Good news Eurovision fans: Italy is returning to the stage in 2011! - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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Good news Eurovision fans: Italy is returning to the stage in 2011!

Sunday, 5 December 2010
After an absence of 13 years, Italy looks set to make a comeback to the Eurovision Song Contest due to be held in Dusseldorf, Germany, next May.

Officials revealed over the weekend that the Italian broadcaster, RAI, has lodged an application to participate in next years’ contest and speculation is already rife that the latest winner of Italy’s version of the X Factor, Nathalie Giannitrapani, could be the one to take the stage for her country.

Italy was one of the first countries to participate in the annual contest which began back in 1956, and has twice won the top prize: in 1964 and 1990.

A “lack of Italian public interest” and “financial reasons” have often been cited for their decision to stay away since 1997, but one unconfirmed theory that circulates says the country’s act of protest began when in 1993 one of their most treasured singer-songwriters, Enrico Ruggeri, finished in a depressingly-low position – something we Brits know all too well... They subsequently accused broadcasters of “catering to the masses' lack of musical sophistication” and of “politicised voting” and have not entered since.

Countries taking part in the 2011 contest have until the end of the year to confirm their participation and can still withdraw without consequences until Christmas. The full list of competing countries will be announced shortly in January.

Luxembourg is another of the original participating countries and it too has been absent from the contest for more than 10 years (last time was 1993). Could Italy’s return prompt a Luxembourgian entry? If so, you can rest assured there will be no ‘douze-points’ awarded to it from France

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