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Italy love to bring rap to Eurovision - and it seems to serve them very well indeed. The Italian language creates so much more of a seamless flow for rap than any other. Italy showed this in 2018 and now once again in 2019 with Mahmood singing "Soldi". As with last year, the song comes with a strong message and I recommend checking out our Lyrics page to get the English translation. Anyway, how will this song fare at Eurovision?
Admittedly, I didn't really get this song on the first listen but found the "Soldi" and "come va" sections stuck in my head as soon as it finished - I went in for another listen, my enjoyment increasing each time from there. This is a bold and risky choice for Eurovision - it certainly stands out among other entries in just about every way. Released as a song I think this could be a hit in the charts anywhere, the transition from spoken rap to a solid, hypnotic beat in the "Soldi" sections gives it a great contemporary feel (reminds me of the beat in Sweden's "Dance You Off").
My concern is that although it sounds great in the studio version, at Eurovision it'll be one man alone on a big stage babbling away in Italian which most of the audience won't understand - can "Soldi" make enough of an impact to form a lasting impression on the viewing public?
It's rap so we can't expect much from the melody, Mahmood is going to have to sell this himself so up-close camera angles showing his facial expressions are a must. Although this is definitely one of my favourite tracks this year, I'm not sure I agree with the betting market's assessment that places "Soldi" as 3rd favourite to win the entire competition. Juries should latch onto this and reward it adequately, but the televote is the real conundrum for me, "Soldi" even underperformed in that respect at Italy's National Final. Italy closed Eurovision last year in the pimp slot so it's unlikely they'll get that advantage for the second year running, but the ideal situation would be for the Eurovision audience to sit through 2 hours of ballads from other entrants and then for Mahmood to come on stage bringing a track that is both unique and credible.
Italy don't need to worry about semi-finals as they're a member of the 'Big 5'. In terms of a Top Big 5 market, Italy and Spain are in my opinion, the only two countries in contention. Italy have a good record with this kind of track but Spain's "La Venda" is more accessible - even so, I'd still make the call that Italy come out on top. Can Italy win though? I just don't see it, I think 3rd favourite is a little ambitious too, if the cards fall the right way on the running order draw, the staging is done right and the vocals are on point, we might possibly see a top 5 finish for Italy.
Let us know what you think in the comments below.