All opinions expressed in this article are those of the person quoted and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the other team members or ESC United as a whole.

Everybody’s Italian on St. Valentine’s Day! Is that how the saying goes? Well since Sanremo Music Festival 2023 is garnering a lot more interest than Ireland’s Eurosong 2023, it’s definitely going to replace the old “Everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day” slogan from here on out.

With four days gone and the final day about to go down, ESC United sat down four writers to review the performances of the 28 acts entered.

In our three part series, we will each assign scores out of ten and lend our thoughts to each entrant. At the end, we will have a recommendation for who we think should win Sanremo, and should represent Italy at Eurovision 2023 in Liverpool. Though we do have partial scores, they will not influence our scores, so forgive us if we nominate a no-hoper (again).

We have already reviewed and ranked the first and second nine, and representing ESC United for this round of reviews: Our Denmark based Romanian correspondent David Popescu, our Los Angeles based British correspondent James Maude, our Dutch correspondent and vlogger Roy Postema, and our Alaska based Icelanderstan Tyler Griffith. We will be reviewing each entry alphabetically by artist.

Here is the third batch (please note, where applicable, studio versions will be posted due to RAI typically removing live performances as soon as Sanremo is concluded). See the rankings below to see how the 28 songs reviewed thus far stack up and who we crowned as our overall Sanremo winner.

Modà – “Lasciami”

David – 2 – “Straight away, I just feel like I’m not going to enjoy this, because this is one of those heavy touchy Italian ballads, but by a band? I just have certain expectations regarding bands, that at least there is a heavy or maybe a broader use of instruments, but no, it feels very empty and lacking. I’m just not taken anywhere by the song.”

James – 5 – “A bland rock ballad, but with overly dramatic lyrics about leaving him. If you gender swap the lyrics, he’d sound like Blanche Devereaux from The Golden Girls before collapsing on the chaise longue.”

Roy – 6 – “I am not sure if I like Modà’s voice and if it properly suits this song. The orchestration is rather rocky and his voice feels a bit light. Especially in the higher ranges I am not sure if it works. The longer you get into the song, the more you start to simply appreciate it for what it is and it does give some cool old-school rock vibes”

Tyler – 4 – “Eh! I don’t mind a ballad done by a rock-ish looking band as long as said ballad is good and knocks my socks off. To me though, this really wasn’t. I lost interest quickly, the orchestra sounded nice, but Modà felt like an afterthought. Not really original or interesting to me, so I’m already thinking about the next song or what my lunch tomorrow will be. Next!”

Total Points: 17 points (Average = 4.25)

Mr. Rain – “Supereroi”

David – 6 – “I’m quite split, on one hand, you have this VERY cliché move singing about being a “Superhero” with a child choir, but on the other hand, it comes out sincere. I’m kinda bothered by what I see, but not by what I hear. Overall, it’s very a pleasant sound, and since it should be about music, I’ll focus on that mostly.”

James – 5 – “Get off my lawn, kids! The kids play a significant role in this song and I can’t see how this would work at Eurovision unless he knows this is not going to win or he’s turning it down if he does. It’s a sweet, sentimental song, and Mr. Rain is nowhere near the type of dork that the United States and Western Europe have doing children’s songs.”

Roy – 5 – “Pet-peeve alert!! I really hate when they include kids in a song and especially when they have them actually appear on the stage.”

Tyler – 3.5 – “IDK what’s the point of having a children’s choir for Sanremo, but whatever, it’s not their fault they’re trying to carry this clunker of a song. I don’t care for this. The instrumentation and vocals are boring, and I’m not engaged at all with the performance. It’s whatever, I have better things to do, next!”

Total Points: 19.5 points (Average = 4.875)

Olly – “Polvere”

David – 2 – “Oh dear… that autotune is VERY bothering, hard to ignore and heavy use, I don’t know what I’m listening to. If you need the use of autotune throughout the song, I don’t feel the artist is capable with their own voice. Olly does nothing to convince me, only bothering me. It’s a shame, the song has a decent rhythm.”

James – 3 – “The beat is a bit naff and cheap, and the less said about the autotune used for stylistic effect the better.”

Roy – 7 – “I really hate autotune and this song has a lot of it, but I can’t help but deny that this song is an absolute banger! Very fun, very danceable, but I just can’t fully get behind it because of the heavy use of the autotune.”

Tyler – 6.5 – ““Polvere” at least tries to be different with the use of electronica and autotune, but other than that, there isn’t a whole lot else to the performance to me. Olly seems to be a charismatic performer, so that’s always good! But just the performer being cute won’t be enough to take this over the edge. The song itself is fine, that’s it!”

Total points: 18.5 points (Average = 4.625)

Paola e Chiara – “Furore”

David – 3 – “A fun and energetic dance song, with has quite the old school vibe to it as well. As much as I like more energetic song and something with life, I’m quite left empty here. The dance moves aren’t really calling it, and it’s that kind of song that is heard so many times of the decades already, I’m just not really interested.”

James – 7 – “A fun, middle of the road disco song that nods heavily to Italy’s heritage in that genre. Sure, it’s corny and predictable (such as the key change) and screams “aunties night out,” but we do need songs like this to break up the blocks of melodrama and bombast Sanremo normally delivers.”

Roy – 6.5 – “This is how you do a fun disco song that doesn’t take itself too seriously! Sweden tries it a few times and there are plenty of other selections that have similar songs in the running. While never standing out, I do think this is one of the better attempts at the concept. This all comes down to a great execution of Paola and Chiara. Very fun, but it is kind of a line-up filler.”

Tyler – 8.5 – “LOVE this. This song and this performance was camp and exactly what makes it stand out from the Sanremo pack and makes me stan it. The music itself is a forgettable dance bop, but the dancers and the outfits for Paola and Chiara are fantastic and it’s just gay and camp and I love it. I can see this finishing bottom 10 at ESC, but would easily be one of my favorite Italian entries.”

Total Points: 25 points (Average = 6.25)

Rosa Chemical – “Made in Italy”

David – 6 – “What… in… the… world?!?!?! This is just… I don’t even know!!?! I absolutely know that I would hate myself for enjoying this kind of music, but I also know, that eventually I will! This is easily out there and in it’s own space. Maybe a bit to wacky and ridiculous for now, but that can change, let’s just see.”

James – 7.5 – “I used to work for a company that installed Italian wastewater treatment equipment at chemical plants in South Africa. I always argued that dealing with toxic wastewaster qualifies me to comment on Eurovision national selection. Sadly, this song does not deal with hot topics such as the correct temperature to discharge cleaned water into a river, but rather about societal expectations placed on our rapper protagonist Rosa Chemical, who looks like a cross between Gottmik and Yelawolf. Normally an Italian rapper sampling swing music makes me shout louder than all the times I had to yell at workers eating their lunch too close to the cyanide bath, but I find this oddly endearing.”

Roy – 8 – “Now this, is fun! Rosa Chemical is a cool performer who will have you glued to the screen with his charisma and looks. The vocals are well delivered and the song works well with an orchestra too. The best thing about the song is the backing vocalists doing a back and forth with Rosa Chemical singing “Made in Italy” after Rosa sang another line. It’s incredibly effective and it is a wonderful earworm in this year’s line-up. I would love to see this at Eurovision!”

Tyler – 7 – “This song has a big swinging orchestra vibe, as if it’s trying to capture the 1920s flapper era, but the style isn’t as opulent. The best parts were watching the backup singers engage with Rosa in the chorus, but Rosa myself, I wasn’t that big of a fan! I think it’s because his charm and presence speaks to different people than I, so eh!”

Total Points: 28.5 points (Average = 7.125)

Sethu – “Cause perse”

David – 1 – “Great start, life and energy, but poorly executed. The vocals absolutely didn’t impress me and pulled the song down for me. It also felt very much all over the place, and before I could probably understand the song, it’s done. The song being quite short, really didn’t help either.”

James – 6 – “If Jim Carrey’s character from Dumb and Dumber and Rent Boy from Trainspotting formed an Italian pop punk band, they would look like Sethu. The song is also as sloppy as what you’d expect from those fictional characters, but it makes up for it with youthful exuberance (which is highlighted even more when the song has orchestral backing and middle-aged Italian women singing back-up, somehow).”

Roy – 7 – “Sethu is a young performer with a lot of energy. This is very noticeable in the live performance of this song. He jumps all over the stage and perhaps does so a bit too much. His vocals aren’t the best out there because of it either. I do love myself a nice fast-paced song and you can’t help but smile at the performance. Sethu might need a bit more experience to really pack a punch, but he certainly caught my attention to look out for him in the future!”

Tyler – 5 – “The haircut notwithstanding, I think there’s a good concept for “Cause perse” in here that I like. It’s a little punk and the combination with the orchestra too makes the song pop more than I think it would. So yay orchestra! With just the song though, it’s competent and nice, but not mind blowing. It’s fine!”

Total: 19 points (Average = 4.75)

Shari – “Egoista”

David – 4 – “For the few years I’ve watched Sanremo now, we always somehow have that pretty blonde or brunette singing that fun summer hit song, but not Shari. She delivers a well performed and hard-hitting song, with a deep sound to it. It has a slight effect with me, but it’s her delivery of the song, which makes it feel stronger, it gets me a bit, but barely.”

James – 6 – “Another not quite ready for prime time act, but Shari gives it her best and given more confidence and a better song could be a force to be reckoned with in a few years. Right now, the effect is slightly nervous blonde in a giraffe print dress unloading her emotional trauma during a three minute stint at the karaoke bar.”

Roy – 3.5 – “This song with its production is quite decent. Not one of the best, but it most certainly would be enjoyable. The biggest issue is that Shari might be the weakest vocalist of the entire line-up this year. It results in the end-product where the song kind of fails to pack a punch. It makes it a bit forgettable in the batch of songs as well.”

Tyler – 6.5 – “I get a bit of Joss Stone vibes from Shari’s performance, and I quite liked it! I want to know why bother play behind a piano if you’re just going to ditch it immediately and wobble in place, BUT I did like the song itself, and Shari’s vocals were good! With a bit more direction, I think this could have been an even better performance.”

Total Points: 20 points (Average= 5.00)

Tananai – “Tango”

David – 1 – “If I was asked to describe a typical Italian ballad, this song would probably be played. It has all those elements that makes it so fit and perfect for this style, and that’s all great and fine… if’s you’re Italian. I absolutely struggle with these kind of songs, which just goes nowhere and has nothing to offer either.”

James – 5 – “A decent ballad about a man in a tumultuous relationship (“We put on the Police, it was nice until the Police came”… ho ho). So like 50% of the rest of the male songs here then.”

Roy – 6 – “I don’t really know with this one. The differentiation from the verse to the chorus is just very minimal. While Tananai does a good job delivering a decent vocal and it is not bad in any way. It just doesn’t really stick out to me in any way either and the overall production is just a tad lacklustre. Would love to see him back with another attempt with a bit more of an out there production.”

Tyler – 5 – “I wasn’t expecting a song called “Tango” to be a ballad, and despite putting away my expectations, well, maybe perhaps it shouldn’t have been! “Tango” is fine, nothing too special to me. Tananai sings fine enough, but doesn’t stand out to me otherwise. Loved the purple lighting they used at points, but the song was a big meh for me.”

Total Points: 17 points (Average = 4.25)

Ultimo – “Alba”

David – 2 – “Most of the song feels wasted, especially the first half. It takes quite a while before the singing kicks in, instead it sounds like soft talking. It just takes to long, and by the time things start, my interest is long gone. I can respect Ultimo’s vocals, when it finally happens, but again… I’m far lost by that point.”

James – 7.5 – “When it finally gets going, Ultimo hits you with a hammer of a chorus and you are floored. He is also one of Sanremo’s more expressive singers facially and gesturally. You get the sense you could pick up his story from his emotions and gestures alone.”

Roy – 6.5 – “I don’t know, I feel like Ultimo can do better. This entire song feels like an incredibly long build-up to this one epic chorus. While it could be a decent concept, I think it fails to keep your attention for long enough to pull it off effectively enough!”

Tyler – 5.5 – ““Alba” is fine! The orchestra really takes the song over the top to make it memorable, but I don’t care all that much for Ultimo’s vocals, as they easily get lost to me. The performing itself feels kinda derivative for the kind of song that’s being performed, but the entire package is competent enough. I’m not wowed by the singing, just the orchestra, but that can only do so much for me as I’m impresses by tbe orchestra in almost every song, soooooo.”

Total Points: 21.5 points (Average = 5.375)

Will – “Stupido”

David – 3 – “A song that feels like it tries to do a lot, but honestly barely does anything. I’m just left waiting for something grandiose happening and it really doesn’t. Song is quite slow, and never goes further than, I’m stuck thinking barely anything about the song.”

James – 7 – “There’s an earnestness to this you can’t help but love. It reminds me of the boy band pop ballads of the early ’00s that used to be sung by Abercrombie & Fitch wearing guys named… erm… Will. It’s all very wholesome, which is why I am worried this entry would be mugged the second it walks into Liverpool. The lyrics are great in that he is a man who takes responsibility for his own actions and can articulate where he went wrong. I suspect Will has a future at Eurovision and could mature to a Johnny Logan or Zeljko-grade balladeer, but this entry does seem too nice for 2023.”

Roy – 6.5 – “Will is a very likable young guy who delivers a nice poppy song. It’s cute, but it isn’t necessarily ground-breaking. It is very vibey and I like the studio version of the song a bit more than the live performance. Overall it is just a pleasant popballad that isn’t anything out of the ordinary.”

Tyler – 4 – “Will seems like a newcomer to Sanremo or performing on a larger stage in general, so I look forward to a future performance by him with a better song. A song titled “Stupido” is going to have to work extra hard to make me like it, so unfortunately, the song just doesn’t work for me. It sounds at points that Will is just shouting quickly and not really good musically. Again, more experience will make a better performer!”

Total: 20.5 points (Average = 5.125)

*

So after our third and final batch of reviews, Madame is our winner and overall nominee for victory at Sanremo!

1.) Madame – “Il bene ne male” – 33 points (Average = 8.25)

2.) Rosa Chemical – “Made in Italy” – 28.5 points (Average = 7.125)

3.) Colapesce & Dimartino – “Splash” – 28 points (Average = 7.00)

4.) Levante – “Vivo” – 27.5 points (Average = 6.875)

5.) Elodie – “Due” – 27 points (Average = 6.75)

6.) I Cugini di Campagna – “Lettera 22” – 26.5 points (Average = 6.625)

7.) Marco Mengoni – “Due vite” – 26 points (Average = 6.50)

8.) Lazza – “Cenere” – 25 points (Average = 6.25)

== Paola e Chiara – “Furore” – 25 points (Average = 6.25)

10.) Mara Sattei – “Duemilaminuti” – 24 points (Average = 6.00)

11.) Articolo 31 – “Un bel viaggio” – 23.5 points (Average = 5.875)

== Leo Gassmann – “Terzo cuore” 23.5 points (Average = 5.875)

13.) Giorgia – “Parole dette male” – 23 points (Average = 5.75)

14.) Gianmaria – “Mostro” – 22.5 points (Average = 5.625)

15.) Colla Zio – “Non mi va” – 21.5 points (Average = 5.375)

== Ultimo – “Alba” – 21.5 points (Average = 5.375)

17.) Coma_Cose – “L’addio” – 20.5 points (Average = 5.125)

== LDA – “Se poi domani” – 20.5 points (Average = 5.125)

== Will – “Stupido” – 20.5 points (Average = 5.125)

20.) Shari – “Egoista” – 20 points (Average= 5.00)

21.) Mr. Rain – “Supereroi” – 19.5 points (Average = 4.875)

22.) Anna Oxa – “Sali (Canto dell’anima)” – 19 points (Average = 4.75)

== Sethu – “Cause perse” – 19 points (Average = 4.75)

24.) Olly – “Polvere” – 18.5 points (Average = 4.625)

25.) Ariete – “Mare di guai” – 17.5 points (Average = 4.375)

26.) Modà – “Lasciami” – 17 points (Average = 4.25)

== Tananai – “Tango” – 17 points (Average = 4.25)

28.) Gianluca Grignani – “Quando ti manca il fiato” – 13.5 points (Average = 3.375)

 

Who do #YOU want to win Sanremo 2023 and represent Italy at Eurovision 2023 in Liverpool? Let us know in the comments below, on social media, or in our forum or Discord.

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