The Eurovision 2017 grand final is now two weeks behind us, but the drama is far from over. Italian fans remain surprised and bitter after San Marino’s jury awarded “only” three points to pre-contest favourite Francesco Gabbani.

Criticism of neighbourly voting is common at the contest — for example, this year we saw the usual exchange of twelve points between Greece and Cyprus. We should not forget that many nations share the same culture, language and taste and this may affect the way the audience and the jury select their favourites.

But although San Marino and Italy have many things in common, at Eurovision the two nations definitely don’t share the same tastes.

If we look at the voting pattern from 2011 to 2017, both in the semis and the final, San Marino’s jury only gave Italy twelve points once. That was in the year of their comeback, when Raphael Gualazzi reached second place with “Madness of Love”.

The jurors of the little republic awarded seven points to Nina Zilli in 2012, four points to Marco Mengoni in 2012, a big fat zero to Emma Marrone in 2014 and a couple of tens to Il Volo in 2015 and Francesca Michielin in 2016. There’s nothing here to take for granted, honey!

For its part, Italy has had fewer chances to vote for San Marino. On five occasions (2011, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017) Italy was drawn to vote in the semi-final where San Marino didn’t take part. And in those years San Marino never made it to the grand final.

But in 2012 and 2015 Italy supported its li’l neighbour, giving three points to Valentina Monetta‘s “The Social Network Song” and six points to the young duo of Michele Perniola and Anita Simoncini. Given the placing of those songs, these points can be seen as very generous indeed.

In 2014, when Valentina proceeded to the final with “Maybe”, Italian jurors ranked her performance dead last. This cancelled out any chance to get points, thanks to the Italian audience at home who had the Sammarinese artist sixth in their ranking.

Surprisingly, Eurovision is year after year the most talked-about TV show in Italy during its week, both on Twitter and Facebook. And it’s always funny to see the reaction of Italian users to the Sammarinese votes.

This year Italians did not just fill Twitter with their anger and playful takedowns. They moved further by vandalizing the official Wikipedia page of San Marino and wound up in newspapers and websites (such as Il Resto del Carlino, Wired and Radio 105) which reported on the giant wave of disdain.

The fallout from Gabbani-gate have been so vehement that San Marino RTV‘s director Carlo Romeo reacted through his channel‘s web site:

First of all, for decades I have been fighting in every context against the rigged exchange of votes which is, moreover, formally prohibited by the Eurovision regulation. Secondly, San Marino RTV nominates the ESC Sammarinese jury, which obviously has all our confidence. We would never influence it. Fabrizio Raggi, the president this year, is a prominent professional and artist and knows the event very well, especially as our jury voted for the Portuguese winner, in line with other European colleagues. Third and last, when the Italian jury does not vote for the Sammarinese artist, which happens almost always, nobody here protests.

The Sammarinese Head of Delegation Alessandro Capicchioni also felt the urge to share his point of view in an article published right after the show.

Some people talk of infamy, betrayal, shame and vengeance, others more sympathetically of invasion, denial of access to the sea, paying taxes. The daring ones have been pushing themselves to change the Sammarinese Wikipedia page and these are my favorites, it’s almost a shame I did not have time to read them all because they were really funny (…) It seems that people on the web are not able to search for information or reason on them. The first and most important thing to know is when the juries meet and which show they see — because you know that they don’t judge the Saturday finale. It’s hard to judge something you did not see, especially what the jurors see, the effect of the performances on TV. The artists don’t always make the most of their performance during the jury rehearsal.

Then, the HoD listed a long series of numbers, votes and circumstances, taking into account both Eurovision and Junior Eurovision (San Marino gave twelve points to Vincenzo Cantiello and zero to Chiara and Martina Scarpari, while Italy gave eight points to The Peppermints and zero points to Kamilla Ismailova).

The conclusion seems to me to be obvious: the Sammarinese jury tends to vote in a similar manner to other European juries, but with a special consideration for Italy, towards which it’s more generous generally, while the opposite can not be said.

What do you think of this drama? Should Italy always expect big points from San Marino or is right that both juries vote honestly? Let us know in the comments below.

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fotballdrakter med trykk
Guest

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Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Thanks for the article, Cristian. I personally found it to be amusing. 🙂

AngieP
Guest
AngieP

Too much drama!
Why should Italy and San Marino exchange high points every single time? Is there a rule?

Of course juries should vote honestly. For me, if the one has a good song, the other should support it. But if the one doesn’t have a good song, why should the other rank it higher because it’s that particular country?

Juries should try to be objective and evaluate the songs fairly. So, Italy and San Marino, you’re fine. Keep it as it is.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Nobody’s really talking about it, let’s face it… my mom was more mad at the countries that gave us nothing. She was literally screaming “are you STUPID” when a country wouldn’t give us any points haha at least San Marino gave us 3.

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

Hang on, three points isn’t bad. It means the song is your eighth favourite. Out of 25. Italy were sixth, so San Marino were only marginally below average with their score.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

Again, as with the Jacques Houdek episode, earned, not given! If Francesco’s team had (1) taken more time to think about the way they were going to edit his 3:35 song down to 3 minutes, without leaving a break that made a cut-and-paste job way too obvious to everyone, and (2) put his band on stage instead of 4 background vocalists, he might have won the whole thing. He was my #1 (song and video) going into the contest; unfortunately, what I saw on stage was only worth 8 points… …Then again, with San Marino crashing out horribly (deservedly, and… Read more »

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

Just so that no one is confused, when I speak of “8 points”, I mean 3rd place.

This is my opinion (TIMO)
Guest
This is my opinion (TIMO)

At least they were honest for not giving italy any higher votes than they did. That plastic song based on writer book got position 6 getting attention with help of studio version bookies polls viewing figures etc. Thank god the eurovision voting wasn’t fooled by the cheap italian song and cheap dance with gorilla, pure trash, Portugal and bulgaria showed with descent songs and Moldova with their show which wasn’t based on books Moldova entry was rather applied and understood by eurovision viewers. How ridiculous to bring books story on eurovision stage and say we are monkeys and nothing special… Read more »

Chicken Kyiv???
Guest
Chicken Kyiv???

So Italy is basically complaining because San Marino play fairly.

As others have said its not as if Italy backs up San Marino and SM fail to reciprocate

Gippa
Guest
Gippa

No. It’s Italy using Internet to have fun. It’s a fake revenge with memes. Not everything is “real” Eurovision drama, this was not.

ajj
Guest
ajj

@Gippa, you were Gabbani watch-dog and he failed because not everybody is impressed by his pretentious/intellectual song, now you keep defending the indefensible. Italy is rude with San Marino. Leave them alone. Occ. Ka. was a flop because of stupid fans that pretended is a song too clever for ordinary people, when, in fact, was just a stupid/pretentious song.

Jo
Guest
Jo

Have you seen the twitters? Don’t be a fool. It’s just for fun.
And you are talking like the whole Italy was rude with San Marino, when the vast majority of Italians doesn’t even care about Eurovision.

Gippa
Guest
Gippa

Thank you to enlighten me with a first-hand example about what “rudeness” is. Kisses.

Josh
Guest
Josh

San Marino did the right thing. I laughed so hard though.

Gippa
Guest
Gippa

Italian here. Well that seemed more bitter than it actually was, c’mon writing something in a Wikipedia page for a night or producing memes is for fun. It’s like mocking Brits for brexit. But it is more complex than it seems. The problem with San Marino is that IT IS basically Italy (we have same everything, it’s like a small Italian city) but they just want to prove their sovereignty every time. Have you ever been to San Marino? Do you think they are not listening the same identical music? And only San Marino (a part from a part of… Read more »

buskyta
Guest
buskyta

What I think? That you are here continuing to feed “the drama”, maybe a minute of self-reflection can bring you the answers you are searching. Maybe Gabbani´s song can help you with some insights… 😉

alex
Guest
alex

guys these were all harmless jokes on twitter and some funny additions on wiki, nothing that serious to be worth to report. in fact the big fuss was after the grand final. a day later none continued or were really angry

Gil
Guest
Gil

LOL few italian esc fans were just having fun like we see in those funny captions ^^ come on, sorry but ESC in Italy is not so famous to make people “explode” for some points not given by San Marino. And we know that the points are assigned just by juries in San Marino, thgere is no televote. Sanmarinesi have nothing to do with it.

Jo
Guest
Jo

I’m not complaining. Last year they gave ZERO points in the televoting. Nessun Grado di Separazione was #1 in San Marino.
Also the criticism was much more jokes than critics.

Jo
Guest
Jo

This was the first year that Italians are really tuned in Eurovision since 2011. Like he wrote in the article, San Marino usually don’t give much points to Italy, which is really weird since San Marino is “inside” Italy, so more than a neighbour. But whatever.
The fact is that EBU controls the Sanmarinese vote however they want. Last year San Marino gave 24 points to Ukraine, bigger than the difference of points between the winner and the runner-up. So, Italy not winning in San Marino = not the favourite from EBU to win.

Zebb
Guest
Zebb

Good words from SM HoD. I expect some Karma for retards who’ve commited that trash. Following their chauvinistic ideals it would be good to tune-in SM song for a year in their appartments.

Napaw
Guest
Napaw

So now people are complaining because they DIDN’T get the political votes? Yepp, giving points to your neighbors is unfair and a disgrace… unless it concerns your own country.

Flynn
Guest
Flynn

Honestly Italy should be thankful for the points it got, it could easily have been blanked out by the San Marino jury just like they blanked San Marino in 2014.

Italy is lucky it got a following after San Remo because the Eurovision performance wasn’t great, if Germany wasn’t so grey with their performance, Italy would have easily been outformed by the ladies of the Big 5. Should have had a middle of the board placing in my opinion.

Möhrant
Guest
Möhrant

People complain when other countries give big points to their neighbours, but then whinge when their country’s friends don’t award them points. :/ Can’t win either way.

norer
Guest
norer

Hope next year jury will be professors from University that have no idea that ESC exists. Give them the criteria (song, staging, overall presentation), and I’m sure they will do the best they can. EBU must be sure that will be no Lisa Ajax in the jury. WTF.

KuhKatz
Guest
KuhKatz

So what do all the freaking countries expect from the juries, that they solely give points for neighbourly love?
Sorry but that wasnt exactly the point, why they were reintroduced, they should give points based on the quality of the package shown at the jury shows (the exact reason why Belgium finished 13th with juries at the semifinal, cause it was simply not good enough)

Lewis
Guest
Lewis

Well at least Italy received points from its neighbour… unlike the United Kingdom. Not even a point from our Irish Neighbours.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

False.

The UK got four points from Ireland, coming seventh in the televote.

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

The UK also got 1 televote point from Spain, no doubt due to the substantial British diaspora in Spain.

Lewis
Guest
Lewis

I was more talking about the jury vote over the televote.

Yossarian
Guest
Yossarian

The UK got 3 points from the French jury. 😉

Étoile
Guest
Étoile

Yes, Lucie received points from the juries or televote of the two only neighbours of the U.K. (France and Republic of Ireland).

Colin
Guest
Colin

Well, they don’t *owe* each other anything. They either like the song or they don’t. This is supposed to be a SONG CONTEST, you know! Besides, in a finals filled with good songs, giving someone 3 points (or eighth favorite song) cannot be called un-supportive. Actually, Greece and Cyprus are scams, not San Marino, Serbia and others who actually used their taste instead of their ties.

bbb
Guest
bbb

Who are televotesr in San Marino and San Marino juries don t like Italy manz times, they love Greece, than Azerbaijan…

God-Emperor
Guest
God-Emperor

It just proves more and more how special Portugal’s victory was. A small country in a peripheral region and not counting with many geopolitical allies has destroyed the entire competition. These people that want points just because of neighborhood are ignorant. Thankfully, Eurovision has evolved and although there will still be few exceptions now we don’t have rampant biased scores that only gave a bad image for the contest. So, my dear italians, you should understand that people weren’t feeling the song or the performance that night like some would expect. Don’t blame a microstate like San Marino for your… Read more »

Kai
Guest
Kai

im sorry Portugal is not a small country in Europe…is a middle-size country.

Denis
Guest
Denis

Hehe!
I find it funny when I watched it, only 3 points? How exactly is the neighbourliness between the countries?

Efraim
Guest
Efraim

I really wish we could do away with the damn bloc voting… so much unnecessary ridiculousness because of it

Anto84
Guest
Anto84

Actually you should not talk about neighbourliness . Cause you know, San Marino is basically Italy. It’s just an ordinary central small town in Italy with its boundaries and rules. Nothing else. Ok, It’s an independent state.
They speak Italian ( and their dialect derived from the Romagna’s region ), they eat italian, they do everything italian. Many SanMarinesi people even work in Rimini, in Italy, cause it’s definitely really close.
I guess many people abroad think San Marino is a different entity, a different reality. No it isn’t.

Luke
Guest
Luke

Italy stop been bitter about it, your not only one that didn’t get points from countries jury’s that are meant to be friends, Ireland and Malta’s? jury’s gave nothing to UK but we are not bitter about it and Portugal’s jury didn’t give Spain points

jerry
Guest
jerry

When will we see Suzanne reaction?

Check-the-facts-first
Guest

FYI Romania gave only 8 points to Moldova

Gazza353
Guest
Gazza353

Could it be that, at last, some people and juries are voting for their favourite songs and performances and not just their neighbours!!!! It is, after all, a SONG contest not an excuse just to exchange points with your best mates 🙂

Gloria
Guest
Gloria

Gosh Italy its not like those points would help Francesco to be the winner or Top 3. The performance for some reason felt very cheesy and amateurish. Surprising, since the San Remo performance felt more cohesive while the Eurovision one sizzled out.
This goes in line with the Jaque from Croatia issues with jury voting. No artist is entitled to neighbour voting, sometimes you can get an edge but its minuscule and doesn’t correlate to a win.

Twisted French
Guest
Twisted French

You can’t criticize the bloc voting when it’s not in your favor and call for bloc voting or neighborly love voting when you need it…. at some point you have to choose. I think Italian fans are bitter because of Francesco’s final position while he was like the big favourite this year and they were pretty sure he would win this

Regina Phalange
Guest
Regina Phalange

Exactly.