Alrighty then, it is the day of Sanremo, and plenty of national selections are a-stirring. However, which one of those is as iconic as the Sanremo Music Festival, the very contest that Eurovision was modeled after?

All 24 Big Acts were released on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 and Wednesday, February 5, 2020, and Daniel, James, and Roy have reviewed them.

In a few hours, we shall know who has won the 70th edition of this hallowed festival and who (most likely) will be going on to represent Italy at Eurovision 2020 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

And on that note, in order of reveal at the Sanremo, here is PART THREE of our reviews. (Here is the link to PART ONE and the link to PART TWO.)

A couple disclaimers first:

  • At the time of review, the list of the 16 acts out of 24 who have announced they will definitely go on to Eurovision should they win Sanremo was not revealed. (Update: Nor would we know Bugo e Morgan would be disqualified for their handbags at dawn strop on Friday night.)
  • None of the reviewers are Italian, and as such may not be aware of any controversies surrounding any of the acts.
  • The reviews are of those of the quoted reviewer and not of ESC United, the EBU, Eurovision.

Pinguini Tattici Nucleari – “Ringo Starr”

Daniel – 9 – “This is a jam and a half. It is an upbeat rock song with a lot of personality. Their styling and delivery is among the most impactful in the entire competition. There is undeniable charm and spunk that makes you feel that this song is familiar. By the end of the song, the rhythm is so ingrained that you can almost sing-along, even after the first hear. I think this song has so much potential and it is a fun bop to really illuminate the competition.”

James – 9 – “For a song called “Ringo Starr” by a group named Nuclear Tactical Penguins, this is a lot better than I thought it would be. It’s an up tempo indie-pop rocker punctuated by rapid fire brass instruments and led by a quirky (but not overly so) vocalist and one hell of a hook. I want to say the chorus is “In a world of John and Paul I am Ringo Starr,” which is a great sell to a fandom such as Eurovision’s where the more outspoken feel like they don’t quite fit in and get mocked for it. This entry stands out and is quite a grower, and probably the entry at Sanremo alongside Elodie whose song seems crafted specifically for Eurovision.”

Roy – 7 – “My 7’s and up I wouldn’t mind seeing at Eurovision. This could be really fun although I am not a fan of songs using other artists in their choruses/titles. The live vocals could be better too, but the song is actually a lot of fun and well written. To me it is one of the most complete songs in the contest. It needs a bit of tweaking and a bit of a better staging too, but it could be a fun little song on Eurovision. Certainly an option for me, not the best though.”

Total: 25 (Average = 8.33)

Tosca – “Ho Amato Tutto” 

Daniel – 9 – “Wow a beautiful song, like a toned-down cabaret love song (that was a lot of adjectives). The way she sings the song is so intimate and moving, you can feel the love that she proclaims. While not what we traditionally think of a wow moment, the build helps bring the song to life, the instruments emerge and it becomes an even more mystical experience. This song is so magnificent, it gave me goosebumps kind of like Portugal 2017.”

James – 8.5 – “Sounds like something we’d get in Portugal’s national selection. This is a slower, melancholic, piano driven ballad. These always sound sadder, and more painful, the older the songbird (I am guessing Tosca is around 45 – 50?). Tosca paints a beautiful picture with her voice, and I have the most rudimentary understanding of Italian (almost all food names and Real Housewives of New Jersey slang). I know I have complained about great singers on simple tracks at Sanremo, but this is how you do it – an experienced and world-weary singer extruding maximum emotion on top of a simpler jazz piano track.”

Roy – 2 – “You can hear the woman can sing, but she doesn’t show it enough and the melody of the song does nothing particularly special either. This does absolutely nothing for me and is very tough to remember even while the song is going, let alone after all of the other songs were performed.”

Total: 19.5 (Average = 6.5)

Francesco Gabbani – “Viceversa”

Daniel – 8 – “As you can imagine with such a personality like Francesco Gabbani, this song has so much charisma and spunk. It definitely is more on the line of cute than powerful but it still has an undeniable charm to the composition. You can see that he feels the music when he sings, and it builds quite well, which acts as a good foil to the youthful whistling. While this song will not top the love I had for Occidentali’s Karma, it still needs to be recognized for it being such a wonderful creation.”

James – 7 – “I’m sorry, but Gabbani is an Italian favorite I like but don’t get too excited about. He’s got charisma, he knows how to work the stage and encourage crowd participation, and his songs generally seem upbeat in tone. There’s just other entries whose compositions are more original or whose singers blow me away more. Would be welcome at Eurovision again? Absolutely, especially in a year where several countries are threatening emo entries and cheap Duncan clones (looking at you, Estonia). But do I think Italy has better entries? Yes.”

Roy – 6.5 – “Look, we all know his previous songs were better and that he already went to Eurovision. Naturally I should dislike this song since I’m not a fan of returning artists, but the song is quite decent. It starts of very tame and maybe even a bit boring. Towards the end he goes back to his lovely self and he fully carries this song to higher levels. Gabbani truly shows how good of an artist he is, because an average artist would just sing the song and end up with a 4-5. Nahh Gabbani is THE man and gives us an epic performance, the song isn’t anything exciting, but it isn’t bad either.”

Total: 21.5 (Average = 7.17)

Paolo Jannacci – “Voglio Parlarti Adesso” 

Daniel – 6 – “This is a pretty ensemble full of emotion and lovely camera work. I will say it is not the most exciting song in the competition, and as opposed to some of the other ballads, I was not as captivated by the content or the vocals. It still has a great wow moment after his long note, followed by the instrumental solo. I think I am conflicted because I both like it and feel meh about it.”

James – 6.5 – “Another old school Italian jazz special, though I am still trying to figure out this guy’s schtick. Is he a jaded but optimistic Alfa Romeo finance manager eyeing out a travelling businesswoman at an airport bar? This is good, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a reticence to his act that has me wondering if it’s deliberate or he has a case of nerves at Sanremo. I do want to know the story, but we’re in a song contest where you’re kind of dead in the water if your audience has to Google your lyrics and analyze them. There’s a couple of singers here who give you the gist of their entry a lot better without you understanding the language.”

Roy – 2.5 – “This just failed to capture my attention from the start and never really got me back in. His voice I quite good, but the overall performance isn’t something to get excited about. It is the typical Ran Remo filler that won’t win.”

Total: 15 (Average = 5)

Rancore – “Eden”

Daniel – 7 – “A socially conscious rap, that is a sub-genre that tends to do well at San Remo. It has a lot of interesting elements, let us start with the good things. I love the contrast between his rap and classical instrumentation. I like his message of social consciousness and really the instrumentation throughout. I did not like that robotic voice in the transition to the chorus. I find the chorus a little out of the place, like a Latin-infused moment in a classical-rap song, it just seemed cool but off, you know. I still have to give him props for his craft.”

James – 7 – “Rancore has decent flow for a rapper, but he went and ruined it with them vocal effects and that weird occasional Latin American punctuation at the chorus and the gunshot noises he makes. YouTube commentators stress philosophical themes to his lyrics, and Rancore’s official video does to a degree, even if I am more reminded of Assassin’s Creed than Plato’s The Cave and H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine.  This seems like a Sanremo entry that doesn’t have much potential to export due to the importance of the lyrics, and the one memorable hook we have grates after a while.”

Roy – 8 – “This is really great, I have a clear top 3 in San Remo this year and this is one of them. I hear Iraq and Syria so I guess this is about war topics? This makes the “Krah Krah Krah” sound even better and makes it more fitting. This song has a lot of energy and it could even be a great successor to Mahmood. Italian is just such a fantastic language to rap in and I hope they give more songs like this a chance. I love this and would love to see this winning, we will see what Italy thinks though… (demoscopic gave it 11th which is WTF x10) The song is memorable and Rancore performs it really well too. Lovely lovely lovely!”

Total: 22 (Average = 7.33)

Junior Cally – “No Grazie” 

Daniel – 5 – “This is a rap rock combo that brings in an interesting perspective to the contest. I like how expressive he is and the variety of instrumentation genres. Now the song specifically, it truly is not my favorite and I think that is because of the chorus (the pre-chorus and verses are pretty good), it is just so basic and repetitive. The song has a slight identity crisis, one that does not necessarily hurt the delivery, but still muddles its categorization: rock, rap, techno, classical violins, anthems, it is a lot, but at least it is somewhat entertaining.”

James – 5 – “Sounds like I walked into the middle of a slanging match between Junior Cally and some strawman no one outside of Italy will know. He says he won’t abide by the politically correct but he’s also center-left and not a racist? That’s fine, sure, but this is way too parochial for Eurovision. He’s entitled to his opinion, but the opinions are for an argument most Eurovision fans know little about in the context of Italy. He may as well be rapping about homestead policies in Iowa as far as we’re all concerned. Just leave this one in Italy to sort out, or translate your lyrics into English and make your concerns more recognizable to Europeans at large. Nice use of percussion, though. Pity the “no no no no no no grazie” gets repeated a billion times as well.”

Roy – 7 – “This has a lot of energy, but it may be one of those songs that could fall flat on a Eurovision stage. It is really fun in this selection and I truly hope it will do well. How this got last on night 2 is beyond me and baffles me beyond believe. It is like they either desperately don’t want a song that sounds a little modern or they don’t want rap to win San Remo. Last year Mahmood was also in the bottom group after the first show and this year literally all of the Rap songs are ranked quite low after night one.”

Total: 17 (Average = 5.67)

Giordana Angi – “Come Mia Madre”

Daniel – 7 – “This song could not be more Italian pop if it wanted to. A raspy, beautiful voice, a good chunk in that spoken word format, epic instrumentation, and a song about family. I mean I think this song is nice, she is charismatic and delivers the song well. It might be that this song is just so similar to a lot of the other songs that I am having a slightly more difficult time connecting with it, but on structure alone, it is pretty good.”

James – 7 – “Another powerful, emotive ballad, but this time from a younger woman who has a maturity (in attitude, stage presence, and voice) that belies her age. This one actually works better with a live orchestra as the production on the studio version is a bit meh, a simple pop track with some cheap tricks (“Ghost cat!”) thrown in and the mix (somehow) buries her powerful voice. Angi really comes alive and her voice is grand on stage. Pity the track is middling and feels like it’s trying to constrain her.”

Roy – 3.5 – “This song took waaaaay too long to go somewhere. At first listen I gave this a lot lower because I was getting bored quickly, but I realised that wasn’t fair quickly. Her voice is really good and the ending of the song is quite good. It is building and building and she has the signature Italian voice that screams, but sounds lovely simultaneously. Maybe just a better overall song next time!”

Total – 17.5 (Average = 5.83)

Michele Zarrillo – “Nell’Estasi O Nel Fango” 

Daniel – 8 – “This is one of those songs that start very Italian (by now we all know what that means) but transitions to a more soft chorus that works very beautiful. I see this song being a low-key favorite of many because it has a little bit of everything for everyone. It has the hard, Italian rocky intro, it features strings pretty prominently, and, as mentioned before, the chorus is pretty melodic and easy to sing-along. I think this song has a great variety and an impactful emotion within.”

James – 6 – “What is Italian for Coldplay? No idea, but that’s what this track reminds me of. I know this guy’s something of an elder statesman of Sanremo, so I don’t mean any disrespect with the Coldplay comment. But that’s the fandom he’s playing to here with this adult contemporary rock song that only feels right played while driving an Alfa Romeo Stelvio. Simple riffs, a nice hook, it chugs along at a nice mid-tempo pace, but as with the Stelvio, there’ll be better examples from other countries in this class.”

Roy – 3.5 – “Yeah, I don’t know. I feel like his voice doesn’t fully do this song justice. It feels like he needs to do too much effort to sound good and it shows in the performance. In the Chorus his song completely fades and it sounds a bit like an old Coldplay-wannabe. I can see this having some fans, but it just isn’t for me.”

Total: 17.5 (Average = 5.83)

Now then, who is ranked where after our third and final round of reviews?

  1. Elodie – “Andromeda” – 26.5 (Average = 8.83)
  2. Pinguini Tattici Nucleari – “Ringo Starr” – 25 (Average = 8.33)
  3. Diodato – “Fai Rumore” – 24.5 (Average = 8.17)
  4. Raphael Gualazzi – “Carioca” – 22.5 (Average = 7.5)
  5. Rancore – “Eden” – 22 (Average = 7.33)
  6. Francesco Gabbani – “Viceversa” – 21.5 (Average = 7.17)
  7. Anastasio – “Rosso Di Rabbia” – 20.5 (Average = 6.83)
  8. Le Vibrazioni – “Dov’è” – 20 (Average = 6.67)
  9. Marco Masini – “Il Confronto” – 19.5 (Average = 6.5) *
  10. Tosca – “Ho Amato Tutto” – 19.5 (Average = 6.5)
  11. Levante – “Tikibombom” – 19 (Average = 6.33)*
  12. Rita Pavone – “Niente (Resilienza 74)” – 19 (Average = 6.33)
  13. Irene Grandi – “Finalmente Io” – 18.5 (Average = 6.17)
  14. Bugo e Morgan – “Sincero” – 18 (Average = 6)*
  15. Enrico Nigiotti – “Baciami Adesso” – 18 (Average = 6)
  16. Giordana Angi – “Come Mia Madre” – 17 (Average = 5.83) *
  17. Michele Zarrillo – “Nell’Estasi O Nel Fango” – 17 (Average = 5.83)
  18. Junior Cally – “No Grazie” – 17 (Average = 5.67) *
  19. Alberto Urso – “Il Sole Ad Est” – 17 (Average = 5.67)
  20. Piero Pelù – “Gigante” – 16 (Average = 5.33)
  21. Paolo Jannacci – “Voglio Parlarti Adesso” – 15 (Average = 5)
  22. Riki – “Lo Sappiamo Entrambi” – 14 (Average = 4.67)
  23. Achille Lauro – “Me Ne Frego” – 13.5 (Average = 4.5)
  24. Elettra Lamborghini – “Musica (E Il Resto Scompare)” – 9 (Average = 3)

*Lower spread is used as a tie-breaker on the reasoning that the closer to the mean, the less divisive the opinion of the song.

In our editor poll, Elodie wins with “Andromeda,” and some tactical nuclear penguins blast their way into second, with Diodato coming in third with “Fai Rumore.” Eurovision 2011 runner-up Raphael Gualazzi sneaks into fourth with “Carioca” and Rancore props up the Top 5 with “Eden.” Will the final spots of Sanremo reflect these views when results are released later tonight?

Do #YOU agree with our editors’ reviews so far? Share your thoughts below, in our forum, or in the comments below.

Like our content? Consider supporting us on Patreon HERE to help us continue our work to bring the contest to #YOU!

Load More Related Articles
Load More By James Maude
Load More In 2020
Comments are closed.

Check Also

Dispatch From The 215 – A Philadelphia Native Reviews Junior Songfestival 2020

The below editorial features the opinions and views of the authors and do not necessarily …