Sanremo ended a week ago, but the controversy has continued to hold centre stage.
As y’all know, Mahmood triumphedwith “Soldi” in the 69th edition of the historic Italian song festival, winning the honor of representing Italy at Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv.
But his victory came thanks to the strong support of the press jury and the expert jury, which ranked him first in the superfinal. That has triggered violent reactions, including within the highest levels of Italian politics.
A few seconds after the announcement of Mahmood‘s victory, Deputy Prime Minister of Italy and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini revealed that he was a huge fan of runner up Ultimo. His entry “I tuoi particolari” slayed the televote, gaining 48.80% of the public vote among the three super finalists.
— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) February 10, 2019
Is it the most beautiful Italian song??!?
I would have chosen #Ultimo, what do you say?? #Sanremo2019
The opinion of Salvini — who has always been very critical of foreigners and the EU’s management of asylum seekers — has opened a ferocious discussion on social media, which has seen his supporters lash out against Mahmood, who is apparently “guilty” of having an Egyptian father and of mentioning Ramadan and shisha, and of having a sentence in Arabic in his song.
Deputy Prime Minister of Italy and Minister of Economic Development, Labour and Social Policies Luigi Di Maio also felt the need to have his say on Sanremo rules.
(…) I see that there is a big debate about the winner of Sanremo because the jury and the press room have totally overturned the result of the televoting. It did not win what the majority of the voters wanted from home, but what the minority of the jury wanted, made up largely of journalists and radical chic. (…) These are those increasingly distant from the popular feeling and they have also shown on the occasion of Sanremo.
I congratulate Mahmood, Ultimo and all the others. And I thank Sanremo because this year has made known to millions of Italians the abysmal distance between people and the “elites”. Between the sensitivities of ordinary citizens and those of radical chic.
For next year, maybe, the winner could be chosen only with the televote, given that the Italians pay 51 cents for it. Let’s count it!
Unjustified racism against the Italian singer, born and raised in Milan, created a wave of dissent that has led several artists to take come to his defence. Among them are Ermal Meta, Albanian-Italian songwriter and winner of Sanremo 2018 together with Fabrizio Moro.
The singer — who placed fifth at Eurovision in Lisbon with “Non mi avete fatto niente” — expressed himself on social media, writing a message of understanding and openness.
A tutti coloro che dicono che la vittoria di @Mahmood_Music sia una vittoria politica: non buttate merda su una cosa bella. La musica non ha passaporti, ma se proprio ci tenete a “controllare” quello di Alessandro è un passaporto italiano. E anche se non lo fosse, #sticazzi
— Ermal Meta (@MetaErmal) February 10, 2019
To all those who say that Mahmood’s victory is a political one: do not throw sh*t on something beautiful. Music has no passports, but if you really want to “check”, Alessandro has an Italian passport. And even if he did not, #whogivesash*t
The singer-songwriter has also added an annotation, following the criticism of some fans.
Per coloro che non hanno capito. Non ho detto che ha vinto la canzone migliore anche perché non esiste la canzone migliore. Si tratta di gusti e il mio lo sapete già.. dico solo che è giusto onorare il vincitore perché non può essere una colpa vincere. W la musica. https://t.co/5FRdBjOaIX
— Ermal Meta (@MetaErmal) February 10, 2019
For those who have not understood. I did not say that the best song won because there is no better song. It’s about taste and you already know mine… I just say it’s fair to honor the winner because winning cannot be a fault. Long live the music.
Words remain words, but in the end it’s the facts that matter. Mahmood is destroying every record for a recent Sanremo winner.
“Soldi” hit number 1 on the FIMI singles charts in Italy, but also on several other charts: Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, YouTube and radio airplay.
Significant results can be seen on Spotify in particular: “Soldi” is the Italian song to have reached the highest position on the Top 50 Global of Spotify, ranking #40 with 1,559,859 streams on 11 February.
The following day, he dropped one position but reached the peak of global streams: 1,676,481.
In addition, “Soldi” is the Italian song with the most streams within a week of release: 8,223,614 streams from Friday 8 February to Thursday 14 February. Following his Sanremo victory, the song is getting more than 1 million streams each day.
Mahmood is also the soloist to have obtained the most streams in 24 hours on Spotify Italy: 1,559,735 streams on 12 February.