Ever since Mahmood took the surprise win at the Sanremo Music Festival 2019, life has been a whirlwind of press conferences and interviews. He had one more appearance to make on Sunday evening when he stopped by the late-night talk show Che tempo che fa and performed his winning song “Soldi”.
Unlike the Sanremo version of the song, which was arranged for a live orchestra, Mahmood performed last night’s version using a backing track based on the studio version.
It offers Eurovision fans the first hint of what the eventual Eurovision version of “Soldi” might sound like.
Mahmood performed the song on a bare stage, decorated only by the LED stage walls and floor. The screens displayed graphics in shades of red and turquoise, mostly just saying “Mahmood” and “Soldi”.
The Italian singer wore black trousers with a gold and black shirt, accessorised with his signature take on a wallet chain.
The performance also gave fans the opportunity the chance to see “Soldi” performed without all the trappings of Sanremo, no cutaway shots of the orchestra. The focus was on Mahmood and he owned the camera.
The studio version of “Soldi” is 3:15, just 15 seconds over the three-minute time limit for Eurovision. As is typical for Italian entries, it is expected that a Eurovision version edit of the song will be released at a later date.
“I would have chosen Ultimo”
Meanwhile, Mahmood’s Sanremo win has come under criticism from Deputy Prime Minister of Italy and Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini. The right-wing politician tweeted, “Mahmood… mah… The most beautiful Italian song?!? I would have chosen #Ultimo, what do you say?”
— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) February 10, 2019
Thinly disguised political criticism or just a disgruntled Ultimo fan?
Politics makes for strange bedfellows and Salvini’s tweet had replies of support, including from those who agree with his politics, fans of Ultimo, fans of Il Volo, Sanremo viewers who felt the press jury had too much power and those who felt that Mahmood wasn’t Italian enough.
However, others pointed out that Mahmood won Sanremo fairly as per the competition rules. It was also noted that Mahmood is Italian, was born in Italy to an Italian mother, and his song is mostly sung in the Italian language.
Wiwibloggs readers have generally been supportive of Mahmood’s Sanremo win. Over on YouTube, viewer “mimmi brontola” wrote:
“Ok, let’s get this straight … Alessandro Mahmood has a Sardinian mum and an Egyptian father, was born and bred in Milan. So he’s Italian.
“I teach in Milan and a lot, really a lot of my students are very similar to him… students with immigrant parent/parents and full to the brim with talent and “joie de vivre” in the face of hardship. You cannot get more Italian to me and I am elated that he’s won.”
But regardless, Sanremo 2019 is over, the winner has been decided.
Update: Will Mahmood go to Eurovision?
Just this morning, Mahmood confirmed that he has NOT yet decided if he will go to Eurovision. Speaking to La Stampa, Mahmood said he didn’t know if he would go to Eurovision and said “we must understand things better”. He explained his change from Saturday night’s emphatic “yes” was because “We have seen how much work it entails and we want to consider it well.”
Fans are already campaigning for Mahmood to say yes, with a #mahmood4eurovision hashtag.
What do you think? Do you like Mahmood’s new performance of “Soldi”? How would you like the song to be staged? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!