XTRA Preview & Review: Italy – Sanremo 2018

The national final season will gain its next champions this evening. One of these will be from Italy. Sanremo is one of the longest running musical competitions in the world. This year’s edition sees twenty artists taking part. We’ve taken a look at the entries and the procedure below, so here is the XTRA Preview & Review!

XTRA Preview: Sanremo

This year sees the 68th edition of the Sanremo Music Festival take place. With twenty artists taking part, the Grand Final is due to be a marathon right up to the finish line. Unlike in previous years, there have been no eliminations during the weeknight shows. All the artists have performed their songs several times and have all been scored throughout the process.
Based on the performances so far this week, only three of the competing entries have always been in the “upper third” (blue zone) announced each night. These are Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro, Ron and Max Gazzè.
Tonight’s Final, beginning at 21:10 CET, is expected to end well after midnight. “Non mi avete fatto niente” by Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro is the bookies favourite to win the competition. Lo Stato Sociale and Ron are the tips to round out the podium places.

This year’s competing entries are:

  • Roby Facchinetti & Riccardo Fogli – “Il segreto del tempo”
  • Nina Zilli – “Senza appartenere”
  • The Kolors – “Frida”
  • Diodato & Roy Paci – “Adesso”
  • Mario Biondi – “Rivederti”
  • Luca Barbarossa – “Passame er sale”
  • Lo Stato Sociale – “Una vita in vacanza”
  • Annalisa – “Il mondo prima di te”
  • Giovanni Caccamo – “Eterno”
  • Enzo Avitabile feat. Peppe Servillo – “Il coraggio di ogni giorno”
  • Ornella Vanoni feat. Bungaro & Pacifico – “Imparare ad amarsi”
  • Renzo Rubino – “Custodire”
  • Noemi – “Non smettere mai di cercarmi”
  • Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro – “Non mi avete fatto niente”
  • Le Vibrazioni – “Così sbagliato”
  • Ron – “Almeno Pensami”
  • Max Gazzè – “La leggenda di Cristalda e Pizzomunno”
  • Decibel – “Lettera dal Duca”
  • Red Canzian – “Ognuno ha il suo racconto”
  • Elio e le Storie Tese – “Arrivedorci”

XTRA Review: Sanremo 2018

Annalisa – Il mondo prima di te

Nick: Annalisa delivers what we know she does. It’s a very current and Italian pop song. This works like a Swiss clock. Her voice is lovely, it’s melancholic, it’s relevant. May well be their best choice!
Score: 9.5/10

Miki: Starts off a slowly and builds into a powerful ballad. “Il Mondo Prima Di Te” has an awesome production that makes it sound very polished and complete. Which is refreshing cause we have been getting plenty of entries in other selections that sound almost like demo versions. Annalisa is a confident performer and ties it all together well.
Score: 7.5/10

Tim: Wow, I am very impressed with this song. it is very current, and melancholic at the same time. It may be time that Italy sends a ballad once again
Score: 8/10

Roby Facchinetti & Riccardo Fogli – Il segreto del tempo

Nick: The epitome of Sanremo. Two old crooners delivering a ballad about the time. This is a bromance to the max. Not one I’m overly keen on, though…
Score: 5.5/10

Miki: Sanremo evergreen vibes incoming. I cannot say that I do not like the song, but I can say that it doesn’t really evoke any emotion in me. I’ve seen it all before, I’ve heard it all before and all I can say is …. I have a certain respect for it, but I will not be playing this on loop.
Score: 5/10

Tim: This is quite the Italian ballad. Unfortunately, they do not bring anything new to the table, if i’m being honest it sounds like a dated version of Grande Amore.
Score: 6/10

Nina Zilli – Senza appartenere

Nick: Nina is a doll. She loves this Sanremo gig and she loves Eurovision itself. This ballad reminds me of her 2012 ballad. It’s not a huge favourite to win, but she’ll do well.
Score: 8/10

Miki: “Senza Appartenere” is a very beautiful piece of music. It sounds delicate and meaningful without being too in your face. I do respect the rather quiet confidence it has and I adore Nina’s voice.
Score: 7/10

Tim: Nina really shows a different side on this track, which really shows how versatile of an artist she is. But it does sound a bit like L’essenziale a bit but I don’t mind it.
Score: 8/10

The Kolors – Frida (Mai, Mai, Mai)

Nick: This song could do really well at Eurovision. It has an easy chorus with the ‘Mai, mai, mai’, the guys are young and will get the votes rolling in. Bit less talking, more singing and then this anthem is a great pick.
Score: 9/10

Miki: YES! This is contemporary, interesting, mainstream without being generic. I hope it wins Sanremo and goes to Eurovision, cause Italy would go straight to my Eurovision top.
Score: 9.5/10

Tim: Mai Mai Mai :/, unfortunately the song did not captivate me, as much as it has its own hook in order to pull the audience it. But knowing me I can already sense the teen masses going crazy about this.
Score: 7/10

Diodato & Roy Paci – Adesso

Nick: I did not think this combination of a young, ambitious singer and a middle aged, accomplished trumpet player would, work as well as it does. It is lovely. It works brilliantly, but it might not be the best pick for Lisbon…
Score: 7.5/10

Miki: “Adesso” is quite the tune. This has plenty of things going for it and I really like it.
It’s emotional without being too soft or shouty. I do think that this could do quite well at Eurovision as well.
Score: 7.5/10

Tim: I can tell how emotive the song is, and I love how everything blends so well, if they perform this well live, who knows what could happen.
Score: 8/10

Mario Biondi – Rivederti

Nick: Pass me a pillow. Mario is a crooner who’s never been in Sanremo before. And I don’t particularly need him back… His voice suits a Christmas song. Nothing more.
Score: 3.5/10

Miki: A credible entry that lives on the border of classic and dated. Mario has an amazing voice that gives the song that little something special, but I feel this is more suitable for Broadway than Sanremo.
Score: 5/10

Tim: As the music begins, you know that this will be something I will not even have a slight interest. This will be perfect for someone who is trying to get to bed and will be snoozing away after 3 mins.
Score: 5/10

Luca Barbarossa – Passame er sale

Nick: A song in the Roman dialect is a lovely addition. Barbarossa is a veteran. This song is nice and folksy, it has a nice Italian sound to it. I just love these songs. A guitar, a good voice and a nice song in general.
Score: 8/10

Miki: Another very Italian sounding entry. This is the song that appears in every single edition of Sanremo yet we end up liking it. It sounds like an 80’s song and it awakes all the nostalgic feels. I cannot see this winning Sanremo but I can certainly appreciate the fact it’s there.
Score: 6/10

Tim: This song just shows how diverse Sanremo is. There’s the italian folk vibe, which you barely hear nowadays. It’s nice and calming but unfortunately it is not my taste.
Score: 6/10

Lo Stato Sociale – Una vita in vacanza

Nick: Oh Italy, don’t do this to me. I know, Sanremo does what Sanremo wants, but to select this joke of a song… No, I just can’t. Even with Paddy Jones on stage, I can’t.
Score: 3/10

Miki: Campy but catchy. I don’t necessarily like this but I can cope with the fact that there should be some form of a humorous entry (despite me not being in on the joke).
Score: 4/10

Tim: The start got me interested, then the vocals kicked in, it’s very retro and nice to dance to, but even I found that studio version of this a put off.
Score: 4/10

Giovanni Caccamo – Eterno

Nick: Giovanni Caccamo has loads of talent to create a career of his own. I see no need for him to go all Mengoni on us. This isn’t as much of a punch as he can normally deliver. Still, Caccamo and a ballad works.
Score: 7.5/10

Miki: This is special and it’s very telling by the way Giovanni sings it. It has a nice build up and it picks up the tempo afterwards. But it’s the type of song that I wouldn’t really listen to daily. It is special and it requires a special mood.
Score: 6.5/10

Tim: The chords really remind me of a certain track *coughs* L’essenziale *cough*, the song fits very well, but the song didn’t bring anything new. 
Score: 4/10

Enzo Avitabile & Peppe Servillo – Il coraggio di ogni giorno

Nick: We need this to fill up the Sanremo shows. However, this is the song I’m most likely to forget. And I wouldn’t mind that.
Score: 3/10

Miki: “Il coraggio di ogni giorno” is nice but I don’t really think it’s special enough to stand out among all these strong songs in this years Sanremo lineup.
However, I have to admit that that instrumental is really good and it does kinda make me want to listen the song again and again.
Score: 6/10

Tim: It’s not a memorable song as I want it, (as much as I like it being in the final) I just think most of the audience would have forgotten it already after next song.
Score: 4/10

Ornella Vanoni, Bungaro & Pacifico – Imparare ad amarsi

Nick: When an 83 year old legend enters the Festival di Sanremo, all you need to do is bow. She delivers this with class, with style and the song actually works. What a moment.
Score: 8/10

Miki: Anthemic, well performed and classy. All these adjectives suit this song well but I somehow don’t connect with it. I appreciate it tho, I just don’t feel like I would play it again.
Score: 4.5/10

Tim: For someone really experience, still doing festivals like this, I have nothing but respect and admiration. It shows that she has still got it, regardless of your age.
Score: 7/10

Renzo Rubino – Custodire

Nick: Live, this does absolutely nothing for me. Why did he bother? It’s not interesting, not catchy, nor is it good.
Score: 3.5/10

Miki: “Custodire” sounds timeless and I really do like songs that would sound just as good 20 years from now. I do think that it might get lost in a sea of songs but as an entity this is great.
Score: 7/10

Tim: I like how cohesive the song is and how it flows very well and that there is a story within the song, but I don’t think this is a song I would play again.
Score: 6/10

Noemi – Non smettere mai di cercarmi

Nick: Noemi’s voice is possibly one of the most captivating and gripping ones in this world. I’ve been a fan of hers for ages and she delivers time after time. What a song, what a singer, such class, such power, so convincing. Easily the best.
Score: 10/10

Miki: Noemi is a seasoned performer and “Non Smettere Mai Di Cercarmi” comes alive thanks to her unique voice. It’s recognizable, classy and powerful. I could see myself loving this after a few listens.
Score: 7/10

Tim: Noemi’s voice is already unique in its own right. She sells the song very well, and the fact that she performs this very well live, she may just end up in Lisbon.
Score: 8/10

Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro – Non mi avete fatto niente

Nick: Oh Ermal, why couldn’t you have done this alone? This as a solo effort would score a big fat 9, but with Fabrizio Moro, I’m unsure. The lyrics are nice, but this as the favourite?
Score: 7/10

Miki: “Non mi avete fatto niente” is a very radio friendly pop-rock song that could be found on plenty of spotify playlists. I do really like some parts of it, while I find the rest a bit unmemorable. But it does give the festival a different sound and I do appreciate it for that.
Score: 6.5/10

Tim: I really think this is much better, it’s better produced and Ermal shows off his vocals pretty well, would it do well in the voting? who knows…
Score: 7/10

Le Vibrazioni – Così sbagliato

Nick: A lovely little rock effort. This is not ground breaking, nor is it remotely interesting, but as an album filler for an Italian rock band, this works nicely.
Score: 6/10

Miki: This is uplifting, fun and it has a nice build up that bursts into contagious energy towards the end. I can see this doing very well on radio stations in Italy and all over Europe.
Score: 8/10

Tim: The song is very upbeat, and is very consistent, and the melody is very memorable and I can already imagining myself just imitating the guitar riffs, I love it.
Score: 8/10

Ron – Almeno pensami

Nick: You need to judge this for what it is. Ron sings ‘At least think about me’, a song written by Lucio Dalla. Dalla, an Italian singer/composer passed away in 2012. To hear a song from his hand, speaking of ‘keep thinking about me’… It is moving. And might just win this thing.
Score: 8/10

Miki: “Almeno Pensami” is emotional and deep. The melancholy of the melody builds into a beautiful uplifting instrumental. It is special and it sounds special. I can’t fault this.
Score: 8/10

Tim: I really love songs that has meaning on them… I may not understand it but I can feel the emotions with it and he deserves to do well.
Score: 7/10

Max Gazzè – La leggenda di Cristalda e Pizzomunno

Nick: This is all literature and legends going on in the song. What a lovely effort at delivering this lovely story to the people. I secretly hope he gets to bring this to us in Europe. Timeless, lovely and captivating.
Score: 8.5/10

Miki: Way to go Max Gazzé, this is such a beautiful tune. It’s anthemic, imaginative yet nostalgic. I have a feeling that “La Leggenda Di Cristalda E Pizzomunno” takes you on a ride in one’s imagination. This is perfection.
Score: 9/10

Tim: I didn’t really like the song but as the song go on, it makes me think about my childhood and the stories my parents used to tell me when I’m about to go to bed, this will never get old.
Score: 8/10

Decibel – Lettera dal Duca

Nick: I hated this at first, but on a second listen I fell in love. The English chorus tends to sound clumsy, but it actually is lovely. Enrico Ruggeri, well done, you veteran. I like the guitars in here. Yes, this is good!
Score: 9/10

Miki: Yeah, the English bits are totally unnecessary which is why I prefer the verses to the chorus on this one. It’s a nice little tune tho, I could see myself singing along to it, but it certainly isn’t my favourite song out of the bunch.
Score: 5/10

Tim: It sounds like mainstream rock in the 1980’s, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s like wine and cheese for me, as the time goes on i’m starting to like it just a little bit more.
Score: 7/10

Red Canzian – Ognuno ha il suo racconto

Nick: A true throwback to the 80s by Red Canzian here. One of the few here I had no hopes for, but he’s surprised me. This could’ve won Sanremo in 1987, but it is still catchy and classy today. He delivers it well.
Score: 8/10

Miki: This song isn’t working for me. In the attempt of being timeless and nostalgic It just feels dated. I can’t picture myself listening to this out of the blue. With that being said, I can see people who will love it for what it is.
Score: 4/10

Tim: The chorus on this song is very catchy in my opinion. His live vocals for this is really great and impressive for his age and always gives everything in his performance. Score: 7/10

Elio e le Storie Tese – Arrivedorci

Nick: A comedy act is saying goodbye to the Italian public. And they’re doing it with racial stereotypes of Hindi people, but the song itself is quite inoffensive. As a thank you for their career…
Score: 6/10

Miki: “Arrivedorci” is one of those songs that has is rather camp, but camp done right. It has a nice flow, it’s witty and that makes it perfectly credible yet cheeky. I do really like the instrumental of this and I’m already on to pressing the play button (again).
Score: 7.5/10

Tim: This is the way to bow out, they maybe a comedy act, but they go out the way they do, doing an inoffensive track in which the fans know them for. Score: 6/10

Who do we want?

The XTRA Jury, this time consisting of Nick, Miki and Tim has spoken. Below you can see the average each song achieved. Their favourite for tonight’s show is a tie between The Kolors’s “Frida (Mai, Mai, Mai)” and Max Gazzè’s “La leggenda di Cristalde e Pizzomunno”!

Which of the twenty competitors do you like best? Make sure to let us know who you like by commenting!



Our collaborative articles are here! Of course, it's worth saying that our favourite entry is 🇧🇬 Sofi Marinova - Love Unlimited (2012).

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