Having already opted out of three contests during the 1980s, RAI again prevaricated in 1989 and failed to confirm their participation by the deadline date set by the European Broadcasting Union. When they did indicate after the deadline that they wished to take part, the EBU agreed to this, but on the condition that rather than going into the main draw for performance order of the songs, RAI would accept the unenvied opening performance slot in the contest. This they did.
On the night of the final Oxa and Leali indeed performed first in the running order, preceding Israel. At the close of the voting "Avrei voluto" had received 56 points (including a maximum 12 from Spain), placing Italy 9th of the 22 entries. Not for the first or last time, the Italian entry appeared to have a polarising effect on the other national juries, receiving either very high marks or nothing at all, with very few low-to-mid-range scores. The Italian jury awarded its 12 points to Austria.