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Italy 2013 : Sanremo Final 2013 – Through the Eyes of “Keith Mills”


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It’s been around for longer than the Eurovision Song Contest, it’s Italy’ biggest music festival and it has been attracting the interest of music fans from all over the World for over sixty years and tonight (February 16th) we have the final evening of the 63rd Sanremo music festival.  While Eurovision fans who like their frothy dance and pop music, tend to look to the Scandinavian national finals, those looking for something a little more traditional and wholesome tend to cast their gaze towards the small resort town on the Italian Riviera and for the third year in a row, Italy’s Eurovision entrant will be unveiled as part of the final evening or the five night festival.

Tonight fourteen songs will compete for the votes of the Italian public and a jury and in a separate selection; the artist that will represent Italy in Malmo will be announced, with the song being confirmed in March. 

This year’s festival has run over five evenings and ratings have been very high, with new presenter, the fantastically named Fabio Fazio and his zany sidekick, the comedienne Luciana Littizzetto taking to their task with the typical Italian mix of flair and enthusiasm.  Tonight’s four hour marathon, comes after each of the acts performed two potential songs, over the first two evenings, a second performance of their chosen song on Thursday and a night of performing Sanremo classics on Friday. All accompanied by a live orchestra, for those that appreciate live music.

Thursday evenings show, also gave us an indication of who’s in the shake-up to win this year’s festival, as a preliminary televote was conducted on that evening that will contribute 25% to the overall vote in the final. Here’s a quick look at the running order and artists and songs in tonight’s final, and their ranking after the Thursday night voting.


1 Raphel Gaulazzi – “Sai” (You Know) – 5th on Thursday 


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Raphael is obviously the most familiar name to Eurovision fans, having come second in 2011 contest in Dusseldorf, having won the “Newcomers” section in Sanremo. Once again he’s taken to the piano and performs his own song, which is a lot more intense and thoughtful than his Eurovision entry.

While not this year’s favourite for Malmo, a Eurovision return cannot be ruled out completely although a different song would be likely.  


2 Almamegretta – “Mamma Non Lo Sa” (Mamma Doesn’t Know” – 14th (last) on Thursday 

Hailing from Naples, and traditionally using a local dialect, this six piece group have been going for over a quarter of a century and reached their most popular peek in the early 1990s, during their “trip hop” period and working with Massive Attack. Their Sanremo 2013 song is strong on beats and rhythm, but somewhat lacking in melody and it’s hard to imagine them in Malmo.  


3 Daniele Silvestri – “A Bocca Chiusa” (A Closed Mouth) – 9th on Thursday

Back to the piano for another singer/songwriter and an emotional ballad, with Daniele employing the support of a sign language interpreter, who at times seems to be ad-libbing his own lyrics. This is the kind of song that tends to do quite well at Sanremo, without ever making a mark outside Italy, so an unlikely traveller to Malmo, although if Irish comedian Tommy Tiernan ever needs a body double, then Daniele is ideal. 


4 Modà – “Se Si Potesse Non Morire” (If You Couldn’t Die) – 2nd on Thursday


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One of Italy’s brightest emerging rock bands in the last decade, this Milan four piece were one of the pre-festival favourites, due to their high profile and large fan base. Their entry, written by the band has a very similar structure and chorus to last year’s Sanremo winner and is likely to make the Top 3 in the festival. A wider European audience would be a natural next step, but whether Modà see Eurovision as a stepping stone to that, remains unclear and if they do go to Malmo, it would be unlikely to be with his song. 


5 Simone Cristicchi – “La Prima Volta” (The First Time) – 11th on Thursday

This 36 year old Roman singer/songwriter already has a Sanremo victory under his belt with his haunting song “Ti Regalerò Una Rosa” (I’ll Give You A Rose) which won the festival in 2007. Simone, who sports a Leo Sayer style hairstyle, is somewhat reminiscent of another 1970s star, Gilbert O’Sullivan on his 2012 song, which is a little more upbeat that his 2007 winner. With another Sanremo victory almost out of the question, it’s also unlikely we will see Simone in Malmo   


6 Maria Nazionale – “È Colpa Mia” (It’s My Fault) – 7th on Thursday

Despite a long musical career, which is approaching its 30th year, few rated the chances of 44 year old Maria to do well at Sanremo as her Neapolitan style of music would be considered a little dated in modern Italy. Despite this, her stunning performance has seen her come through the field and attract a lot of attention from international Eurovision fans, but whether RAI see Maria as the right performer for Malmo, is quite unlikely.  


7 Annalisa Scarrone – “Scintille” (Sparks) – 3rd on Thursday

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Annalisa first came to the attention of the Italian public through a television talent show in 2011 and has since released two albums, including a platinum selling debut. Seen as one of the new breed to bring a younger audience to Sanremo, Annalisa’s song has something of a 1960s feel. Having finished in the Top 3 on the preliminary televote, she must be in with a shout at winning the festival and might just snatch a surprise ticket to Eurovision.


8 Max Gazzè – “Sotto Casa” (Downstarairs) 10th on Thursday

The Rome born singer, songwriter and musician looks something like a circus ringmaster as he performs his up-tempo quirky song which has shades of the famous Italian singer Jovanotti. Better known for his duets than his seven albums, Max is an outsider for victory in Sanremo and one of the most unlikely performers to be chosen for Eurovision. 


9 Chiara – “”Il Futuro Che Sarà” (The Future Will Be) -4th on Thursday

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 26 year old Chiara Galiazzo is known by her first name only in Italy, having come to fame winning the 6th series of Italy’s version of “The X Factor” in 2012 and scored an instant number one hit with her debut single. It was considered quite a coup for Sanremo to get such a fresh and current singer for this year’s festival and her entry could still be in the final shake-up and would be a ready-made Eurovision entry, if she’s selected for Malmo.


10 Mart Sui Tube “Vorrei” (I) – 13th on Thursday

Established in 2002 this five piece band has released six albums of folk/punk/rock fusion music in their career and were a little unusual in their selection for Sanremo.  Their song is a little unusual for the festival, although they certainly add variety to the line-up. This is a “love it or hate it” kind of entry and the poor placing on Thursday suggests a victory is even more unlikely than a selection for Malmo. 


11 Malika Ayane – “E Se Poi” (And If) 12th on Thursday

One of the star names on this year’s Sanremo list, Malika Ayane hails from Milan and has over the five years and three albums established herself as one of the most talented singers to emerge in Italy. Consequently many felt that the two songs she presented on Wednesday night were something of a let-down, and despite her terrific stage presence and strong vocal. It was a shock to see Malika down in 12th place on the Thursday ranking and with victory in the festival now unlikely, it would appear that the Eurovision ticket may have to wait for another year.


12  Elio e le Storie Tese – “La Canzone Mononota” (The Monotonous Song) 8th on Thursday

The closest that this year’s festival has to a novelty act, Elio e le Storie Tese have been going in various formations for over 30 years. It’s impossible to describe their rather eclectic repertoire and the Sanremo entry is unlike anything else in this year’s festival. If you can conceive an Italian version of Madness, you’re probably as close as you’ll get to a reference point. Many were surprised to see them in the bottom half on Thursday and it would be a shock of the highest magnitude to see them in Malmo.


13 Marco Mengoni –  “L’essenziale” (The Essential) – 1st on Thursday.


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There was no “curse of number two” for the 25 year old former “X Factor” winner on Thursday evening as he won that night’s televote, having performed second in the running order. With his ballad already #1 on Italy’s I-Tunes chart, Marco is the one to beat in tonight’s show. Since Italy returned to Eurovision in 2011, Marco’s name has been mentioned as a possible entrant and this year it seems more likely that ever that he will make it to the contest, although not necessarily with this song.


14.   Simona Molinari & Peter Cincotti – “La Felicità” (Happiness) -6th on Thursday

To finish, something completely different with a jazz/swing number from the only duo in the line-up. Italian Simona took part in Sanremo 2009 and she’s drafted in American Peter Cincotti for a song that wouldn’t be out of place in the golden era of the Hollywood musical. Well performed, but an unlikely winner and another big shock if they were handed the Eurovision ticket.


So on face value, the competition looks like a four horse race between Marco Mengoni, Moda, Annalisa and Chiara and these could also be the main contenders for the ticket to Malmo, assuming RAI sticks to its plans and chooses from the Campione section. However it isn’t impossible that they could choose the winner of the Giovani (Newcomers) section, as they did in 2011 in which case Antonio Maggio could be the surprise choice for Eurovision.

No matter how it turns out, we’re in for a magic night’s entertainment so get the pizza and prosecco in and enjoy Sanremo 2013.

A Big Thank you to Keith Mills for his insight into the Sanremo Final tonight. It looks like it will be a very open race for the ticket to Eurovision 2013 in Malmo. Who do you think could be the winner?

Author – Keith Mills

Source – Eurovision Ireland and RAI


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