Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest 1991
|Eurovision Song Contest 1991|
|Selection process||Internal Selection|
|Selected entrant||Peppino di Capri|
|Selected song||"Comme è ddoce 'o mare"|
|Final result||7th, 89 points|
|Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest|
Italy was represented by Peppino di Capri, with the song '"Comme è ddoce 'o mare", at the 1991 Eurovision Song Contest, which took place on 4 May in Rome, following Toto Cutugno's unexpected victory for Italy the previous year. "Comme è ddoce 'o mare" was chosen internally by broadcaster RAI as the Italian entry, and is notable for being sung in the Neapolitan language rather than standard Italian.
The 1991 contest is notorious for RAI's chaotic organisation, both before and during the contest, which prompted a storm of criticism from other participating broadcasters and led to the Rome contest being considered the most amateurish and shambolically organised in Eurovision history. Prominent among the complaints was RAI's decision to appoint Cutugno and Italy's previous Eurovision winner Gigliola Cinquetti as presenters, since neither appeared to have more than the most rudimentary knowledge of either English or French (the two official languages of the European Broadcasting Union). This was a particular problem during the voting, as EBU rules required all national spokespersons to announce their results in English or French, which Cutugno and Cinquetti frequently had difficulty in understanding correctly, while lapsing into Italian conversation with one another. To compound matters, throughout the contest Cutugno tried to cover his ineptitude with buffoonery, which many felt made for rather awkward TV.
On the night of the final di Capri performed last in the running order, following Cyprus. At the close of voting "Comme è ddoce 'o mare" had received 89 points (including maximum 12s from Finland and Portugal), placing Italy 7th of the 22 entries. Italy having performed last meant the Italian jury would also vote last. Before the announcement of the Italian votes, Sweden was in the lead with 146 points, followed by Israel on 139 and France on 134. Italian juries didn't award any points to either Sweden or Israel while giving their 12 to France, leading to the first tied result since 1969. However the EBU now had mechanisms in place to determine an outright winner in the event of a tie for first place, and the system in use at the time gave victory to Sweden.