San Marino’s song has attracted the most attention in this year’s Eurovision, none of it for beneficial reasons.
No one could accuse San Marino’s act – Turkish singer Serhat – of not being distinctive. He cuts a stylish figure on stage, and an unnerving one in quite a few of his promotional photos. His style of ‘singing’ elevates him to creepy Uncle status at the same time as casting his song into the bucket marked ‘Indescribably Awful’. Yes, there is a bucket for that stuff this year.
In their, his and the songwriter’s defence, ‘I Didn’t Know’ has been improved immensely by adding a disco beat. The original version it replaced was a sedate ballad riven which drew more attention to the meandering melody and equally indecipherable lyrical. The disco beat in the version we’ll hear in Stockholm improves it slightly, but it still remains a song which haunts. Though handsome with a smoky look in his eyes, Serhat still comes across as that bloke you get chatting to in the hotel bar who, three or four hours later still hasn’t got the message and refuses to let go.
San Marino has a short history in the contest. The ‘micro-state’ debuted in 2008 failing to qualify that year after which they took a two year break. They returned 2011, have entered every year since. They’ve qualified only once in 2014 with the song ‘Maybe’ (24th, 2014).
They didn’t get themselves a place in the final in the 2015. No one was especially surprised. Even the most generous of critics wouldn’t have been able to watch ‘Chain of Lights’ without observing a car crash site in need of a private ambulance.