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  • Writer's pictureLiv Webster

Italy: Sanremo - everything you need to know before the contest

The 74th edition of the illustrious Sanremo Music Festival begins in just under 24 hours. For anyone new to the premier Italian Music Festival - it runs over five days with around five hours per show with buckets of "fan lore" and history to wade through.

Since the 1977 Sanremo has been hosted at the iconic and historic Teatro Ariston (Ariston Theatre) - a significant cultural hub for the Mediterranean nation.

Notably, the winner of Sanremo is given the opportunity to represent Italy at Eurovision - however, if the winner declines it is up to Italian broadcaster RAI to choose another participant from Sanremo to compete at Eurovision.

In 2016, Sanremo winner Stadio forwent the opportunity with runner-up Francesca Michielin selected to participate instead.

Allora, here is a crash course in the 2024 contest - from participants, hosts, format and everything in between:


The wonderful, stupendous and utterly fantastic Amadeus is the artistic director and host of Sanremo for the fifth and final consecutive year. His departure after this contest will leave big shoes to fill in 2025!

He will be joined by an army of Italian A-list co-hosts Marco Mengoni, Giorgia, Teresa Mannino, Lorella Cuccarini and fan favourite Rosario Fiorello on their respective nights.

Amadeus and his co-hosts on the cover of Sorrisi e Canzoni Magazine

How to watch Sanremo 2024:

All nights of Sanremo are available to stream online with Italian Broadcaster RAI - link here. Performances and highlights are also uploaded to their official YouTube channel.

Nightly format:

First Night - Wednesday (6:40am AEDT)

  • All 30 of the artists will perform their entries for the first time

  • Voting: print and TV media jury (33%), a radio jury (34%) and a web media jury (33%)

  • A provisional ranking of the Top 5 acts will be announced at the end of the show

  • Confirmed special guests: Lazza (Sanremo 2023 - Runner up) and Tedua

Second Night - Thursday (06:40am AEDT)

  • 15 artists will perform their entries for the second time

  • Voting: radio jury (50%) and televoting (50%)

  • A provisional ranking of the Top 5 acts will be announced at the end of the show

  • Confirmed special guests: John Travolta, Bob Sinclar, Rosa Chemical, Giovanni Allevi and the cast of Mare Fuori

Third Night - Friday (06:40am AEDT)

  • The remaining 15 artists will perform their entries for the second time

  • Voting: radio jury (50%) and televoting (50%)

  • A provisional ranking of the Top 5 acts will be announced at the end of the show

  • Confirmed special guests: Russell Crowe, Paola & Chiara, Bresh and Eros Ramazzotti

Fourth Night - Saturday (06:40am AEDT)

  • All 30 artist will perform covers of iconic Italian or international songs

  • Artists may perform with an acclaimed Italian or international guest

  • Voting will be televote (34%), combined press jury (33%) and radio jury (33%)

  • Results from the cover performances alone will be revealed, additionally, a provisional combined Top 5 ranking will be given taking into account all results from the festival thus far

  • Confirmed special guests: Arisa and Gigi D'Agostino

Final Night - Sunday (06:40am AEDT)

  • All 30 artists will perform their songs for the third and final time

  • At the end of televoting, the final ranking will be drawn up, determined by the average between the percentages of the final evening and those of the previous evenings, which will establish the final ranking from thirtieth to the six position. The Top 5 ranked acts will perform again.

  • Votes will be reset. Of the top five in the super final - the winner will be decided by televote (34%), press jury (33%) and radio jury (33%).

  • Confirmed special guests: Tananai, Roberto Bolle, Tedua and Gigliola Cinquetti

It's a marathon - not a sprint! Clear as mud?

Competing artists and song title:

Ghali – 'Casa Mia'

Alessandra Amoroso – 'Fino a Qui'

Gazzelle – 'Tutto Qui'

Ricchi e Poveri – 'Ma Non Tutta La Vita'

Dargen d’Amico – 'Onda Alta'

Angelina Mango – 'La Noia'

Fred De Palma – 'Il Cielo Non Ci Vuole'

Fiorella Mannoia – 'Mariposa'

Loredana Bertè – 'Pazza'

Mr Rain – 'Due Altalene'

Geolier – 'I p’me, Tu p’ te'

Negramaro – 'Ricominciamo Tutto'

Rose Villain – 'Click Boom!'

Mahmood – 'Tuta Gold'

Diodato – 'Ti Muovi'

Annalisa – 'Sinceramente'

Il Volo – 'Capolavoro'

Emma – 'Apnea'

Francesco Renga & Nek – 'Pazzo Di Te'

La Sad – 'Autodistruttivo'

Irama – 'Tu No'

BigMama – 'La Rabbia Non Ti Basta'

The Kolors – 'Un Ragazzo Una Ragazza'

Sangiovanni – 'Finiscimi'

Il Tre – 'Fragili'

Alfa – 'Vai!'

Maninni – 'Spettacolare'

Santi Francesi – 'L’amore In Bocca'

Clara – 'Diamanti Grezzi'

BNKR44 – 'Governo Punk'

Amongst the line-up are five former Italian Eurovision representatives: Mahmood (2019 & 2022), Diodato (2020), Il Volo (2015) Emma (2014) and Ricchi e Poveri (1978)

The traditional Sorrisi e Canzoni Magazine cover of the artists for 2024 with host Amadeus

Sanremo Giovani 2023:

On December 19, 2023 Italian Broadcaster RAI hosted the annual Sanremo Giovani competition - aimed at finding and platforming up-and-coming young artists within the nation. Since 2019, top placing artists have been given the opportunity to compete the Sanremo Music Festival - replacing the 'Newcomers' previously seen at the contest.

This year the top three artists of Sanremo Giovanni will compete amongst the 27 'Big Artists' for a total of 30 participants, these performers are:

  • Clara (1st)

  • Bnkr44 (2nd)

  • Santi Francesi (3rd)

Sanremo Giovani artists: Clara, Bnkr44 and Santi Francesi

Note these artists will be performing different songs at Sanremo to their competition song at Sanremo Giovani.


FantaSanremo is the Italian music industry version of Fantasy Football leagues. Essentially fans can compose a 'team' by choosing five of the artists in the competition, appointing a captain and based on the competition results you earn or lose points. Watch out because the captain is crucial for the final evening where their points are doubled (both good and bad).

The whole affair is very tongue and cheek and extremely popular locally. The competition is open to international participants - within our own news site Aussievision runs a hotly contested internal competition every year!

The Odds:

Two weeks ago accredited journalists were given the opportunity to listen to the entries and give first impressions. At the risk of disqualification, no Sanremo entries are made public until the festival. Favourable response to Annalisa's entry 'Sinceramente' rocketed her straight to the top of the odds.



Winning the premiere Italian Music Festival propels artists into local stardom, or in the case of Måneskin, Eurovision glory and international success. As nice as it is to win Sanremo, collecting some of the minor awards holds high esteem.

Marco Mengoni wins Sanremo 2023

Other awards include:

  • "Mia Martini" Critics' Choice Award

  • "Sergio Bardotti" Award for Best Lyrics

  • "Lucio Dalla" Radio-TV-Web Press Room Choice Award

  • "Giancarlo Bigazzi" Award for Best Musical Composition

  • "Enzo Jannacci" Award for Best Musical Interpretation

  • CoReCom award for Best song that talks about violence against women

  • Lunezia Award for valorisation of Italian songs

It's going to be one crazy week full quintessentially Italian music, production and probably a generous dose of drama. I can't wait - never change Sanremo!

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