Italy at Eurovision 2013 – Marco Mengoni’s charm offensive

Eurovision 2013 has just finished in the Swedish city of Malmo, making Denmark next year’s host of Europe’s largest musical event. After thirteen years of absence, Italy rejoined European Broadcasting Union’s EuroV family in 2011.   This year, Marco Mengoni who recently won Italy’s prestigious Sanremo musical festival, was chosen to represent Italy. His official Eurovision 2013 profile is available here with the ballad L’essenziale. But what is less known is Marco’s charm offensive behind the scenes at the Eurovision Song Contest 2013. 

When asked what their highlight of the Eurovision 2013 was, Serbian newly formed band for EuroV, ‘Moje 3‘, said unequivocally: ‘Marco Mengoni!’. Although they did not win an entry ticket to the finals, all three singers said that Marco’s charm was difficult to resist, since 25-year old Mengoni was the ultimate inspiration for many up-and-coming artists on the European musical scene. This may stand in contrast to the images of EuroV at home in Italy, where San Remo continues to dominate national consciousness and Italy’s sense of musical identity. 

As Rome is also a city of expats, some of the best EuroV parties are organised by them. Italians are still warming up to the idea of EuroV family (despite their victories in 1964 and 1990), which many in Rome consider to be rather disturbing. Not many know that this classic Italian song, ‘Volare’, had won its first fame at Eurovision in 1958, launching Domenico Modugno’s career into the stars! In order to re-brand Italy at Eurovision, musical producers should not try to copy and paste from other competitions but also use charm offensive of Italy’s performers in the lead up to the world’s most global singing context and cultural conversation that transcends national boundaries and calls for peace, love and reconciliation as the 2013 winner from Denmark has demonstrated. A recipe for success in Italy’s quest for EuroV champ title should come from nonna’s kitchen: proven wisdom, with a grain of show business mentality could help in reinvigorating Italian as a language of choice at EuroV events that could also translate into Italian as an elective in Eurasian schools. Mengoni’s charm offensive should be used at next year’s EuroV preparations and to engage Italy’s public diplomacy and tourism machinery in order to bring back shine that Italy deserves at the most popular, dynamic and political song contest which our generations have ever seen. And to bring more flocks of Australians to Rome, as Aussies have become the most devoted fans of Eurovision in the world!