The great news that Italy was back in the Eurovision Song Contest last year can be extended to 2012 too as the Italian broadcaster RAI has confirmed participation in Baku on the 26th of May.
Their top entertainment show "Festival di Sanremo" will be used again as means of a national selection. "Sanremo" has historically been linked to almost all of Italy's participations in the Eurovision Song Contest. This year will be no exception, and the artists taking part in the 2012 edition have already been announced.
- Arisa, Chiara Civello, Dolcenera, Emma, Eugenio Finardi, Francesco Renga, Gigi D’Alessio & Loredana Bertè, Irene Fornaciari, Marlene Kuntz, Matia Bazar, Nina Zilli, Noemi, Pierdavide Carone & Lucio Dalla and Samuele Bersani.
- Alessandro Casillo, Bidiel, Celeste Gaia, Dana Angi, Erica Mou, Giulia Anania, Io Ho Sempre Voglia and Marco Guazzone.
Last year's Italian entry was the winner of the "Giovani" (newcomers) category, Follia D'Amore by Raphael Gualazzi, which turned out to be a big success: It won the critics award, reached the second place in the Final in Düsseldorf in its bilingual version Madness Of Love, entered several European charts and became a part of the soundtrack of the film Manuale D'Amore 3 starring Robert De Niro, among other highlights.
Raphael's latest recognition came only days ago when he was voted "Eurostar 2011" in the poll organized by the fansite Oikotimes which attracted almost 20,000 unique votes. Previous holders of the Eurostar award include Eurovision winners Lordi and Dima Bilan.
Since the contest, Gualazzi has been busy touring Italy and other European countries and his album Reality And Fantasy achieved platinum status in Italy and was released in several foreign markets. A deluxe edition was released a couple of months ago with some new tracks like the one below, Zuccherino Dolce:
The final of the "Festival di Sanremo" takes place on the 18th of February and during it, the Italian entry for the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest will be announced.