This editorial is written from the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of the other editors, the EBU or escYOUnited as a whole.
A year ago in Kyiv, right after the announcement of the 2018 Semi-Final 2 qualifiers, I found myself with the head of the San Marino delegation and Director General of San Marino RTV taking a written statement about their skepticism for participating in Eurovision 2018. However, as we enter the 2018 season, we find San Marino once again in the mix. Furthermore, there is a buzz related to San Marino’s participation as they are working with 1in360.com to conduct a worldwide search for their artist, all via the Internet and Social Media. How fitting for the country that had Valentina Monetta sing “The Social Network Song” in 2012.
So what can be said about this announcement? First, San Marino was a country that was written off early on when it came to participation in Eurovision 2018. But with them, the number of participants confirmed by host broadcaster RTP is at 43, which will match the record numbers from 2008 and 2011. So although the 2018 edition may be on the cheaper spectrum when it comes to production costs, the record-tying participation numbers should be a welcome sign for fans.
Second, although many countries have utilized the internet and social media to assist in the selection process, San Marino RTV dives in a little deeper. Despite their concerns about whether there is a place for micro-states in Eurovision, San Marino RTV wants to be exhaustive in all their attempts. In the past, they had sought the guidance of legendary Eurovision alum such as Ralph Siegel. They had used the popular strategy of selecting a returning artist such as Valentina Monetta (as well as their alum from Junior Eurovision in 2015). With the advent of social media in the past decade, their decision is a smart one. San Marino lacks the artist body that other countries such as Russia and Sweden hold. This novel project may be even more ambitious as the selection process is on a global versus national scale. Some may argue the parallels to Switzerland’s previous process, but San Marino RTV steps up to the plate. And in the process, it serves as an ingenious strategy to attract attention among all 43 competing countries
So now that things are set and planned, we can only wait. Will San Marino RTV get worthy submissions? Will a fair and unbiased selection take place? After all, many question the 5 Euro submission fee or whether we will simply see Valentina selected in the end for attempt #5. But take into account that this is San Marino, a country that will likely be one of the smallest to have ever competed in Eurovision; a country who some might believe may be at a disadvantage due its size. But give credit to San Marino RTV: their Eurovision story could have simply ended that night in Kyiv as I took their written statement. Instead, they continue to persevere, as they continue brainstorming and piloting new strategies for finding a place for micro-states in Eurovision.
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