Many predicted 2015 would be Italy’s year to win the big prize, and Il Volo certainly came close, landing in third place only a handful of votes behind runner-up Russia. When offered the chance to represent their country this year, Sanremo Music Festival winners Stadio had other plans — literally, they had to decline because they already have a tour scheduled for this summer. So, the invite went to Sanremo runner-up Francesca Michielin, who (thankfully) accepted. Her song wasn’t the best at Sanremo, so how will she stack up against the competition at Eurovision?
Well, let’s start by remembering this very same thing happened last year — Germany ended up sending the runner-up of their national selection process after the winner bowed out. Let’s just say it didn’t go so well for the Jerrys.
Honestly I don’t see this scenario ending well for Italy, either. There’s not much wrong with Francesca’s song, but nothing to help it stand out from the crowd, either. Her voice is really nice, but the melody lies within a very narrow range and rarely strays. The song grows steadily, but doesn’t stick with you when it’s over. It’s enjoyable, but I can’t hum it for you, even having watched it twice within the past ten minutes. (Instead I have the Estonian entry stuck in my head.)
There’s no doubt we’ll see Italy in the finals; as a financial sponsor of the contest, they automatically qualify. But I don’t think we’ll see them break the top ten, or even the top half with this entry. They’ll almost certainly get SOME points — Italy can always rely on Cyprus for a few, even if only out of pity — but this wasn’t even the favored entry of most Italians, and I can’t see it gaining much traction with others.