Italy has decided to send Raphael Gualazzi, winner of the newcomer section of the Sanremo festival, as their representative to Eurovision.
Raphael brings a most atypical eurovision entry; jazzy in a laidback, non-commercial way. Being atypical seems to be the hot trend so far for the 2011 ESC.
Raphael Gualazzi - Follia d'amore (Italy 2011)
When RAI surprisingly accepted the challenge to come back to the ESC after an absence of 14 years, it was stated that the winner of Italian X-Factor would be sent to Düsseldorf. When that came to nothing, it was revealed that one of the entries in Sanremo, not necessarily the grand winner, would be the Italian eurosong.
Had one thought a little bit further, it was pretty clear that RAI would select one of the newcomers. They are the ones who have anything to benefit from the pan-european exposure and representing their countries abroad. The stars have better things to do than trying to impress international televoters.
(Given how little Italian pop exports itself these days compared to what the situation was like only some twenty years ago, the stars should all be willing to go to Eurovision as well. But that is another story.)
Also, it would be unlikely that RAI had any real desire to win in 2011. They are back to check what Eurovision is about these days. If it is worth the effort to hang in there. Maybe they will be gone again by next year.
Raphael sings pretty well and is a bit cute in how own way behind his grand piano. But this is definitely not the big comeback most eurofans would have hoped for when RAI said they would be back.
12 points from San Marino but how much more?