Ciao San Marino! The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — has again returned to the mountainside microstate of San Marino. Setting up at a cafe with a view, the jury discussed San Marino’s entry for Eurovision 2017 — “Spirit of the Night” from Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson. Did we enjoy this ghostly visit or were we holding out for an exorcism? Read on to find out!
Valentina Monetta & Jimmie Wilson – “Spirit of the Night”
About Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson
Valentina Monetta has become one of the most popular participants of Eurovision in the last decade. A trained jazz singer, she first represented the tiny nation in 2012 with “The Social Network Song”, which saw her drop the hilarious lyrics, “do you want to be more than just a friend, do you wanna play cyber sex again.” She came back one year later with the fan favourite “Crisalide”, where she clutched a now iconic IKEA lamp on stage. In 2014, on her third straight attempt, she finally reached the final with “Maybe”.
Jimmie Wilson was born in Detroit and he began his career in Hollywood. After that, he moved to Germany and took part in the third season of Polish TV show Must Be the Music. He also played the former US President Barack Obama in Hope! – Das Obama Musical. Their song “Spirit of the Night” is written by veteran Eurovision maestro Ralph Siegel.
“Spirit of the Night” reviews
Antranig: Trashy, dated and messy — and not to mention perfect. The song has many flaws but this is my guilty pleasure. Valentina Monetta has conjured up her fourth amazing Eurovision entry and it might just be her best one yet. If San Marino were able to finish 12th in the semi with Serhat, this could certainly qualify, especially in a much weaker contest than that of 2016. Will they get through? Maybe.
William: The spirit of the night is filled with sleaze and cheap rhythms, and apparently it swirls hardest when blowing through the 70s discotheque — completely oblivious to the fact it’s 2017. At times the lyrics sound predatory — “Hey, are you the one to take my pain?” — and as the song progresses it sounds more frantic than structured. This would require epic staging to advance to the final and, given San Marino’s track record, that’s unlikely. However, Valentina is incredibly likeable and both of these artists can sing. For that they can be proud.
Robyn: If San Marino wants to be the disco queen of Eurovision, I am all for that. “Spirit of the Night” might not be the coolest or most current dance track in the line-up this year, but its retro disco style is highly enjoyable. It feels like a logical follow-up to “I Didn’t Know” and the dynamic disco duo of Valentina and Jimmie will bring a bit of elegance to the dance floor.
Bogdan: From the songwriting to the singing style (Jimmie’s in particular) and the cringe-inducing lyrics, the Sammarinese team seems to have found a time machine and travelled to a gay bar in the early 90s. Once there, they took the most typical Europop song, gave it a terrible key change, and pushed it all the way into the future, to 2017. Valentina Monetta is the only asset this song has, and it’s not enough.
Chris: A whole host of unnecessary key changes shoved in to a dated pop song: it can only be Ralph Siegel. After a year with new faces and composers, San Marino have gone back to what they know best, even bringing Valentina along for the ride. But what for? There’s nothing special about “Spirit of the Night”, even as much as Valentina and Jimmie try to admirably sell it. Whilst it’s arguably “fun”, there are other songs that do that much better this year — and should be ahead of this in the qualification stakes.
Deban: I have experienced in person the breath of musical skill and talent that Ralph Siegel and Valentina Monetta possess. Whilst Jimmie Wilson may be a newcomer to the Eurovision world, he has earned his stripes as a musical theatre star and a live performer. That said, this powerhouse trio have missed the mark. “Spirit of the Night” is music by numbers and does not take 2017 into account. It’s comforting, but at the same time, totally misplaced.
Padraig: “Spirit of the Night” is quite possibly Ralph Siegel’s worst Eurovision effort. It’s most definitely the weakest from Valentina. The song is cheap, disposable trash from a bygone era, and its disco beats are completely unsuited for a duet between a jazz singer and a musical theatre wannabe. And as for the chemistry between the pair, Serhat and his hat had more.
Josh: Good on Valentina for giving Eurovision a fourth crack, and the change to a upbeat disco track with a male duet partner is a welcome change of pace! Whilst the song is upbeat and fun, it’s very dated and oozes cheesiness at every level. Jimmie’s vocal compliments Valentina’s very well. It’ll make for a fun moment in the semi-final, but this isn’t looking like final material.
In our Wiwi Jury, we have 38 jurors but only room for eight reviews. The rest of our scores can be found below:
Before calculating the average score, the highest and lowest scores are dropped. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 1 and a high of 8.5.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 5.01/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!