The northern Italian city of Turin is hosting the glitzy event in 2022 thanks to the leather-clad, eyeliner-wearing Italian rock band Måneskin, who claimed the title in Rotterdam last year with their track ‘Zitti e Buoni’.
As the acts move through the semi-final stages this week before the Grand Final on Saturday, here’s what you can expect from the 66th edition of Eurovision. Get your score cards, flags and sequins at the ready.
High expectations for Italy’s entry
After last year’s win, Italy’s act for 2022, Mahmood and BLANCO, have a lot to live up to. Not just because of the country’s Eurovision victory, and not even because Italy has been on a winning streak – but because the duo have their own hype to follow.
The young musicians shot to prominence after winning this year’s Sanremo Music Festival in Italy in February with their hit, ‘Brividi‘ (Chills).
That’s the track they’ll be playing at Eurovision and hoping it’s enough to convince the international judges and audience to award them votes of douze points.
In rehearsals, they seemed to be performing below par, but then brought back their A-game ahead of Saturday’s final.
Everyone, a few days ago: that’s it, Italy have blown it for sure.
Everyone tonight: we would like to clarify that Italy are back in the race to win Eurovision.
— Scott Reid (@ascottreid) May 9, 2022
Individually, they boast their own successes too. Mahmood broke into the spotlight on X Factor Italia, as did the reigning champions Måneskin. He’s got a stream of singles and two albums under his belt and has already experienced Eurovision accolade, coming second in 2019 with his hit ‘Soldi‘.
BLANCO is a singer/rapper from the northern Italian city, Brescia, with chart-toppers in the form of a single and an album.
You can listen to the track here, with the lyrics in Italian and English translation underneath.
Italy doesn’t have to compete to get into the final
Italy can participate in the final without needing to qualify, as it is one of the five countries that have a right to enter, along with Spain, Germany, France and the UK.
The other countries must first compete in the semi-finals, which begin on Tuesday, May 10th and the second lot are due to compete on Thursday, May 12th.
This year’s theme
As you may expect, Italy is injecting a certain artistic (higher brow?) flair into this year’s theme.
The organiser, Italian public broadcaster Rai, described the theme in Turin as “a visual representation of The Sound of Beauty”.
“In order to represent sound and its visual properties, the design is based on the symmetrical structure and patterns of cymatics – the study of sound wave phenomena,” it added.
Expect lots of beautiful, symmetrical sound waves, akin to the shape of looping Italian gardens.
Initial snaps from rehearsals show the event promises to have the expected fireworks and pomp too, even so.
— lori 👸 (@LoriiB) May 9, 2022
Hats off to Italy for exerting some cultural influence, but this is Eurovision, after all. It’s an unspoken law that feathers, sparkles, tassels and questionable taste are a founding principle of the event – and this year will surely be no different.
You can join in by voting
Once upon a time, voting at home was almost a parlour game played among family and friends with pencils and notebooks.
Then it evolved into televoting, sending texts, and now for 2022, you can play a part in choosing the winning act by voting through Eurovision’s Official Eurovision Song Contest app.
Details of how and when to vote will be shared during the shows.
This would be Italy’s fourth Eurovision win
Should the rapping duo give everyone the chills as they hope to and they bag the title, it would mark the fourth time Italy has won Eurovision.
The country previously won the contest in 1964 with Non Ho L’età, receiving nearly three times as many votes as the runner-up, then in 1990, when Toto Cutugno won with the song Insieme:1992 and last year with Måneskin’s triumph.
Italy is one of the 14 founding participants of the Eurovision Song Contest – it could even be one of the reasons the world tunes in to watch the sometimes controversial, often hilarious music competition, as it’s said to be modelled on Italy’s Sanremo music festival.
You can watch on TV or online
For a full list of which channel to tune into for your country, or for online streaming, check here.