Your guide to understanding Sanremo 2016

In two days Teatro Ariston will open its gates for the 66th 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 complexed than any other national selection.

The Sanremo Music Festival 2016 (66° Festival della Canzone Italiana di Sanremo 2016) will be the 66th annual Sanremo Music Festival, a television song contest to be held at the Teatro Ariston in Sanremo, Liguria, between the 9th and the 13th of February 2016 and 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 Virginia Raffaele, Mădălina Diana Ghenea and Gabriel Garko. As RAI has already announced the winner of the Campioni category will have the right, just as last year, to represent Italy in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, but not necessarily with the winning song.

But how does Sanremo work? It may be a bit of a confusing affair for those who haven’t been following it before. Let’s try to explain it in a simple way.

There are two different categories. The Campioni or Big Artists section which includes 20 established Italian artists, competing with a song each, and the Nuove Proposte or Newcomers section in which 8 new artists competes also with a song.

The songs from 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 in various radios in January to make people familiar with these new artists and voices. Only songs in Italian (or local dialects) are accepted to Sanremo.

There are five competing nights of votings in the two different categories. A lot of worldwide famous guest stars and marathon nights broadcasted live on Raiuno every night from next Tuesday until Saturday.

First night – February 9

Ten of the Campioni category will perform their songs for the first time to the audience. The voting is 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). Four of the Newcomers will perform in two direct duels, the winner going to the semifinal, the other being eliminated after the voting.

Second night – February 10

The remaining ten Big will perform also their songs. The voting is again 50-50 by televote and press center. The remaining four of the Newcomers will perform in two direct duels, the winner going to the semifinal, the other being eliminated after the voting.

Third night – February 11

All the 20 established artists for one night will sing covers, Italian or foreign songs, but in Italian. They can invite Italian or foreign singers to join them on stage for this occasion. There is a voting 50-50 by televote and press center 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 five 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 four Newcomers that qualified for the semifinal will meet each other in two direct duels with the 50-50 televote-press center voting. The winners will go to the final’s category.

Fourth night – February 12, – The newcomers final

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, which 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 fifteen entries will qualify to the final. The bottom five entries from the fourth evening will enter an extra voting round and face an additional public televote to determine the one entry that will be readmitted to compete in the final. The other four entries will be eliminated.

The Newcomers final: The two artists that have qualified from yesterday’s newcomers semifinal will perform their songs and will be voted by the threesome (40% televote, 30% experts, 30% demoscopic) and the winner 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 13,  – The Grand Final

The 16 songs that made it to the Grand Final will start from a zero, all previous votes will not exist. The voting is again a threesome: 40% televote, 30% expert jury and 30% demoscopic jury. Only the Top3 will be announced and these three songs will be performanced again, starting from a zero and the already familiar threesome voting will take place again with same percentages. In the end, the ranking will be revealed and we will have a winner and most likely the Italian participant for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Stockholm, Sweden, May this year.

Remember to check into EuroVisionary for more news about Sanremo 2016. Until then, please watch a compilation of the last 5 years of Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest. We did our extra best to find our greatest footage, and maybe you’ll see something you haven’t seen before.

Source: EuroVisionary, RAI
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