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EUROVISION SONG CONTEST

Eurovision in Italy: Six things to expect from the 2022 contest

As Italy prepares to host the Grand Final of Eurovision 2022 this weekend, here's our quick guide to making sense of it all.

Eurovision in Italy: Six things to expect from the 2022 contest
Italy's Eurovision contenders Mahmood & BLANCO arrive for the opening ceremony on May 8th, 2022 at the Palalpitour in Turin. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

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.

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.

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’s Maneskin performs during the final of the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, at the Ahoy convention centre in Rotterdam, on May 22, 2021. (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)

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

If you’re in Italy, you can catch the spectacle on host broadcaster’s network Rai or get tickets at the PalaOlimpico venue in Turin, Piedmont.

For a full list of which channel to tune into for your country, or for online streaming, check here.

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CULTURE

Race wide open for Venice film festival prizes

The race was wide open ahead of awards night in Venice on Saturday, after a festival featuring a dark Marilyn Monroe biopic, an imprisoned Iranian director and a morbidly obese Brendan Fraser.

Race wide open for Venice film festival prizes

Critics have been deeply divided on many of the 23 films in competition at the 79th Venice Film Festival, but it has been a stellar year for individual actors. 

There was a huge standing ovation for Fraser, who made an unlikely comeback from the Hollywood wilderness as a 600-pound (272-kilogram) English professor in The Whale, sparking talk of Oscar nominations and a “Brendanaissance”.

Cate Blanchett is also an awards frontrunner for her performance as a classical music conductor in Tar, which takes a nuanced look at cancel culture.

And Hugh Jackman’s performance as a father dealing with a depressed teenager in The Son has been labelled the best of his career.

Hugh Jackman in Venice

Australian actor Hugh Jackman arrives on September 7, 2022 for the screening of The Son as part of the 79th Venice International Film Festival at Lido di Venezia in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

While some reviewers found the Monroe biopic Blonde too relentlessly grim, most were bowled over by the “ferociously emotional” performance from Cuban star Ana de Armas.

Sexual identity has been a recurring theme across the 11-day festival, with Trace Lysette becoming the first trans actress to star in a competition entry for Monica.

Last year’s best actress winner Penelope Cruz played the mother to a trans teen in L’Immensita, whose director Emanuele Crialese admitted for the first time at its press conference that he was born a woman.

Politics and protest

Picking the winners falls to a jury led by actor Julianne Moore, and also featuring Nobel-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro.

A last-minute favourite for the top prize Golden Lion is No Bears by Iran’s Jafar Panahi, who was imprisoned for “propaganda against the system” in July. That was the subject of a flash-mob protest Friday on the Venice red
carpet, led by Moore.

President of the Venezia 79 International Jury, US actress Julianne Moore (C) and other jury members hold on September 9, 2022 a poster showing Iranian director Jafar Panahi, calling for his release from prison. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

Another political film to win rave reviews was the documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, which follows artist Nan Goldin and her fight against the Sackler family, held responsible for the opioid drug crisis in the United States.

It is the latest from Laura Poitras, the journalist who first made contact with whistleblower Edward Snowden and won an Oscar for the resulting film, Citizenfour.

There has also been a lot of love in Venice for The Banshees of Inisherin, a pitch-black Irish comedy-drama tracing the falling out of two friends played by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.

Argentina 1985, the true story of the lawyers who took on the country’s military junta, was also widely praised.

Venice is seen as a launchpad for Academy Award campaigns, eight of the last 10 Best Director Oscars having gone to films that premiered at the festival.

Netflix had been hoping for a big year, but Blonde tested the patience of many critics, as did Mexico’s two-time Oscar winner Alejandro Gonzalez Inarrituto, with his fantastical semi-autobiography Bardo.

The streamer is also behind White Noise, a sharp satire of US consumerism and academia starring Adam Driver — but that, too, got a mixed reception from reviewers.

READ ALSO: Ten of the best TV shows and films to help you learn Italian

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