Italy conquered the 6th place with the song ‘Occidentali’s Karma’ at Eurovision 2017, obtaining a total of 334 points. What happened to this song by Francesco Gabbani, that was predicted as the winner for so long and, at the end, only got the 6th place? We will find out what the fans think about it.
At first, the strident and fun rhythm of this catchy song won over many fans. When they heard the subliminal message it contained about the society’s hypocrisy, this performance got even more supporters. It was the perfect combination: It got rhythm, a desire to dance and an important message, all in one song. Many believe that, despite being talented and charismatic, Francesco Gabbani lost strength in the live performance. Others think that the gorilla dancer that accompanied the singer was totally expendable.
At the Eurovision Song Contest, this problem happens a lot: A song is very strong before the live performance (when seen through videos and on other platforms) and then, it loses some power over time. The early favouritism may have hindered the performance, not least, because the competition was strong in that year and many competitors brought all the “weapons” to the live performance. Still, despite the flopped result, the song is still remembered four years later.
Occidentali’s Karma – opinions from fans
In order to find out what Eurovision fans today think of this Italian entry from 2017, we asked our Eurovision Fan Panel. It includes team members as well as fans from all over the world.
🇬🇧 🇹🇭 John E. – Yay… I just loved this song but felt it was lost on the massive Eurovision stage…the staging worked much better at San Remo. A fun song to dance to, but it also carries a strong message. I love the singers raspy voice and the humour brought by the fake gorilla. A truly memorable Italian entrant.
🇪🇸 Mária P. – In my opinion it’s a great and charismatic song. It wasn’t my favourite but my 6th, the same place as it eventually got in the contest. Despite the coincidence I was surprised that it came 6th instead of becoming the winner or at least the 2nd, as it was by far the favourite to win according to the polls and odds. I can understand that many people (including myself) got to like Portugal more and more during the Eurovision week, and it finally overtook Italy and won, but… Italy sixth? I know that the staging wasn’t so good as expected, but even, so I am still surprised that it didn’t place 2nd.
🇩🇰 Charlotte J. – This was my favourite in 2017. I love it. It’s extremely catchy, Italian is my favourite language and Francesco is really charming – and I love his voice! Unfortunately, Francesco got more and more tired during that Eurovision. I was there with press accreditation, and sadly witnessed how his first rehearsal was amazing, the second one, a bit less, the third one (first dress rehearsal) even less… And by the time we reached the final, it was obvious that Italy wasn’t going to win. Portugal however just got better and better for each rehearsal. Eurovision is a two-week-long game with lots of activities going on, and sadly, I think it got too much for Francesco, he was too tired at the end – or he was tired of singing the same song over and over again. What a shame. But four years later, I still love it.
🇳🇴 Steinar M. – The ultimate feel good song. Classical, perfect, super catchy pop.It was the biggest winning favourite ever, yet it failed to win. Maybe the monkey on stage was a bad idea, made it look unserious. Even if it, of course, had to do with the lyrics. Good philosophical lyrics too. Just a great song! But Portugal deserved to win.
🇲🇹 Christopher D. – Francesco Gabbani is an amazing artist. I was already a fan of his songs prior to Occidentali’s Karma, but when I heard his Eurovision entry I immediately knew I had my favourite song for 2017. His performance was simple but eye catching and his smile and stage presence makes one enjoy each second of the performance. Still disappointed that it was not the winner that year, more so when that year the most boring song of all entries took home the trophy.
🇩🇪 Pascal W. – Italy served quality in 2017 – as always. The song and especially the performance were very memorable – no wonder this was one of the fan favourites. Yet I was surprised it only ended up 6th in the final.
🇬🇧 Michael O. – All the fun from the San Remo final was removed by the time this was performed in Kyiv. Anyone who’d read the hype beforehand and then seeing this for the first time must have wondered why it was a favourite. Verging on a joke entry by the Eurovision final, this place, aced about as good as it deserved.
🇵🇹 Inês N. – In 2017, this was one of my favourite performances, I remember listening to it nonstop. It stayed in my head easily. I was disappointed with the result, I thought it would end up at least in second place. Still, it’s a song that I still hear today.
🇨🇴 🇫🇮 Alvaro S. – I agree with the people that say that the San Remo performance of this song had a better impact than the Eurovision version. Francesco got the result it deserved. Unfortunately for him Italy could not translate the atmosphere this song gave to the scenario in Kyiv. Also being an early favourite did not help him.
🇩🇰 Tina M. – Another masterpiece from Italy. The song gets me in a really good mood and makes me want to sing along. The song is sung by the charismatic charmer Francesco, who just gives the song that little bit extra. I love the song and will give it 9.5 / 10.
🇨🇿 Josef S. – I was an absolute fan of Francesco Gabbani and his Occidentali’s Karma from the beginning. The song is catchy and a lot of fun, especially with the dance and a dancing monkey. I remember someone said the staging ruined the song, but I love how colourful and happy it is. Just as the whole song.
Enjoy Francesco Gabbani’s performance from the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in the embedded video. Below the video, you can read more about him.
Francesco Gabbani – a mini biography
Francesco Gabbani was born in Carrara, Italy, on 9th of September 1982. Born into a family that owns a musical instrument store, from an early age he was able to get close to the music world. His first approach was to the drums, but he soon realised that he needed to learn how to play a harmonic instrument that allows him to compose songs, such as the guitar – He studied this instrument for a few years between childhood and adolescence. He also plays piano and bass.
He entered the music scene at the age of eighteen, when he signed his first record contract. With the Trikobalto trio, he recorded an album whose two singles gave the group the chance to appear on television and participate in several Italian music festivals. The group released their last album in 2010, when Gabbani left and signed a new contract to release his own material as a solo singer.
In 2011, the singer released four singles: Italia 21, Un Anno In Più, Estate and Maledetto Amore. His first album, Gretist Iz, was released in 2014, being promoted by the song I Dischi Non Si Suonano. In 2015, the singer signed a new contract, this time exclusively with the BMG Rights Management seal, a seal of the German Bertelsmann Music Group specialising in copyright. There, the singer is also registered as an author.
Francesco was responsible for the soundtrack for the film Poveri Ma Ricchi, released in theatres on the 15th of December 2016, anticipated by the release of a song extracted from the feature, Foglie Al Ice, on December 9. During the year he still wrote two songs for other singers: L’amore Sa for Francesco Renga and Il Bambino Col Fucile for Adriano Celentano. He represented Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest 2017, where he reached the 6th place.