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RAI President Marinella Soldi Talks Hosting Eurovision and Banning Russia (EXCLUSIVE)

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Nick Vivarelli International CorrespondentItalian state broadcaster RAI’s president Marinella Soldi, who is a former CEO of Discovery Networks Southern Europe, has a longstanding rapport with the Eurovision Song Contest.

It’s the show on which she remembers first seeing ABBA, one of her favorite pop bands, “with their white flares.” Soldi more recently was mesmerized by Måneskin and the swagger of the Italian glam-rock band, which by triumphing last year at Eurovision, against all odds, caused RAI to be host broadcaster of the 2022 edition of this massive event.

Måneskin will be performing during the grand finale on Saturday.In a rare interview, Soldi spoke to Variety about the politically heated lead-up to this year’s contest and the European Broadcasting Union’s decision to ban Russia from competing at Eurovision after the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

She also noted that, though the war is causing pain and suffering in Europe and throughout the world, Eurovision’s audience still has a “fundamental human right” to joy.

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