Why Berlusconi likes the sound of one-hit crooner

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The Independent Online

An Italian singer who claims close friendship with Silvio Berlusconi has taken control of an Italian song festival which the Prime Minister was said to have vowed to get rid of last year.

Tony Renis is the new artistic director of the San Remo Festival of Italian Song, which will be shown on state television every evening this week.

In 1962, Renis had a hit with a song called "Quando Quando Quando" ("When When When"). It was his only success.

It is reported that Renis is a friend of Mr Berlusconi, who used to be a singeron cruise ships, and that the two like to relax at the Prime Minister's villa in Sardinia, Renis playing piano and guitar while Mr Berlusconi sings along.

In an interview with The New York Times , Renis denied that his friendship with Mr Berlusconi played any part in his selection as artistic director.

Last year, Mr Berlusconi is said to have ordered the three commercial channels he owns to schedule entertainment programmes in direct competition with the state-televised song festival, causing its usually high ratings to slump.