X-Factor, Sanremo, and now Eurovision…Marco Mengoni for Italy
This weekend marked the culmination of the 63rd annual Sanremo Music Festival, one of the most enduring traditions in Italian pop music (and generally accepted to be the inspiration for Eurovision as we know it today). For five nights, fourteen established artists (with two songs apiece) and eight fresh faces took the stage at the Ariston Theatre, all hoping to strike it big with the Italian public. And, for one, a special jury would award the chance to move on to Eurovision.
This year, for the first time since 1997, the overall winner of the Sanremo Festival also won the ticket to Eurovision. Congratulations go out to 24-year-old Marco Mengoni, who took the victory with ” L’essenziale”.
Something to keep in mind is that the Italian representative, even though they are chosen via the Sanremo system, are not bound to the song that they performed there. While 2011 artist Raphael Gualazzi chose to stick with “Follia d’Amore/Madness of Love“, 2012 singer Nina Zilli swapped her Sanremo entry “Per Sempre” for “L’Amore È Femmina (Out Of Love)“, another track on her newest album. It appears most likely that Mengoni will change his song by the time that the entries are locked up in March.
Marco, a native of Ronciglione (about an hour north of Rome), came to fame as the winner of the third season of Italy’s edition of “The X-Factor“. The next year, he took part in the 60th Sanremo Festival with the song “Credimi Ancora“, coming in a respectable third place. That same year, the voters of MTV Europe voted him “Best European Act”, beating such notables as Enrique Iglesias, Inna, and Dima Bilan. He has racked up a handful of Top Five hits in his homeland, and has been touring actively throughout Italy.
Marco wasn’t the only notable name at Sanremo this year. Coming in third place this year was 2011 runners-up Modà with “Se si potesse non morire“, and Raphael Gualazzi returned to Sanremo for the first time since his win at the Newcomers Division. His performance of “Sai (Ci Basta un Sogno)” merited a fifth place finish.