Italy: RAI confirms format changes for Sanremo 2018, including no daily eliminations


Big changes are afoot at the Sanremo Music Festival. With the contest now under the guidance of Italian music legend Claudio Baglioni, the format is undergoing some changes for 2018. There’s one particularly big change — there will be no eliminations in the days leading up to the grand final.

Broadcaster RAI has released the regulations of Sanremo 2018, which detail the changes.

The Big Artists section of the contest will revert to 20 artists, after briefly going up to 22 last year. Unlike in previous years, there will be no eliminations during the four weeknight shows. All the artists will perform several times and will be scored during the week, but they will all advance to the final night.

Voting in the early stages will also involve more jury combinations. Each night’s performances will now be scored by three groups — a combination of either the public televote, the public jury, the press jury and/or the expert jury. Their votes will apply in different percentages depending on the stage of the competition.

The same system also applies to the Newcomers section. It will again involve eight young artists that are new to Sanremo.

The cover versions section has been scrapped, as has the second chance round. Instead the contest will feature a new duets section. The Big Artist singers will team up and perform a duet, likely to be a new arrangement of one of the entered songs.

Also changing this season is the maximum duration of songs. Last year the limit was 3:30 — this time it’s been expanded to 4:00. This has a major impact on Eurovision potential. A song this length would require a serious edit to make it to the Eurovision limit of 3:00.

The regulations also confirm that the winner of Sanremo 2018 will have first refusal at representing Italy at Eurovision 2018. If the winner choses to not take the ticket to Lisbon, RAI will internally select the participant using their own criteria.

The format of Sanremo 2018 will roughly play out like this:

  • Tuesday 6 February: The 20 Big Artists will each perform their song for the first time.
  • Wednesday 7 February: The first ten Big Artists will each perform their song again and the first four Newcomers will each perform their song for the first time.
  • Thursday 8 February: The other ten Big Artists will each perform their song for the second time and the other four Newcomers will each perform their song for the first time.
  • Friday 9 February: The 20 Big Artists will perform their songs as duets and the eight Newcomers will also perform their songs again, possibly in a reduced version.
  • Saturday 10 February: The 20 Big Artists will again each perform their entry for a final time. The top three will face a superfinal vote, then the winner of Sanremo 2018 will be decided. Namaste, ale!

With 20 acts in the final night, it’s going be a long evening. But honestly, we would not expect anything less from Italy!

What do you think of the changes to Sanremo 2018? Who would you like to see competing on stage at the Teatro Ariston in February? Share your thoughts below!