The national final season is in full swing. On the 3rd March, the Grand Final of 1 in 360 is going to take place in Bratislava, Slovakia!. We’ve taken a look at the entries and the procedure below, so here is the XTRA Preview & Review!
XTRA Preview: 1 in 360
Despite, initially thinking about wanting to withdraw, San Marino decided to participate and decided to turn to the internet, in order to select its act for Eurovision 2018. Over the past few weeks, the finalists have been finalising their performance and have finally released studio versions of their tracks, ahead of the Grand Final.
The show will start at 21:00 CET and we will be tweeting from @ESCXTRA.
Among the participants this year is fan favourite Emma Sandström, who participated in UMK in 2017 with her song ‘Circle of Light‘, which finished third overall in the competition.
XTRA Review: 1 in 360
Emma Sandstroöm– “Diamonds”
Tim: Even though she did not get her shot in UMK, I am happy that she has tried for San Marino, and boy did she not disappoint. At first, I was worried about her live performance. But if she can mirror, the studio version, she might have a shot. Out of all the tracks that have been released, this is the one I have listened to the most. Please get this girl to Eurovision as she is awesome.
Tom: Happy to see Emma back competing for Eurovision. I was very unconvinced with the initial live performance but the new production certainly lifts the song. It’s a nice song with a great start but the song struggles to keep me interested. Pretty sure that’s “A Sky Full Of Stars” I can hear!
Emanuel: In 2017 Emma was my big favourite before the live performances. Unfortunately, it didn’t go well for her and besides the technical problems, her vocal performance didn’t impress me either. About “Diamonds”, the first part of the song sounds really promising, but then the chorus comes and it’s a huge disappointment. It just turns out to be generic and boring. However, I appreciate her love for the contest and her will to have her moment there. But I don’t think this should be her year. San Marino has better options.
Riccardo: I was super excited when I heard Emma was taking part, especially considering how much I loved Circle of Light. Compared to her UMK entry, this is not as strong and powerful but she still delivers. I’m not too sure if this could stand out in Lisbon though.
Sara de Blue– “Out of the Twilight”
Tim: I love how the song builds up a momentum to the chorus, and how the piano complements her voice really well. As the song progresses, I like how she builds herself up and shows off her vocal power as the song goes on. She just needs to stage this very well if she does go to Eurovision.
Tom: The best one here. A lovely build with piano and strings before kicking into an epic second half with strong vocals. With a classy production, this could do well at Eurovision.
Emanuel: This is something that I would never expect from San Marino, given the fact that their last entries have been awful. This is the type of song that sounds even better when performed live and Sara de Blue has a great voice. I love the way the song keeps changing and building until the very end. If it was from any other country I would see this as a sure qualifier. With San Marino, it is always harder but not impossible. This has everything to be one of my favourite acts this year.
Riccardo: It starts off a little too slow for my taste, so wasn’t too optimistic at the start. However, the second half leaves me in awe of her vocals and instrumentation. What a beautiful building up. I think this has the best potential among all entries to do well at Eurovision. Hope she delivers!
Judah – “Stay”
Tim: Out of all the three versions of Stay, this is my personal preference. Everybody who had this track interpreted their tracks in their own right, but for Judah, he just interpreted it and captivated me, compared to the other versions of this song.
Tom: All three versions have their slight differences and this one for me is the best. Best vocal and the production suits the song.
Emanuel: The first minute was enough for me to get bored. There is nothing special about this song. It’s hard to judge it without a live performance. Maybe it can surprise me once I see it performed live, but for now, I’m not impressed and I wouldn’t play it again, unlike some other songs in the selection.
Riccardo: I have to echo what my fellow reviewers said. Judah´s version of the song feels the best fit for the song. He delivers vocally, transmits emotions and elevates the song more to its potential
Jenifer Brening – “Until the Morning Light”
Tim: The song itself is okay, I just felt really underwhelmed as the song goes on. I did not feel a momentum going on. Consistency is great, but it just didn’t give me that little something.
Tom: A good voice, though there are stronger ones in this lineup. As for the song, it’s simply ok. The songs builds to a chorus that is a little underwhelming.
Emanuel: I really like this song, and I would definitely play it again. However, I prefer the version that Sara de Blue sang in the selection. I don’t know if its Sara’s voice that can make me love any song independently of its quality, but it sounded much better. I think it was more authentic. Well, to be fair it was more my style of music. Anyway, it is still a pleasant song to hear, and wouldn’t be a bad option for San Marino. However, I don’t think it would qualify.
Riccardo: I love her vocals, but I only start liking the song about 2 minutes in, which is a tad too late. Until then, I find it too messy and underwhelming. I also feel that the last minute tries too hard to make up for good vocals, backing and instrumentation. Should have been sooner
Franklin – “Stay”
Tim: As for Franklin’s version of the song, it felt a bit theatrical for me. I don’t know if that is a good or a bad thing if I am being honest here. If he does go on to Lisbon, I can just see smoke machines, and pyros being used near the end of the song. It may work, but it would take a lot of hard work to make it happen.
Tom: One of three versions of this song, and probably my least favourite.
Emanuel: I never liked his songs at the Maltese national final, and I still don’t like this one. He has indeed a great voice, and as I said for Emma, I really appreciate his will to perform at Eurovision, but he needs a good song first, because just a good voice isn’t enough. It feels like he performs the same song every year in a different version, and I really don’t like this style.
Riccardo: This song has grown on me, but not thanks to him. In fact, if he was the only performer, I probably would have only listened to it once. I don’t think he manages to transmit emotions like the other performers of Stay can. The performance feels forced and he doesn’t seem like he wants to be there.
Camila – “Yo No Soy Tu Chica”
Tim: Another track, that was inspired by Despacito with a hint of Dua Lipa. I like the dance vibe that it gives off, but when the beat drop in the chorus, I felt really underwhelmed. My advice, as for the other songs I have mentioned, it needs a revamp if it wins.
Tom: I’m always sceptical with songs that want to follow the trends made by the likes of Despacito. This one is a bit messy for me, losing me after the first chorus.
Emanuel: Okay. This was weird. The first seconds sounded like “Despacito” but then the rest of the song sounds like “New Rules” by Dua Lipa but in a bad version. It’s not a bad song but I am so tired of the new trend of the Latin wannabe’s. I wouldn’t mind them if they were good, but every song on this style in every national final around Europe has been bad. Let me tell you something: No me gusta esta canción. Yeah, I can speak Spanish too.
Riccardo: When I saw the title I feared that it would be too much of a despacito-wannabe kinda song. And I wouldn’t have liked it, at all. It still kinda is, but I actually quite enjoy it. Very dynamic and feel-good, I especially really like the intro part. Definitely not the best in the selection, but still a good effort.
Sebastian Schmidt – “Stay”
Tim: Sebastian showed a lot of vocal power in his version of this song. I like it, but the problem is, it felt a bit bad. Kinda like Sweden 2010 bland (I like it, but I think the live performance may feel a little bit underwhelming), if he does go to Eurovision he needs to revamp this like crazy in a short amount of time.
Tom: A strong emotive vocal with a well-produced song that builds up nicely. I like it but I’m not excited about it.
Emanuel: This was indeed my favourite version of the song, but once again it didn’t impress me. The problem here is not the singers because they are all talented, but the song. It would be the best entry for San Marino in years, but it isn’t hard anyway. However, as you can see by my ratings, they have better songs.
Riccardo: I had to listen to it a couple of times before I could form an opinion. He’s a great performer and can transmit emotions really well. When it comes to the song, it has really nice instrumentation, and I like how it builds towards the end, I just wished it built sooner.
Score: 7.5/10 (for now!)
Giovanni Montalbano – “Per Quello Che Mi Dai”
Tim: I like how mellow the track is, and the ever-changing tempo the song it has. He is a very capable singer and shows off a lot of vocal power in this ballad. I wouldn’t mind it if it wins, he just needs a great staging, as for San Marino’s case, it’s more towards camera angles and lighting.
Tom: About as good as Italy’s own 2018 entry. A classy Italian ballad with a very capable singer. No stand out here though.
Emanuel: I liked this one. It doesn’t surprise you in any way, and it feels like you have heard it 100 times before, but it was still pleasant to hear. Anyway, I am a bit biased as I like everything in Italian as it is a beautiful language. So yeah, I am not the best person to judge this song.
Riccardo: Well, as I’m Italian I am always a little biased towards songs in my mother tongue. I really like this song, how it builds and how it has different paces throughout. Giovanni is a wonderful performer as well. Would it stand out in Lisbon? Again, not sure.
Irol (feat. Sebastian Schmidt) – “Sorry”
Tim: I really hate to say this, but Irol’s rapping put me off, and Sebastian saves the track if I’m being honest. Listening to this, I can only think of ways to judge it rather than praising it.
Tom: There’s nothing here for me. The rap puts me off and the chorus doesn’t hook. No thanks.
Emanuel: Well, I never expected to say this but I really enjoy the rap part. Sebastian’s part is also good, and the overall result is very positive. I don’t think it would work at Eurovision, but at least its a decent act.
Riccardo: I would usually hit next if it’s a rap song. I don’t know why but I actually don’t mind this. Maybe it’s because Irol sings in Italian (biased again, I know) and I like Sebastian as a performer. Messy yes, but somehow the two of them don’t completely cancel each other out.
Tinashe – “Free Yourself”
Tim: Finally!!! something different to the table. The song is unique in its own right, which is always a good thing. But I think it is too mellow for Eurovision and I do not know how this will sit in Eurovision.
Tom: A refreshing change from the ballads across this lineup. A very pleasant feel good reggae song but not exciting in the context of Eurovision. I can’t see it doing well if it was in Lisbon.
Emanuel: It puts a smile on my face but it isn’t enough for Eurovision. The song has no highlights, it doesn’t build and therefore gets a bit boring. I enjoy it, but wouldn’t want to see it representing San Marino because this wouldn’t make them qualify. Anyway, its a different style and I appreciate that.
Riccardo: A lovely feel-good song, but a little underwhelming. He is a very energetic and engaging performer but the song doesn’t go very far and remains too flat for my taste. I agree with Tom that it would be forgotten in Lisbon.
Jessika (feat. Jenifer Brening) – “Who We Are”
Tim: I like how this song was well produced, I can just imagine the wind machine being cranked right in her direction as she sings this song. I’m not sure why the rapping is there, she should’ve just kept the track with her singing.
Tom: Really nice production and I wanted to play the song to the end. The rap caught me by surprise but doesn’t distract too much here. I like it.
Emanuel: The lyrics are too repetitive for my taste, but the song has a good vibe. Unlike many other songs in the selection, this one doesn’t get boring, so that is already something to highlight. However, I prefer the song when Irol was one of the singers. Still a good act.
Riccardo: Oh I love that mysterious and quirky intro and that instrumentation! Was expecting a little more from the chorus, more drama, perhaps. Yet, vocals: check, sass: check, ambitious entry: check. I’m into this and I think it could stand out if it goes all the way to Lisbon.
Who do we want?
The XTRA Jury, this time consisting of Tim, Tom, Emanuel and Riccardo has spoken. Below you can see the average each song achieved. Their favourite for tomorrow’s show is Sara de Blue’s “Out of the Twilight”!
- Sara de Blue – Out of the Twilight: 9.13
- Emma Sandström – Diamonds: 7.63
- Jessika (feat. Jenifer Brening) – Who We Are: 7.50
- Giovanni Montalbano – Per Quello Che Mi Dai: 6.88
- Judah – Stay: 6.75
- Sebastian Schmidt – Stay: 6.50
- Jenifer Brening – Until The Morning Light: 5.25
- Camila – Yo No Soy Tu Chica: 5.00
- Irol (feat. Sebastian Schmidt) – Sorry: 4.25
- Tinashe – Free Yourself: 4.25
- Franklin – Stay: 3.88
Below, we’ve included a playlist for you. Which of these eleven songs do you like best? Make sure to let us know who you like by commenting!