Marco Mengoni has won the 63rd Sanremo festival with the song, L’essenziale. He won a three way vote against Elio e le Storie tese and Moda to join a long list of distinguished winners. He was also chosen to represent Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö in May.
The evening began with some music from the orchestra. The presenters, Fabio Fazio and Luciana Littizzetto, entered the stage; Luciana dressed like a butterfly, made their introductions and gave out the numbers for the phone vote.
To add a bit more variety to the festival as a whole, all the participating acts presented two songs each over the first two nights of the festival. One was voted through to tonight’s show and would be voted on by the public and a jury. The public had 50% of the total vote to contribute, but only 25% would come from the phone votes massed this evening. The other 25% came from the phone vote which took place on Thursday night, after which, the positions were:
14th – Almamegretta
13th – Marta sui Tubi
12th – Malika Ayane
11th – Simone cristicchi
10th – Max Gazze
9th – Daniele Silvestre
8th – Elio e le Storie Tese
7th – Maria Nazionale
6th – Simone Molinari e Peter Cincotti
5th – Raphael Gualazzi
4th – Chiara Galiazzo
3rd – Annalisa Scarrone
2nd – Moda
1st – Marco Mengoni
The remaining 50% of the total score came from a jury known as the Giuria di Qualità. However the public vote, the Giuria di Qualità can change everything. It is not unknown for a song that is far down in the public’s ranking to win the festival on the strength of the jury vote.
The fourteen songs were reduced to three after the first round of voting. After this, the top three went forward to a new vote which was scored by a new public vote and a new vote from tThe Giuria di Qualità. On a 50/50 basis. The winner would emerge from this final round of voting.
Raphael Gualazzi – Sai (ci Basta un Sogno) – Raphael not only performed this song, he wrote it as well. Before the festival, he promised to turn the Teatro Ariston into a jazz club, and he did exactly that.
Almamegretta – Mamma non lo Sa – Reggae is not something that would immediately spring to mind when thinking of the Sanremo festival, but Almamegretta weren’t worried about that. In fact, of the two songs they brought to the festival, this is the one that is more pure reggae. The performance was professional and the lead singer’s gravelly voice gave the song more appeal than it might otherwise have had.
Daniele Silvestri – A Bocca Chiusa – Daniele has never been afraid to be different with his festival songs, although this is one of his more conventional compositions. It is a slow ballad for which he sat at the piano most of the time. Behind him was a man translating the lyrics into sign language. At one stage, even the members of the orchestra joined in.
Modà – Se si Potesse non Morire – This would have been one of the strong favourites going into the final evening, and with justification. If you like a powerful and emotional rock ballad, look no further. The fine performance would have boosted their chances, too.
Simone Cristicchi – La Prima Volta (che Sono Morto) – One song with death in the title was followed by another. When Simone won the festival in 2007, his song was effectively a suicide note. This year’s reference to death is a much more cheery affair.
Maria Nazionale – E’ Colpa Mia – Maria looked for all the world like a classic singer of the Neapolitan lament that we all dream of hearing in a Calabrian Trattotria. Arguably the classiest song of the night, the lyrics are in the Neapolitan dialect, which is praiseworthy but wouldn’t have gone down well in parts of northern Italy. Tradition is very important in Italy and it is good to see that modern singers are not afraid to evoke these traditions.
Annalisa Scarrone – Scintille – The youngest singer on show tonight sung the most old-fashioned song. In fact, both the song and dress were straight from the 1960’s. However, it didn’t feel outdated and the overall effect was uplifting.
Max Gazzè – Sotto casa – It’s not often you hear a doorbell as part of the arrangement to a song, but that’s Max! He has always been very creative in his music and is never afraid to try new sounds. Sotto Casa got the Ariston moving, but just to make sure, he went into the audience and started conducting them!
Chiara Galiazzo – Il Futuro che Sarà – Despite the title talking about the future, the style is a throwback to the past with images of a scene from a 1960’s film in which a car is speeding along the Riviera, roof down, in the sunshine. All very energising!
Marta sui Tubi – Vorrei – A rock band in evening dress – now there’s a novelty! The song is rather messy and the lead singer seems to be trying to be Freddie Mercury, or using him as an influence, at least.
Malika Ayane – E Se Poi – Malika’s song isn’t instant, but in a way, that is the whole point of Sanremo. The vote is not based just on one performance, but the festival provides the opportunity for a song to have more depth than one that has to impress in a short space of time. Whatever the result, E se Poi will still sound good in ten years time.
Elio e le Storie Tese – La Canzone Mononota – Wow!! They’ve put on weight in the last few days! Hang on, it’s just a costume! Never ones to understate things, Elio and his merry band took to the stage wearing inflated evening suits. The audience loved it and rather than distract from the song, it added to the presentation. Entertainment doesn’t get more musical than this.
Marco Mengoni – L’essenziale – Marco gave a very sensitive performance of a very sensitive song. Rumours surfaced during the evening that Marco had been chosen to represent Italy in Malmo. If they prove to be true, then whatever song is chosen seems to be in safe vocal chords.
Simona Molinari con Peter Cincotti – La Felicità – Joining Rafael in his effort to turn the Teatro Ariston into a jazz club was the only duet in the festival. Elements of swing are also included in the song. Simona looked very glamorous but the song didn’t sound like a winner.
While the scores were being collated, Andrea Bocelli, himself a past winner of the Novita part of the festival in 1993 with the much covered Con Te Partirò, entertained the audience.
Before the final three were announced, hey critics prize, named after the late, great Mia Martini was awarded. This year, the award went to Elio e le Storie Tese who were also given the award for best arrangement for their song, which was arranged by Beppe Visicchio. It is certainly not the first time he has won this particular award!
In no particular order, the final three were announced as Elio e le Storie Tese, Moda and Marco Mengoni. They were then subject to a further round of voting from the public and the Giuria di Qualità to decide the winner. All previous scores were discounted. It was anybody’s victory now!
As promised, the announcement was made about the Italian representative in Malmo in May. The rumours were true! Marco Mengoni had been selected and will travel to Sweden. The song will be announced at a later date and won’t necessarily be one of his Sanremo entries.
It turned out to be quite a night for Marco. After the announcement that he will represent Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest, the main event of the night was revealed. The winner of the 63rd Sanremo festival is…..Marco Mengoni and his song, L’essenziale.