As the dust settles on the 2022 contest and Eurovision fans stare down the barrel of a long off-season, here at ESCXTRA, we wanted to spend the summer highlighting our moments of appreciation for Eurovision 2022. Up next, we celebrate excellent interval acts that graced the Pala Olimpico stage.
For all the complaining that was done about the organisation of the Turin contest (the less said about the sun the better), you cannot deny the quality of the opening and interval performances. Rather than revert to the ‘old school’ symphonic crooning that was expected, Rai sought to blend the old with the new – harking back to Italian Eurovision history and Italy’s international success stories through a dynamic array of performances.
Some performances may have been better than others – but overall I thought the choices of opening and interval acts elevated the live shows and felt conducive with the ‘Sound of Beauty’ concept.
“The Sound of Beauty”, although seemingly simple, left a lot of room for ambiguity. The opening medley from Dardust, Benny Benassi, Sophie and the Giants and conductor Sylvia Catasta felt discerningly un-Italian in a way that subverted expectations of Rai. It was a visual spectacle and pumped some energy into proceedings from the very start.
To be totally honest, I think the entire 2022 contest may well have peaked with Diodato’s performance of “Fai rumore”. The Italian public may have already been very aquatinted with the song, but the world had been waiting two years to hear “Fai Rumore” on the Eurovision stage. Despite it never getting its day in the competitive context, the lack of staging constraints meant that the song got the visual showcase it deserved. My eyes began to tear up in the press centre when I first watched him rehearse, and I know I was not alone there. The whole performance felt like sheer catharsis for the two years we had endured due to the pandemic.
Of the three shows, the second semi-final was the weakest in terms of intervals. The opening skit of “The Italian Way” was a big swing which didn’t quite land for me. That said, Alessandro Cattelan was one of the better hosts in recent Eurovision history, and it was nice to see him get to show off his comedic chops. Like it or not, I still cannot get that damn soundbite of “my name is Chicky” out of my head.
When it comes to Laura and Mika’s medley, I think the song choices were a missed opportunity. Although beautifully performed, “Fragile” and “People Have the Power” felt quite nebulous and detached from the contest. Further, I would have preferred them to perform some Italian classics in order to balance out the international elements of the show.
I’m not the biggest Il Volo fan, but it was a clever and cheeky choice to have Italy’s runaway televote-winning entry from 2015 as an interval act. The absence of Gianluca due to his positive covid result threw the performance off kilter in an unfortunate way, as did the choice of performing the bilingual version of “Grande amore”.
The flag parade was excellent, in my opinion. It was well put together and it didn’t drag on for too long. My one note is that I would have liked the dancers with the light sticks to accompany every act, not just the last thirteen for some reason. Meanwhile, Laura’s monochromatic medley was a visual feast, as well as a great example of Rai showcasing an Italian success story without fully pandering to the international audience.
Måneskin had one hell of a year…and one hell of a week prior to the 2022 contest. Let’s spare a thought to their stand-ins who got boo’d during every rehearsal of the Grand Final that had a live audience – It was wild.
Viewers who weren’t aware of Mika’s successful Italian television career may have been confused seeing him as one of the hosts, but no one can deny how excellent his interval medley was.
My highlight of the final line-up of intervals for me was Gigliola Cinquetti’s performance of “Non ho l’età”, which brought us full circle from Italy’s most recent victory, to their very first. For a country and broadcaster who are often accused of not caring about Eurovision, I thought their choices of intervals showed quite the opposite.
Stay tuned for the next instalment of our Moments of Appreciation series next week! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter, @escxtra on Instagram, @escxtra on TikTok and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, be sure to follow us on Spotify for the latest music from your favourite ESC and JESC acts.