17 November 2014

Review: Vincenzo Cantiello: Tu primo grande amore: Italy JESC

Vincenzo Cantiello
Although I'm an ardent Eurovision fan, the Junior Eurovision Song Contest has never really appealed to me. It was with some trepidation then that I tuned in yesterday to a rerun of the Maltese show online.

I'm glad I chose to watch it this way, because I was able to fast forward through all of the irrelevant bits. In hindsight, it would probably have been advisable to have just watched the voting.

I know they are just kids, but Junior Eurovision should really sound better than this year's extravaganza. That's not the fault of Malta, which actually staged a very polished show. It was more to do with the quality of the singing.

I hate to criticise a kid's best efforts - as does the EBU apparently, in refusing to award any of the acts nul points - but 95% of those chosen to sing live were not able to do so on the night. For the most part, many sounded like the bad auditions from the early rounds of The X-Factor.

It was with some surprise then that 14-year-old Vincenzo Cantiello captured first place with a typically rousing Italian ballad called Tu primo grande amore (Your First Great Love). I say "surprise" because for the majority of his performance his vocals were akin to a cat being strangled, particularly as the key changed to a higher register and the song dictated that he become even more shouty.  

The song itself is not too bad. It's the sort of ballad you might have expected to hear from Whitney Houston. It just required someone a little more mature and with more experience to handle the vocals.

Nor, in my opinion, was it the winning song. Yes, there's a rush of strings and it builds to a powerful conclusion, but there's no real hook to reel you in. Its first place, I feel, had more to do with young Vincenzo being the only male representative rather than the overall quality of the song. 

In my humble opinion, I felt the Bulgarian entry should have taken the prize. Three very talented kids presented Planet of the Children but, like so many on the night, Krisia's vocals let her down.

In the meantime, here's the studio version of the Italian winner. What do you think of it?

Image by Okras (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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