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  • Writer's pictureLiv Webster

Rule, format changes & artist announcements - this is the year to try The Sanremo Music Festival!

Earlier in the week Italian broadcaster RAI announced the 24 artists and song titles that are competing in the Big Artists (‘Champions’) section of The 70th Sanremo Music Festival plus notable rule and format changes. The five nights will run between the 4th and 8th of February, 2020.

Some familiar returning names to the Eurovision fandom include Francesco Gabbani (2017) and Raphael Gualazzi (2011) who’ve both won at Sanremo and earnt Top 10 placings at Eurovision. Another noteworthy return to the festival is fan favourite Elodie with her song “Andromeda” being penned by Dardust and the Eurovision Runner-up Mahmood (2019).

In previous editions of the festival the winning artist had the choice if they would like compete at Eurovision or not after the contest was completed. In the updated Sanremo Rulebook it states that artists must communicate prior to the first night of competition their intention to compete at Eurovision in the event of them winning Sanremo, otherwise RAI reserves the right to choose the participant.

It is unclear if the participants responses will be public knowledge prior to the contest – regardless, this is a good step for the Eurovision fandom who will be able to find out live on the night if the winner will certainly be representing Italy or if RAI will be deciding with more clarity. Keeping in mind Eurovision artists selected through the festival are the secondary objective with the main intent of entertaining the local market, celebrating consolidated artists and providing a platform for up-and-coming artists to shine as number one priority.

For newcomers to the festival it is a vibrant, unique and quintessentially Italian week of glitz, glamour and high-quality music. It isn’t hard to understand why it is so popular locally, within the fandom and even globally. Trying Sanremo is something worth trying at least once – I’d suggest watching the final night of the show on the 8th of February to ease yourself into the experience.

Word of warning: the voting system will probably make your head spin and Italians take their time, savouring every moment of the festival – in other words: it’s okay. We’re all just as lost and confused as you are. Block out at least a solid 4 hours for the final night if you want to watch the entire show. Don't say we didn't warn you.


There are some distinct changes to the format this year including the axing of ‘duet night’ – although I’m sure the third evening might manage to squeeze more than enough to satisfy. An outline of events are as follows:

First Evening

· 12 of the 24 Champions will perform.

· Voting will be made by the demoscopic jury and a provisional ranking will be drawn by the end of voting.

Second Evening

· The remaining 12 Champions will perform.

· The same voting system will be used as the first night – however, a second ranking will be made with all 24 artists percentages ranked together.

Third Evening

· All 24 Champions will perform with songs that are part of the history of the music festival in recognition of it’s 70th anniversary. Artists may be accompanied by foreign guests.

Fourth Evening

· All 24 Champions will perform their own songs.

· The Press Jury will vote on this performance and their percentage will be added to those from the previous evenings to draw up a new rank of all 24 participants.

Fifth Evening

· All 24 Champions will perform their songs.

· Voting will be divided as follows: Demoscopic Jury (33%), Press Jury (33%) and televoting (34%) which will determine the placings 22nd through to 4th position.

· For the top 3 participants a new vote will be taken with the same split of Demoscopic Jury (33%), Press Jury (33%) and televoting (34%) to determine the festival winner for 2020.

Participants and song titles:

· Achille Lauro – “Me ne frego”

· Alberto Urso – “Il sole ad est”

· Anastasio – “Rosso di rabbia”

· Bugo e Morgan – “Sincero”

· Diodato – “Fai rumore”

· Elettra Lamborghini – “Musica (E il resto scompare)”

· Elodie – “Andromeda”

· Enrico Nigiotti – “Baciami adesso”

· Francesco Gabbani – “Viceversa”

· Giordana Angi – “Come mia madre”

· Irene Grandi – “Finalmente io”

· Junior Cally – “No grazie”

· Le Vibrazioni – “Dov'è”

· Levante – “Tiki Bom Bom”

· Marco Masini – “Il confront”

· Michele Zarrillo – “Nell'estasi o nel fango”

· Paolo Jannacci – “Voglio parlarti adesso”

· Piero Pelù – “Gigante”

· Pinguini Tattici Nucleari – “Ringo Starr”

· Rancore – “Eden”

· Raphael Gualazzi – “Carioca”

· Riki – “Lo sappiamo entrambi”

· Rita Pavone – “Niente (Resilienza 74)”

· Tosca – “Ho amato tutto”

Sanremo is a unique and special festival – we cannot wait to see what the powerhouse nation brings to Rotterdam 2020!


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