In two days Teatro Ariston will open its gates for the 67th annual Sanremo music festival. Festival di Sanremo will be used as the selection format for the Italian entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest. Let’s take a look at this fascinating show, which is more complex than any other national selection.
The Sanremo Music Festival 2017 (Festival della Canzone Italiana di Sanremo 2017) will be the 67th annual Sanremo Music Festival. The television song contest will be held at the Teatro Ariston in Sanremo, Liguria, between the 7th and the 11th of February 2016 and will be organised and broadcast by the Italian public broadcaster (RAI).
The show will be presented by Carlo Conti, who also serves as the artistic director for the competition. Conti will present the show together with his biggest TV opponent Maria De Filippi.
As RAI has already announced, the winner of the Campioni category will have the right to represent Italy in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, but not necessarily with the winning song. If the eventual Campioni winner declines the right to go to the Eurovision Song Contest, then RAI will choose someone from the other participants of the festival, in theory from both categories (Big and Newcomers).
But how does Sanremo work? It may be a bit of a confusing affair for those who haven’t followed it before. Let’s try to explain it in a simple way.
There are two different categories: the Campioni or Big Artists section consists of twenty established Italian artists competing with a song each, and the Nuove Proposte or Newcomers‘ section consists of eight new artists also competing with a song each.
The songs from the Big Artists will be heard first only when they are performed for the first time on stage in Teatro Ariston while the Newcomers songs have been played on various radio station in January to make people familiar with these new artists and their voices. Only songs in Italian (or local dialects) are accepted for Sanremo.
There are five competing nights of voting in the two different categories. Appearances by worldwide famous guest stars and marathon nights will be broadcast live on Raiuno every night from next Tuesday until Saturday.
First night – February 7
Eleven candidates of the Campioni category will perform their songs for the first time to the audience. The voting is contributed 50-50 by televote and by the journalists in the press center (composed of accredited journalists that will follow the competition from the Roof hall at the Teatro Ariston). The bottom three entries will enter an extra competition round in the third night and face additional voting to determine if they continue to the festival or not.
Second night – February 8
The remaining eleven Big will also perform their songs. The voting is again 50-50 by televote and press center journalists. Again, the bottom three will enter the repechage round on the third night. The first 4 Newcomers artists will compete, as with the Campioni participants, will have to earn the votes from both the public televote (50%) and jury (50%). The top 2 will qualify to the next stage of the Nuove Proposte competition in the fourth night, whilst the remaining two acts will be eliminated from the contest.
Third night – February 9
The 16 established artists that have qualified directly to the semi final of Sanremo from the first two nights will sing in Italian covers of Italian or foreign songs. They can invite Italian or foreign singers to join them on stage for this occasion. There is a 50-50 voting of televote and press center vote and a special award will be given to the winner of this night. The winning cover version will be determined over two rounds of voting. In the first round, the covers will initially compete in four groups consisting of four entries each. The winning cover of each group will qualify to the second round where the winner will be determined.
The six artists that didn’t manage to qualify to the semifinal of Sanremo have a last chance to remain to the competition.They will sing again their entries and the bottom two will be eliminated while the other four artists will be readmitted to compete in the semifinal.
The remaining four of the Newcomers will perform their songs. Two acts should qualify to the fourth of the competition, whilst the remaining two acts will be eliminated from the contest.
Fourth night – February 10, Semifinal
This is the night when voting gets more complicated and things more interesting. The voting is now divided in three parts: 40% televote, 30% expert jury (composed of eight personalities from the world of music, entertainment and culture), 30% demoscopic jury (composed of a sample of 300 music fans, who will vote from their homes via an electronic voting system). All this is added to the votes of the first and the second night and, in the end, the top sixteen entries will qualify to the final. The other four entries will be eliminated.
The Newcomers final: the four artists that qualified on previous nights will perform their songs and will be voted by the threesome (40% televote, 30% experts, 30% demoscopic). The artist with the most votes will be declared the winner of the category. A lot of famous Italian artists have started their career by winning this section.
Fifth night – February 11, Final
The sixteen songs that made it to the Grand Final will compete again from zero – all previous votes will not count. The voting is again a threesome: 40% televote, 30% expert jury and 30% demoscopic jury. Only the Top 3 will be announced. These three songs will be performed again, starting from zero. The by now familiar threesome voting will take place again, each party having the same share of the vote as before. In the end, when the ranking is revealed, we will have the name of the winner and, most likely, the Italian participant for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Kyiv, Ukraine, this May.
Remember to check into EuroVisionary for more news about Sanremo 2017. Until then, enjoy last year’s Italian entrant in the Eurovision Song Contest, Francesca Michielin: