The below review features the opinions and views of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of #escYOUnited as a whole, Eurovision, Sanremo Music Festival, or the EBU.

The 74th Annual Sanremo Music Festival kicked off on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, and Europe’s most prestigious contest will conclude in a marathon extravaganza this evening.

We’ve already reviewed the first ten of the thirty participants, and here we will review the middle third.

We have already experienced quite a bit of hospitality from Europe’s southernmost national selection, but four of our reviewers managed to get their scores out of ten and their thoughts – such as they are – before collapsing over the finish line.

Reviewing Sanremo Music Festival LXXIV for ESC United:

  • David Popescu – Denmark by way of Romania, observe his average score increasing the closer we get to Eurovision itself.
  • James Maude – California by way of the UK and South Africa, observe his average score decreasing the more these national selections pile up.
  • Tyler Griffith – New Mexico by way of Alaska, he now gets bored to tears by people bringing up “Breaking Bad” instead of “On Deadly Ground.”
  • Yehonatan Cohen – Our newest writer hailing from Israel, and the voice of reason on many of these “expert panels.”

With introductions out of the way, in order of reveal on Day 1 of the festival, here is the second batch of ten entries…

Loredana Berte – “Pazza”

David – 1 – “All the respect to Loredana, who has a historic career, but this is really off putting for me. The song seems like too much for her, and the connection isn’t really there. She seems to struggle and is more fighting in order to be heard singing. It’s a shame, considering it’s a fine rock song with some Italian style to it, but just overall weak.”

James – 3 – “”Pazza” is Meredith Brooks’s “Bitch” with cheesy synthesizers and what sounds like your drunken Aunt Linda at karaoke night at that pub in the moors in “American Werewolf in London.” She’s had more hit songs in her storied career than I have had hot dinners, but this pop rock anthem about being a tempestuous lover is not one of her highlights. Her vocals are a bit ropey, and words should be had with her hairstylist and outfit designer. This is one of the occasions where things did not quite work out for a returning legend.”

Tyler – 5.5 – “This is fine! I like Loredana and think she’s Italian Royalty that should get the chance to go to Eurovision, but with a song that really shows the talent she has. “Pazza” is okay, I’m not wowed by it, and the song doesn’t do enough to show off her star power. It’s a Mid Song, and I’d only be excited for her to go to Eurovision, not for her song (if that makes sense).”

Yehonatan – 4 – “I don’t get this song at all. It seems to be getting a lot of attention and it just sounds very generic, and very similar to a lot of other entires San Remo in general.”

Total: 13.5

Average: 3.375

Geolier – “I P’ Me, Tu P’ Te”

David – 7 – “Very cool and modern. It’s actually a very unique sound and style to this song, which I find so interesting, but on the other, it’s also very cold and still, and I’m not fully convinced either by Geolier’s performance, which seems very simplistic. In conclusion, a lot to offer, but not taking proper advantage of it.”

James – 2 – “Is breath heavy rap now a thing? “For me For you” is a wheezy rap exercise that is uninteresting. If this song wins Sanremo and goes to Eurovision, we will have a nominee for the most boring song to ever “grace” the Eurovision stage. A lot of YouTube comments praise this for being a localized Italian entry (Geolier hails from Naples), but so what. Denmark entered a Faroese song and Portugal an Angolan and neither fared well because geography on its own means nowt.”

Tyler – 4.5 – “I want to be impressed with this song considering that this is the first time I think I’ve seen Geolier perform live and…the autotune/vocoder situation doesn’t do anything to make me like this song. The performance seems pretty generic, just walking around on stage emoting and doesn’t have a moment for me to hold onto. It’s okay!”

Yehonatan – 4.5 – “Another CBDIMW (Club beat dramatic instruments & melodically weak) song let’s go.”

Total: 18.0

Average: 4.50

Alessandra Amoroso – “Fino a Qui”

David – 2 – “A heavy hitting song, and not in a good way. A slow ballad, which keeps it very down to earth, and for me, that’s very hard to listen to. A strong vocal indeed, which I can respect, but the overall interest is absolutely not there. My care is completely missing, and eventually I’m not even sure exactly what to say.”

James – 5 – “The lyrics to this ballad remind me of a quote I may have misheard from the Stephen Chow comedy “King of Beggars” – “You are an ant that I drive by in my Mercedes while I pick my nose.” I don’t expect Hong Kong ‘90s nihilism in my Sanremo entries, and I doubt this is what Alessandra is going for. I am doubly disheartened because I noticed I am more than ten years older than her. Get a grip, girl! You and Stephen Chow are leaving us too soon. Let’s all team up with Chow’s muse Karen Mok on this Lunar New Year weekend and stop the long falls you sing about in this fairly sad song.”

Tyler – 4.5 – “”Fino a qui” is a cute song! Do I think this will set the world on fire? Not really! This song seems like stereotypical Sanremo fodder in that there’s a sweeping orchestra that seems to give more weight to the song and the performance, but the song itself feels generic that it will leave my brain as soon as the performance is over.”

Yehonatan – 8 – “A very dreamy ballad that ticks all the boxes for me, it’s a little bit derivative of a lot of Italian ballads, but Alessandra has such a unique voice that distinguishes it from the rest.”

Total: 19.5

Average: 4.875

Angelina Mango – “La Noia”

David – 9 – “DAMN! I can not describe, how much this actually put a smile on, with wicked and crazy melody. Angelina killing it both lyrically and vocally. The hypnotic sound of the song. There is so much going on in this song, and I am absolutely going to comeback for more, since it’s just one of those song that keeps giving something different every time you hear it.”

James – 9 – “There’s something fundamentally old-fashioned about this entry, despite Angelina’s rapping, that makes me fear this song’s chances should it grace the stage in Malmo. It’s simultaneously modern and retro, and couldn’t be any more Italian if it was a ham leg you stuck in a monastery cave and aged. “La noia” is great fun and can cajole the dead into singing and dancing along. And I have not said that about an Italian entry in quite some time.”

Tyler – 6 – “”La noia” is pretty catchy! I know it’s purely just the Sanremo format so staging is almost non-existent, but I needed much more from Angelina during the performance than leaning back and forth into the camera. This song could be a lot of fun with it being uptempo and could dance to, but I needed much more.”

Yehonatan – 10 – “What a cultural reset would it be if Angelina won San Remo. Her style reminds of an Italian version of Rosalià which hooks you immediately from the first note of the song, and we absolutely need that on the Eurovision stage.”

Total: 34.0

Average: 8.50

The Kolors – “Un Ragazzo Una Ragazza”

David – 5 – “This one get’s REALLY groovy, a part of me just wonders, but another part can’t deny that it’s kinda catchy. Well performed vocally and very clear, which benefits the song a lot, which makes it more reachable and understandable. I am however, still doubtful about what I properly think about the song, but I can’t deny it completely.”

James – 8 – “A pop of color here with some funk and Italian disco influences, with lyrics about hooking up rather than the protagonist brooding over a tempestuous relationship gone wrong that we usually hear at Sanremo. Extra points for the singer being called Stash, and for delivering a charismatic and fun performance. It’s a pity Sanremo is not the venue where that break inviting an audience clap-along would work.”

Tyler – 5 – “The Kolors has a good aesthetic that I think would get them votes, even if the Elvis vibes are too outdated for me to get behind. If “Un ragazzo, una ragazza” was to be a bigger hit as a performance, then vocals and staging needs to be worked on. This entry has potential, but there’s too much going against it (mostly needs more experience under their belt) to rate this too highly. Could be a lot better and I’m curious to see what their next Sanremo entry will be.”

Yehonatan – 6.5 – “The 80s seem to strom the Italian music scene, it’s like the 2021 ESC season hit them only now, 3 years later. The song is quite refreshing for Italy but gets a bit too repetative too quickly.”

Total: 24.5

Average: 6.125

Il Volo – “Capolavoro”

David – 2 – “The boys doing, what they do best. That’s the best way I can personally describe it, but sadly, I’ve never cared nor been into these grand opera styled songs. Instead, the question becomes, do I care for the song at all, not at all, so I’m basically left with nothing really to say. The only positive is their incredible voices.”

James – 5 – “Il Volo, Inc. has crafted yet another one of their palatable Italian ballads that are safe to play for the NPR / PBS crowd who flock to see them in places like Thousand Oaks and Fort Lauderdale. It’s perfectly fine for a concert after a meal at a regional James Beard nominee restaurant that boasts both locally sourced farm to table cuisine with Italian influences yet flies in expensive Italian ingredients at the same time, and is still somehow only slightly better than Olive Garden. I could tell you more details about this song, but it would sound like I’m describing the seat warming features on a Volvo. Soothing for a pleasant drive home, but nothing more.”

Tyler – 4 – “It’s a mid version of “Grande amore”, and if you already didn’t like their 2015 entry, then you won’t like “Capolavoro” sorry! I don’t think this song will set the world on fire, and if this gets voted to go to Sweden, then it’s going to place either bottom half or get a top ten finish because of Il Volo lust I guess? I didn’t care for this at all but it might have sounded nice?”

Yehonatan – 5 – “This entry isn’t as harmonically interesting as ‘Grande Amore’, which makes this song much less competitive and memorable. I wanted the song to be epic and anthemic, but unfortunately it didn’t deliver on that.”

Total: 16.0

Average: 4.0

BigMama – “La Rabbia Non Ti Basta”

David – 4 – “We all know the saying, it’s not over until the fat lady sings. In this case, I do disagree, everything is rather still very much open. This mama brings energy to the song, but she just doesn’t deliver it really. Vocally, it’s rather poor actually, meanwhile musically, it is rather catchy. I just feel, I’m far from being interested in the song.”

James – 8.5 – “I struggle to articulate why I like this so much. It hits most of the markers of a song I want to celebrate – it has a positive message, the artist is a solid vocalist but is not a showboater, it’s modern but universal enough for even auld geezers to appreciate it. If BigMama makes it to Eurovision, this song will be the oddball dark horse that could place anywhere.”

Tyler – 8 –  “OMG a performance with actual personality that makes me feel something! Just imagine this on the Eurovision stage with actual staging. This would do so well! I liked BigMama’s singing a lot once we got past the intro, so working on that and focusing more on the dance music would be good. I think she has such potential, so I’m rooting for BigMama to win Sanremo and will be disappointed when she places 21st for unexplainable reasons.”

Yehonatan – 4.5 – “It’s a club song without a strong enough chorus and melodic line, which make it get lost and forgotten in the mix very easily.”

Total: 25.0

Average: 6.25

Ricchi e Poveri – “Ma Non Tutta La Vita”

David – 7 – “If I had to describe “passion”, then this song is a perfect example. A legendary group, who have entertained for decades, and still carry that passion and power. Maybe this song is a bit too serious and dramatic for my liking, but I absolutely can’t deny the performic power of Ricchi e Poveri, absolutely wonderful.”

James – 8 – “It’s 54 years since Ricchi e Poveri’s debut at Sanremo and 46 since their Eurovision tilt, but you wouldn’t think it was that long with this party track. This is the sort of veteran track we all look forward to every year at Sanremo. This is not so much Dylan Thomas’s “rage against the dying of the light” but a ‘70s Italian disco version of Andrew W.K.’s “Party Hard.””

Tyler – 6.5 – “”Ma non tutta la vita” was cute! I loved the opening image of the two singers being in a giant red bow to reveal….the outfits we could already peek that was under it lol. AND there were offstage dancers in bows? I love how this got the audience up on its feet, but this is mostly a cute song to me than anything amazing.”

Yehonatan – 8 – “First of all, I applaud Ricchi E Poveri for entering the selection at their age. And to do it with an actual banger? Good for them! It feels authentic, they are doing a modern production of a song that could inherently be a 70s entry, and I’m all in for it.”

Total: 29.5

Average: 7.375

Emma – “Apnea”

David – 4 – “A powerful and energetic performance, which fits the style of the song, being heavily electronic and hyper in sound. Unfortunately, it does come out quite flat for me, Emma can deliver, but her vocal doesn’t quite sell it for me, when compared to the rhythmic sound of the song. Composition wise, if nice, but much could also be changed.”

James – 3 – “I am not sure if Emma knows what apnea is, or at least doesn’t know how to deploy it as a metaphor. Sure, Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” is lyrically what she’s going for, but sudden shortness of breath while sleeping? And if you’re short of breath, do you pant repeatedly? This is a clunky set of metaphors, like saying imbibing your love is like cholera. Or your love is an itch like chicken pox. If the CDC has a department to deal with it, don’t use it as a metaphor for your love song.”

Tyler – 6.5 – “”Apnea” is another competent song! Emma is a good performer and she’s trying very hard to sell this song that is mostly just super basic. The dance beat in the background is okay and doesn’t make this song a banger. Emma sings the song well, but the entire composition itself isn’t nearly enough to make me a true fan and want her to return.”

Yehonatan – 4.5 – “Emma seems to be trying a lot of different styles as of recent years, and it’s very interesting to hear. It’s a bit too weak melodically and unmemorable but overall not bad.”

Total: 18.0

Average: 4.5

Francesca Renga and Nek – “Pazzo Di Te”

David – 2 – “Two grand voices, there’s no denying that, but also a very heavy and rather depressing sound. It doesn’t help either, that my interest disappears along with the song, as it goes on. I would honestly that ignore this, but still acknowledge the vocal range these lads have.”

James – 4 – “When I saw the artists’ names, I thought of the great Beef on weck sandwich from Buffalo, New York. Not that they made me hungry, but that this ballad with generic romantic similes (“love is like [insert platitude here]”) makes my attention drift.”

Tyler – 4.5  “Pazzo di te” is admittedly not my thing. I’m not drawn to male duets in Sanremo at all, especially when the song is all about good vocals and the song just means nothing to me. At the end of the song, it seemed like there could have been a moment for the two performers to connect to each other, but nah, they’re bros. This song meant nothing to me, but sounded decent so.

Yehonatan – 4.5 – “Perhaps listening to the songs in alphabetical order of the singer was a mistake, because now all of the Uninspired Male Ballads are stuck together. Because this one is leaning more towards the rock ballad side I’ll give it some bonus points.”

Total: 15.0

Average: 3.75

After our second batch of songs, a new leader in ESC United’s rankings emerges! Angelina Mango now leads the Sanremo pack with an average of 8.5. The Day 4 winner of Geolier is very low in our pack, but we shall see this evening if Italy agrees with our assessment or, like always, we pick wrong and our 3rd pick gets chosen again.

  1. Angelina Mango – “La Noia” – 34.0 (Average = 8.50)
  2. Mahmood – “Tuta gold” – 31.5 (Average = 7.875)
  3. Annalisa – “Sinceramente” – 29.5 (Average = 7.375) * Median = 7.75
  4. Ricchi e Poveri – “Ma Non Tutta La Vita” – 29.5 (Average = 7.375) * Median = 7.5
  5. Fiorella Mannoia – “Mariposa” – 27.0 (Average = 6.75)
  6. BigMama – “La Rabbia Non Ti Basta” – 25.0 (Average = 6.25)
  7. The Kolors – “Un Ragazzo Una Ragazza” – 24.5 (Average = 6.125)
  8. Ghali – “Casa mia” – 23.5 (Average = 5.875)
  9. Clara – “Diamanti Grezzi” – 22.5 (Average = 5.625)
  10. Irama – “Tu no” – 21.5 (Average = 5.375)
  11. Diodato – “Ti muovi” – 20.0 (Average = 5.0)
  12. Alessandra Amoroso – “Fino a Qui” – 19.5 (Average = 4.875)
  13. Geolier – “I P’ Me, Tu P’ Te” – 18.0 (Average = 4.50) * Median = 4.50
  14. Emma – “Apnea” – 18.0 (Average = 4.50) * Median = 4.25
  15. La Sad – “Autodistruttivo” – 16.5 (Average = 4.125)
  16. Il Volo – “Capolavoro” -16.0 (Average = 4.0)
  17. Sangiovanni – “Finiscimi” – 15.5 (Average = 3.875)
  18. Francesca Renga and Nek – “Pazzo Di Te” – 15.0 (Average = 3.75)
  19. Loredana Berte – “Pazza” – 13.5 (Average = 3.375)
  20. Negramaro – “Ricominciamo tutto” – 11.5 (Average = 2.875)

Come back shortly as we review the third and final batch of Sanremo hopefuls.

Do #YOU agree with our reviewers’ assessments? Which artist are #YOU rooting for? Let us know in the comments below, on our social media, or in our forum.

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