ESCountdown 2019: #9 – “Soldi” by Mahmood, Italy

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! Welcome to my ESCountdown 2019, presented by eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica! Between April 7 and May 12, I will countdown my picks of the entries in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019! There are 41 countries participating this year, and we’ll bring you each and every entry from them all!

At this point in time we are ONE WEEK away from the Grand Final for 2018, and only four days from the first semi final. Today and tomorrow, I will bring you my top ten picks. As always, I know the ESC fandom community is a rabid one, and fans are all over the road, so as always with my personal picks, your mileage may vary…:-)

In at #9 on my countdown this year is the official entry from Italy, “Soldi” by Mahmood, written by Charlie Charles, Dario “Dardust” Faini, and Alessandro Mahmoud. The song is performed in Italian with two lines of Arabic, and as Italy is one of the “Big Five”, it has an automatic “bye” to the Grand Final on May 18th.

Alessandro Mahmood first tasted stardom as a contest on the sixth season of Italy’s “X Factor” franchise, and although he was eliminated fairly early, it was enough to convince him to continue with his music career. His first single came out in 2013 and he’s been growing in popularity ever since.

Ok…obviously I love this song, but I know it’s not going to be nearly high enough for most of the sometimes-rabid ESC fan community or for the bookies throughout Europe, who have pegged this hard-driving, bitter ‘daddy issues’ song from a very personal point of view (English translation is “Money“) as the champion this year. I disagree; let me explain why – it has to do with the odds. Since this decade began, not one of the “Big Five” – France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and the UK – have managed a championship, and in fact, only on rare occasions have any of them made the top ten. The last championship for one of them was at the end of the last decade, when Germany’s Lena took home the grand prize in 2010 for “Satellite“. Italy DOES has the best track record of the five this decade, placing in the top ten a whopping SIX times, including a runner up in 2011’s “Follia d’amore” by Raphael Guilazzi, and a 3rd place finish in 2015 with “Grande amor” by Il Volo.  But they’ve also MISSED the top ten completely a couple of times this decade as well.  Their fandom is always rabid, both from within Italy itself as well as the rest of the ESC fan community throughout the continent. But it hasn’t been enough to push Italy to the top – and again going with the odds, and from various charts I’ve been able to look over, only TWICE this decade has the TRUE top fan favorite going into the finals – which I define as a song that has been steady in popularity throughout Eurovision season and doesn’t suddenly get a huge artificial push from almost out of nowhere from the fandom at the last minute for one reason or another –  topped the contest – in 2012,  Sweden’s “Euphoria” by Loreen, and 2018, Israel’s “Toy” by Netta. The rest of the decade, the song that topped fans’ true favorites lists have been relegated to 2nd or 3rd place, with other songs making huge moves with the judges (and in some cases, the above mentioned fan-led surge) most years to push the fan choices down a bit. And I think the same may be destined to happen to “Soldi” as well.  Sorry folks. I won’t be disappointed if I’m wrong – it’s a great song, and although there are a couple of songs I really want to win more than this one, it’s definitely a worthy would-be champion…fingers crossed…

Italy was a EuroVision founder from the first contest in 1956, but they have withdrawn from time to time over the years, and have participated 44 times. They left the contest for a long stretch from 1998 to 2010. They have won the contest twice, with “Non ho l’eta” by Gigliola Cinquetti in 1964 and with “Insieme: 1992” by Toto Cutugno in 1990. Three of their non-winners have also gone on to become EuroVision classics over the years: “Nel blu dipinto id blu (Volare)” by Dominco Modugno, 1958, third place (and also likely the most covered EuroVision song in history, with dozens of versions in dozens of languages); “Madness Of Love” by Raphael Gulazzi, 2011, runner-up; and most recently  “Occidentali’s Karma” by Francesco Gabbini, 2017, sixth place.

Check out the utterly intense video for this song…

Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica each day through this year’s finals on May 18 – be sure to check each site, because some of the features will be exclusive to just one of the sites! My daily song countdown will appear on all three sites, with some additional material coming to both Planet BM and TKR in the days and weeks’  ahead. I missed a few days due to personal issues, so I’m playing catch-up now, and will have two or three entries per day with my #1 pick being revealed on Sunday May 12.

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Catch all the official EuroVision action at their official Website and on their official YouTube channel! And hopefully, we’ll get to see the finals again this year somewhere – American fans, with Logo dropping coverage this year, let’s let AXS know we want to see it become the American home of EuroVision!