You fancy yourself a Eurovision master? So you think you know… Italy? Our country-specific series is returning for the Eurovision off-season, covering the entire history of countries at Eurovision. Specifically, a brief coverage of the early years and a focus on their most recent years, to go with what most fans are likely to know. Last time, in December, as we left off with 2019’s host, Israel, in the most recent quiz from this series. If you want to play any of last off-season’s quizzes, they are all linked at the bottom of that quiz, however with our site update, be aware that while you can see and answer the questions, they might not be playable. I will see if this can be fixed, for legacy reasons.
We are continuing in alphabetical order. To the country that got the most recent silver medal, Italy.
But beyond Mahmood, what do you know about this country and its significant Eurovision moments? Its commitment to its Italian language, its esoteric (outside Italy) selection process, and its recent consistent success, to be one of the current countries with the most enviable recent record, there’s a lot to cover.
So You Think You Know… is a series that will arrive each Wednesday, each time focusing on a new active Eurovision country. We are continuing alphabetically and so Latvia will be next. In the meantime, how well do you know Italy?
One of the most famous early Eurovision songs was Domenico Modugno's 'Nel blu, dipinto di blu', which finished 3rd in 1958. It was renamed and became a huge international hit, what was it renamed to?
Volare was a number one hit in the USA, among other places. Huge for the early contest.
Moving a bit more modern, we come to 1974, the ABBA contest. Here, Italy's entry, Gigliola Cinquetti's 'Sí', was censored on radio in her home country for what reason?
Gigliola, who was actually behind Italy's first winner ten years earlier in 1964, ended up finishing second despite her home country's careful lack of support. The song was censored on radio because its repeated chorus of 'Sí' (yes) was seen as unfairly influencing in the current referendum on whether to repeal a law banning divorce (a month later, Italians decisively voted no, though it should be noted, the song wasn't necessarily about the referendum, it just could have been construed that way for the Italian broadcaster RAI). Aside from explicit language, the other two scenarios actually did happen to other songs in the 1974 contest, to Portugal and Greece respectively. It was quite the eventful year.
Italy's second and to date, most recent winner, came in 1990. Here, Toto Cutugno won with a pro-pan-European song that curiously, contained the name of a different year. What was it called?
The song title 'Insieme' means 'Together', and like many entries in the 1990 contest, talked about the hope of a united Europe. As the most sweeping of all of them, it won. The year in the title, 1992, was chosen because it was when the European Union, through the Maastricht Treaty, was then scheduled to come into effect. In the end, this actually happened in 1993.
Between 1993 and 2011, Italy was almost entirely absent from the contest, however, they did return in one intervening year, 1997. Where did this entry place in the ranges given?
The finish for 'Fiumi di parole' was a very respectable 4th. Despite this, Italy withdrew and would not be seen again until the start of the 2010s.
What is the Italian Eurovision selection process known as?
It is of course so much MORE than a Eurovision selection process, being the biggest musical festival in Italy, having launched the careers of the likes of Andrea Bocelli, and being an inspiration for Eurovision itself, but it is still the method by which the Italians select their Eurovision song. The winners can also freely decline to participate in Eurovision, as Stadio did in 2016.
Which of these Italian entries at Eurovision did NOT contain any English in the lyrics?
The rest all added English to their lyrics after winning Sanremo with a purely Italian version.
Since rejoining the contest, Italy has been a part of the Big 5, and has consistently done the best of these five countries. Which entry got them their worst result... ever?
Emma finished 21st. The only other Italian entry since their return to finish outside the top 10 is Francesca. Despite me being completely unable to remember how Ermal & Fabrizio's entry goes, and that was only a year ago, it finished 5th. Let me remind myself of that before we continue.
Raphael Gualazzi's Madness Of Love got Italy an unprecedented 2nd place on their long-awaited return. What instrument was he himself playing during his performance?
The song was based on American 1920s swing, but he led it by sitting at a piano.
Il Volo's 'Grande Amore' was the first song to do what?
Please select 2 correct answers
Denmark in 2010 got into 4th from last place, operatic pop was used for entries like Sweden's 'La Voix' and Romania's 'It's My Life'. However the other two are true, 292 points was more than most winners ever got, and coming 6th with the juries, they lost out on their win to Sweden's 'Heroes'. And yes, as someone who has 'Grande Amore' as one of their favourite songs of the decade and 'Heroes' as one of their least-favourite winners, I'm still salty, as the kids say these days.
In the 2010s decade, how many Italian songs have been placed within the top 5?
Madness Of Love, Grande Amore, Soldi and Non mi avete fatto niente are the four. Beyond that, Occidentali's Karma was heavily tipped to win so might seem like another one, and most of the rest got a good result, even the ironically least essential of them all, 'L'essenziale'. This might seem like an opinion that Italy are overdue a win, and it absolutely is. But also it's celebrating their incredible consistency from a country that hasn't always had the closest relationship with the contest.
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