Our next destination on our preview journey takes us to the smallest country in the contest, the world’s oldest republic and this year’s Location X. It’s San Marino!!!
San Marino first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008 and will make their eighth appearance in the contest this year. They have only appeared once in the final, in 2014, when Valentina Monetta finished 24th with “Maybe”. Last year, Serhat finished 12th in semi-final 1 with “I Didn’t Know”.
The Sanmarinese broadcaster, San Marino RTV (SMRTV) internally selected both the artist and song, as they have done every year they have participated. Valentina Monetta and Jimmy Wilson were selected as the Sammarinese participants for this year’s contest.
Valentina Monetta was on March 1st 1975 in the City of San Marino to a Sanmarinese mother and an Italian father. In 2001, she entered the Italian version of Popstars. In 2008, she submitted the song “Se Non Ci Sei Tu” (If You Aren’t There) for San Marino’s Eurovision debut but was not selected. In 2011, she released her first album “Il mio gioco preferito” (My Favourite Game). In 2012, she represented San Marino for the first time, finishing 14th in the first semi-final. In 2013, she returned again and although she was a fan favourite, she just missed out on the final, finishing 11th in the semi-final with “Crisalide (Vola)”. Later that year, she released her second album “La storia di Valentina Monetta” (The Story of Valentina Monetta). In 2014, she returned for the third time in a row, becoming the first singer since 1966 to do so. She managed to get San Marino to their first ever Eurovision final and placed 24th in the final with “Maybe”. Shortly before her third appearance in the contest, her third album “Sensebilità” (Sensibility) was released. She read out the points from San Marino in the 2015 contest and although she stated that she would never return, she is back for her fourth participation.
Jimmie Wilson was born in Detroit, Michigan. He started out his career acting in Hollywood but later moved to Germany to star in the musical Sisterella, produced by Michael Jackson. He later played Barack Obama in Hope – Das Obama Musical! In 2012, he took part in the third season of the Polish version of Must Be the Music, the same year this year’s Polish entrant Kasia Moś took part and was eliminated in the semi-finals.
The duo’s entry for Kyiv “Spirit of the Night” was written by Jutta Staudenmeyer and Steven Barnacle and composed by Ralph Siegel, who has composed 25 Eurovision entries in total, including the 1982 winner “Ein bisschen Frieden” and all of San Marino’s entries since 2012.
“Crisalide” and “Maybe” showed the greatness that Valentina and Ralph Siegel can produce. Unfortunately, this doesn’t quite reach the same level. While other entries this year, take influences from the 80’s, this most definitely is the 80’s! Lots of unnecessary key changes coupled with a dated sound don’t make for San Marino’s best Eurovision offer ever. I don’t see this getting through to the final but never underestimate the undying love of Valentina Monetta’s fan base.
What Could Have Been
Contrary to popular belief, Valentina Monetta is not the only musically inclined person in this microstate. Take Delayers for example. This trio of Sanmarinese producers craft up some catchy tunes. Their song “Let It Go” features vocals from American singer Rhett Fisher and blends pop, R’n’B, electronica and tropical house and sounds a lot more modern than most of San Marino’s past efforts. Maybe this is what this country needs to get to the final once more and do a lot better than 24th.
In boca al lupo San Marino!
Do you feel the Spirit of the Night or do we need an exorcism? Leave your comments below. Stay tuned tomorrow for another Eurovision preview!
(Sources: eurovision.tv, SMRTV, YouTube)