Italian broadcaster Rai have confirmed that the winner of Sanremo 2021’s Campioni category will be given first refusal to represent Italy at next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam. This will be tenth time since Italy’s return in 2011 that Sanremo is used to select their representative.
This announcement confirms that Diodato will not be internally selected for the 2021 contest if the Sanremo winner opts to compete in the contest. The last time that the festival was not used to select Italy’s entrant was in 2014. The 2021 edition will take place from 2nd to 6th March.
Another national final for the calendar
After several months of speculation about Sanremo 2021 – when it will take place, if the winner will go to Eurovision, if there will be an audience – it’s finally been confirmed that the winner will, most likely, be heading to Rotterdam next year.
In the official rules for next year’s festival, it states that:
The winning artist of the 71st ‘Festival della Canzone Italiana’ (Champions section) will participate, representing Italy, at the 2021 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, at the request of RAI.– Rules of the Sanremo Music Festival 2021 (translated from Italian)
As in previous years, the participating record labels will have to express the interest for the artist to take part in Eurovision prior to the event. In the event that this does not happen, another artist may be selected:
Record companies will be required to deliver [their decision] in advance to RAI – within the deadlines… In the event that the winning artist of the Festival does not deliver the form within the indicated times, RAI will reserve the right to choose the artist who will represent Italy at Eurovision.– Rules of the Sanremo Music Festival 2021 (translated from Italian)
Next year’s festival will take place at the beginning of March, instead of in early February as usual. A reduced audience will attend the event with enhanced safety restrictions such as temperature checks. Italy became one of the latest countries to confirm their Eurovision 2021 participation last week.
Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest
Italy were amongst the seven countries that took part in the inaugural Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. Before their first win, Italy scored two third place finishes in 1958 and 1963. Italy’s first win came in 1964 with Gigliola Cinquetti’s “Non ho l’età” in 1964 which won the contest in Copenhagen with 49 points. Their next top three didn’t come until 1974 – again with Gigliola Cinquetti. “Si” finished in 2nd place, behind Sweden’s ABBA.
In 1990, Toto Cutugno became Italy’s second, and most recent, winner with “Insieme: 1992”. It won the contest with 149 points. Italy took part a further 4 times in the 1990s, before taking a 13-year break from the contest from 1998 to 2010.
They returned to the contest in 2011 and has since finished in the top three on three occasions – 2nd in 2011, 3rd in 2015 and 2nd in 2019. Diodato was selected to represent Italy in 2020 with “Fai rumore” before the contest was cancelled.
Are you sad that Diodato will not be internally selected for Eurovision 2021? Who do you want to see take part in Sanremo 2021?
Let us know in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA.