Eurovision 2022 Italy profile: 'Brividi' by Mahmood & Blanco
Italy in Eurovision
Italy debuted in Eurovision at the inaugural contest back in 1956 and have claimed victory three times with Gigliola Cinquetti 'Non ho l'età' (1964), Toto Cutugno 'Insieme: 1992' (1990) and of course Måneskin with 'Zitti E Buoni' (2021). Italy took a hiatus from the contest after the 1997 competition and returned with a bang in 2011 - emerging as part of the newly minted "Big Five".
In more recent years Italy has been a powerhouse of the entire contest claiming two runner-ups with Raphael Gualazzi 'Madness of Love' (2011) and Mahmood 'Soldi' (2019) plus winning last year. Of the last ten entrants - half have walked away with a Top 5 position. In addition; since their return in 2011, Italy has only missed out on a Top 10 position twice. With results like these, Italy has cemented itself as a consistently serious contender at Eurovision.
2022 Entry: Mahmood & Blanco - 'Brividi'
Grand Final: As part of the "Big Five" Italy automatically qualifies for the grand final. They are able to vote in semi-final 1.
My Eurovision Scoreboard ranking: 3rd
Odds to win ranking: 2nd
(Rankings as of 27 March 2022)
About the artists
Starting with the familiar face to the Eurovision fandom - Mahmood finished second at Eurovision in 2019 with the catchy, memorable and heartfelt 'Soldi'. The 29-year-old R&B, pop and hip hop artist hails from Milan of Italian and Egyptian ancestry. His stage name "Mahmood" is a play on words of his surname "Mahmoud" and the English expression "my mood" ("my state of mind") - his way of infusing his personal history, passion and "mood" into his music.
Mahmood rose to notability locally by taking part in the sixth edition of 'Italian X-Factor' and in the "Newcomer" section of Sanremo Music Festival in 2016, finishing fourth with 'Dimentica'. Going forward he won Summer Festival 2017 with the entry 'Pesos' and in the same year collaborated with many notable local artists such as Michele Bravi, Elodie, Gué Pequeno, Marco Mengoni and Fabri Fibra.
His major breakthrough came from winning Sanremo Giovani 2018 with 'Gioventù bruciata' - earning his position in the "Big Artists" section of Sanremo 2019 where he eventually against odds went on the win the entire festival with 'Soldi'. Culminating in his 2nd place at Eurovision 2019. Since Eurovision, Mahmood has produced many chart topping albums and singles.
Blanco is a relatively new face to the Italian music industry - debuting on SoundCloud in 2020 with EP 'Quarantine Paranoid'. At just 19-years of age, Blanco hails from Brescia, Lombardy and gave up playing football and studying hairdressing in the pursuit of his music career. Born Riccardo Fabbriconi, his stage name was thought of by a friend and thought it sounded "cool". He explains it as "an extreme version" of himself that "laughs a lots and makes a mess" in an interview with 'Italian Vanity Fair'.
His 2021 debut studio album 'Blu celeste' went quadruple platinum in Italy and peaked at #1 locally. Blanco has multiple number one singles with 'La canzone nostra', 'Mi fai impazzire', 'Blu celeste' and now 'Brividi'.
The duo of Mahmood & Blanco produced 'Brividi' under fated circumstances, Blanco speaks of the collaboration in an interview with Italian newspaper 'Corriere della Sera':
"We met this summer by chance in Michelangelo's (producer of 'Brividi') studio in Vescovato, in the province of Cremona. The refrain was born from a wrong chord on the piano. Then each of us worked on the verses to tell not only about love but about feelings according to our respective points of view." ~Blanco
About the song
'Brividi' speaks of the end of a love story, vulnerability and having the strength to truly connect and communicate openly with your partner, penned by Mahmood, Blanco and producer Michelangelo. Translating to "Shivers" or "Chills", denoting the visceral feeling surrounding relationships. During the song writing process both artists shared their previous relationships and built the narrative from their lived experiences.
Both artists speak of the importance of freedom, standing against homophobia and discrimination - although in interviews state this was not the main objective of 'Brividi', but the positive response from the public was certainly a welcome side-effect.
Characteristic of their performances - 'Brividi' is an outlet of passion for both Mahmood & Blanco. A lot of their on stage performances at Sanremo were improvised. In an iconic moment during their first performance of the song, Blanco grabs Mahmood's collar during the performance. They speak of that moment in an interview with 'Italian Vanity Fair':
"...people made some crazy trips on that gesture. True, it was a gesture of passion. Even in a friendship there is passion" ~Blanco
"We let ourselves go, let ourselves be carried away by the song" ~ Mahmood
'Brividi' has taken the charts by storm - becoming the most listened to Italian song in a 24-hour period in history. The song is currently sitting at a staggering 64 million Spotify streams in addition to 47 million views on YouTube. During the week of the Sanremo Music Festival, 'Brividi' was topping the "Viral 50" Spotify Charts and making the Top 5 of the "Global" Spotify Charts. No small feat.
Locally the song has been honoured by going three times Platinum in Italy. 'Brividi' also charted successfully in Switzerland (#1), Lithuania (#3), Israel (#4), Luxembourg (#11), Croatia (#21), The Netherlands (#24) and notably a high of #15 on the "Global 200" Billboard Charts.
How they were chosen for Eurovision
Mahmood & Blanco secured their ticket to Turin by winning the 72nd edition of the world famous Sanremo Music Festival. The pair were the hot favourites to win the competition even before the contest and won with convincing percentages over runner-up Elisa with 'O forse sei tu'.
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Italy will compete in the Grand Final on May 14 (European time) in Turin.