Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest 2017
|Eurovision Song Contest 2017|
|Selection process||Sanremo 2017|
|Selection date(s)||11 February 2017|
|Selected entrant||Francesco Gabbani|
|Selected song||« Occidentali’s Karma«|
|Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest|
Italy will participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 with the song « Occidentali’s Karma« , written by Francesco Gabbani, Filippo Gabbani, Luca Chiaravalli and Fabio Ilacqua. The song will be performed by Francesco Gabbani. Italian broadcaster Radiotelevisione italiana (RAI) announced in October 2016 that the winning performer(s) of the Big Artists section of the Sanremo Music Festival 2017 would earn the right to represent the nation at the Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev, Ukraine. The selected performer would also be given the right to choose their own song to compete with at Eurovision. In February 2017, Francesco Gabbani emerged as the winner of Sanremo with the song « Occidentali’s Karma ». The artist accepted the invitation to represent Italy at Eurovision and decided that « Occidentali’s Karma » would be his contest entry.
Prior to the 2017 Contest, Italy had participated in the Eurovision Song Contest forty-two times since its first entry during the inaugural contest in 1956. Since then, Italy has won the contest on two occasions: in 1964 with the song « Non ho l’età » performed by Gigliola Cinquetti and in 1990 with the song « Insieme: 1992 » performed by Toto Cutugno. Italy has withdrawn from the Eurovision Song Contest a number of times with their most recent absence spanning from 1998 until 2010. Their return in 2011 with the song « Madness of Love« , performed by Raphael Gualazzi, placed second—their highest result, to this point, since their victory in 1990. In 2016, Francesca Michielin represented the nation with the song « No Degree of Separation« , placing sixteenth with 124 points.
The Italian national broadcaster, Radiotelevisione italiana (RAI), broadcasts the event within Italy and organises the selection process for the nation’s entry. RAI confirmed Italy’s participation in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest on 16 September 2016. Between 2011 and 2013, the broadcaster used the Sanremo Music Festival as an artist selection pool where a special committee would select one of the competing artist, independent of the results in the competition, as the Eurovision entrant. The selected entrant was then responsible for selecting the song they would compete with. For 2014, RAI forewent using the Sanremo Music Festival artist lineup and internally selected their entry. Since 2015, the winning artist of the Sanremo Music Festival is rewarded with the opportunity to represent Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest, although in 2016 the winner declined and the broadcaster appointed the runner-up as the Italian entrant.
On 20 October 2016, Italian broadcaster RAI confirmed that the performer that would represent Italy at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest would be selected from the competing artists at the Sanremo Music Festival 2017. According to the rules of Sanremo 2017, the winner of the Campioni or Big Artists category earns the right to represent Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest, but in case the artist is not available or refuses the offer, the organisers of the event reserve the right to choose another participant via their own criteria. The competition took place between 7–11 February 2017 with the winner being selected on the last day of the festival.
Twenty-two artists competed in the Big Artists category of Sanremo 2017. Among the competing artists was former Eurovision Song Contest entrant Al Bano who, in duets with Romina Power, represented Italy in the 1976 Contest and in the 1985 Contest. The performers in the « Big Artists » category were:
- Al Bano
- Paola Turci
- Samuel Umberto Romano
- Fiorella Mannoia
- Nesli feat. Alice Paba
- Michele Bravi
- Fabrizio Moro
- Giusy Ferreri
- Gigi D’Alessio
- Raige feat. Giulia Luzi
- Ermal Meta
- Michele Zarrillo
- Lodovica Comello
- Sergio Sylvestre
- Alessio Bernabei
- Francesco Gabbani
- Bianca Atzei
- Marco Masini
On 11 February 2017, Francesco Gabbani was declared the winner of the « Big Artist » category with his entry « Occidentali’s Karma« . During the press conference that followed the final, it was announced that he had accepted to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest. On the same night, RAI confirmed via Twitter Gabbani’s Sanremo entry « Occidentali’s Karma » would be the Italian entry at Eurovision.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2017 will take place at the International Exhibition Centre in Kiev, Ukraine and will consist of two semi-finals on 9 and 11 May and the final on 13 May 2017. According to Eurovision rules, all nations with the exceptions of the host country and the « Big 5 » (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) are required to qualify from one of two semi-finals in order to compete for the final; the top ten countries from each semi-final progress to the final. As a member of the « Big 5 », Italy automatically qualifies to compete in the final. In addition to their participation in the final, Italy is also required to broadcast and vote in one of the two semi-finals.
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