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Italy Il Volo – Grande Amore

The four-night Sanremo spectacle delivered a result on Saturday, but we had to wait until today to have Grande Amore confirmed as Italy's Eurovision entry. This now means the writers will cut about 40-seconds from the Sanremo-winning version of Grande Amore to meet Eurovision's three-minute rule. The betting markets were waiting for this news, and on the confirmation, Italy are now the firm favourites going into Eurovision's main selection period. Following Il Volo's selection, there was intense debate in the comments section with PurpleKylie and Ben Gray citing opera's poor track record at Eurovision backed up by Stephen Colville who felt the favourite…

Review Overview

Song Appeal
Vocal Strength
Staging Potential
Likely Televote Appeal
Likely Jury Appeal
Cohesiveness of Package

Immenso Amore

Grande Amore is the most powerful package so far and the lads make the song credible and relevant, which is important when finding a potential winner.

User Rating: 3.25 ( 39 votes)

The four-night Sanremo spectacle delivered a result on Saturday, but we had to wait until today to have Grande Amore confirmed as Italy’s Eurovision entry.

This now means the writers will cut about 40-seconds from the Sanremo-winning version of Grande Amore to meet Eurovision’s three-minute rule. The betting markets were waiting for this news, and on the confirmation, Italy are now the firm favourites going into Eurovision’s main selection period.

Following Il Volo’s selection, there was intense debate in the comments section with PurpleKylie and Ben Gray citing opera’s poor track record at Eurovision backed up by Stephen Colville who felt the favourite tag had been wrongly assigned. Pimpin4rizeal, SirMills, DurhamBorn, with myself included, all feel that Grande Amore is a cracking entry and should rightly be considered a contender.

It is true that opera has endured a poor response of late with 2011’s market leader, Sognu, finishing a disappointing 15th. Charisma wise, Amaury lacked warmth and Sognu was way too highbrow and stuffy for the Eurovision audience. Plus I think Raphael Gualazzi rightly absorbed the musical-distinction votes in Dusseldorf.

Comparisons have been made between Grande Amore and Sognu, and I suppose they are similar in terms of genre, but it’s like comparing Euphoria and Glorious – one was clearly a stronger package. Within the opera/popera style, Grande Amore and Sognu are poles apart: Sognu was stuffy and impersonal whereas Grande Amore is a ballsy, classy and enthralling package that oozes sex appeal.

Questa Notte, the operatic Latvian entry from 2007 has also been served up as a comparable on many sites. This Latvian entry is a little closer in style, but it lacks the intensity and sophistication of Grande Amore. If Questa Notte was a suit, it would be in the Burton sale, whereas Grande Amore would be a tailor-made black Gucci number with a price tag to bring tears to your eyes. Furthermore, Questa Notte was a tad theatrical, maybe even novelty with its large serving of cheesy staging. So in my opinion, Questa Notte differs too much to be compared to Grande Amore.

Il Volo are clearly trying to match Il Divo’s success, but are perhaps more authentic given the latter were formed by Simon Cowell and originate from America, Switzerland, France and Spain. The Il Volo lads met on the second edition of RAI TV’s music competition show, Ti Lascio una Canzone, which was won by Gianluca Ginoble. The three lads were asked to perform together during the show and have continued to do so ever since.

Il Divo’s first album was top-3 in most European and other major nations across the world. Their second album, Ankora, scored even more No.1s. Since then, their popularity has waned, but that’s probably got more to do with market fatigue than a lack of widespread interest in the popera genre. In the UK, Collabro won Britain’s Got Talent with 26% of the vote. They are more musical theatre than popera, but it at least shows how a Saturday night demographic are willing to engage with young, good looking guys performing operatic songs. In Sanremo, it was the unprecedented televote that won it for the guys, yet prior to the stats being published, it was thought their victory was down to the jury. Again, this demonstrates the strength of Il Volo’s performance.

Grande Amore’s official video has already received nearly 5-million hits. While in Copenhagen, last year’s winner, Rise Like a Phoenix, had attracted around 4-million hits, so it’s clear Il Volo’s song is enjoying plenty of attention, and it has already made a brief appearance on a number of Europe’s i-tunes charts.

Aside from the comparisons mentioned earlier, some people’s immediate reaction to Grande Amore has been one of indifference, or have even branded Il Volo’s song old fashioned.

Last year, Conchita Wurst won Eurovision with an operatic-pop song if you were to go by Wikipedia’s description. And in an earlier comment, it was Rise Like a Phoenix I cited as being the most comparable song to Grande Amore, even though Conchita had her own acceptance narrative during the show. Nevertheless, Grande Amore has the same classy, dramatic orchestral arrangement while benefitting from layer-upon-layer of spine-tingling moments. The lads even make the low-key moments dramatic!

Italy’s position heading the market is justified and I don’t see that changing until rehearsals get underway in May. Grande Amore is the most powerful package so far and the lads make the song credible and relevant, which is important when finding a potential winner. That’s not to say Italy will win, but at this point in the selection calendar, they should definitely be respected.

Are Italy on your list of winners?

  • Final Performance
  • Allies
Italy rejoined Eurovision in 2011 and have finished in the top-10 in three out of four years.
Highest score: 189 (2011 – Raphael Gualazzi, Madness of Love)
Lowest score: 33 (2014 – Emma – La mia città)
Average final position (since they rejoined): 10th Average final score: 112 points
Average Points Received
Albania – 10.3
Poland – 9.0
Portugal – 8.1
San Marino – 7.7
Spain – 7.4
Malta – 6.5
FYR Macedonia – 5.3
Slovenia – 5.2
Switzerland – 5.1

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About Gavster

ESCtips Owner   I’m a qualified designer and dedicate a lot of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.

85 comments

  1. Kudos Gav, one of the best reviews you’ve ever written, regardless of whether I agree with every point.

  2. Nice review. I am with you to everything you wrote. Let me expose some thoughts about Italy not to win the hole thing.
    1)Italy s economical status is not at the best and ebu know that
    2)They refused to get junior esc and this is not the best for Italy ‘s reputation
    3)Previous 10 years winner statistics 70% woman 20% man 10% group!!!
    4)The song is not written in english and all we know what this means
    5)The big 5 countries have ONLY one show and not 2. This mean less popularity
    6)The entrance of Australia and early low odds of her , not know what is this meaning?
    For all these thoughts , I think that Italy will not be the next winner. What do you think?

    • Hi Nikos, welcome to the site!

      Let me take them point by point…

      1 & 2. I am reliably informed that RAI are open to hosting Eurovision in 2016 if they win.
      3. Best song tends to win, it’s just groups haven’t worked as often. It’s all relative.
      4. Italy 2011 and Serbia 2012 came second. Italy could have won in 2011 had the voting not been so dodgy.
      5. Valid point and it’s something I noticed last year. I think Conchita benefitted more due to narrative, but it does help.
      6. Australia are an unknown quantity, but I don’t envisage much affection for them.

      • One thing i have learned from my betting experience in eurovision(I have found every winner from 2009-2014) is that the song has to have the “package”. In the package is the quality of th song of course , the country and the fact that the song shouts “winner”. By far I’m pretty sure that The winner is not estonia, finland, norway(i really love “a monster like me). But i also think that odds like 5 are too risky for Italy. Something like 8-9 would be perfect.
        The fact that Italy is will to host next eurovision is great factor and thank you that you mention it!

      • Without meaning to nitpick,point 4 raphael giulazzi’s madness of love i dont think can be counted as a comparision to prove songs in a foreign language can do well as the song had both english and italian lyrics.

      • Good review of Italy’s potential.

        Just on a point of info, Serbia came THIRD in 2012….the Russian grannies stole 2nd place (alas.)

        • Oh thanks Mark. You are right and totally forgot about the grannies when replying to that comment.

          If you were to ask Daniel at Sofabet and Rob at Entertainmentodds, they’d tell you that I carry a folder of stats with me as I carry very little, other than betting thoughts in my head.

          There was something highly suspicious about Russia’s jury points in 2012 though.

          • dead right on the Grannies. That was a shocker! I was on Serbia e/w at 14-1 and was not bothered too much whether it was 2nd or 3rd…..

  3. I was speaking to a Serbian friend of mine, a Eurovision fan, last night that made a very good point to me. Italian is not (for instance) Swedish. It’s a globally admired language. We also have to assume that Italy already have some pretty hard 12s in the final from San Marino, Albania and Australia given the cultural links/diaspora and the power of the package to support that.

  4. Out of all the entries picked so far this is the only one that is a contender.

  5. overall i think italy are guaranteed a top 10 ( unless they make a balls of the jury) and atm i can’t see anything toping it.

  6. I get the impression that fans are too overimpressed with opera entries. A big voice and big song isn’t enough if it comes across as flat on screen, which this could easily do (and we’ve seen entries where the camerawork and staging massively paled in comparison to their NF forms in the past). When people were hyping France in 2011 and Malta in last year’s Junior, I was extremely skeptical about those and of course I was proved right. This doesn’t scream winner to me, static camerawork and an early draw could easily puncture its chances.

    • i think this is the best eurovision entry since Euphoria IMO.

    • I do agree with you PurpleKylie, but in terms of betting, I can’t be so ignorant to this one so as to put myself in financial danger. It could fail easily, but look at this way. A few token lines in English and a pyro curtain on stage and you may as well call it game over right now.

      On the subject of structure, I believe I might have cracked it, and it’s actually astonishingly simple. You cut the first chorus and just have the Grande Amore. That brings it to 3 minutes exactly. Does this make the song fail the one minute test?

      It’s debatable IMO. I invite you to listen for yourself. Bear in mind this a rough edit that I’ve done, so the transition into the second verse WILL sound jarring. Professionals will do better.
      https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3010319/grandeamore-3mins.mp3

      • Sorry, ben i think taking that part out of the song would completely destroy it. the whole first verse builds beautifully towards the first removed chorus and peaks on the removed part. I think this would make the song way to slow burning for eurovision

  7. Easily the best Eurovision entry since Celine Dion. But the Olsen Brothers, Loreen and Alexander Rybak will always be my personal favourites.

  8. Thought I’d add my voice to the dissenters. It’s very interesting reading the different opinions and like Ben I am in a bit of a quandary. I’m cynical about Il Volo and really want to lay heavily. Trouble is a lot of people I trust (you lot) are seeing it differently. Luckily I took 50s at Paddy so have no risk but my heart is telling me to take Italy on.

    For now though, it’s wait and see…

    • Dude, if you’ve backed Italy at 50’s then you’re doing OK 🙂

      I like the song a lot and it deserves to be the favourite right now. But we have quite a few songs from eurovision juggernauts to come, and this is not something that cannot be topped (like Rybak when it came out), so I’m hesitant. I was late on Italy, managed to get only avg odds only at around 11. Not gonna lay it back though, it’s a strong enough entry to hover around 10’s or so even if someone hits back with a monster of a song.

      On the side note, one of the weirdest things I’ve seen in a while is Finland still being at 12’s. If they even make it to eurovision, I would give PKN less than 1 percent chance to take it down. This kind of music and novelty has almost no chance to pull in the kind of popularity as Conchita did. Some people keep comparing these two which I dont get. I’ve also put my money where my mouth is, Finland is heavily on the red side 😛

      • Same here Archi,im very heavily red on Finland at 8.9s, but il buy out at 30s+ hopefully.I have Italy at 51s and 41s,wont sell any.A bit of luck as i back Italy every year,but i did take more than usual as i thought SR was very strong.Some lucky layer even took some Finland backers at 4s,insane.

  9. Firstly on the RAI issue of them not wanting to host i can back up Gav 100%.They are prepared to host.I have a friend close to the press room and RAI and she told me in simple terms.If Il Volo keep the song RAI are prepared to host.If they change it they are not.Conti was brought in this year to run Sanremo.RAI (and even the government) were getting worried young people werent watching the festival anymore.Conti was told,make a festival to excite the young.He did just that and viewing figures hit the 50% mark.He is calling the shots and the better Il Volo do the more he can say his format was a success.RAI pushed Eurovision down the viewers throats at every chance,even starting the shows with the Eurovision music.
    As Gav has highlighted people need to understand how strong their televote was.They got more votes than NEK,Malika Ayane,Annalisa,Chiara,Nina Zilli and Dear Jack PUT TOGETHER.Considering they werent huge stars in Italy before SR thats is quite amazing.
    Most websites were claiming the opposite before the results,that it would be the jury who would win it for them.That was never going to happen.Malika Ayane was always going to win the Italian jury and rightly so.However Il Volo matched Chiara for 5th in the jury rankings following Nek,Annalisa and Zilli.The jury wont of liked the weakness of the lyrics for Il Volo,but scored them up for delivery and the power of the arrangement.That matters for ESC because ESC juries arent marking on the same as SR juries.They wont spot the weak lyrics.There also will be no Malika in Vienna.
    People will make a massive issue of the language barrier.However if Italy were ever to win in Italian it is with people like Il Volo.
    Im not 100% sure they are winning yet,but they are huge contenders.They have lifted the bar high and it will take a quality song to stop them.

    • Agree with pretty much everything. I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on “can they host?” question and the economic situation of the country. People who vote won’t care! On the final night it’s all about the audiovisual overall package that matters.

      The language thing is a bit of a worry of course, as the latest is Serbia back in 2007, but that’s also, at least partly, because most songs are in English, and it’s not like we haven’t got close calls over the years. And Italian language is (I think?) well received around, kinda like France. It sounds good to most people 😛 I think it’s dangerous to make assumptions with such a slow sample size.

  10. In my opinion, the only major element that can stop this entry is complacency.

    I mean, if you throwback to Molly last year, plenty of Eurofans screamed winner, along with most, including myself, nailing “Children of the Universe” as a top 5 certainty. I think it’s fair to say that the BBC and her team thought that by simply showing up, with pyrotechnic rain for decoration, that they could meet the fan’s expectations. I doubt the same treatment will work for Il Volo.

    In my view, RAI are not any better than the BBC, by failing to produce a winning package from Artists and songs that had it in them to win. Emma last year looked great on stage, but they gave her a song which gave her minimal opportunities to even breathe; the live vocal suffered hugely. Marco had no onstage visuals to accompany a wonderful song. Nina’s bilingual song sounded clunky at best, and she wore what looked like a tinfoil dress. Raphael’s entry overall was great, if anything a little too classy for Eurovision; his overwhelming Jury score in 2011 looked like a “Welcome back”, gesture for Italy’s return.

    In short, I can’t trust RAI to set up a versatile stage-show. Molly last year had a “Gigging Mentality” to simply perform for the crowd, and not the cameras. Any time she did the latter, we got very cold stares, which made her look nervous and rigid on stage. Even in the clip from Sanremo above, the two flanking members of Il Volo, look rather tense and wooden, compared to the centre-man who thankfully comes out of his shell, avoiding the operatic taboo of just performing for the audience. As Purple Kylie alluded to, standing still will offer a rather underwhelming aftertaste for those watching at home.

    Is this a winner?. In my book, no. Couple the above point with the fact that the song and style lacks commercial relevance and I would easily prefer to look elsewhere. Powerhouse countries such as Sweden, Russia and Azerbaijan have the scope to make a solid entry look like a winner. “Grande Amore” has set the bar high, but it can only go backwards from here on in, as long as RAI maintain command.

  11. Looking good! backed them for 14/1 in top 4 and for about 1 k, whay back at a bookie. also grait winnig odds nailed few hundreds on that 🙂 looking better every day. now there is only staging and the running order, fingers crossed 😉

    • Not trying to call foul here Starnrone, but this is what you typed in the other Il Volo article on February 15th:

      “Got 22/1 erly on on italy top 4, and lets say that i put a lot more than a few hundred on that…”

      We love it when readers contribute to the debate and are brave enough to post their bets and share their reasoning, but please be accurate with the information provided.

      My own experience with bookmakers has taught me that 1k bets on novelty markets are the stuff of dreams. Especially at odds of over 10/1. Maybe Iceland works differently, but if you can prove otherwise, I will be happy to post a partially redacted bet slip to correct the record.

  12. Great review Gav!

    Regarding video views though, I think the comparison with Austria doesn’t really fly, as it’s a much smaller country (and at this time most views will be domestic). Marco Megnoni crossed the 10m line beginning of April, perhaps that’s a more relevant benchmark here. Or was he more famous before San Remo than these guys were?

    • Mengoni was from X-Factor, so was already popular. YouTube hits are always a difficult call, but to have 4-million going into rehearsals is decent. Il Volo already have 5-million and don’t have Conchita’s beard/dress combo to drive traffic.

      • But they have a huge fan base in South – America, so I guess many of those youtube-hits are coming from there.

        • Indeed. Il Volo have already had an album with some international success and have duetted on stage in the USA with Barbra Striesand, so they are far from unknown prior to San Remo.

  13. hey gav, sorry for braging, just saw guys here bragging about 40-50 odds and wanted to share my excitement too 😉 i was not aware of the qualaty of my bets untill untill il volo won the sanremo! But ty so much gav, your rewives on erly acts have inspired me alot 😉 and the 1 k$ splitted 60% on top 4 and 40% on winning, so its not that much and i think looks like a small bet to professionals, i just like to gamble 😉

  14. I dont know how many of us are professionals, I’d bet almost all has a dayjob. I’m a losing bettor for sure in almost evrything besides eurovision. I’ve done ok in athletics too, but rather small sample side. Could be a major fish in that actually :-/ at least for me this is having fun and making some extra money in the process :p and I’d say banging a bet of 1k to such a high risk bet is not small to most betting professionals. You need to have a rather large bankroll to do those bets without risking too big of a percentage from your roll

  15. Re posting bets her: if it’s not posted at the time of betting, I find it completely useless and of as little interest to anyone as if I’d now post that I backed Russia in 2008 – it’s not possible to act on.

    Let’s make sure these usually so high-quality threads aren’t overrun with bragging (true or not).

  16. it shocks me that many Eurovision fans have yet to fall in love with this entry i watch many top 13 videos and in a lot of them grande amore is like 7-5th, i would have though that this would be a clear fan favourite by now like Songu was. this lack of fan support is what is starting to make me wonder if this is a contender or not. definite top 10 but idk about it being a winner as of yet.

    • Yeah, I agree with you there. This sort of thing happens every year on youtube and it’s annoying as hell :/. I think some ESC fans posting countdown videos feel reluctant to endorse a high quality entry such as “Grande Amore”. Fanboys and girls tend to be the ones posting them and they often stick religiously to not-so-good entries regardless of what else comes along. I remember Conchita and the Common Linnets being ranked outside most Eurofan’s top 20 last year, so its probably not worth getting concerned about Il Volo’s ranking, if you know what I mean.

    • What videos are you comparing it to? Also, have you accounted for the length of time since the release?

  17. I have deliberately held back in sharing my view of this song for two reasons.

    1. There are so many who contribute here that are absolutely magnificent (Gav, Sir Mills, Durham, Archi and Ben in particular) so there is very little to add.

    2. I was very fortunate to get a reasonably sized wager on II Volo at 50’s before I heard the song and don’t want to become a cheerleader.

    BUT, for what its worth…

    I dismiss the comparison with ‘Sognu’ because they are (broadly) from the same genre. Its like saying a Fiat is a car as is a Ferrari, Fiats aren’t particularly good therefore a Ferrari isn’t either. Amaury Vassili’s entry was absolutely terrible and I wasn’t taken in for a moment and I find it hard to believe that anyone who regularly posts here was either.

    2006 was a watershed year for Eurovision. Before ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ who would ever have thought a Metal Band could win the competition? Since then we surely must accept that any genre can win. ‘Grande Amore’ is not really opera, its more opera light or popera. Lets forget the red herring of genre.

    Yes the song is not sung in English which is a recognized handicap but Italian is a beautiful language and nobody is in any doubt about what the song is about. I know that many Italians find the lyrics repetitive but if you don’t speak Italian not actually a problem.

    A point I would also like to raise is that II Volo are an established group with a career in the ascendancy. This is a break for the norm when Eurovision is viewed by a performer/group as a last throw of the dice, no harm done if things don’t work out (think Bonnie Tyler etc). From the moment II Volo entered the competition it was with the intention of winning outright. I’m sure the heads at Geffen records would not have permitted the folly of a mediocre effort. It would also be naive to assume that RAI didn’t know what they were getting into also and they have made clear their intentions to smooth the path.

    I know this site doesn’t put much stock in YouTube figures but they are absolutely astonishing. 7,400,000 in a little over a week. It is reasonable to assume that 20-30m maybe more will see this song before May 23rd. As Gav pointed out Conchita had 4m views by the time the final took place last year. At that time the two favorites Aram and Sanna had 3.5m and 1m respectively. I’m aware of II Volo’s following in Argentina and the U.S. but the numbers are still off the scale.

    Finally, its possible to analyse a song to death, take it apart and imagine all kinds of ‘what ifs’. The voting public on the 23rd of May will do none of this, there will be an emotional reaction to a song and they make the call based on that instinct.

    ‘Grande Amore’ is EPIC and we will be very fortunate if we get another entry of the same calibre in the same year….. otherwise it could destroy the field and win by a mile. I suspect it will.

    Thanks to all that post here, I really enjoy the views.

  18. I am sound…

  19. Got a little lay @3.00 matched just now. Any news, or just continued trend?

    • Probably just odds shortening with every song that isn’t a winner being heard.

    • Grande Amore has gone gold in Italy and their Sanremo EP is topping the charts and is also about to go gold. Obviously, the 12-million views on YouTube is impressive too.

      I don’t really want to sell any green off. Maybe 2.50 if it gets that low.

  20. I’ve heard the question if Italy could host or not the Esc because of finantial crisis.
    Guys Italy is a big country. Yes its a hard time but we’re getting out. We organize each year Sanremo Festival and spent each year 10-15 million €, don’t you think we could organize once ESC? We have everything needed to make it. Venues in Rome, Milano, Torino, Napoli just to mention some of them, or worderful venues like Arena di Verona, unique.
    According to your opinon 70% of countries could not afford it. Most of them because they’re very small and some of them beacause of the crises.

    • Arena di Verona would be fantastic nudiecrudi.The acoustics are amazing.Conti set Sanremo up to attract the younger people to watch and it was obvious from the constant pushing of ESC that RAI want to connect the Sanremo winner to ESC in the Italian publics minds.Im sure they would stage.
      Just dont get Emma and Arisa to present it.Fantastic artists, but rubbish autocue readers .

  21. Nearly £500 trying to lay Italy at 3.5 at time of writing. Have I missed something?

    • Maybe someone who backed them at 51s for a decent stake selling a small amount or someone taking them on at that price expecting a drift.

  22. The question of structure has been answered. The opening piano has been halved, and they jump straight into the “Dimmi perché…” bridge after the first chorus.

  23. Is there a source confirming it Ben?, because it sounds like the best option, and it seems if anything, to add greater intensity to the songs progression towards the climax.

      • Yeah, it is confirmed on Eurovision.tv website. Second verse lyrics dropped. I had a play with Audacity on Tuesday – all works for me. Now it’s just pure build and climax. Gets my vote!

        • Yes that’s exactly right Black n’ Blue.

          Honestly I am really amazed at how much noticeable anticipation there has been amongst the fans for a 3 minute edit of a Eurovision entry. It’s never been so high – I guess you don’t have to be a bettor to see that its chances come down to it.

          And I have to agree with Gav. They got round this problem very nicely. I nearly got it right with my own attempt. The song’s strength is in its build, and so that’s what they’ve focused on. I still have my doubts. I think Eurovision winners tend to be songs that follow an down-up-down-up trajectory rather than uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-up, (pun intended.)

          The language barrier is also of some concern, but less so than if it were in a more obscure language that wasn’t automatically associated with the genre. I think it’s a marginally more realistic proposal for a winner than Sweden. Only marginally. I still think there’s a strong pop package in English that’s going to eventually take precedence… but with the structure addressed effectively, I’m at least open to Italy winning now.

          • I’d agree Ben, Personally I’m leaning towards this as a winner simply off the basis that an immaculate Live performance is a given for Il Volo, and not entirely for others like Stig/Elina or even Mans without playback assistance.

            It just boils down to whether or not the Juries/Televoters want the best radio friendly song, or the best song to win.

            If this were to win,than next year I’d love to go to a Starbucks in Italy and ask for a “Grande Amore” 😉

          • Reallly? You’d go to Starbucks IN ITALY?! You could do a lot better for a lot cheaper. 😛

  24. at 1:17. The dude with red glasses is one of the best singers I’ve ever heard in Eurovision. Ridiculously good. And it seems so effortless. I’m amazed every time I hear him.

  25. I must say, the baritone has amazing stage presence, but I get the biggest reaction from the big lad, who has a more rocky twang to his voice – kinda similar to Zucchero.

  26. So someone made a rather good edit of Italy, which follows the confirmed 3-minute format:

    Eurovision Megamix: The finalists from ESC 2015 on Vimeo.

  27. Gav do you know until when Italy is going to edit the final 3min. song of Grande Amore?

  28. As far as I am aware, the final edit will be made public when the official CD is released. However, the edit below is 99% accurate.

    • Thank you so much. This year the contest is so unpredictable that every details matter. Im unhappy i cannot bet in BF from my country because i will heavily lay on Sweden. Until now no songs is clear winner for me but i must bet on something, this would be Italy.. But the reahersals will play a big role this year. And of course the running order.
      And something else?Do you know the countries will be part in Eurovision in concert in April in Amsterdam?

  29. Italy 3-min version

    • Cheers Boki. I caught an earlier version, but it was labelled unofficial.

      I’m quite happy with this version for a number of reasons: (i) the string scales are still in there (ii) and the song is layer on layer of power, which is what’s needed at ESC.

  30. Thats good enough to be favourites for the win.These lads blew the roof off the Ariston and they will do the same in Vienna i expect.Conti was told to make Sanremo 15 the most contemporary and strong for decades.He delivered that and these lads swept away several world class artists who brought their A games.They destroyed the televote.
    Iv had several people tell me they will fail because they failed so badly with the jury at Sanremo.They didnt,they were 4th.It was simply they had Malika Ayane and Nek to contend with.Malika was always winning the jury vote and rightly so.The expert jury at at Sanremo always always go for the classy artist, delivery and songwriting.Thats their job.The popular jury had Il Volo top.(there are two juries at sanremo,expert and popular).That popular jury is much more like the ESC juries.
    I see several darkhorses and am backing them,but these lads are easy favourites for me.Quality,power and world class delivery.

  31. New single by Il Volo,

    “Canzone per te / A Song for You”, is a cover version of the 1968 Sanremo winning song wrote by Sergio Endrigo.Sergio also represented Italy at the 1968 ESC,though with a different song.The infamous year Spain rigged the contest.
    Switzerland’s entry to the 1991 contest was also called “Canzone per te” and was sung in Italian.
    That years contest was performed in Rome after Italy won in 1990.

  32. Listen to the kids sing along and scream for Il Volo. Who said Popera was a middle-aged thing?

    http://www.wittytv.it/amici/grande-amore-il-volo-e-briga-2-maggio/

    • Iv followed Amici for years and years “Friends” in Italian,its their premier talent show.Previous winners and runner ups include Emma Marrone,Alessandra Amoroso,Annalisa.They always return to sing with the entrants like Il Volo are doing.Thats a huge reaction for the lads,as big as iv seen there.Young girls singing the words to Grande Amore.
      Now we know why Il Volo slaughtered the televote big hitters (and Amici viewer favourites) at SR.The young were voting for them as well as their mums..That explains why huge stars among the young like Annalisa,Chiara,Dear Jack couldnt match the televote of Il Volo put together, even with great songs.

      They will probably use Rome next year for ESC,but i really hope they consider Arena di Verona,the acoustics are amazing there.

    • Well the kids can understand the lyrics for a start.

      It’s regional tastes, what more can be said? An article was posted on Eurovicious’ latest Sofabet piece today showing that opera and/or popera has quite literally –never– done well at ESC. Grande Amore is good, but it will need very strong visuals to secure top 5. I moderately enjoy the song in small doses, but it doesn’t excite me, it never has. I can hear how it might excite others, but I feel that connection is made in a very Eurovisionny way. If this wasn’t in the context of “the Italian song in the international competition” I don’t think anyone would feel the same about it. I think people are grasping at straws for reasons Italy could win and it’s always about the emotion of the song and the YouTube hits, (the latter of which did nothing for Zaleilah and My Slowanie.) Even L’Essenziale sold multi-platinum prior to the contest and, simply staged, it got the result it deserved. All this hype for Il Volo reminds me of my own behaviour regarding Glorious and Children of the Universe in previous years. Caught up in excitement, my own taste and thinking with my heart, and using everything I can find to justify it while subconsciously ignoring everything that points the other way.

      Il Volo are likely to finish somewhere in between Mengoni’s result and Gualazzi’s, but there’s just not enough of a compelling, universal package surrounding the song to win. Conversely, people are dismissing the Australian entry from winning on the basis of “it’s only USP is that it’s from Australia.” They say that like it’s not enough…. and the song is worthy of winning too.

      As I said before, this year will reveal to us which takes precedence. Commercial and high quality, or powerful and kitsch. Neither are a bad thing, but the latter has won in the absence of the former – except in 2010 when it was a commercial winner with no powerful, kitsch (and good enough) opposition. This is going to be a year we will refer back to in the future.

      • Ben I agree with you and EV’s remarks regarding Italy’s chances. There was the same hype surrounding the French entry from a few years back which failed to make an impact. Whilst some would justifiably, to a certain extent, blame that on a nervous performance, I think the main reasons were the genre and the language barrier, coupled with coming from a country with historically weak support. All this in a year that wasn’t high on quality. There are some reasons why Italy should out perform that disaster. Italy generally gets a higher televote and is much loved by the juries, probably because they send acts of consistently high quality, if not Eurovision friendly. They will be more attractive to the female vote and also the older demographic. The commercial impact the song has had will count for something. But as you say I think it will require a stellar presentation to worry the top 3 – rehearsals should help us make a better judgement.

        You seem to have picked up on my criticism regards the Aussie song about it being nothing special besides the fact it comes from Australia. I stand by that for the moment. I can see that it may pick up a lot of neutral votes – Oz is a long way from Europe and therefore immune to the petty squabbles of this continent but at the end of the day the song is fairly bog standard and again is going to need a stellar presentation to score high enough on the jury and overcome bloc and diaspora voting.

        we’ll have to wait and see. i have to say i wasn’t convinced by either of last year’s top 2 until I had seen the semi-finals. sometimes the finished product transcends all your expectations and this is possible with both the above examples.

        • Hi Rob. Regarding the Aussie song, I see exactly where you’re coming from when you say it’s very standard.

          That is, partly, exactly why it is very likely to win.

          I will keep bringing this line out a bit like David Cameron’s “there is no money” letter. When Lena won in 2010, I read a comment on ESCtoday, (obviously deleted now because of the Azeri hack, otherwise I’d go and find it,) that read simply “How did that win!? It’s so normal!” and I think this is something that people right across the entire Eurovision community have failed to learn anything from.

          People keep citing Lena as some sort of exception to the rule with this “clumsy charm” bollocks, but my argument is that Lena brought to Oslo a tastefully staged, catchy, familiar, normal radio song along with, yes, a likeable personality. She had no opposition of the type that Sweden, Italy and Russia bring to Australia this year, which is why Azerbaijan was thought to be the winner for a while that year. Let’s also remember what Lena beat into 2nd place. An MTV Europe award winning band, from a country with high televoting power, with a radio-friendly rock song, sung well, distinctively lit, and a memorable stage gimmick. A very powerful combination on paper, and yet Manga were convincingly beaten by “bog standard” Lena.

          Meanwhile, the main favourite, Safura from Azerbaijan’s chances were killed off by opening the final and having a wobbly live vocal, and yet she still managed 5th! (Although we know there’s probably other reasons for that.) I don’t know what it was that made people catch on to the idea of Germany winning in 2010 before rehearsals other than pre-contest chart success I suppose.

          I digress slightly. I think what we need to really come back to here is that first listen mindset. Sweden’s odds went down very very gradually as Gav pointed out in his review, Italy’s went down over the span of 2-3 days by my memory, while San Remo was going on, and there was hype over the boys. With Australia, we were to expect an unreleased ballad to show off Guy’s voice, which is what he himself said in his press conference, then Tonight Again comes out and bang! Straight down from 40s to the mid-teens almost immediately. I honestly wish I’d got on earlier if I had the cash. As Eurovicious said in the Sofabet comments on his latest piece today, fans listen to all the songs too many times and know them all too well, and quickly lose a sense of what’s good and what’s not.

          I wasn’t sure myself when I first heard the Australian entry, but I did get an immediate sense that it was fresh, instant, very commercial-Bruno Mars ish, but it lacked that sort of trite Motown Disco theme that plagued Basim last year. It was more plain, more modern, more credible and with much more genuine musicianship on display. I might even liken Guy Sebastian’s effort to Jamiroquai. I know the Australian song doesn’t scream winner in a traditional Eurovision sense, because Eurovision winners are usually more powerful in a cheesy, (which is not always bad,) emotional sort of way. But given the choice, as the public most certainly are this year, what do you think they would really rather go for? Something they perceive to be high quality, cool, and fun to sing and dance to? Or something that instead soars on this emotional crescendo (and this applies to Sweden and Russia, not just Italy,) and fits better into the Eurovision mould? It’s a rhetorical question really, and you’ve got to also keep in mind that tonnes of people think Eurovision is terrible because of all the cheesy songs, but people also love it for that same reason. The Australian entry is very normal in a relative sea of cheese, and to use my mother’s words when I showed her the contenders, Tonight Again, is “something different, a breath of fresh air.”

          It’s not different to us, because we regard it as something so average and every day and not special. Special, to us, are these genre-themed packages and gimmicks and soaring emotional songs. But in my opinion, the correct way to assess the contest is the exact, polar opposite of that.

          If Australia wasn’t entering this year, it would be a straight fight between Sweden, Italy and Russia, with Sweden a deserving favourite as the most commercial and most visually impressive. A lot of (not all) recent winners have quite simply been the best possible alternatives to what Europe really wants, but nobody is giving them. With regards to 2014, the soaring emotional song beat the most commercial, high quality offering last year because Conchita’s appearance and narrative was more compelling – and because Rise Like a Phoenix was clearly more aurally powerful. You still do need that strength to a winning song, but power and quality have to combine. If you’ve got one without the other, then you have to compare the surrounding elements like staging and gimmicks to see which is likely to give a song the edge.

          Australia have both a narrative and, many agree, the most commercial offering… AND Guy is a superb vocalist. So to re-iterate my closing point, this year will tell us, perhaps once and for all, which comes first in the pecking order. Great songs (by mainstream standards!) or powerful kitsch and gimmicks.

          I hope I’ve been clear enough, because to express my point, I literally have to turn your entire logic upside down, so I know it might be difficult to understand. Without meaning to sound condescending, think about it carefully before you respond and I will be more than happy to debate my line of thinking if you can find some valid holes, rather than just countering it with the same logic I’ve just had to reverse.

          • its a long post Ben so I don’t propose to respond to it all.

            first of all I’m not sure where the ‘narrative’ is coming in the song for Australia? they’ve been invited to enter and are not in Europe – how is that a narrative?

            The most commercial offering? well it’s up there but i don’t think it’s possible to assert it’s the ‘most’ commercial. Sweden sounds pretty commercial to me, as does Slovenia and Estonia. Italy has proved it is commercial already.

            ‘Guy is a superb vocalist’ True but many superb vocalists have failed at Eurovision.

            You ask the question ‘what comes first’? ‘great songs… or powerful kitsch and gimmicks’. well it could be both, because most of the recent winners seem to have a combination of both… well they do in my eyes.

            we’ll see, i’m keeping my powder dry on this one…

          • Australia’s narrative is quite simple. The media line has been that they cannot return to the contest unless they win. You could speculate that they will get a high finish and they’ll just be invited back anyway, but I am personally not sure the EBU will be that lax. This was also apparently ORF’s initiative, and I believe they will push to follow through with it.

            Guy’s vocals was not a standalone point, it’s part of the total winning package.

            And yes, good songs by mainstream standards coupled with a powerful emotional lift and a gimmick have won Eurovision, but as I said, it’s in the absence of something they want more. My theory is that Tonight Again is musically a much more attractive proposal to the mainstream public than Heroes, Grande Amore, A Million Voices, Goodbye to Yesterday and Here For You.

            Which brings me to the point of saying Tonight Again is the most commercial offering. Part of meeting that criteria is in quality of production, which is where Grande Amore and Heroes also tick the boxes most. Here For You and Goodbye to Yesterday are, in comparison, rather amateurish, which should be expected given their countries of origin. Go check out the instrumental of Slovenia’s entry on the iTunes store.

            Then after production quality, you’ve got style and relevance, and this is where Heroes and Grande Amore come off as fairly Swedish and fairly Italian respectively, while Tonight Again could be heard on radio stations the world over. Sweden do indeed export a lot of pop music and Swedish writers have an extremely strong presence in the American market, but they don’t come up with that particular sterile Swedish sound. That’s the stuff you only hear coming from Swedish artists, and only the marginally more American or more broadly European ones such as Agnes and Icona Pop break beyond the Scandie borders. How often do you see someone entering Melodifestivalen that you’ve actually heard of before via UK media?

      • I have read EV’s piece and largely disagree. Mostly because the same arguments are being used over and over again about popera not doing well at ESC, when the only other versions of the genre are vastly inferior.

        The kids are singing because they know the words. Yes, good observation. The fact they know the words means the popera song has broken through to a younger demographic. Plus it’s three good looking lads. If it were three middle-aged blokes, I doubt we’d even be having this debate. Looks matter at ESC just like they do on X-Factor.

        I don’t think it has anything to do with it being the Italian song, though that does add a sense of authenticity. When Latvia sent Questa Notte, it didn’t have the chic styling one would expect for an Italian song. Plus, as I’ve said before, the staging and presentation was cheesy.

        The Marco Mengoni argument has been made at Sofabet and again I disagree with the comparable. Mengoni was charismatic, but L’essenziale, while gorgeous, was an insipid 3-minutes and was probably the Silent Storm of 2013. Moreover, I don’t think many people were calling L’essenziale a winner in 2013. 40/1 from memory.

        Zaleilah and My Slowanie were totally different genres and were far more polarising for juries and televoters. Furthermore, Elena messed up the jury rehearsal for Zaleilah. And lets face it, Glorious wasn’t really a winning song. It’s the kind of music you’d hear blaring out of a Citroen Saxo.

        Fans of the song are not stating Italy will win just because of its Youtube success or that it went platinum. However, it’s right that those measures are used to support the fact Grande Amore has broken through. It’s a technically brilliant composition fronted by three telegenic guys with amazing voices. I backed it at high odds. It’s not my biggest winner, so I’m not being influenced by my book. Nevertheless, I do think it stands out a mile in this year’s contest and will be rewarded for its quality. A poor running order slot might undo that confidence.

        For the record though, I don’t mind people talking up the likes of Sweden and Australia, as I am openminded to both having the winning ingredients. I’ve found this profession is much less painful when you are able keep an objective outlook, so I find it bemusing that people go out of their way and make it their mission to say a song won’t win with a series of recycled platitudes, when in fact it Italy is one of several potential winners.

        • I find almost nothing I can disagree with there Gav, but I reject any implication, however indirect, that I’m not being objective. All I can tell you is that I don’t and never have found Il Volo exciting or compelling. I think it’s perhaps too Italian, a bit boring, and is coming to us from a different era of Eurovision. Yes it is a high quality composition, yes the lads are good singers and telegenic. I just don’t think that’s enough to sell it, but saying that feels to me like trying to get you to vote for Miliband. 😛

        • i don’t think anyone is disagreeing with your thinking Gav. the song has the potential to win given the right staging, running order, etc. if you are on early at long odds and have the place covered too then you have probably made a sound investment. but the naysayers are also making valid points as to why it may fall a little short. i quite like popera and have a soft spot for the Italian entries. this one is shouting high finish but falling short of the win. I’ve played it to other people (unaware of who is favourite) side by side with Sweden and a couple of others i consider contenders and no one has yet picked Italy as the outright winner. i know that’s not scientific and far from conclusive. i’m keeping a watching brief on this one.

          • Just curious Rob, was Australia among those contenders you played to people? I’m not trying to catch you out on anything, I’m genuinely interested.

          • And at the moment, those are the only reasons it could fail. Nothing to do with historic popera success, or lack of.

            I remember when dance songs couldn’t win. Then Euphoria happened. A high-class version of the genre came along and won by a landslide.

          • Among small sample of neutral people I played the contenders to with the question about winning chances, comment to Australia was “this is so American sounding, no chance in ESC” (a bit of stereotype that could be broken due to the novelty narrative I know, but this is what came out). Comment to Italy was “no idea”. Comment to Sweden was “this could win”.

          • yes Ben Australia was included in my sample. there was interest about why Oz had a song entered, so people will definitely be talking about it, which is in favour of your narrative.

            Boki i never said in my post because I don’t want to influence people with such a small sample group but they universally named Sweden the winner… much to my dismay!

            the most interest outside of Sweden seemed to be centred on Estonia. Slovenia didn’t garner a great deal of interest although everyone commented on the headphones which ranged from neutral to negative. Norway was described as cheesy by my wife.

  33. The problem with opinions from a group of friends is that its just a tiny snapshot. However this didn’t prevent me from conducting one myself!

    I was in fact astounded by my ‘findings’. I played all the leading contenders to six family, four work colleague and four friends. Seven are male, seven are female, youngest aged 11, oldest 70. I asked everybody separately to eliminate a group think. I did not try to influence anyone.

    I don’t expect to be believed but for what it’s worth the result was Italy 14

    • Italy 14 what sorry? I don’t understand.

      • i think he means 14 of his sample group voted for italy.

        • You are correct Rob, everyone went for Italy.
          Was particularly surprised that my 11 year old daughter did, I’d have bet any money on her going for Sweden or Russia.
          All in all it means nothing but was a very strange result nevertheless.

      • Tim, may I ask you something?
        I know Russia is on your list of potential winners as its on mine also and I’ve taken a nice position on her 🙂 but does the present 50.1 available on her at Betfair diminish your confidence?
        The market suggests that we are simply wrong?

  34. I think Italy is highly overrated. People say that there is place for every kind of music genre in Eurovision, including (p)opera. Strictly put, that is true. Eurovision is IMO honest humble a stage for every kind of music. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that every music genre works in Eurovision.

    I read some arguments about the download charts and the youtube views, that they are an indication of possible success. It could be. But with that very same arguments pundits on here should have ranked Netherlands 2014 way higher before the contest. Eurovision fans and professional betters alike….this wasn’t the case.

    Moreover, iTunes charts are as volatile as hell. And YouTube hits only indicate the possibility of some success, not a whopping certain TOP 3 result. I remember Ireland 2011 as a good example. Yes, they were an indicator of success, but in the end Ireland “only” came 8th.

    I also think Italy this year doesn’t mirror any non-Eurovision chart successes. Whereas “Rise Like A Phoenix” could be seen as the Eurovision-version of “Skyfall”, and “Calm After The Storm” is a cool new-age Americana-entry, I don’t have that with “Grande Amore”. And make no mistake, Eurovision has become quite relevant in the recent years as a “music presentation festival” in which you can hear the reflections of big contemporary non-Eurovision chart songs.

    I don’t have that with Italy. It stays a rather typical Eurovision (p)opera ballad. Perfectly executed, and at times facilitating some goosebumps, but I can’t see this win, nor see this as a fixed entry for the TOP 3.

    I’m quite careful with drawing comparisons with past Eurovision entries, as they are never a guarantee for success….or creating a flop. But an entry that comes to my mind is France 2011. Even if “Sognu” was executed by a singer who was sweating a bit less, it wasn’t a charmer for me before the contest.

    At this stage I think Italy 2015 is highly overestimated, both at the polls and at the bookies; two places that’s crawling with Eurovision fans these days. Let’s see what Italy will do during the rehearsals. But at this stage I can’t see this scoring higher than 7th/8th place.

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