As favourite Sweden takes the headlines while other Eurovision fans obsess over Russia, Belgium and wild card Australia, Italy's representative in Vienna may slipped under the radar.
That's probably because Italy are one of the Eurovision "Big Five", meaning they automatically qualify for the final. Thus, while many viewers have been able to see the likes of Sweden and Russia perform before the big night, Italy's Il Volo remain somewhat of an enigma.
Yet for some lovers of "popera", that's pop music sung in an operatic style, the Il Volo male trio are well known, having been nominated for two Latin American Grammys and even performed on American Idol. Furthermore, the Italians have toured with Barbra Streisand, a little fact that might mean a lot among the large LGBT Eurovision fan base.
The Italian popera group have remained the second-favourite act to win the competition in Vienna for a number of weeks, fending off the challenges of Australia, Russia and newcomer Belgium in the betting odds. However, Sweden's Mans Zelmerlow is still odds on to triumph.
Daniel Gould, Eurovision expert at sofabet.com, said that the band is very popular in Italy and USA and that they are clearly a world-class act. He put it simply: "They are three good-looking young men singing a good 'popera' song."
However, as a caveat, he adds that because "popera" has never really been tested at Eurovision before (although bearded ladies and Ukrainian drag has), that may be why Sweden remains the favourite.
"Both the Swedish and the Australian songs would not sound out of place in the British top ten. They are the strongest box-ticking entries. The Italian one is interesting because it is a different genre, I can’t find so many equivalents that have done well before. That uncertainty leaves me sceptical. But I would not rule them out."
Most controversial Eurovision moments
Most controversial Eurovision moments
1/8 Conchita Wurst, Austria (2014)
Russia’s anti-gay president Vladmir Putin branded Eurovision a ‘Europe-wide gay parade’ and shortly afterwards, Austrian drag singer Tom Neuworth more than got his own back. Neuworth’s bearded lady alter-ego Conchita Wurst triumphed with the Bond-style “Rise Like a Phoenix”, shooting down homophobes who had sent her abuse in the run-up to the contest.
2/8 Donatan and Cleo, Poland (2014)
When Poland returned to Eurovision after a two-year absence, few suspected that girls dressed as milkmaids could be quite so raunchy. Controversially, the UK public voted this their favourite, while the national jury placed it last. Soprano Laura Wright called it “soft porn” and “two boobs too far”.
3/8 Ping Pong, Israel (2000)
Israel and Syria were officially at war during this contest and just to make matters worse, Ping Pong decided to wave Syrian flags during rehearsals in a bid for peace. Unsurprisingly, Israeli politicians demanded they be banned for not representing national values and when they weren’t, they left them to cover all their own expenses. The flags made a comeback in the final but they only received seven points.
4/8 Stephane and 3G, Georgia (2009)
“We Don’t Wanna Put In” was understandably read as a massive dig at Putin, just one year after Georgia’s war with Russia. The European Broadcast Union deemed it “too political” for Eurovision and Georgia was asked to either change the lyrics or submit a different song. They refused and withdrew from the competition.
5/8 Paul Oscar, Iceland (1997)
This gay pop singer sparked outrage when he performed “My Final Dance” backed by four latex-clad women provocatively frolicking on a white leather sofa. To this day it remains one of the most eyebrow-raising and overtly sexual Eurovision moments ever.
6/8 Dana International, Israel (1998)
Conchita’s been there, done that since, but Dana International was the first transgender person to represent their country at Eurovision back in the late Nineties. She caused uproar in Israel, with ultra-Orthodox Jews protesting in the streets and some even sending death threats. Naturally, she won with a feather-laden diva-like performance to show the haters who’s the boss.
7/8 Teapacks, Israel (2007)
Yet another Israeli controversy came with Teapacks’ song “Push the Button”, which included lyrics about “crazy rulers” and a “world full of terror”. Some speculated that the track reflected Israeli anxiety about a nuclear war with Iran, but it was given the go ahead by Eurovision bosses.
8/8 Jean-Claude Pascal, Luxembourg (1961)
Luxembourg’s entry “Maybe It Isn’t America (Because America Isn’t the Be-All)” was sung in French and widely seen as anti-American, just as Ronald Reagan took up his presidency. It didn’t do too well, finishing in 11th.
Il Volo may be able to win the UK vote at least, given that "popera" has its success stories. G4 finished second in The X Factor in 2004 and went onto have a decent stint in the charts. In 2014, English boy band Collabro, another Il Volo-sounding group, won the eighth series of Britain's Got Talent , with their debut album reaching number one in the UK.
So, don't count Italy out. The bookies currently have them at 4/1 to win.
Eurovision Song Contest 2015, Saturday 8pm - 11:35pm, BBC One.Reuse content