Italy and The "Big Five"
Since 2000, four particular countries, namely the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain, have automatically qualified for the final of the Contest regardless of their positions on the scoreboard in previous Contests. They earned this status by being the four biggest financial contributors to the EBU (without which the production of the Eurovision Song Contest would not be possible). Due to their untouchable status in the Contest, these countries became known as the "Big Four". Executive Supervisor of the Contest Svante Stockselius told reporters in a meeting with OGAE Serbia, that if Italy were to return to the contest in the future the country would also qualify automatically for the finals, becoming part of a "Big Five". However, with the official announcement of the return of Italy, it was not confirmed if the country would compete in one of the two semi-finals or if it would be a part of "Big Five", as RAI, third contributor of EBU, has not made any application to be a member of "Big Five". On December 31, Italy was officially announced as a participant of the Eurovision Song Contest 2011, and it was confirmed that the country would indeed automatically qualify for the final of the Contest in Germany as part of the "Big Five".
Read more about this topic: Italy In The Eurovision Song Contest