RAI’s Tough Choice: Picking the hosts for Turin 2022
Aside from picking a host city and venue, perhaps the greatest task a host broadcaster has before Eurovision is choosing the hosts. Great presenters can make or break a Eurovision Song Contest. Can you remember who hosted back in 2012? Didn’t think so!
Arguably the best presenter of Eurovision in the 2010s was Sweden’s Petra Mede, who first hosted the Contest in Malmö in 2013. SVT put a lot of faith in her, the Contest hasn’t been presented with just one host since Mary Kennedy did the same in 1995. Clad in Jean-Paul Gaultier, Petra shone bright, made us laugh, and kept the shows light and entertaining – what a good host should.
In 2015 when the BBC hosted Eurovision Song Contest’s Greatest Hits, a 60th anniversary concert from London, Petra was the obvious choice to co-host with Graham Norton. When Måns Zelmerlöw won the Contest for Sweden two months later, there was little doubt that Petra would be back on stage for the 2016 Contest. So, can RAI find a ‘Petra’ to host in Turin?
The front-runner to host this year has to be Alessandro Cattelan. The 41-year-old has plenty of hosting experience which includes MTV Italia’s version of Total Request Live, X Factor Italy, a comedy show called Le Iene, and his own late-night comedy show E poi c’è Cattelan from 2014 to 2020. Cattelan is a funny, handsome, experienced host who took a job at RAI in early 2021. The timing for Alessandro couldn’t be better. It would likely be a mistake for RAI not to engage him in this endeavour. He even wants the job! In June 2021, he responded to calls for him to host the 2022 Contest in the newspaper La Repubblica:
That was an honour. It also made me say that I’ve worked well with Måneskin.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle RAI will have in their search for a host, is finding someone who can speak fluent English. As much as I love Italy and Italians, as a group, they are not known for being great English speakers! As for Alessandro’s English, it’s quite good. I would give him a B+. He speaks English with ease and has a great vocabulary, however when he speaks it is immediately evident that he is a native Italian speaker. Here is an exchange in English with Robbie Williams from his late-night show from 2017.
Another name that hasn’t gone away from the hosting speculation is international superstar Laura Pausini. The multi award-winning singer will turn 48 just after the Contest ends in Turin, so what a birthday party that would be! While known mainly for her singing career, Laura debuted as a variety show presenter in 2016, hosting the television show Laura & Paola, with actress Paola Cortellesi on RAI1. In 2018, she co-hosted the Lo Nuestro Awards Gala, a Spanish-language awards show that honours Latin music. Laura is definitely up for the challenge of hosting Eurovision.
A new name that keeps popping up in the Italian rumour mill is Matilda De Angelis. The talented 26-year-old award-winning actress is known across Italy and internationally, having starred in many TV series and films. In fact, Matilda will star alongside Liev Schreiber in the upcoming cinematic adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s novel Across the River and into the Trees. However, aside from co-hosting the first evening of the Sanremo Festival 2021 alongside Amadeus, she has very little experience as a presenter. Luckily, Matilda isn’t shy in front of a camera, and she speaks English marvellously! Here she is giving in an interview in 2018:
34-year-old superstar influencer Chiara Ferragni can’t be counted out as a possible host either. She is very famous in Italy from her blog The Blonde Salad, and as a model, designer, and businesswoman (Harvard Business School even created a course on her business model!). She’s also the wife of Sanremo alumni Fedez and is no stranger to the music scene. The couple split their time between Milan and Los Angeles, and Chiara speaks English with ease, with a slight Italian accent. I think she would be a great choice to host the Green Room and as an ‘Online Host’, similar to Nikkie de Jager’s role in the 2021 Contest. Her presence in Eurovision would most certainly attract a larger TV audience as her fans from around the world will tune in to watch her. Here is Chiara giving a fashion interview in 2020:
Lastly, we can’t count Milly Carlucci out as a possible host. Affectionately nicknamed the Italian Petra Mede by Italian Eurofans, Milly speaks an almost native level of English and can also wow the TV audience in French, Spanish, and German, in addition to her native Italian, of course. The 67-year-old also has many years of experience in television and hosting variety and game shows going back to 1976. Since 2005, she has been hosting Ballando con le Stelle, Italy’s version of Dancing with the Stars/Strictly Come Dancing. Here she is interviewing Brad Pitt in English on her show in 1997!:
What we do know, is that the names of the hosts will be revealed after the conclusion of the Sanremo Festival. Although how nice would it be if they were revealed during the final evening of Sanremo on 5th February? However, there is nothing obliging RAI to let the cat out of the bag by a fixed date. Like the reveal of the host city, RAI is leaving this announcement a bit late again. (For some context, the Rotterdam 2020 hosts were presented on 4th December, the Tel Aviv 2019 hosts became known on 25th January, and the Stockholm 2016 hosts were unveiled on 14th December.)
So, will RAI find a Petra? That’s a very high standard to meet, so perhaps not. But RAI certainly has options to make this a wonderful and memorable Contest for all the right reasons!
Who do you think will get the coveted hosting roles? Let us know in the comments or on our socials!