Italy - Yesterday at the press conference concerning the San Remo Festival and the Italian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, a sentence was uttered by Marco Simeon, the Head of international affairs at RAI, that has caused some discussions about how Italy will broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest 2011. ”Eurovision had been losing its interest over the years and therefore we did not follow it anymore. Now it has also become a competition between the TV stations and therefore the RAI is back. With one condition: to be able to adapt it to our needs and fit into our formula. We take the signal from Düsseldorf and adopt it to our own program from Casinó di Sanremo.”
Now what does “adapt to our needs” and “fit into our formula” mean? Some people suggest that Italy might just show the entries and parts of the voting. During the opening, the postcards between the entries and the interval act (and maybe even parts of the voting) RAI would cut back to a studio in Italy with several panelists discussing the show. In Italy talk shows are quite popular and RAI might see this as a way to get Italians interested into a contest they have nearly forgotten about. I think it is ok for the first year after their 14-year break, but then they should broadcast the entire show. The Italian public would not get the entire atmosphere of the contest. Imagine you watched the 2010 contest without the flashmob, the maps forming over the heads of the audience or the interview with Lena at the end. Would it still have been as great a contest as it was?
I would also criticize that the EBU seems to bend over when Italy has certain demands just to get them back. They already got the Big5 status for nothing…
Well we’ll see in May how serious Italy will take its participation and how the contest will be perceived in the country.