You are currently viewing 🇮🇹What could’ve been: Fai Rumore
EBU / Giuseppe Gradella

On Thursday 21st April 2022, to the delight of Eurofans everywhere, it was announced that Diodato would perform his 2020 entry ‘Fai Rumore’ in the first semi-final of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in Turin. Why was this such a big deal? We’ll look back at the song and the significance it acquired during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sanremo 2020

From the 4th-8th February 2020, Italy’s annual Sanremo Music Festival took place. COVID-19, a respiratory illness that had originated in Wuhan, China, had first reached Italy on 30th January and was beginning to cause concern. However, this did not stop the contest from running as normal. After 4 days of competing, singer-songwriter Diodato was crowned the winner and his song ‘Fai Rumore’ reached number 1 in the Italian song charts in its second week of release. Confirmed as Italy’s 2020 Eurovision entry, fans of the contest were excited to see how it would fare in Rotterdam. However, in just two weeks, tragedy would strike in Italy.

Italian Lockdown and the Importance of ‘Fai Rumore’

Italy became the first European country to be impacted by COVID-19. As cases began to spread rapidly, lockdowns were introduced on 21st February 2020 in the provinces of Lodi and Padua. Residents were only allowed to leave their homes for food and medicine and trains and cars were prohibited from entering the areas.

On 8th March, quarantine measures were extended to cover most of Northern Italy, including Milan and Venice, and the next day these measures were implemented to cover the entire country. Although restaurants, cafes and non-essential retail remained open, these were ordered to close on 11th March and – just like in the provinces of Lodi and Padua – residents could now only leave their homes for food, medicine or emergencies. At this point, the country had 10,149 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 631 deaths.

Italy had implemented the most radical quarantine measures outside of China at this point. As a result, most Italians were limited to their homes and balconies and it is here that ‘Fai Rumore’ took on its significance. Initially a song where the singer begs their lost love to “make noise” because they cannot stand the “unnatural silence” their absence has left behind, the lyrics took on a whole new meaning during a pandemic where the streets were empty. Italians took to their balconies, blaring the song and singing lyrics which now reflected the situation they found themselves in:

Ma fai rumore, sì
che non lo posso sopportare
questo silenzio innaturale tra me e te

But you make noise, yes
and I can’t stand
this unnatural silence between you and me

The song was now much more than Italy’s 2020 Eurovision entry. As Italian Eurofan Francesco (@Flanas07 on Twitter) said this year: “‘Fai Rumore’ became much more than a song to us. When Italy became the 1st European country to be hit by Covid, all we Italians could do was sing on our balconies and that was the exact moment that turned ‘Fai Rumore’ into an anthem of hope.”

With the song taking on a new significance, many were intrigued to see if this would mean victory for Diodato in the Eurovision Song Contest in May. Sadly, they would never find out.

Eurovision Cancelled

On 18th March 2020, the EBU announced that Eurovision would be cancelled that year, stating that “With the escalating spread of COVID-19 throughout Europe – and the restrictions put in place by the governments of participating broadcasters and the Dutch authorities – it is impossible to continue with the live event as planned.” They also confirmed that the 2020 entries would not be eligible to compete in 2021, although participating countries could re-send their artists if they wished. In the absence of the competition, the EBU confirmed a new show would take place in lieu of the final on 16th May, ‘Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light’. This marks the only time Eurovision has had to cancel a contest.

At this point, while some non-essential stores had re-opened in Italy, mass gatherings were still prohibited meaning Diodato could still not perform ‘Fai Rumore’ to an audience. Therefore, he took to an empty Arena di Verona for an incredibly moving, poignant performance, giving the lyrics about “unnatural silence” even more depth. A clip of this was shown in ‘Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light’ while RAI 1 showed it to Italian audiences in its entirety.

Speaking to the press about his performance, Diodato said “To be able to sing ‘Fai Rumore’ by myself in the shrine, the temple such as the Verona Arena, the possibility of shedding light, of putting the spotlight on the importance of music, it’s a source of great pride.”

In 2021, many restrictions had eased across Europe and the EBU now had a contingency plan to enable Eurovision to go ahead even with COVID-19 being very much present. 26/41 of the participating countries chose to re-send their 2020 artists with a new song but Italy was not one of them. Sanremo is a huge event in Italy and would go ahead in 2021. While Diodato did perform as a special guest, it was of course Måneskin who took both the Sanremo and Eurovision trophies that year.

Diodato on the Eurovision Stage

When it was announced that Diodato would perform ‘Fai Rumore’ in the first semi-final at Turin, fans were ecstatic for several reasons. Firstly, given the significance the song took on after the pandemic, many believe Italy could have won Eurovision in 2020 had the contest been able to go forward in some capacity. Secondly, unlike many of the 2020 entrants who returned in 2021, Diodato never got a chance to perform on the Eurovision stage. Last but not least, he was performing in his home country, to Italians who took the song into their hearts at a time when they could do little else.

Taking all of this into consideration, it is unsurprising that Diodato’s performance was an emotional one. Initially playing a piano alone on stage in near darkness, he was then joined by dancers who gathered together in one swell, creating an image that was very different from the Verona performance but no less moving. Not only did we get to see a taste of what ‘Fai Rumore’ might have looked like at Eurovision but it also reminded us of just how far we have come in two years: while in 2020, Diodato had to perform completely alone, in 2022 he could bring people together, as all good music has the power to do. You can watch it again below:

How did you feel getting to see ‘Fai Rumore’ finally on a Eurovision stage? Let us know in the comments and follow us on Twitter, TikTok and Instagram.

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