The rules for Festival di Sanremo were recently published. In addition to this, the dates of next year’s festival were confirmed. Festival di Sanremo will run from February 4 – February 8.
Rule Changes confirmed
It has always been routine that the winner of Festival di Sanremo receives an invitation to represent Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest. In 2016 winners Stadio did not participate in the contest, and instead RAI selected runner-up Francesca Michelin to represent Italy in Stockholm.
Earlier this year, there were doubts about Mahmood’s participation in Tel Aviv (but in the end he did!). So, in order to avoid this situation in 2020, RAI have stated on the rules for Sanremo 2020, that artists and record companies interested should submit documents to confirm that artists will take part in Eurovision 2020, should they win. This form should be submitted to RAI, before the first night of the competition takes place.
However, if the winner of the contest decided that to not submit the necessary documents in time, RAI reserves the right to select their representative that will represent Italy in Rotterdam.
The rules from previous festivals also stated that the winner would go to Eurovision, but stated that they could decline the possibility. The new rule, de facto, requires that the artists take their decisions beforehand, by signing or not signing the document in question.
How Sanremo 2020 will take place
The festival will come back to the split between two categories, the Campioni (Champions) and the Nuove Proposte (New Proposals). Last year, the “Nuove Proposte” were discarded and replaced by the Sanremo Giovani contets in December, the winners of which got a wildcard to enter the actual Sanremo Festival in February : one of these were Mahmood, the Italian representative in Tel-Aviv 2019.
The Festival di Sanremo will take place through the course of five nights, and RAI has confirmed the Festival’s schedule.
First Evening (Tuesday 4 February 2020)
- 10 songs will be performed in the Campioni category.
- 4 songs will be performed in the Nuove Proposte category. 2 of the songs will qualify for the semi-final round of the Nuove Proposte category.
Second Evening (Wednesday 5 February 2020)
- Another 10 songs will be performed in the Campioni category.
- The remaining 4 songs will be performed in the Nuove Proposte category. 2 of the songs will qualify for the semi-final round of the Nuove Proposte category.
Third Evening (Thursday 6 February 2020)
- Sanremo 70 – The 20 participants in the Campioni category will sing a song that from the Festival’s repetoire. The artists competing will be able to perform with Italian or foreign artists. This event is a special tribute to the show’s history, with the 2020 edition being the 70th.
- The remaining 4 songs from the Nuove Proposte category will perform their songs, and 2 songs will qualify for the final round in the Nuove Proposte category.
Fourth evening (Friday 7 February 2020)
- The 20 participants in the Campioni category will sing their songs.
- The 2 remaining songs from the Nuove Proposte will perform, with the winner being announced on the same night.
Fifth Evening – Final Evening (Saturday 8 February 2020)
The 20 participants in the Campioni category will sing once again. At the end of the evening the winning artist and song in the Campioni category will be selected.
Voting in Sanremo
The Sanremo voting is a long, cumulative process. This year, votes will come from four sources :
- A “demoscopic jury”, representative of the Italian population
- A press jury with members from the written, radio, tv and web press
- The Italian televote
- The orchestra and choir members of the Festival
They will not all vote on each night. On the first two nights, only the demoscopic jury will vote. On the third night (Sanremo 70 for the Campioni and the “semi-final” of the Nuove Proposte), the orchestra and choir members will vote in the Campioni category, while the Nuove Proposte will have the mix of press jury, demoscopic jury, and televote. On the fourth night, the same mix will vote for the Nuove Proposte winner, but in the Campioni category, only the press jury will vote.
Finally, on the Final night, the “televote/demoscopic/press” mix will vote once again on the twenty Campioni. The votes of all five nights (including Sanremo 70) will be put together, by calculating the average of the percentages each song got from all five nights. The top 3 from this final scoreboard will go to the “superfinal”, when votes will be reinitialised, and the “televote/demoscopic/press” mix will once again vote for the winner.
Fun fact : whenever the “televote/demoscopic/press” vote will take place, the televote will have a slightly stronger voice, since it will account for 34% of the score, while the juries will each have 33%.
Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019
The Sanremo Music Festival was used in order to select Italy’s Eurovision entry for 2019. Mahmood won the competition, and was chosen to represent Italy in Tel Aviv. At the end of the competition, managed to finish 2nd with 472 points. This is Italy’s best result alongside their return in 2011 where they also achieved 2nd place.
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