Will Italy’s Francesco Gabbani win the whole megillah with “Occidentali’s Karma” in Kyiv?
Song Title: “Occidentali’s Karma”
Artist: Francesco Gabbani
Last year’s entry: “No Degree of Separation” – Francesca Michielin (16th Place)
I started writing about Eurovision for the 2011 Contest, the same year Italy returned after a 13-year hiatus. My favorite entry that year was “Madness of Love” by Raphael Gualazzi, which almost won thanks to a ton of “welcome back” points and a fantastic song. Since returning, Italy has missed out on the Top 10 twice — in 2014 when RAI decided not to use Sanremo as its selection process, and last year when their singer was the Sanremo runner-up.
This year’s Sanremo champion, Francesco Gabbani, won over the festival with a dancing gorilla and a catchy-as-all-get-out track:
Normally I try to challenge the notion of the declared favorite winning, partly because a foregone conclusion (see 2012 and 2015) is hella boring. However, this song has so much going for it.
The construction of the song brims with charisma, though the abridged version has removed my favorite part. The first verse begins with very basic instrumentation and vocals, building up to the party of the chorus. In the full version, the second verse pulls back from the party, but with more instruments and story. The party returns for the second chorus, then we get the bridge which has a similar build as the overall song. Everyone is invited to the party by the end, with the final “namaste, ALLEZ!” which will probably echo throughout the International Exhibition Centre two weeks from Saturday.
The only challengers that I see coming for Italy are Bulgaria and Australia. Since neither of those entries were selected through a televised process, we don’t have a sense of what their stage performances could entail. Plus, with Italy automatically going to the Grand Final, those challengers get an extra performance in front of televoters.
There’s also the issue of which half Italy draws for the running order. Though it shouldn’t matter, the second half would be a better fit, if only to restore some energy before the voting process begins. If Italy were to draw the first half, it would probably best fit toward the middle of the running order.
Italy has put in the work the last six years since returning to Eurovision. Karma should reward Francesco Gabbani with the win.