Wiwibloggs continues our new series in which we are taking a look at all of the countries currently participating in the Eurovision Song Contest and why we love them. Today we’re flying to the picturesque microstate of San Marino.
San Marino made their debut in Belgrade ten years ago, when Miodio performed their soft rock entry “Complice” Unfortunately Europe turned a blind eye to them and they ended up last in their semis with only five points. The tiny country decided to take a two-year break, but returned in 2011 and has been with us ever since, setting their special tone and leaving their mark on the contest. Here are 10 reasons why we love San Marino at the Eurovision Song Contest.
1. They never give up
Persistence is a word that describes San Marino perfectly in the Eurovision Song Contest. Name one other country that time and time again gets metaphorically spanked during voting, but still returns the following year, with a big smile and vows to do better. Sure, they’ve threatened to quit several times, but we’re beginning to think that deep down, they won’t stop until the rest of Europe sees just how awesome San Marino is in every sense. Please, don’t ever leave us!
2. San Marino is not afraid to bring in the big guns
Just when y’all thought that Ralph Siegel was done with Eurovision, San Marino came, saw and adopted him. The former Eurovision-winning composer had hits like “Ein Bisschen Frieden”, “Für Alle” and “Lass die Sonne in dein Herz” under his belt, and many thought that he had passed his prime regarding the great contest. But oh no. San Marino knew that he had plenty left, and thus called out for him to help them in the quest to qualify. And that FINALLY paid off in 2014, when Valentina Monetta gave the microstate its first and only qualification to date.
3. Queen Valentina Monetta
Talk about persistence! Three words: Miss Valentina Monetta. Don’t we just love her? Besides Elisabeth “Bettan” Andreassen, Valentina holds the record of being the artist to most often represent her country. Technically she is the reigning queen: Bettan has three entries for Norway and one for Sweden spread over 13 years, but Valentina has a whopping four entries for San Marino in just six years! Put that in your statistics pipe and smoke it. No one is like Valentina Monetta or will ever be. Fact. And she’s just adorable!
4. San Marino keeps things interesting
During NF season, we see countless songs from all over Europe, and many of them fall into the one and same category. Pop. But San Marino is not afraid to try new approaches every time. They have given us so many styles. Ballads, soft pop, rap, soft rock, dance, disco, you name it. San Marino has more or less brought it. We never know what to expect from this microstate, often in the shadow of big brother Italy, but they never fail to amaze us in any way. Good or bad. We’re eagerly waiting to see what they will bring to the table in 2019, because it is bound to be something off the charts.
5. Wacky performances are the San Marino trademark
Remember “Social Network Song (uh oh, uh oh oh)”? That has staging that will never be outdone in wackiness. Here we have Miss Valentina for the first time, surrounded by random people such as a pilot, a doctor and a cheerleader. Probably the people most active on social media or something? Either way, it was classic! And then she was back the following year with the IKEA lamp, and then the year after that with the giant seashell. And of course, there is Jen and Jess’ robot with the important messages. We’re just in awe over their kitch through the years.
6. San Marino gave us the most surprising opening of a song ever
“No!” Michele Perniola. “No!” Can someone please make a “No!” loop? Yes! What was supposed to be a dramatic and deep start of the peace anthem “Chain of Lights” (Ralph Siegel strikes again), caught most people off guard, and soon became an ongoing joke within the fan community. OK, so that wasn’t the plan to begin with, but we’re still forever grateful for it because it gave us just one more reason to love and adore San Marino in Eurovision.
7. San Marino’s debut was in fact a pretty strong one
Say what you want about “Social Network Song”, but despite San Marino’s streak of weird entries, there are some very well-written songs inbetween. Their debut song “Complice” combined everything Europe should have wanted when Italy was still in hiatus. Strong opening, good structure, bulletproof build up to the chorus, wrapped up in the beautiful Italian language and performed by the Italian/San Marino band Miodio, a group of highly respected musicians with years of experience under their belt. What went wrong? No one knows really. “Complice” was an amazing debut and deserved so much more love.
8. When they are a fan favorite, they are a REAL fan favorite
We always love San Marino, but sometimes we love it more than usual. In 2013, San Marino gave us Valentina for the second year running with the song “Crisalide (Vola)” and for the first time, it was a strong contender for the finals. Although just missing out and coming in 11th in the semis, the song has become an evergreen among fans, and came second in the OGAE vote of the same year. It showed us a new side of Valentina, emphasizing on her amazing vocals and the fact that she meant business and was nowhere near done with Eurovision.
9. They know how to celebrate success
Valentina was back in 2014, and this time she was not about to take no for an answer. She performed the song “Maybe” and now Europe reciprocated the love and San Marino was in the finals for the first and so far, only time. And the joy was pure! Valentina went completely crazy and Mr Siegel even broke a smile! The struggle had finally paid off. Despite coming in 24th in the finals with only 14 points, the people of San Marino and Valentina herself were still celebrating. They focused on the journey instead of the destination. San Marino made it to the finals and that was the only thing that mattered. And all of us shed a tear of joy with them!
A list of reasons why we love San Marino in Eurovision is not complete without including the greatest man of all time. Serhat. The man behind one of the most epic entries in later days. Serhat. The man with the marvellous hat collection. Serhat. The man who whispered those undying words: “I want to pee inside your mind” Okay, not quite the correct lyric, but you get it. Serhat. The man who was undoubtedly the most charming contestant of 2016. Serhat. The man who made sultry disco a valid music genre in modern-day Eurovision. Serhat. The Man. Serhat. We bow before his greatness.
San Marino has competed eight times in ten years, but the majority of their contestants are in fact not native Sanmarines. Only Valentina Monetta, Anita Simoncini and two-fifths of Miodio were born in San Marino, with Nicola Della Valle, Senhit and Michele Perniola being Italian, Serhat is from Turkey, Jimmie Wilson is American, Jenifer Brening is German and Jessica is Maltese. So they go worldwide in search of the perfect candidate.
What are your favourite things about San Marino at Eurovision? Share your thoughts below!