Tonight is one of the most important in the Italian calendar, the final evening of the Sanremo festival. The winner will have their name etched into Italian musical history forever with such greats as Domenico Modugno, Giorgia and Eros Ramazzotti. Their song will be remembered forever alongside Grazie dei Fiori, Zingara and Uomini Soli.
There has been extra interest among Eurovision fans this year due to Italy’s return to the contest after a 14 year absence. Indeed, it seems many have suddenly become experts in Italian music, despite having ignored the festival for years simply because Italy weren’t in it!
As the decision will be made in a matter of hours about who will represent Italy on its return to Eurovision competition, there has been much discussion about who will be selected by the specially formed jury. Well, here is a guide to the runners and riders and the likelihood of their selection.
Luca Barbarossa and Raquel del Rosario – Fine in Fondo – Former Sanremo winner and Eurovision participant, Luca, combines well vocally with Raquel in this quality soft rock tune. It would make a good entry, but I think it is unlikely to be chosen due to Luca’s previous participation. Chances: 5/10
La Crus – Io Confesso – Io Confesso is slightly old-fashioned. This could work in its favour or against it, depending on the ages of the jury members and what they are looking for to represent Italian music. The operatic touch could sway them if the choice is a close run thing between two or three songs. Chances: 6/10
Anna Tatangelo – Bastardo – Bastardo is rockier than Anna’s fans have been used to. When she was eliminated from the festival on the first evening, it seemed unlikely she had a chance of being selected. However, she has come back strongly after the Italian public voted her back into the festival on Thursday. She is one of the top young singers in Italy, and this will count in her favour. If the jury were to choose her, she would give Italy a comeback worth remembering. Chances: 8/10
Giusy Ferreri – Il Mare Immenso – If the jury is looking for something distinctive, Giusy’s voice is just that. Her rock song, although it would make a credible entry, is perhaps too cosmopolitan to be chosen by a nation which prides itself on its musical heritage. Chances: 5/10
Luca Madonia ft Franco Battiato – L’alieno – L’alieno is pleasant enough and Franco is well respected among his peers and the public, but I can’t see the jury choosing this song. It fades into the crowd too much. Chances: 3/10
Nathalie – Vivo Sospesa – Nathalie is the fresh face of Italian music. She won the Italian version of X-Factor and there has been a trend recently by countries to go for singers from that kind of background. Her song is moody and could do very well in May. If the jury is picking a song to win Eurovision, then this is likely to be the choice. Chances: 8/10
Roberto Vecchioni – Chiamami Ancora Amore – This is very Italian not only in style, but lyrically, too. It is a comment on the state of the Italian nation. This won’t be lost on the jury who won’t pick it for this reason. Chances: 2/10
Davide Van De Sfroos – Yanez – This would be an unusual choice if that is what happens. I think the jury will want an ’Italian’ song and this isn’t in that mould. Chances: 3/10
Albano – Amanda é Libera – Al has lost none of his performing talents and his voice is as strong as ever. However, will the jury want someone who has been around for as long as he has (not to mention the fact he has represented Italy in Eurovision twice before) to act as the standard bearer of Italian music? No matter how good the song is – and it is very good – I don’t think he will be chosen. Chances: 7/10
Modá & Emma with – Arriverá – It might be generic rock, but it is anthemic and very memorable, and the vocals of both singers are very strong. It would do very well in Germany and Italy would be back with a big bang if the jury chose this. Chances: 8/10
Raphael Gualazzi – Follia d’Amore – The jury doesn’t have to pick one of the songs in the Artisti section. They can choose one from the Giovanni participants if they want to. Raphael won the Giovanni on Friday night convincingly. He received rapturous applause from the audience and also was the most popular song with the Guria Demoscopica and the Orchestra. The jury would face no criticism within Italy if they told him to fetch his passport. The only doubt hangs over whether the jury members would want a jazz song to represent Italy rather than a more Italian style song. If this is not a factor, then expect Raphael to be put forward. Chances: 9/10
If RAI were to phone me tonight to ask for my choice, it would be one of Anna Tatangelo, Moda con Emma or Nathalie. Any of these would do Italy proud and would give a fantastic performance. They would also show Europe what it has been missing over the years. If I were to place a bet on whom the jury will choose, my money would be on Raphael Gualazzi. He would have the support of a nation that wouldn’t care too much if he finished low down the scoreboard. It would be more important for them to feel represented by a song and singer they could be proud of. All of the above would give them that, but Raphael is a safe choice given his all round popularity.