20 February 2015

Review: Italy: Eurovision 2015: Il Volo

Il Volo to sing for Italy
Once again, Italy's Sanremo Music Festival provided the springboard for the selection of the country's Eurovision Song Contest entry. This year, the classical-crossover trio Il Volo won the competition singing Grande Amore (Great Love).

The Festival was broadcast over five nights during which time twenty acts performed their songs in the hope of winning the 'Big Artists' section. By the time of the climax of the last night (February 14), the field had been whittled down to a Top 3 consisting of Malika Ayane, Nek and Il Volo.

The final result was determined by a combination of public televotes, an expert jury and a popular jury. However, none of them could agree, it seems. While Il Volo were announced as the overall winners, the split vote showed a disparity of opinions. The three boys won convincingly with the public, but the expert jury placed them firmly in third place while the popular jury voted them into the runners-up position.

Are we likely to witness a similar outcome at the Eurovision Song Contest?

I have a feeling that it's unlikely. Much depends on their jury and Final performances, of course. However, if they sing like we know they can, they should find it easy to wow both the public and the juries alike.

Naturally, with a song like Grande Amore, pre-Eurovision sentiment is going to be divided. Pop-opera tends to factionalize hardcore fans and this tune already appears to have become the 'Marmite' entry of the Contest. You either love it or hate it.

On balance, the feedback has been hugely positive. So it should be, in my opinion. Italy has chosen a younger, more vital, version of the Three Tenors (albeit they're two tenors and a baritone!) who tick all the right boxes. They can sing (always an essential), they're handsome and they have a first class song to perform in Vienna. Really, there's nothing not to like.

Young as they are, it helps that Il Volo have already been 'around the block' a time or two, as well. They are immensely popular in the US and parts of South America and have also become well-known faces across parts of Europe. So, singing in front of a vast television audience should not rattle them too much.

Many of the bookies look as if they agree, too. They have installed Grand Amore as one of the current favourites to win, while Italians have downloaded the track in their droves, sending it to Number 1 in their national chart.

All bodes well then for this dramatic love song. However, any excitement must be tempered by the experience of, say, Amaury Vassili in 2011, when his similarly-performed operatic pop song Sognu failed to live up to expectations. Therefore, performance, staging and Il Volo's draw in the final are going to be important factors. Let's also not forget that the song will have to be edited to the obligatory three minutes. Let's hope the cuts don't ruin a perfectly good composition.

Is it a winner, though? Very possibly. There's no reason why Italy should not return to the upper section of the left-hand side of the scoreboard with this entry.

What do you think?

Although the songwriters had some problems in reducing Grande Amore to its required three minutes, it seems they have accomplished the task very well. Here's the Eurovision version:


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