contest after a 14-year absence.

The EBU had previously announced that they would work harder to bring Italy back to the contest in 2010, along with former participants Monaco and Austria,[1] but again Italy did not participate in the contest. On 31 December 2010, it was officially announced by the EBU that Italy would be returning to the contest as part of the "Big Five", meaning it will automatically qualify for the final of the 2011 contest.[2] Italy's return to the contest proved to be successful, having always achieved a top 10 position since (second in 2011, ninth in 2012 and seventh in 2013).


Italy has withdrawn from the Eurovision Song Contest a number of times. The first withdrawal was in 1981, when RAI stated that interest had diminished in the country.[3] This absence continued through the following year, before Italy returned in 1983. Italy again withdrew in 1986 when RAI decided not to enter the contest. From 1994 to 1996 Italy withdrew again, with RAI citing a lack of interest in participating. Italy returned in 1997, before withdrawing again without explaining any reason, and the country did not participate again before making a comeback in 2011.

None of the Eurovision winning songs were particularly successful in the Italian charts. "Non ho l'eta" by Gigliola Cinquetti (Grand Prix 1964) was a hit in February 1964 when the song won the Sanremo festival, but according to the official "Hit Parade Italia" website, "Waterloo", "Ding-A-Dong", "Puppet on a String", "Save Your Kisses for Me" and even Italy's own winning entry of 1990, "Insieme: 1992", all failed to enter the TOP 10 of the records sales charts. A notable exception to this rule is however the 1984 entry "I treni di Tozeur" by Alice and Franco Battiato which only finished shared 5th in the actual contest, but still became a #3 hit in Italy and which also placed as #20 on the chart of the best-selling singles in Italy of 1984.[4]

TV censorship of the Eurovision Song Contest 1974[edit]

Italy refused to broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest 1974 on RAI because of a song sung by Gigliola Cinquetti which coincided with the intense political campaigning for the 1974 Italian referendum on divorce which was held a month later in May. Despite the Eurovision contest's taking place more than a month before the planned vote and despite Cinquetti's going as far as taking second place, Italian censors refused to allow the contest and song to be shown or heard. RAI censors felt that the song, which was titled "" (Yes), and which contained lyrics constantly repeating the aforementioned word could be accused of being subliminal messaging and a form of propaganda to influence the Italian voting public to vote 'yes' in the referendum ('yes' to repeal the law that allowed divorce). The song thus remained censored on most Italian state TV and radio stations for over a month.

A new interest?[edit]

However, in 2008 two noted Italian musicians, Vince Tempera (who had helped San Marino which took part in the ESC in 2008) and Eurovision winner Toto Cutugno expressed their sorrow at Italy's absence from the contest and called for the country to return to the contest.[5][6]

Contestants from the 2008 contest, starting with the winner Dima Bilan appeared on the Italian show Carramba! Che fortuna, hosted by Raffaella Carrà on Rai Uno. Whether this is an initiative by Carrà, who presented three shows in TVE concerning the event, to try to bring Eurovision back to Italy is unknown, but Sietse Bakker, Manager Communications & PR of the Eurovision Song Contest, reiterated that "Italy is still very much welcome to take part in the competition."[7][8][9]

Shortly after revealing the list of participants for the 2009 Contest the EBU announced that, for the 2010 Contest, they will now work harder to bring Italy back into the contest, now setting it as a priority.[1]

Return to the contest[edit]

At a press conference presenting the fourth edition of the Italian X Factor, Rai 2 director Massimo Liofredi announced that the winner of the competition might advance to represent Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest, rather than participate in the San Remo Festival, like in previous years. On 2 December 2010, it was officially announced by the Eurovision Song Contest official website that Italy had applied to compete in the 2011 Contest.[10] Their participation was further confirmed on 31 December with the announcement of the official participant list.[2]

Italy and the "Big Five"[edit]

Since 2000, four particular countries, namely the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain, have automatically qualified for the final of the Contest regardless of their positions on the scoreboard in previous Contests.[11] They earned this status by being the four biggest financial contributors to the EBU (without which the production of the Eurovision Song Contest would not be possible). Due to their untouchable status in the Contest, these countries became known as the "Big Four". Executive Supervisor of the Contest Svante Stockselius told reporters in a meeting with OGAE Serbia, that if Italy were to return to the contest in the future the country would also qualify automatically for the finals, becoming part of a "Big Five".[12][13] However, with the official announcement of the return of Italy, it was not confirmed if the country would compete in one of the two semi-finals or if it would be a part of "Big Five", as RAI, third contributor of EBU, has not made any application to be a member of "Big Five".[14] On December 31, Italy was officially announced as a participant of the Eurovision Song Contest 2011, and it was confirmed that the country would indeed automatically qualify for the final of the Contest in Germany as part of the "Big Five".[2]


Table key

     Second place
     Third place
     Last place
     Automatically qualified to the final
     Did not qualify for the final
     Did not compete or was relegated
Year Artist Language Title Place Points Semi Points
1956 Franca Raimondi Italian "Aprite le finestre" 2 [15] N/A1
No Semi-Finals
1956 Tonina Torrielli Italian "Amami se vuoi" 2 [15] N/A1
1957 Nunzio Gallo Italian "Corde della mia chitarra" 6 7
1958 Domenico Modugno Italian "Nel blu, dipinto di blu" 3 13
1959 Domenico Modugno Italian "Piove (Ciao, ciao bambina)" 6 11
1960 Renato Rascel Italian "Romantica" 8 5
1961 Betty Curtis Italian "Al di là" 5 12
1962 Claudio Villa Italian "Addio, addio" 9 3
1963 Emilio Pericoli Italian "Uno per tutte" 3 37
1964 Gigliola Cinquetti Italian "Non ho l'età" 1 49
1965 Bobby Solo Italian "Se piangi, se ridi" 5 15
1966 Domenico Modugno Italian "Dio, come ti amo" 17 0
1967 Claudio Villa Italian "Non andare più lontano" 11 4
1968 Sergio Endrigo Italian "Marianne" 10 7
1969 Iva Zanicchi Italian "Due grosse lacrime bianche" 13 5
1970 Gianni Morandi Italian "Occhi di ragazza" 8 5
1971 Massimo Ranieri Italian "L'amore è un attimo" 5 91
1972 Nicola di Bari Italian "I giorni dell'arcobaleno" 6 92
1973 Massimo Ranieri Italian "Chi sarà con te" 13 74
1974 Gigliola Cinquetti Italian "" 2 18
1975 Wess and Dori Ghezzi Italian "Era" 3 115
1976 Al Bano & Romina Power Italian, English "We'll Live It All Again" 7 69
1977 Mia Martini Italian "Libera" 13 33
1978 Ricchi e Poveri Italian "Questo amore" 12 53
1979 Matia Bazar Italian "Raggio di luna" 15 27
1980 Alan Sorrenti Italian "Non so che darei" 6 87
Did Not Compete
1983 Riccardo Fogli Italian "Per Lucia" 11 41
1984 Alice & Battiato Italian "I treni di Tozeur" 5 70
1985 Al Bano & Romina Power Italian, English "Magic Oh Magic" 7 78
Did Not Compete
1987 Umberto Tozzi and Raf Italian "Gente di mare" 3 103
1988 Luca Barbarossa Italian "Vivo (Ti scrivo)" 12 52
1989 Anna Oxa and Fausto Leali Italian "Avrei voluto" 9 56
1990 Toto Cutugno Italian, English "Insieme: 1992" 1 149
1991 Peppino di Capri Neapolitan "Comme è ddoce 'o mare" 7 89
1992 Mia Martini Italian "Rapsodia" 4 111
1993 Enrico Ruggeri Italian "Sole d'Europa" 12 45
Participated previous year
Did Not Compete
1997 Jalisse Italian "Fiumi di parole" 4 114
No Semi-Finals
Did Not Compete
2011 Raphael Gualazzi Italian, English "Madness of Love" 2 189
Member of the "Big 5"
2012 Nina Zilli English, Italian "L'amore è femmina (Out of Love)" 9 101
2013 Marco Mengoni Italian "L'essenziale" 7 126
2014 Emma Italian "La mia città"
1. ^ The full results for the first contest in 1956 are unknown, only the winner was announced. The official Eurovision site lists all the other songs as being placed second.
2. Italy has not ever competed in the semi-finals as it did not participate in 1996 (when all countries save for the previous year's winner had to go through a pre-selection jury) and has been a part of the "Big 5" since it rejoined the contest in 2011.

Voting history[edit]

As of 2013, Italy's voting history is as follows:

12 points[edit]

Table key

     Winner – Italy gave 12 points to a winning song / Italy won the contest.
     Second place – Italy gave 12 points to a runner-up song / Italy was runner-up in the contest.
     Third place – Italy gave 12 points to a third place song / Italy came third in the contest.
     Qualified – Italy gave 12 points to a song that qualified to the Grand Finals / Italy qualified to the Grand Finals.
     Non-qualified – Italy gave 12 points to a song that did not qualify to the Grand Finals / Italy did not qualify to the Grand Finals.
Year Given Received
Final Semi Final Semi
1975   Switzerland No semi-finals  Finland No semi-finals
1976  Ireland  Ireland
1977  Monaco
1978  Luxembourg
1979  Spain
1980  Germany  Portugal
1981 Did not participate Did not participate
1983  Luxembourg
1984  Ireland  Spain
1985  Ireland  Luxembourg
1986 Did not participate Did not participate
1987  Ireland  Germany
1988  United Kingdom
1989  Austria  Spain
1990  Austria  Cyprus
1991  France  Finland
1992  Greece  Finland
1993  Ireland None1
Did not Participate
1994 Did not participate No semi-finals Did not participate No semi-finals
1996 Did not participate Did not participate
1997  Estonia No semi-finals  Portugal No semi-finals
1998 Did not participate Did not participate
2004 Did not participate Did not participate
2011  Romania  Romania  Albania
 San Marino
Member of the "Big 5"
2012  Albania  Albania
2013  Denmark  Ukraine  Albania

1 Italy was illegible to vote at the 1993 pre-qualifying round, as voting was restricted to countries taking part in the pre-qualifying round.
Statistically, Italy is the 46th-best (and therefore 6th-worst) country at predicting the winner of the contest. Out of 19 occasions since the current voting system was adopted in 1975 (excluding years in which Italy itself was the winner, or did not participate), Italy has awarded an average of only 5.3 points to the winning song. Only four occasions has Italy given its "12 points" to the winning song (1983, 1987, 1993 and 2013). However, on five occasions–1979, 1989, 1991, 2011 and 2012–Italy awarded no points to the winning song whatsoever.


Year Location Venue Presenters
1965 Italy Naples Auditorium RAI Renata Mauro
1991 Italy Rome Teatro 15 di Cinecittà Gigliola Cinquetti and Toto Cutugno

Commentators and spokespersons[edit]

Year(s) Final Commentator Spokesperson Semi-Final Commentator
1956 Bianca Maria Piccinino No Spokesperson No Semi-Final
1957 Nunzio Filogamo
1958 Fulvia Colombo
1959 Enzo Tortora
1960 Giorgio Porro
1961 Corrado Mantoni
1962 Renato Tagliani
1964 Rosanna Vaudetti
1965 Renato Tagliani
1966 Enzo Tortora
1967 Mike Bongiorno
1970 Enzo Tortora
1971 N/A
1974 Rosanna Vaudetti Anna Maria Gambineri
1975 Silvio Noto
1976 Rosanna Vaudetti
1977 Mariolina Cannuli
1978 Rosanna Vaudetti
1979 Paola Perissi
1980 Michele Gammino Mariolina Cannuli
19811982 No broadcast Did not participate
1983 Paolo Frajese Paola Perissi
1984 Antonio De Robertis Mariolina Cannuli
1985 Rosanna Vaudetti Beatrice Cori
1986 No broadcast Did not participate
1987 Rosanna Vaudetti Marilolina Cannuli
1988 Daniele Piombi
1989 Gabriella Carlucci Peppi Franzelin
1990 Peppi Franzelin Paolo Frajese
1991 No commentator Rosanna Vaudetti
1992 Peppi Franzelin Nicoletta Orsomando
1993 Ettore Andenna Peppi Franzelin
19941996 No broadcast Did not participate
1997 Ettore Andenna Peppi Franzelin
19982010 No broadcast Did not participate
2011 Raffaella Carrà and Bob Sinclar Raffaella Carrà Raffaella Carrà
2012 Filippo Solibello and Marco Ardemagni Ivan Bacchi Federica Gentile
2013 Filippo Solibello, Marco Ardemagni and Natasha Lusenti[16] Federica Gentile[17] Federica Gentile[16]
2014 Linus and Nicola Savino TBA TBA

Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest[edit]

Artist Title Place Points Year Place Points
Domenico Modugno "Nel blu, dipinto di blu" 2 267 1958 3 13



  1. ^ a b Floras, Stella (2009-01-13). "EBU working for Eurovision full house in 2010". ESC Today. Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  2. ^ a b c Bakker, Sietse (2010-12-31). "43 nations on 2011 participants list". Retrieved 31 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "History - Eurovision Song Contest 1981". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 
  4. ^ Hit Parade Italia, chart entry "I Treni di Tozeur"
  5. ^ Kasapoglou, Yiorgos (2008-03-07). "Italy: Maestro Tempera calls Italy back to Eurovision". ESCToday. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  6. ^ Bakkar, Sieste (2008-06-16). "Cutugno: "Italy's absence unfortunate"". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  7. ^ Hondal, Víctor (2008-09-19). "Italy: Eurovision stars guests on Rai Uno". ESCToday. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  8. ^ Siim, Jarmo (2008-09-17). "Eurovision stars going to Italy!". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  9. ^ Solloso, Jaime (2008-09-18). "Rai Uno announce Eurovision show tonight". Oikotimes. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  10. ^ Bakker, Sietse (2010-12-02). "Italy applied for 2011 Eurovision Song Contest!". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 2 December 2010. 
  11. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy (2005). The Eurovision Song Contest 50 Years The Official History. London: Carlton Books Limited. ISBN 1-84442-586-X. 
  12. ^ "Svante Stockselius meets members of OGAE Serbia". Oikotimes. 2007-06-22. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  13. ^ Fulton, Rick (2007-05-14). "The East V West Song Contest". Daily Record. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  14. ^ "Italy made no motion for Big 5 membership yet". Oikotimes. 2010-12-03. Retrieved 2010-12-03. 
  15. ^ a b Barclay, Simon (June 17, 2010). The Complete and Independent Guide to the Eurovision Song Contest 2010. Silverthorn Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-4457-8415-1. 
  16. ^ a b "Natascha Lusenti affiancherà Ardemagni-Solibello nel commento all’Eurovision 2013" (in Italian). 5 April 2013. Archived from the original on 19 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  17. ^ Gordon Roxburgh (18 May 2013). "Good evening Malmö - Voting order revealed". European Broadcasting Union. Archived from the original on 19 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 

External links[edit]