Editorials & Opinion

A look at the 2016 Sanremo artists

RAI revealed the twenty names competing in the 2016 Sanremo Festival earlier today. Despite not knowing any of the songs, that was plenty of reason for us here at escXtra to take a look at these names. What can we expect from them and who are in with a shot to represent Italy in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest?
Our Italian editor Matteo and I had a little chat about Sanremo and together we came up with a list of people who may have a chance at actually winning the competition. We both agreed that if you’re a Patty Pravo fan, you’re probably going to end up being disappointed. It comes as no surprise that the 67 year old can’t be considered as a frontrunner in February. Nineteen left! So, who are our frontrunners?

Our frontrunners


Annalisa is pretty much the pop princess of Italy who will never become queen. With names such as Laura Pausini and Emma Marrone dominating, it’s hard for Annalisa to join that list. Nevertheless, the 30 year old is a well respected singer with her own sound. It’ll be her third go in Sanremo, after placing ninth in 2013 and coming fourth last year.
All of her four albums have so far made the Italian top 10, but she’s never made it to #1. Will Il Diluvio Universale be her claim for fame?


Matteo disagreed with me on this one, but I think Dolcenera’s music is exactly what RAI will be looking for for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. This is a woman who could bring the contest to Rome (or wherever they’d host). Her live skills are impeccable and her music is very Italian, yet very contemporary.
She’s no stranger to Sanremo, as she won the youth category in 2003 and then went on to participate in 2006, 2009 and 2012. Her 2016 entry is called Ora O Mai Più.
Taking into account that Matteo thinks Dolcenera won’t win Sanremo, but that I think RAI would love to see her in Stockholm, Dolcenera may be the person of choice if the winner of Sanremo declines the opportunity of Eurovision. I, personally, still hope she just wins Sanremo. Below is a more recent single of hers, Fantastica.

Alessio Bernabei

A former Sanremo singer now going solo, sounds like a decent recipe for success. Alessio was in Sanremo 2015 as part of Dear Jack (who, interestingly, are also competing with their new lead singer) and managed to turn that group into quite a big favourite with the Italian public. He’s quite popular and his genre could go down well with the younger public.
There are however a few minor issues here. He’s popular as part of Dear Jack. But he’s not in Dear Jack anymore, so is he still popular enough to get voters on his side? And that’s the least of his worries. During Sanremo 2015, Alessio was off key throughout the song and it only remains to be seen if he gets it right for 2016. If he does, he may well be a frontrunner with Noi Siamo Infinito. It is doubtful whether Dear Jack will make the same impact without Alessio on stage for them.


The timing is great for Noemi. She recently quit being a judge on The Voice of Italy, the show that will conveniently air until the end of April. She left the show and would now have enough time to prepare for Stockholm. Does she know more than we do? Probably not.
2016 will be Noemi’s fourth Sanremo attempt and her record so far is quite good: She never finished outside the top 5, but never higher than third either. Maybe 2016 will be the year where she finally wins Sanremo, this time with La Borsa Di Una Donna. With her voice, she’s in the same category as both Dolcenera and 2014 representative Emma Marrone.


The winner of the 2014 Sanremo Festival is back for another go. After her victory with Controvento, she skipped a year, but now she’s back. As Matteo says, it may be hard for her to win so soon after her 2014 victory.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of her style, but apparently, Italy is quite fond of her.
Like Annalisa, she’s the princess, but winning Sanremo brought her a step closer to the queens. She’s not quite there yet, but a second Sanremo victory and Eurovision fame might help her. It’s hard to predict how her style would do in Stockholm, but then again we don’t know her Guardando Il Cielo yet.


We’ve introduced five names to you that may well be frontrunners for the 2016 Sanremo Festival. There are obviously more names we could’ve put here. Matteo would’ve liked some Valerio Scanu and Lorenzo Fragola here whereas I truly believe the Deborah Iurato & Giovanni Caccamo duet will be excellent.
Annalisa, Arisa, Dolcenera, Noemi and Alessio Bernabei are all well respected artists who all have a unique sound which will surely make Italy a good candidate for Stockholm. The question until February will be whether any of these twenty can come up with a true Eurovision winner to convince both juries and televoting and not just one of them. After Raphael Gualazzi winning the 2011 jury vote and Il Volo winning the 2015 televote, Italy will now be looking for the recipe to get both votes on their side.

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