Eurovision: Mahmood & Blanco perform Brividi in rehearsal
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The Eurovision Song Contest is back on BBC One tonight, May 14, with Graham Norton leading the proceedings from the UK. The Big Five, including Italy, the UK, France, Germany and Spain, will all take to the stage for the first time. Eurovision expert Paul Jordan spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about how they could steal a second win.
Long-standing fans of Eurovision will know it is the winner of the previous contest who hosts the following competition.
As rock band Måneskin claimed victory last year, the 2022 contest has taken place in Turin, Italy.
The country could be on track for a double win as ‘Dr Eurovision’ has pointed out their entry’s “ongoing popularity” amongst other advantages.
This year’s act is Mahmood & Blanco with Brividi and it will be the second time Mahmood has taken to the Eurovision stage.
Expert Paul Jordan said: “One half of Italy’s team, Mahmood, represented them in 2019 and finished second.
“Since Italy returned to the contest in 2011, [having] previously left if a huff, they have been a class act, consistently entering quality songs and performers.
“Mahmood’s previous experience, his ongoing popularity as well as the undoubtedly massive support from the home crowd, means that Italy cannot be discounted to do the double.”
Despite Italy’s Eurovision hosts embracing the theme The Sound of Beauty, Paul said the competition has “never been all that popular in Italy”.
Interestingly, Eurovision was inspired by Italy’s own show called Sanremo.
The Sanremo Music Festival is the most popular Italian song contest in the country.
The event is the longest-running annual TV music competition in the world on a national level, having launched in 1951.
Since rejoining Eurovision in 2011, Italy has continued to deliver smash hits, finishing in the top 10 in eight of the last 10 contests up until 2021.
Paul added: “They have sent consistent quality over the years and are usually the favourites.
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“I didn’t think they would win last year but just shows, captivate that audience with something different and the votes will come in. No pressure UK.”
However, in the latest odds from Ladbrokes, UK entry Sam Ryder has leapfrogged Italy.
The UK’s odds of winning now stand at 6/1, behind Italy on 7/1.
Mahmood & Blanco are two of Italy’s most popular young artists, with Mahmood shooting to fame on The X Factor Italia.
Blanco’s 2021 single, Mi Fai Impazzire, spent eight weeks at the top of the Italian charts.
Italy has withdrawn from the contest a number of times over the years.
The first time was in 1981 when Rai Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI) stated interest in the competition was dwindling.
They returned in 1983 but withdrew again in 1986 when RAI decided not to enter.
There was a lack of interest in entering between 1994 and 1996, with the country returning in 1997.
However, they proceeded to withdraw again and did not return until 2011.
Paul added: “I don’t think fans were that fussed about it, there was lots of enthusiasm from other countries.”
Eurovision 2022 concludes with the grand final tonight on BBC One at 8pm.
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