Guest post: Why Italy can win Eurovision 2018
Almost immediately since it was release in early March, Israel's entry 'Toy' has been the clear favourite among bookies and fans to win the 2018 contest. A number of nations have been predicted as outside chances including Bulgaria, Estonia, Australia and France but in our first guest post Joshua Mayne believes Italy is the one to watch this year.
Can they pull off a huge upset? Let's see if Josh can convince us....
Ermal Meta and Fabrizio Moro won the 68th edition of the Sanremo Music Festival with the song ‘Non Mi Avete Fatto Niente’. After their victory, they decided to accept their invitation to Eurovision, and will be representing Italy in Lisbon at Eurovision 2018. Translating to ‘You Didn’t Do Anything To Me’, the song itself may not be the most musically innovative, but it is a genuine and serious contender to win the Eurovision Song Contest this year.
The song revolves around this idea of ‘inutili guerre’, or ‘pointless wars’ in our world, an issue that is current and widespread. Regardless of social position or context, this message is universal, which is essential for Eurovision. The more people that you can touch, the more impact your entry will have. Effectively, it often means more people will be voting for you (breaking news: this is how you win Eurovision).
What is particularly special about this message is the way that Meta and Mora have projected it. Sentiments in the music industry regarding terrorism and war often manifest themselves in cliché ways, but this particular song has delivered a commanding, deliberate and moving message, that has the ability to leave many inspired and empowered. Everything about it is so real, meaning the message projected is viewed as genuine and sincere.
Eurovision is not new to statements like this being delivered by artists, but this one in particularly is so contextually relevant, and produced in such a way that will be impactful on the stage in Lisbon. It is goosebump-worthy material.
The instrumental behind the song is not ground breaking, but it’s simple and effective. However, the real standout for this song is the lyrics. Within the first sentence, it is clear that it is sung in Italian, and it is this identifiable nature of the entry that makes it even more memorable. The verses and choruses make for an outstanding presentation of the Italian language. Meta and Moro’s decision to keep the song in Italian for Eurovision is vital, as it is how they can best represent the message and their nation.
‘Non mi avete fatto niente’ flows like the best Italian poetry you’ve ever read, delivering a powerful message within every phrase. Every single word that they sing has meaning and purpose behind it. The idea and emotion projected throughout the song is so rich and consistent. Examples are endless, but highlights include “Perché tutto va oltre le vostre inutili guerre // Because there’s more than your pointless wars”, “A Londra piove sempre ma oggi non fa male // In London it always rains but today it doesn’t hurt”, “Braccia senza mani, Facce senza nomi // Arms without hands, Faces without names” and of course the fan favourite “E non esiste bomba pacifista // And there is no pacifist bomb”.
After their Sanremo victory, naturally, there was concern regarding whether or not viewers will be able to understand the message of the song without speaking Italian. Arguably, the emotion that tells the message flows through without there being need to understand the lyrics, however, the addition of translated English lyrics live on stage could definitely boost their chances of victory. This feature has not been confirmed, but would be a positive addition to the entry. Ultimately, it’s all about making sure that message is as widespread and impactful as possible.
This entry relies on the message, and not only is it conveyed via the lyrics, but it is the two artists performing the song deliver the entire package to viewers. Ermal Meta and Fabrizio Moro are veterans, giving them the experience to perform a song like this so effectively. Their biggest strength is their ability to deliver the raw emotion that characterises the song. One can see, hear and feel how deeply they feel about the message behind the song.
Simply, the vocals are outstanding in this entry. Moro’s rough, gritty tone, combined with Meta’s smooth and diverse voice is a combination made in paradiso. They work well in isolation of each other, but also combine to form beautiful harmonies. Meta’s falsetto nearing the conclusion of the song is a real vocal highlight, and possibly an aspect of the song that may be a tipping point for voters. It makes for a special moment.
Although not entirely to blame, the revamp of Italy’s 2017 entry ‘Occidentali’s Karma’ was disappointing. By removing an entire verse, the song lost its natural progression and flow. However this year, ‘Non mi avete fatto niente’ has been revamped to remove over 30 extra seconds (to comply with Eurovision song length guidelines), and it is arguably just as good as the original.
The instrumental at the beginning has been shortened, as well as the second chorus and some of the end parts of the entry. Remarkably, neither of the verses have been cut, and the choruses remain relatively intact, which are the most important aspects of the song. Everything that helped Ermal Meta and Fabrizio Moro towards victory at Festival della canzone italiana di Sanremo remains in the revamped version, giving them the opportunity to triumph again, this time, at Eurovision.
Competition this year is stiff, with many nations serious contenders to win the contest in 2018. What sets Italy apart is the raw delivery of its message - every aspect of the entry is carefully considered and provides deep meaning. It’s moving, emotional and worthy of votes.
- Lyrics translated from the official Eurovision Song Contest YouTube channel -
Joshua Mayne - Student & Aspiring Journalist