Switzerland competed in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 with the song « Era stupendo » by Paolo Meneguzzi. Meneguzzi was chosen by the Swiss national broadcaster, SRG SSR idée suisse, to sing for Switzerland in Belgrade, Serbia. For 2008, SRG SSR idée suisse had continued to internally select the song and singer to represent Switzerland at the 2008 contest, with an open call for songs being held by the broadcaster.
Many artists announced their intention to submit songs to the Swiss broadcaster in the hope of representing Switzerland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008. Paolo Meneguzzi was selected by the broadcaster to perform for Switzerland with his Italian ballad « Era stupendo » (« It was wonderful »).
Meneguzzi performed his song in the second semi-final of the contest, held on 22 May 2008. Despite Meneguzzi being one of the favourites to win the contest by fans, he could only manage to place 13th in a field of 19 countries competing, failing to qualify for the final.
SRG SSR idée suisse started its selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in July 2007, with an open call for songs and artists for the selection being open for artists of all nationalities. All entries had to include a previously released CD with its chart position as well as a list of TV and live stage performances to show the artist’s experience in music. Documents confirming the artist’s nationality and age were also required as well as confirmation by the artist that they would be present in Belgrade during Eurovision week. The deadline for the submission of all materials for entries was set for 22 October.
The 2008 entry for Switzerland was selected through Schweizer Fernsehen (SF), Télévision Suisse Romande (TSR) and Radiotelevisione Svizzera di lingua Italiana (RTSI), the German, French and Italian language branches of SRG SSR idée suisse, as well as Swiss music channel VIVA and German radio channel DRS, a part of SF. SF soon revealed that it was most likely that a Swiss artist would be selected to represent Switzerland in the contest. Many Swiss artists revealed that they had entered songs to SR in the hope of representing the country in the contest. Names such as comedian Peach Weber, Jürgen Drews and rapper Gimma, known for performing solely in Swiss German, popped up in the Swiss media as being possible Swiss representatives in the contest.
Rumours later circulated in Swiss newspapers in November 2007 that the Italian-speaking Swiss singer Paolo Meneguzzi had been selected by the Swiss broadcaster to represent Switzerland in the contest. It was later confirmed by SRG SSR that Meneguzzi had been selected by the judging panel with his song « Era stupendo« , sung in the Italian. After the announcement that he had been selected, he stated that he was « very happy and honoured to represent [his] homeland at Eurovision 2008 ». « Era stupendo » was officially presented at the sixth annual Swiss Music Awards on 12 January 2008.
Shortly after « Era stupendo » was presented on 12 January there was speculation that the song was a plagiarism of a song by Swedish singer Amy Diamond, ironically competing in the Swedish national final for the 2008 contest Melodifestivalen. Accusations arose that the beginnings of both songs were too similar to be a coincidence, however the song was not disqualified by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the organiser of the contest.
Since Switzerland did not qualify for the final of the 2007 contest it was obliged to compete in one of the semi-finals of the 2008 contest in Belgrade. On 28 January 2008, the EBU held a special draw to determine which semi-final Switzerland would participate in. The 2008 contest featured a new system for semi-final allocation in order to reduce the problems of neighborly and diaspora voting that occurred in years past. Switzerland was placed in « Pot 6 » of 6 and that ultimately determined that it would be in the second semi-final, held on 22 May 2008.
The commentators at the event were Sven Epiney for SF, Sandy Altermatt for RTSI and Jean-Marc Richard and Nicolas Tanner for TSR. The spokesperson for Switzerland, announcing the results of the Swiss televote for the contest, was Cécile Bähler.
Before the contest, Meneguzzi was a favourite to qualify from the final, as well as to win the contest, evident by a poll conducted by Eurovision fan site « ESCToday.com ».
Meneguzzi sang in the second semi-final on 22 May 2008, performing 7th on the night. His performance included him wearing a black suit with a black shirt, and included two male and two female backing dancers and singers; the women dressed in black dresses with silver gloves, and the men in black shirts and black trousers. A pianist was also present on stage, dressed in a white shirt and black tie. The song began with Meneguzzi singing solo in the centre of the stage, with the back-up dancers surrounding the piano. As the song sped up, the dancers moved to behind Meneguzzi and began to sing. The performance included the use of pyrotechnics when the song sped up, as well as during the bridge. Despite being a fan favourite the song only managed to receive 47 points, placing 13th in a field of 19 and failing to qualify for the final.
Points Awarded by Switzerland
|12 points||10 points||8 points||7 points||6 points|
|5 points||4 points||3 points||2 points||1 point|
After failing to qualify for the final for a second year in a row, disappointment and cynicism arose in Switzerland and Swiss media began to question the point of Switzerland’s participation in the contest, with Swiss newspaper Blick saying « Paolo out – why should we bother any more? », with Swiss Eurovision fans reeling after Meneguzzi’s « premature » exit from the contest.
Despite failing to qualify for the final, « Era stupendo » peaked at number 11 in the Swiss charts. The compilation album for the contest, containing all the songs from the contest, also charted on the Swiss charts, peaking at number three.
After Eurovision, Meneguzzi announced that he would be releasing his latest Spanish language album, « Corro via », in the USA and South America. He also talked about Italy (where he is popular thanks to his participations at Sanremo) and the Eurovision Song Contest saying that « Eurovision doesn’t have to look for Italy, but Italy has to look for Eurovision! », that Italy would benefit from entering Eurovision. Italy withdrew from the Eurovision Song Contest after the 1997 contest.
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- Eurovision Song Contest 2008
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(Note : Entries scored out are when Switzerland did not compete)