Interesting, yet sad news coming in from Italy this morning. Just over a day after winning the 69th Festival di Sanremo and confirming his Eurovision participation, Mahmood now seems to have second thoughts…
Mahmood’s victory was an unexpected one last Saturday. Coming from the lowest, red zone on Tuesday night, he came out on top in the superfinal with Ultimo and Il Volo. At the press conference after the show, the inevitable question was asked: Will he go to Tel Aviv?
The answer was a resounding “Si, si”. Soon after that, the official Eurovision account also confirmed Mahmood as the Italian entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest.
However, since then two new interviews with the newly revealed Italian Eurovision entrant have been published where he seems to be in doubt over his plans…
“Spoke too soon”
The first of those interviews was with radio station RTL 102.5 in Italy. He then said his participation in Eurovision was not yet confirmed as they still had to figure out a couple of things. A rather vague statement, which was clarified in a later interview.
That interview was with La Stampa, where they asked him directly about going to Eurovision. To the question “Will “Soldi” represent Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest?”, he replied:
I don’t know. We must get a better understanding. We have seen how much work it entails and have to make up our minds.Mahmood to La Stampa
What if he withdraws?
Of course, one must hope that Mahmood won’t withdraw, but what if he does? RAI do have a plan in store for whenever the winner refuses to go to Eurovision. Now, that plan is normally used when the winner refuses straight away, like in 2016 when Stadio won the Festival di Sanremo with “Un Giorno Mi Dirai”. They then selected Francesca Michielin for the contest.
The plan is as follows. Whenever the winner of Sanremo decides not to go to Eurovision, RAI can pick any of the remaining 23 acts who took part this year and ask them to fly the Italian flag at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. The honour does not automatically go to the runner-up, in this case Ultimo. If they would like to, they could ask the last placed act of Sanremo to go to Tel Aviv. Perhaps it also opens the door for Arisa, who spoke so openly about her desire to go to Eurovision.
ESCXTRA.com have reached out to Mahmood and his management to ask them about his plans for the Eurovision Song Contest. Stay tuned for the latest information!