Entertainment & Arts

Italy plans Eurovision Song Contest comeback

Italian Eurovision winner Toto Cotugno
Image caption Toto Cotugno, pictured earlier this year, won for Italy in 1990

Italy is poised to make a comeback to the Eurovision Song Contest after a break of 13 years, officials have said.

The country is expected to take to the stage in Dusseldorf, Germany, where the competition is due to be held next May.

Italy participated in the first contest in 1956 and has won twice in its history, most recently in 1990.

Financial reasons and a lack of Italian public interest in the annual event have often been cited for their decision to stay away since 1997.

Jorgen Franck, the acting director of Eurovision TV, said it was a "great compliment" that Italy has applied to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest again.

"We are eager to show the Italian people how the contest evolved over the past 13 years. I am sure they will be positively surprised!" he added.

Countries taking part in the 2011 contest have until the end of the year to confirm their participation, but a spokesman said there is "no reason to believe Italy will pull out".

There has been speculation that the winner of the fourth series of Italy's version of The X Factor, Nathalie Giannitrapani, could represent the country.

The show is made by broadcaster Rai, which is also responsible for Italy's Eurovision bid.

Luxembourg is another original participant who has been absent from the competition since 1993.

The country netted five wins in its history, with the most recent being in 1983.

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