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Italy: Francesco Gabbani – Occidentali’s Karma

Having beaten Fiorella to the Sanremo 2017 crown, Francesco Gabbani has just confirmed he'll be travelling to Kiev to represent Italy at Eurovision 2017. We're now in the unique position of having all Big-5 entries by mid February! Before we go into whether Italy can win in Kiev, we first need to recognise that Occidentali's Karma isn't a novelty song; it conveys a serious message in a lighthearted and fun way, which ensured it won Sanremo ahead of the likes of Fiorella and Ermal Meta. An example of novelty is Romania 2013, Portugal 2011, Czech Republic 2009 or Finland 2006. Then we have songs that…
Song Appeal
Vocal Strength
Staging Potential
Likely Televote Appeal
Likely Jury Appeal
Cohesiveness of Package


Occidentali's Karma is not a song I'm willing to oppose given it could occupy any of the top-5 positions in a low quality year packed with ballads and peace songs.

User Rating: 3.69 ( 78 votes)

Having beaten Fiorella to the Sanremo 2017 crown, Francesco Gabbani has just confirmed he’ll be travelling to Kiev to represent Italy at Eurovision 2017. We’re now in the unique position of having all Big-5 entries by mid February!

Before we go into whether Italy can win in Kiev, we first need to recognise that Occidentali’s Karma isn’t a novelty song; it conveys a serious message in a lighthearted and fun way, which ensured it won Sanremo ahead of the likes of Fiorella and Ermal Meta. An example of novelty is Romania 2013, Portugal 2011, Czech Republic 2009 or Finland 2006. Then we have songs that could be termed as novelty, but are more fun in approach such as Russia 2012, Ireland 2011 and Ukraine 2007.

As yet, nothing like this has won the Contest under the jury system, but even Russia’s grannies finished second to Loreen, albeit with heavy reliance on the televote. Songs that were just good fun that did well are: Israel 2015, Greece 2013, Germany 2010, Romania 2010 and Azerbaijan 2009Occidentali’s Karma stands up well against these songs and there’s even a slight crossover between Lena’s zany moves and Gabbani’s eccentric dad dancing, including the genuine enjoyment and charisma they both exude when performing their songs. This factor cannot be overlooked when up against 25 other songs all regimentally choreographed. Lena, and even AySel and Arash, came alive on TV when there was an element of spontaneous, infectious fun. Gabbani has this factor.

I obsess over staging when watching Eurovision rehearsals, so I get quite excited when I see something like Occidentali’s Karma. There are several memorable branding cues that helped Gabbani standout at Sanremo, the main one being the gorilla. Like Mans’ cartoon character, viewers remembered Occidentali’s Karma as the song with the gorilla. However, the vibrant Indus inspired graphics worked as a further subconscious cue to viewers, but they also explained the reason for the gorilla to non-Italian speakers. Next up were the olés from the orchestra which added to that element of fun and spontaneity. Obviously, the orchestra won’t be travelling to Kiev, but Gabbani will likely opt for backing singers to execute this role. Then we have the ‘nameste’ greeting and ‘om’ chant – both are as recognisable as ‘hello’ or ‘arrivederci’ across Europe, so even if Occidentali’s Karma doesn’t switch to English, there’s plenty for viewers to latch on to. Anyway, the last and potentially most important part of the branding is Gabbani’s dance during the refrain, which seems to be going viral across Italy. The foot shuffles of Malta 2012 and Spain 2016 are incomparable, as they were restricted to the fan community. Gabbani’s dance will be copied by kids and adults alike.

The typically high brow Sanremo jury many not have supported Gabbani’s song, but they didn’t support Il Volo either. The Italian press jury recognised the potential of Occidentali’s Karma on night one and public support grew throughout the four day contest. Given Gabbani had to beat Fiorella, one of Italy’s biggest stars, he ended up over 10% clear on the televote. Il Volo only managed a 4% margin. Now many readers will point and say that Il Volo were more jury friendly at Eurovision, yet failed to win despite topping the televote. Well the votes are no longer linked, so the jury cannot cancel out the televote and vice versa. Given Jamala won last year without topping either the jury or televote, any song capable of topping one half of vote has to be respected. And unlike last year’s televote winner from Russia, Gabbani’s song at least has some substance and personality.

Is this enough to make Italy winners? At the time of writing, the number of countries yet to show their hand is dwindling with only Australia, Sweden and Denmark considered as serious threats. Armenia, Azerbaijan and Netherlands could surprise, but in terms of what we already know, Italy has the most complete package, and considering the fun, infectious nature of Occidentali’s Karma, it’s not a song I’m willing to oppose on Betfair given it could occupy any of the top-5 positions in a low quality year packed with ballads and peace songs.

EDIT: New version.

It’s an abrupt cut to the Eurovision obsessives, but to the average Eurovision viewer tuning into May’s final, it’ll change nothing. The key ingredients remain in place; Gabbani’s charisma, Gerald the Gorilla and the dad-dancing segment. It still has to be respected.

Italy were too short in the market, so it’s encouraging to see them drift a little. Common sense emerges at last.

Are we heading Italy in 2018?

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  1. Not a winner but should be somewhere between 7-10. Have to say he is a great artist all round, the whole package however needs to be developed if Italy want that top 10.

  2. Absolutely love this song. Just amazing. Just hope the version that goes to ESC is this one, not the one from the video clip. Kudos Italy! <3

  3. No chance at winning. Maybe top 10 if things fall it’s way, probably mid table somwhere (10th – 16th). I think it’s very overrated but fair play Italy for going with something a little different.

  4. I’ve just tried getting it down to 3 mins and it’s actually very hard. I can only either cut the first 2 dance bits in half and chop the intro so he starts a capella which gets it to 3.10.. or I can cut the whole second verse/chorus or cut the middle bridge.. both of which cull it brutally to 2:30. He’ll have to get right into the song and re-arrange it at a fundamental level. Good luck with that one Frankyboy!

    • That’s my biggest issue here. The song doesn’t have any fluff. I struggle to see where it can be reduced without hurting it.

    • I spent a while pondering over potential edits in Audacity, and yes, it’s certainly difficult. I think I came up with something that works, though I’m not entirely happy with what’s been lost off the start of the second verse. Still, I think it’s about the best we can get without, as you say, a more fundamental re-arrangement.

      I put it on YouTube in case anybody wants to check it out – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WaOyPThx8E – any thoughts?

    • I agree that this isn’t a Grande Amore or Nessun Grado, it’s a lot tougher to cut down to size. My first take on what to do, was to cut the whole 2nd chorus, which on reflection, rips the heart out of the song. I then thought that they could cut the first dance bit, and the second verse, which is what you, Zobo, have arranged. To go from the first chorus straight to the pre-chorus (sex appeal onwards), and leave everything from there as be, sounds like the best edit.

    • It seems we were right about this being a problem. I know Gavin disagrees, but I think Joe public will notice something is up with the second cut. It sounds REALLY weird.

  5. Fiorella needed to be taken down.Id of rather Ermal did id,but podium was a fantastic result and well deserved as was the critics award.Gabbani taking the win was a very fair result and a great ESC entry.This is no joke.Its clever,well wrote,and a superb delivered song.It all depends on if people understand it at ESC.For now though a billion miles ahead of anything chosen so far or in any selection shows we know of.
    It was also a great week to see Gav,Pimp,Black and Blue and others input into things and nail it down to the ones to take on Fiorella.The beauty of this site,shared knowledge from some of the best in the game.Great SR,great Italian ESC entry.What you got Sweden?

  6. This was the first time I heard the song. For the first minute or so I was (again) questioning what Gav saw in this to give it four stars. I thought the singing was a bit flat and the geezer had a dodgy jumper. But by the end the tears were rolling down my cheeks.

    Durham, it may have a deeper meaning, but who cares. The guy in the ape suit and the somberly dressed orchestra joining in the fun did it for me. And Francesco himself has such a funny and engaging stage presence. Occidentali’s Karma is so infectious and makes an instant impression – a great hallmark of a strong Eurovision entry. What an antidote to all these ballads.

    I can see this attracting a lot of votes particularly from televoters. Top 10 at least, and maybe higher.

  7. Okay, here comes another comment from a weirdo from The Netherlands:

    I LOVE IT! This has ‘winner’ written all over it. I was very enthusiastic yesterday about Spain, but to be honest, waking up with Fransesco this way is a dream for Eurovision fans. Italy’s total package is IMO already perfect. The song is infectious, happy and very Italian, the staging with the gorilla next to him is ingenious, Fransesco has both the charm and vocals, the “Ole!!” between verses (Gosh, imagine the Kiev audience doing this)…it’s all top notch. This, for now, is my new potential winner! Don’t forget that Italy is more universally loved in Europe than other countries….especially by Eastern-Europe.

    Also compliments to the revamped San Remo show. It seems, visually, RAI has taken a good look at last year’s Eurovision in Stockholm. The artist titles at the start of the song are quite catchy, the camerawork is well done, and San Remo actually shows us how an orchestra can be added in a modern show.

    Rome 2018, Milano 2018 or….San Remo 2018? I hope so 🙂

  8. Not a personal fan of it, but I can see this doing well. Top 10 among the sea of ballads that this year is shaping up to be would not surprise me. It just has an instant charm that pulls you in somehow. I can’t see it winning at the moment, but who knows, it’s still early days

  9. Having come across this after Wednesday night’s show, I didn’t want to elaborate too much on “Occidentali’s Karma”, out of instinct that Italy would inevitably go with something a lot more high brow, in the form of Ermal or Fiorella. Sanremo’s got its mojo back after last year’s result, and Durham will probably agree that Francesco’s win represents a turning point for the festival.

    Considering what we’ve gotten so far, it feels like Francesco has single-handedly saved Eurovision 2017. It’s the burst of energy, verve, and fun the contest has been crying out for, and I’m glad it’s going to Kyiv. I would say Italy can win this year, although it is early days yet. We’ve got Kerli up next weekend, Loreen the week after, along with Australia and Russia who have yet to play their hand.

    My approach to Italy, is to be open minded. As analysed by Ben, RAI don’t push their Eurovision acts in the way that SVT or SBS do. You’re not necessarily going to see Francesco wheel-barrowed to all the Eurovision preview shows, and media appearances will hence be pretty sparse. The guys at RAI just don’t get the whole momentum aspect that is crucial to winning Eurovision. The positive thing here, is Francesco doesn’t need anybody else to generate interest for him; he’s a one man (and a one ape) show. When they they run the recap for the final, people will remember the smiley Italian man dancing with the Gorilla, over the heap of stale ladyballads, and that meme, if you like, could be all that matters in the end just like the bearded lady motif. For now, I have him down as a possible winner. A month from now, I’ll see if anything else can change my mind.

    • I do agree 100%,but id say it changed Il Volo’s year,the year Conti took charge.He changed the voting system,and worked to make the festival more exciting,and interesting to younger people.He has left SR in fantastic shape.When you start asking was SR better than MF this year you know your in the right place.The production values were perfect.Its telling how many of you hardened gamblers who dont do platitudes enjoyed it so much this year.
      Ben is right as well.Rai dont really push ESC acts.A lot of this is because its down to the record companies,and because the winners tend to be stars with busy schedules.
      As for winning ESC this is a challenger for me.Not because of the huge televote potential,but because once you know the lyrics you understand the magic of this.In a world where people hate the elite,their overlords and the press acting as a ministry of truth,being told to shake of the false sedatives and get up onto their feet might smash the jury as well.He beat an Italian superstar and a superb jury song (Ermal’s) through momentum over a few days.What might he build over a few months?
      I back Italy every year blind,so am already on,but depending on what else comes,it might be added to.

  10. If a song would be presented with a dancing gorilla, it would surely be a laughingstock and would go directly into Verka’s Vault. However, this does not seem forced, everything is natural,a gorilla looks like the perfect fit here. It’s a feel good song, that brings an interesting message, a very creative way to sum up the current state of the world.

    The package looks complete, like Gav rated it in the box and, right now, from what’ve seen in the MF and in the national finalst, it should be respected as one of the contenders. Francesco is likeable, he nails the song and his smile will surely attract a lot of votes.

    RAI should push this as much as they can, they have a good chance this year

  11. https://www.facebook.com/LegaDilettanti/videos/1198479236871883/

    Yeah, I know that this is the Italian Sunday League, but it could go viral quite fast in other leagues 🙂

  12. Best lyrics so far, nice voice + a gorilla, winning package here but lets wait for the rest songs to have a better view.

  13. With all the discussion about lyrics here – are there plans to switch to English? Because surely no one will have a clue what he sings about otherwise?

  14. I think out of all the songs picked so far only Italy has potential to win, usually winners have something unique about them compared to previous winners and the more I think about it the more I see that this song definitely fits in with this.

  15. Netherland’s are sending a song written by one of the singer’s father and boyfriend meaning that I think they will be sending something along the lines of what they have sent in the past (The band that is) so I think we can rule them out as contenders.

  16. Excellent review Gav. The fanboys are calling this novelty, but as you’ve articulated, there’s quite a distinction. The Mans comparison is a good one, both him and Francesco have used characters, a stick man and an ape, to flesh out the narrative, and have not used them as props.

    • It’s always easy to draw comparisons I think. In the end for me it’s about the final total package. While Sweden 2015 and Italy 2017 are, at least musically, completely different -song-wise they are part of two different genres of music-, they work in the end because ‘everything’, every element comes together in a coherent charming total package. From vocoals to choreography, from camera movements to a ‘prop’, from clothes to LED-visuals, and from lyrics to the actual song.

      If one of these aspects causes a mismatch, then it endangers the effect of the total package. Then, indeed, feet shuffles like Malta in 2012, or indian clothes, like Netherlands 2012, outweigh all other aspects, because those other aspects are weaker or more forgettable. Netherlands 2012 had an OK-song, but every chances were ruined by bad vocals, a stale, cold singer and a weird indian headdress. Malta 2012 was OK-ish at best too, but one could also reason that the dance routine actually made it qualify….and once in the final it would be forgotten anyway.

  17. Fantastic review.Its such a huge point Gav makes on the fact Gabbani beat Mannoia.Gabbani himself even said he couldnt believe he was stood in the last two with Fiorella on the SR stage.As gamblers from the start we were working out the prices of getting someone past her and how to play the podium.
    Ermal won the jury,but his song was a 100% SR jury song (and very strong).Gabbani to get past him and Mannoia shows he has the full package he needs.I have no worries with the juries at ESC.If they understand the song it will fly in the jury vote.
    Sure contender.Its going to take some real quality to get past him.Even if we get some,you have to go in with this green.No question of that.

  18. Another thing in Italy’s favour here that I haven’t really seen mentioned anywhere – the potential for audience participation. The song’s been pretty well-received within the fandom, so they (and as such the audience) will quite happily join in on all the quirks, I’m sure. With clever use of camera angles and audio levels, we’ll hear a big crowd cheering along with the ‘alé’ parts and waving their arms to the dance, which I think will really help it pop all the more for TV viewers.

  19. Great review and fully agree about this entry’s potential!

    Not sure about the low number of remaining threats though… do we have indications of historical powerhouses Azer & Armenia not bringing it this year? And what about e.g. Russia, Australia, and Serbia? To me it seems like there’s still a lot yet to come.

    • Azerbaijan & Australia will definetly bring it, Russia you never know with NTU running the show they might wonder if there is even a point in trying and might just take a gap year as far as winning is concerned, Armenia you just don’t know anymore and Serbia I feel are just looking for top 10 results more so than winning.

      • I’ve gone back and forth on whether I think Russia will bring their A game or just settle for a respectable result like 2014. On the one hand I don’t think there’s too much the organisers or producers can do to stop them. Despite probably preferring they didn’t win, the Ebu won’t want them to quit either so they should receive a fair enough draw. I also agree with those who say they’d probably like nothing better than to win in Ukraine.

        On the other side by this time last year one of their biggest stars and some of the most prolific and successful producers and staging designers had been working with a huge budget for months.
        I’m not seeing that level of preparation or effort this year.

        Either way, almost all the usual threats are left to pick a song yet. Out of the normally strong countries there’s only Norway who have shown their full hand and dissapointed with it) so far. Not to mention there’s always a country or two who surprise.

  20. Agree with the sentiments so far – if we get the usual deluge of safe ballads then this one will stand out like a sore thumb on the night (British Saturday night viewers will love it thats for sure!)

    Another positive is that it strikes me as quite straightforward to perform live – the backing track supports the melody throughout, and the backing singers don’t have a great deal to do.

    At the moment though 4/1 looks a touch short in mid February – the big 5 getting limited semi final coverage remains an issue and limits the momentum that can be built during Eurovision week (altho this song could easily build up plenty of that pre-Eurovision week.)

  21. Just curious on one point from Gav’s review. Denmark? Who’s saying they’re a threat – or why are they, being perhaps the more important question? Not Sada Vidoo surely.

    • Well they’re not high on my list, but having suffered two NQs, they must be hungry for a solid result. Anja returns to the lineup and she should have won last year. One hopes she has a decent song.

  22. i think he should grow a beard (stubble)… taches are not cool. otherwise this is the winner… but i say that about italy virtually every year… still waiting!

  23. I showed Occidentalis Karma to my Mum today, (the slightly sloppier performance from the final night of San Remo that Eurovision.tv put on YouTube.) She was won over by the first chorus – that’s without any sight or knowledge of a gorilla, without any understanding of the lyrics or the subject matter and no briefing from me. She even went so far as to say afterwards that the gorilla didn’t really do anything for her. She said it’s catchy, it’s got a nice melody, that Francesco is good looking, the stage was colourful and the whole thing keeps you entertained.

    So for anyone who’s taste doesn’t align with this song and are being sceptical here, this should say clearly that Italy’s televote does not rely on the gorilla, nor does its jury vote rely on the lyrics being understood in English. People just like it for what it is, even if they haven’t got a clue what it is.

  24. The jury will be the hard part on this one for me.. Will they get it, and not see it as gimmicky or circus? I’m not sure yet. Maybe a weird comparison, but I do see simularities with Conchita value-wise. Believe you could back Conchita at 8’s before the final, because people weren’t sure if it was enough quality next to the gimmicks. The jury’s got on board on that one too, hopefull they will on Italy too, although it’s a different style of singing which they might not value as much.

    If they appreciate it between, what looks like, a lot of (female) ballads, this has a great chance. Absolutely fair it’s the favourite now with all the acts we know and info we got, but wouldn’t back for these odds now.

    Plus it would have been great if this had a spot in a semi final. First time seeing it I thought ‘Great’, the second time ‘Amazing!’

  25. Confirmation Occidentalis Karma will remain entirely in Italy.

    I don’t think this changes anything given it was backed into market leader on the back of the Italian version. And the main strength of Italy’s entry is Gabbani’s charisma, the staging and key ‘branding’ points as noted in the review.

  26. One question: What makes Italy so “unbeatable”?

    I mean, everywhere I read only about Italy winning the contest. Many fans are even saying Francesco will hit the 400 televoting points mark. And wheter its here, on sofabet or some other betting site, you only get to read one thing: “There is only one real contender this year and that’s Italy.”
    In the beginning I could understand the low odds because the quality of many songs was quite poor. But now we do have several songs with potential.

    Looking at the San Remo televote results, Francesco was 4th on evening 2 with 11,30%, then 3rd on evening 4 with 7,38% and then suddenly first on evening 5 with 14,37% (before the superfinal).
    For someone who won the newcomer award a year ago, thats quite a good result. But aren’t those figures low for someone “unbeatable”? Wouldn’t you expect much higher numbers?
    And what happened between evening 4 and 5? He almost doubled his votes when the competitors almost stayed the same. About 10million people were watching Friday evening, about 12 million people were watching Saturday evening. Those 2-3 millions can’t be responsible for doubling his votes. The starting position stayed quite similar.

    How well is Francesco’s Jury score going to be? I remember in 2015, literally everyone was saying Il Volo is going to be at least top 3 with the juries. Even here in the chat (in the last week before contest) I read Il Volo had the best chances of winning the juries and that the juries will probably look behind Mans stick figure and the viewers won’t. In the end it was the other way around. Mans slayed the jury vote like he did in MF and Il Volo slayed the televoting like they did in San Remo. They did quite poor with the italian juries in San Remo and only came 6th on ESC behind singers like Aminata (who had odds of 150-200 on the final day) or Loic (who had odds above 100 before his semi).
    This year Gabbani was 2nd on evening 4 with the demoscopic jury (8,65%), while being 5th/6th with the expert jury (6,87%).
    On evening 5 he was again 2nd (11,88%) with the demoscopic jury, while being 5th with experts (9,38%).

    I have no idea if those San Remo votings can be carried over to ESC like in 2015, but Francesco’s jury points are very similar to the ones of Il Volo.
    One more thing: Fans of occidentali’s karma are often referring to its great lyrics. Why didn’t the italian juries reward this song more if they do unterstand them? How will the international juries respond if they have no idea what’s going on?
    The big difference between Il Volo and Francesco are the votings in the press room. Il Volo did quite poorly, Francesco got almost 23% of the votes. That’s quite impressive. So maybe the international juries are more similar to the italian press than to the italian (expert) juries?

    • That’s a great overview of the quandary bettors are in at the moment, MC.

      Yes, I agree there are several other songs with potential, but we haven’t seen that potential realised. Whereas at present, Italy has the only vote motivating Eurovision-ready package. I don’t think there has been any exaggeration on our part; just a healthy respect for a package that ticks a lot of boxes.

      As Durhamborn will testify, the Sanremo juries can be difficult to gauge, especially when you have an act like Fiorella who benefits so heavily from tribal support. The general perception on here – and from a number of Italians – was that Fiorella played Sanremo safe. Her song was safe. Her cover was ultra safe and was something she had performed at many of her concerts.

      If you have a firm view that Italy can’t win, then now is the time to lay. Having watched Sanremo fro all four nights, I have Italy green at higher odds, and given my respect for the song, I won’t be laying off.

      • Il Volo were never going to win the Sanremo jury when Malika Ayane was in the race with an exquisite song,and rightly so.The result that year was correct.Il Volo deserved the win,Malika deserved the jury.They cant be compared to ESC juries though as they look for different things.I doubt ESC juries would of rewarded a song about a 1999 French art house film called “The Girl on the Bridge” like the SR ones did.The SR juries mark to make sure deserving classy songs do well.
        This year was all about could anyone get past Fiorella.People have to understand just how popular she is.On the podium Gabbani said “I cant take it in that im in the last two of a Sanremo with Fiorella Mannoia”.He wasnt joking.There was also the small fact of a cracking jury song from Ermal Meta,this years Malika.Seasoned SR gamblers played it by taking Fiorella on with Ermal and Gabbani (i had Ermal much higher than Gabbani others had Gabbani bigger).
        ESC iv kept several songs green,who i think have potential (Serbia,Hungary,and a sprinkling of others),but have Italy way out in front.If something comes along during ESC id tilt then.For anyone without Italy,its a difficult situation.Take it at 3.0s and have very little room to move,or wait and accept the outright might end up a washout.There is of course the fact though there will be some outstanding EW value for the other three places.Perhaps we should all be considering who those three are?,rather than trying to find a challenger to Italy that at this stage simply doesnt exist.

        • “For anyone without Italy,its a difficult situation.Take it at 3.0s and have very little room to move,or wait and accept the outright might end up a washout.There is of course the fact though there will be some outstanding EW value for the other three places.Perhaps we should all be considering who those three are?,rather than trying to find a challenger to Italy that at this stage simply doesnt exist.”

          My thoughts exactly.

          • Each way thief it might have to be Ben.I actually nibbled Hungary at 81 ew earlier in the week in the hope the staging makes the rap look more like an ancient gypsy chant.Armenia miss-fire and a lot of the eastern votes find a home there.Straws and clutching etc.

    • These are all valid points, of course, but you seem to be missing the first and the most important part of your argument: after 42 countries presented their song, there is no one that could come close to Mans right now. It is likely that if Mans was presented this year, without Francesco, he would have had a field day and probably set a record hard to beat for ages. He had the unique USP of the stick man, a chartable song and the good looks. I was not high green on him, but he had to be respected because a) he was Sweden and from the start could unite the Nordic block and b) all the facts aforementioned.

      Right now, Gabbani is the favorite and the bookies are right. Maybe the odds should be a little higher than this, but who should beat Italy right now? Let’s take a walk – odds wise – in the countries that rank 2-11:

      2) Sweden: if you say Gabbani did not win Italy’s televote, therefore making him ineligible for the win, the same argument is applied to Robin. Bear in mind, also, that “I can’t go on” won in a pop-friendly country, that is fueled by this genre. He was third, behind Nano and Wiktoria, who was poor because of having a cold.
      3) Belgium: An unexperienced singer, with little to no charisma, that, personally, I think is unlikely to connect with the viewers. There is potential and that’s why the odds slashed to 5 when the song was presented.
      4) Bulgaria: We do not know anything about the staging. Poli’s staging was the problem when analysing the package last year, it was a little underwhelming.
      5) Portugal: Charismatic performer, jury friendly song, same problem with Gabbani: not sung in English, even harder to explain what’s happenening there.
      6) Australia: Weaker song than “Sound of Silence”, probably will do good. But a winner? No clue about the staging right now, albeit Australia seems to be hitting it right.

      —- We are now in the 30s territory –

      7) Armenia: we know only the performer and the name of the song.
      8) Russia: If you think this can win it, it was value at 60 to back it
      9) Azerbaidjan: we don’t know the staging, hard song to nail, if you ask me.
      10) FYR Macedonia: Really?
      11) France/Serbia: I think Alma has no chance after butchering her song with the English revamp, while Tijana might stand a chance due to the diaspora, but it’s a question mark if they go for the Swedish produced song.

      So do you think anyone from this bunch can do a Mans? Because I can’t see anybody

  27. 1st off I have layed this. I seem to be the only one in the betting world to admit to it from what I can see. It’s a false favourite like Aram was in 2014 and there are better songs to challenge Francesco than there was to challenge Aram as far as I’m concerned. I just don’t see the appeal for the song and neither did the Italian public the first time they heard it. If the song is as good as people are making it out to be it should have done better than 4th. No matter how famous the competition. If it loses the gorilla it loses the tele vote attraction if it keeps the gorilla it loses the jury vote attraction. That’s if there is an attraction in the first place. The fact that it’s not in a semi-final also hurt’s its ability to maximise its tele vote. I have played this to a few people which I very rarely do as I normally see the appeal in favourites weather I like them or not. The response was it’s not great. I am a lot happier having this red than I was having Russia red last year. I’m glad of the added value on the other songs I believe can challenge. I just hope I picked the right one’s this time round.

    • It’s fine to not think Italy can win, but when so many people in these circles think it will, a case for an alternative winning country begs to be put forward. I’m open to Italy not winning and I have alternatives in mind but I’m not completely convinced by them.

    • So, having 57 million views (the videoclip) + 4 million (the ESC official) on YT means that it does not have an appeal? I think it’s a huge punt to go with Italy on a huge red right now, because you could buy it at 15 literally moments after Gabbani won. I am not going blind on Italy like DB here, but I understand where he comes from. I can nitpick problems in all the other contenders all day if I need to, but comparing Gabbani to Sergey, especially after knowing the staging, is ludicrous.

      Also, playing it to a select group of people does not guarantee a thing. Statistically speaking, “a few people”, even if they are Eurovision fans, do not mean anything. Several of my friends hated “Yodel It” and made fun of it. It won the Romanian televote with more than 50%, with the number of votes recieved being more or less than no.2+no.3 combined.

      • I go blind every year on Italy Walrus simply because i love their music,and more so because i have seen the direction RAI have been pushing Sanremo.Im talking £30 or £40 quid down here,not huge amounts.If they ever won and i hadnt got them it would ruin my year.
        Id much rather it was last year where we could be buying Ukraine at 26s right until the last minute before ESC started,but we have to deal with the market as it is.
        Of course if a few come out of the pack there is huge value to be had,but who might they be?.I think until rehearsals the clashing of heads should be around who else can make that top 4,not if they can beat Italy.As i say iv got Hungary win and ew,Serbia,Macedonia,Belgium (bigger prices),Armenia and a few very small bits elsewhere.I dont like Bulgaria,Sweden,Portugal or Australia to win,though i have Portugal a tiny green.
        My personal favourite songs outside of Italy are Macedonia (cracking song with staging potential maybe),Switzerland (fantastic singer and buoyancy aids) and although its ridiculous ,i cant help loving Yodel It.

      • The views just mean it’s hugely popular in Italy at this stage. Italians and esc fans are the only ones watching at this point. Sure that could translate into it being hugely popular elsewhere, but the argument this needed several listens and a week long competetive format to get it to this point is valid.
        My problem also with this being such a favourite is that I don’t think anyone can say this is storming the jury vote. Rightly or wrongly, a lot will see it as a joke with a dancing gorilla, others will focus on a far from extraordinary vocal.
        For a song under 3s, there’s almost as many question marks as those above it in the odds, I haven’t actively layed, but Italy is firmly in the red for me. I’d rather lose money if Italy win, than lose if they don’t from a probability / value perspective.

        • You’d rather did not lose money, but that means you did not get the value it was at 10, 12, 15 immediately after being selected, because then it would be easier to work out your book. It floated at 5-6 a week after and if this did not deserve to go as the favourite before Sweden revealed all of their Melfest acts, it means nobody should be first in the market.

          You are grasping at straws and not hitting good arguments regarding the jury vote. Australia had 100pts more from the jury than Ukraine, but Ukraine won last year. Had Russia been a little tad up, they would also have been in serious contention. Therefore, you can be 3rd or 4th with the juries in a tight year and be a serious contender. Having them red now and boasting it before the first rehearsals sounds a little dangerous to me 🙂

          • The point was made last year that Sergey had little jury appeal and was therefore too short a price. In that sense this is a very similar scenario. Only without massive guaranteed bloc and diaspora votes. My reading of the San Remo results tells me also that expecting some 300+ televote landslide is very optimistic. Whether any song can get there is another question. I didn’t back at 5-6 because, again that wasn’t value given the countries that were still to present and I’m not backing now as it can be beat.

          • Before the podium eventual SR winners televote.
            17 Gabbani 14.37%
            16 Stadio 10.3%
            15 Il Volo 38.7%
            14 Arisa 18.91%
            13 Mengoni 23%
            12 Emma 29.65%

            Once on the podium
            17 Gabbani 43.7%
            16 Stadio 43.99%
            15 Il Volo 56.12%
            14 Arisa 57.56%
            13 Mengoni 44.18%
            12 Emma 49.63%

            So before the podium Gabbani had the 2nd lowest televote of the last 6 winners,and on the podium he had lowest televote of the last 6 winners.

          • Thanks for those stats Durham. My question would be is there anyone with the namesake of Fiorella or the outright quality of Ermal in ESC? I don’t think so. I see Gabbani as a justified market leader not only because of the Sanremo win but the performance of the track afterwards. As we speak, Stadio’s winning song only has 10 million views after a year, whereas Gabbani has 60 million views after a month. You can make the argument that the majority of the views are coming from Italy, yet it’s clear that they’re responding to this much more viscerally than they have done for most other SR winners. To say that this response won’t translate across to the rest of the continent seems a bit daft at this stage.

          • I agree 100% on that Black n Blue.Ermal really is world class and Vietato Morire was as good a SR jury song as youd ever get.Amazing songwriter and i see nothing at ESC of his quality.None of the last 5 winners had anyone like Fiorella to get past ,but I think Ermal would of beat her as well without Gabbani to deal with.
            Very strong (and correct) podium.

          • So we’ve established that basically, Occidentalis Karma had to grow on the Italian audience, which could raise concerns for his one and only performance in Kyiv (the decent preview of his rehearsal during the semi finals notwithstanding). That’s fair and valid.

            I’ll admit it took me 2 watches to really get into it, but I definitely enjoyed it a lot the first time, and I also only really started to recognise it as a potential ESC winner when the odds started to come in, so maybe I am being subjected to groupthink, but the fact remains that there’s no totally convincing alternative as yet.

            I think it’s also worth considering that Francesco might have taken some time to grow on a San Remo audience and jury because it’s a bit out of the ordinary in that environment. But now he’s coming to Eurovision, and it’s quite easy to argue the song’s in its element there. I mean when was the last time San Remo had such a fun and colourful winner that became such a massive hit? It can’t have developed a reputation for it being a show for senior citizens for no reason.

            We’ve also established that the San Remo jury didn’t support him too enthusiastically (I’d like to see some more detailed stats on this if possible DB?) and that he didn’t run away with the televote as much as other recent San Remo winners did, although Gav’s review says he was over 10% clear of Fiorella, so is there a clash of information here or am I looking at it wrong?

            The precedent says that the San Remo jury aren’t necessarily the antithesis of the ESC jury as both recognised Il Volo were a very trite package. They didn’t respond to the apparent class as widely expected here. It was the televote that got both Il Volo and Francesco over the line – therefore I expect Italy to perform better with the televote this year than with the ESC juries.

            Having said that, I still believe Francesco will be supported quite well by the ESC juries. It’s not unoriginal, and they may mark him down for the gorilla, but there is still otherwise a lot there for them to reward. The package is so full of surprises that it’d be silly to focus entirely on the gorilla. Honestly, what grabbed me the most from the song wasn’t the gorilla, or the dance, it was the melody just after the chorus, it really stuck in my head, and it’s what keeps me coming back to the song just for listening.

            Italy doubters do need to recognise that this isn’t a one-dimensional act at all – and if it’s capable of topping the televote by some margin owing to no convincing alternatives, it only needs to realistically be top 3 with the juries to secure the win in May. Sergey Lazarev was 5th with the juries, which is just not good enough.

          • “I mean when was the last time San Remo had such a fun and colourful winner that became such a massive hit? It can’t have developed a reputation for it being a show for senior citizens for no reason.”
            Thanks Ben,im only 45 ha),but your right,the answer is never .It was starting to feel dated and that was why Carlo Conti was brought in.He was told to make it relevant/contemporary again,bring in younger viewers,but keep everyone else engaged.He did a very good job at that i think and has left SR in the premier league again alongside Sweden.The scoring was changed to make sure the televote winner probably wins and the jury winner probably makes the podium.
            Dont forget as well RAI has moved ESC to RAI 1 and has been pushing that as well.

          • “if it’s capable of topping the televote by some margin owing to no convincing alternatives, it only needs to realistically be top 3 with the juries to secure the win in May”.

            I see that as a very likely outcome this year. Something that’s been weighing on my mind, is the fact that the televote winner at ESC hasn’t gone on to win outright since Conchita, and knowing how popular Italy is this year, would it not reflect badly on the brand if the televoters were to be denied their winner for the third year running?

  28. Isn’t it a big concern that it took Gabbani 3 appearences to be topping the televote in Italy with this song? Michelle bravi doubled his televote on evening two which begs the question if it didn’t hit with Italians first time why would it with non Italian speakers in one attempt at esc ?

  29. There are a number of factors here that have already been explained above. But on Michele Bravi, his X-Factor popularity clearly played a part in him topping the vote on multiple nights. Likewise Fiorella’s base vote was high regardless. Gabbani, on the other hand, was relatively unknown in the lineup.

    But where else do you go? Both Portugal and Sweden failed on their televote. And if the televote is the gold standard of deciding the winner, let’s all lump on Norway and Iceland now. Sometimes you just have to focus on the positive elements and why people like the song. If you disagree so strongly, then Italy are a value lay.

    Personally, I see the strengths of the package in the context of this year’s lineup. However, I also see challenges from other songs.

  30. im not really arguing for or against, just questioning the facts which is that he lost the televote on two occasions before winning over Italy which is a valid concern since Italy get only one actual live performance.
    People will question robins televote in Sweden but Francesco seems to get a free pass in comparison and any worries papered over in the comments section.

    For what it’s worth I agree that Italy has the most appealing looking package so far so I’m not strongly disagreeing.

  31. I don’t quite see why people are trying to dismiss Occendtali’s Karma’s frankly poor national final stats as something that’s irrelevant. I think they should be taken seriously as a sign that Italy is a potentially vulnerable market leader come the rehearsal period. The same sort of spin was used by people last year to suggest that Frans was a potential Eurovision winner for Sweden, when the stats told their own story. Nothing else in the San Remo final would do much at Eurovision at this year, so to suggest that songs are “quality”, “world class” etc. just because they’re in San Remo or in the Italian language, doesn’t sit right with me. Italy made the right choice this year but I’m yet to be convinced that they will be doing anywhere near as well overall as Il Volo did in 2015.

    One thing I will add is that people shouldn’t use YouTube stats to assume that Italy has a guaranteed huge televote in the bag this year. Italy ALWAYS gets huge YouTube views. Every year without exception. If you look at http://www.esctracker.com, which hasn’t yet been updated for 2017, you will see that Italy was also number 1 from YouTube views before the contest last year. This was for No Degree of Separation, which reached the dizzy heights of 18th in the Grand Final televote. Jamala for Ukraine was way down in number 21 on YouTube, pre-contest.

    It’s also interesting to take a look at Italy’s Grand Final televote placings since returning in 2011.

    2011 – 11th
    2012 – 17th
    2013 – 10th
    2014 – 19th
    2015 – 1st
    2016 – 18th

    The overhyped songs from 2012 and 2013 in particular massively underperformed on the televote side.

    • Are you saying Ermal Meta’s song wasnt a world class jury song Tim?.In a Sanremo it was as good a jury song as you will get and Gabbani got past him.SR was the strongest selection show this year,mainly as the others were weak.Others can have other opinions on that of course.The Italian song in 2012 didnt win a SR,it was selected and up against Loreen.Mengoni had a classy ballad in Italian.Hardly likely to set the ESC televote on fire.
      The concerns over the televote for Gabbani at SR are valid.Thats why i put up the stats on how badly he had done compared to past winners.Did he have a harder job though?.Im not sure he did no.He is there to be shot down,no doubt,but by who?
      Its about time maybe everyone started to put all the years of experience to work and start mentioning the challengers,Who are they?,why?.If Italy are too short then others are much too big,who are they?
      I suspect most people are the same.Keeping their books tight,and that might be all we can do until rehearsals.

      • ^this

        If not Italy then who?

        I have a few names which I have highlighted in the reviews, but nothing has matched the instant likeability of Italy, yet.

        Once we get to Kiev new contenders will emerge, but at the moment the Italy naysayers aren’t supplying alternatives. Nor is the market.

      • I don’t particularly think ermal metas song was the world class jury song some are making out,, it seems both meta and fiorella have grown in stature after defeat, otherwise why was there so many alternatives suggested to take fiorella on with in the sanremo article, she was beatable and was beaten.

        As for the new edit the intro cut works better then the second verse cut. the ah ah ah part is a bit jarring and loses a bit of the original magic.

    • Agree. Ermal Meta was not a word class jury song. Good jury song, sure. Worthy san remo jury winner, probably. There are question marks over every entry this year and Italy is no different.
      If not, then who?
      I think you have to be looking at the internal selections this year making it harder to judge. I don’t think Belgium will translate to the stage brilliantly enough to win and Bulgaria is seriously overrated. I’m looking close at Australia out of everything at the moment and interested to hear the full Armenian entry but there’s a few other good ones in contention.

    • That sounds quite amatuerish and abrupt, I’ve even heard a better edit here on ESCtips!

    • This was the cut that Zobo and a few others suggested above. Personally, I thought Ben was much smarter with the edit, but nonetheless this works well and doesn’t compromise the climax of the song or the the general essence of it. They had to find a way to get “Chanel” out of the song so this edit sorts out the 3 minute and the branding problems for good.

    • I hope it’ll be a lot smoother live though.

  32. The edit does rather ruin the structure of the song – it now feels like verse one followed by a never ending chorus, and then the bridge. You could easily argue that it doesn’t matter. As Gav says all the key elements are still there in the song, and if anything even more prominent, and the potential for this to dominate the pre-show headlines by going viral across Western Europe aren’t dependent on the song structure.

    Still a bit short imo (although I hope it wins as I’m going to esc in 2018 and fancy a couple of weeks in Italy!)

  33. At the moment, I’m thinking Italy will win the ESC televote. I attribute the time taken to build momentum in San Remo to the facts that San Remo and Eurovision are totally different kettles of fish and that he was up against big national stars in San Remo whereas Eurovision is full of unknowns.

    That being said, I’d like to pose a straightforward question to everyone:

    Why won’t Italy win the ESC jury vote?

    And in the interests of challenging for open-mindedness, I want answers from Italy supporters and naysayers please.

    You don’t have to supply an alternative jury winner, because it’s like comparing unassembled flat pack furniture to a solid bookcase. I’m trying to change the argument.
    Just – why won’t Italy win the ESC jury vote?

    • Ok, naysayer here, I’ll throw some out of the top of my head:

      Did not come close to winning San Remo jury

      yes different criteria, different field etc but he came 5th in the jury on night five before the superfinal and then got less than a third of the jury votes in a three horse race. With hindsight, the SR results in 2015 were a warning with Il Volo and that is likely the case this year.

      He doesn’t get anything wrong, but with all due respect its not a hard song to sing and his vocal will be one of the weakest in final. It’s not essential to do well or win but he may struggle for anything north of 200 points.

      The Gorilla in the room-
      Rightly or wrongly, a fair number of jurors might see this, think its a novelty and mark it down. No one can be sure, but again most jury winners tend to be more ‘serious’.

      The edit-
      It doesn’t flow anywhere near as well as it did and now doesn’t sound as well composed as it did.

    • Supporter here.

      Do juries deliberately mark down songs that are easy to sing, even if sung well? I think the main problem is the gorilla, but I’m unsure exactly how much it will affect the jury score.

    • Why won’t Italy win the ESC jury vote?

      – Because the juries tend to go for great singers showing off their vocals like Dami, Aminata etc. and this year is full of those.
      – Because the juries are stupid enough to ignore the song message so will see the gorilla as novelty.
      – Because the juries are smart enough to ignore any pre-contest hype about an entry which is declared as favorite to win.

  34. I must say the cut is pretty poor for me.The song now comes across as mostly chorus and pre chorus.The best lyrics are gone and the flow is now out a bit.The question is does that matter considering almost all of the people listening dont speak Italian?.Maybe not,but the cut is still pretty jarring and there is no doubt the song has lost something.It will probably be less harsh live of course.It deserves to be still favourite,but more 4.0s+ than 3.0s.The door has opened a bit.

    • Thing is Occidentali’s Karma has the chorus of the year, so personally, I don’t mind it being more prominent. They had a choice of chopping it up into tiny pieces and then gluing it back together again, or to just cut 15s from the 1st and 2nd choruses each and leave the crescendo alone. There was going to be a compromise with which ever option they took.
      3.0 still seems like the right price. From my perspective, no one comes close to Italy at the moment.

  35. Lucky for me, i have Italy HUGE green. Watched San Remo and instantly knew it would be fav when it won there.

    Will be laying off large chunks though before rehearsals. I like to always win, as I always do, so will lock in a HUGE profit and see where I am then.

    Good luck to all the posters on here, you could do with a change of luck. Hope a few of you manage to get a few bob back this year..

    • Welcome to the show George and well done on your position.

      I would recommend a tad more analysis in future, rather than just bragging about your position. We thrive on diverse opinions from our commenters and crass after-timing adds nothing to the debate. But please feel free to join the debate 👍

  36. I am a huge fan of Occidentali’s Karma and I have it green, thanks to the amazing work done here in San Remo by all of the punters. But I don’t think it deserves to be a 2.5s favourite right now. If Eurovision allowed longer songs, then, yes, it would have been correct.

    All in all, I think they butchered the song with this cut. This does not mean it will not win or that Francesco isn’t bringing the same charisma to the table. But after the first chorus, there is literally no momentum heading into the bridge. It’s falling flat and it is sucking all the feel-good factor. Also, I think that the gorilla won’t be there – in Sanremo it came in the second chorus – so this will become more obvious. I know it was a hard thing to do, but this cut should have meant Italy should be longer, not drift so much.

    • Agree on the price part of your argument, Walrus, but only because other songs are expected to perform better with the juries, thus Italy will – at some point – be available at a longer price.

      The gorilla will be there along with 4 backing singers. That’s a fact. One of the backing singers will be Francesco’s brother.

      • The backing singers will probably be a huge part of the “ale”-s that make this song so entertaining. But how do you feel about the part after the first chorus? I don’t know how to gauge the reaction: will the juries know that the song has been cut, will they penalise this? Because as great as the Sanremo version is, I think that part is a huge letdown.

        PS: I want Italy to win :).

        • Do juries penalise songs because they don’t follow a certain structure? The second verse was cut and that’s that. The song remains an uplifting experience no matter what (for whoever saw his London pre-party performance can see that it doesn’t matter after all, because the vibe and energy of the song is unquestionable).

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