Live from the Teatro Ariston, the Sanremo Music Festival began this evening!

The epic five-night competition to choose the best Italian song from a mix of established artists and emerging acts is not officially a national final for the Eurovision Song Contest, but the winner will get the first right of refusal to participate in the contest in May.

Our main host for the week is Amadeus, the artistic director of Sanremo who is hosting for the fourth year in a row. He was joined tonight by co-host Gianni Morandi and influencer Chiara Ferragni.

After a spirited tribute to the Italian Constitution on its 75th anniversary – for which Italian president Sergio Mattarella was in attendance – the competition got under way and the first 14 artists showcased their songs for the first time.

On the first two nights of Sanremo, the audience is given a ranking of the competing artists as decided by the press – a three-part jury consisting of representatives from TV & print media, radio, and online media. At the end of tonight’s show, the ranking of the 14 acts was:

  1. Marco Mengoni – Due vite 
  2. Elodie – Due
  3. Coma_Cose – L’addio
  4. Ultimo – Alba 
  5. Leo Gassmann – Terzo cuore
  6. Mara Sattei – Duemilaminuti
  7. Colla Zio – Non mi va 
  8. I Cugni di Campagna – Lettera 22 
  9. Mr. Rain – Supereroi 
  10. Gianluca Grignani – Quando ti manca il fiato
  11. Ariete – Mare di guai
  12. Gianmaria – Mostro
  13. Olly – Polvere 
  14. Anna Oxa – Sali (canto dell’anima)

Currently, Marco Mengoni is in the lead!

You may remember Marco Mengoni as the winner of Sanremo 2013. He placed 7th in the Eurovision Grand Final that year with the song “L’essenziale”.

Other moments and highlights

Partway through the show, we saw the return of Mahmood & Blanco to the Sanremo stage, performing their winning song “Brividi” together. The duo placed 6th in the Eurovision Grand Final last year in Turin; and Mahmood placed 2nd as a solo act in 2019.

Another notable interval performance came from the rocker Piero Pelù, who participated in Sanremo in 2020 and came in 5th place. Not to be outdone, the legendary pop band Pooh also featured tonight, playing a twenty-minute medley of their 50+ years worth of hits to an adoring crowd. On top of selling over 100 million records throughout their career, they’re relevant to Sanremo as the winners of the 1990 edition.

In the second half of the show, Blanco returned to the stage to perform his new single “Isola delle rose”. Perhaps in the spirit of rock-and-roll, there was a bit of unexpected chaos during his set — as one Sanremo fan on Twitter described it:

In the end, Blanco did not perform a second time.

Allora there you have it — Night 1 of Sanremo! If you haven’t watched Sanremo before and are intrigued, the contest will be airing every night this week at 20:40 on

Do #YOU agree with the press ranking of tonight’s acts? Did we hear the winner of Sanremo tonight? Share your thoughts with us in the comments, at the Forum or @ESCUnited on Twitter!


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