Eurovision 2017: [San Marino] Valentina Monetta & Jimmie Wilson / Spirit of the Night

Valentina Monetta is a glutton for punishment. She’s worked with Eurovision songwriting legend Ralph Siegel on sufficient number of jaw-droppingly awful productions (two) for her to know better. Third time lucky perhaps?

Not a chance. ‘Spirit of the Night’ – a song that echoes a number of disco anthems from the past – is a dull creation even by Ralph Siegel’s standards. It promises the world and delivers nothing but a series of foundation-level chord progressions, and two trademark truck-drivers gear changes that do little to lift spirits.

It’s greatest crime? The bridge to each chorus – just a little too reminiscent of ‘It’s Raining Men’.

This entry deserves to sink without a trace. Not just because of the song, but because of Jimmie Wilson’s appalling piece to camera at the end of San Marino’s rehearsal footage.

Eurovision 2016 – San Marino: ‘I Didn’t Know’

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.

Eurovision 2012: San Marino The Social Network Song Valentina Monetta

Amongst fans I can see how this song for San Marino could antagonise. I half expect to hear boos in the hall in Baku when singer Valentina Monetta steps on to stage

That won’t be down to her of course, which is why if there are boos it will be incredibly unfair. The problem is, San Marino’s Social Network Song comes with a spot of baggage.

First and foremost is the song’s past. The Social Network Song was originally entitled Facebook (Uh Oh, Uh Oh). That lyricists Timothy Touchton and José Santana Rodriguez plumped for that being good subject material for a song – ie let’s tap into what most young people think about and then write a song about it – seems a little misguided. If your bid for votes only really lasts for three minutes (and you’re banking on telephone voters some of whom may well not have seen the song before the first semi-final), the message that comes across is more that someone who isn’t especially in-touch with current trends reckons this would be a good idea.

And then there was the issue of referencing a brand name in the lyrics when San Marino’s song was first released into the world. The EBU have strict rules about that and they enforced them. The song title had to change to The Social Network Song, the lyrics amended and the accompanying video re-cut.

The speed at which all this happened was quite breathtaking Read More

Eurovision 2011: San Marino

Still relative newbies at Eurovision, San Marino competes in this year’s contest for the second time sending singer Senit with her song Stand By.

It’s an unusual – and like the UK’s song I Can this year – a refreshingly credible song to grace the Eurovision stage, dismissing the usual Eurovision formula and giving the song itself a life beyond the contest regardless of how it does.

And it deserves to do well. It certainly deserves to do better than San Marino’s previous entry in 2008. Similarly unusual yet credible, Complice from Miodio failed to win a place in the final that year coming a miserable nineteenth place in the semi-final round. Shame.