Mahmood & BLANCO
I always quite liked the Italian entries when I was a kid. Not as much as ronenj53, of course. “She is so sensual, the way she walks, the lovely way she presents the song” he says about 1985’s classic, “and the combination between them is great- they give us the impression that the song was born, for both of them”.
Yep, it’s that heartwarming story of a beautiful romance between a 56 year old provincial bank manager and a 22 year old counter assistant. Magic oh magic indeed.
They bobbed along for ages doing stuff like this (including a song that did more to push the cause of Brexit than Boris Johnson ever did) until the first week of May 1997. It was quite a weekend. Labour swept to power after 18 years on the Thursday, I DJ’d a disco at the Swindon campus of the University of the West of England on the Friday and then our “own” (ie America’s) Katrina Leskanich swept us to victory on the Saturday by shining a light to light the way (with a song – fact fans – that Childline had rejected for being too “happy”).
Italy we so disgusted by our win that they gathered up their toys and threw them out of their pram for the best part of fifteen years – only returning once a jury had been reintroduced to balance up the televotes on the basis that those with “taste” might look fondly on Italy’s achingly credible entries.
They threatened to win a whole number of times across the decade – coming very close to beating Mans Zelermow with 2015’s Grande Amore – but then finally nailed it last year when Gen Z rock act Måneskin appeared with “Zitti e buoni” (Shut Up And Be Quiet) – a defiant anthem about “being yourself and not caring what other people are saying to you”.
This year we have something we may not have seen before on the Eurovision stage – a proper gay duet from Mahmood (who sang Solid for Italy in 2019) and BLANCO, a singer/rapper from Brescia with big aspirations.
A terrific song about trying to love someone but always somehow getting it wrong, the San Remo (Italy’s extravagant national final) performance was cracking – but at least on the evidence of the rehearsals from Turin, something’s gone wrong since, with the two of them sporting roughly as much chemistry as Al Bano and Romina Power in 1985.