San Marino is the only microstate still active in Eurovision. At Eurovision 2019 it managed to achieve a top 10 placing with the public and secured their best overall placing to date. Now, with another season upon us, San Marino’s Head of Delegation Alessandro Capicchioni has been reflecting on the significance of Eurovision for his country.
In an interview with Repubblica.sm, Alessandro claimed that having San Marino apply for participation today would be much more complicated than it was when they first joined the song contest in 2008. “Right now, having a suitable venue is a necessary condition to register to compete, something that we — although feeling perfectly accepted by the community — are not able to provide.”
He also says the EBU is dead set on maintaining the contest’s existing costs and participation fees. That’s despite the fact the expense and participation fees have led some less affluent countries — like Bosnia & Herzegovina, Portugal, Bulgaria and others to withdraw over the past decade. Said fees and strict venue requirements are two reasons why Alessandro claims that the EBU isn’t immediately receptive to the case of Andorra, which has entertained the idea of a return in the near future.
The Head of Delegation, however, understands the significant cost and effort any host country has to put in. With the show much larger than in years past, it is an actual economic investment and laborious commitment to put on the biggest music competition in the world. Expanding the number of contestants implies a heavier toll on the host country. That’s why he says that the EBU finds 43 to be the magic number — the maximum capacity to have a successful and affordable contest.
San Marino at the Eurovision Song Contest
Despite the taxing nature of participating in the contest, there is always a bright side. Alessandro expressed elation at the increased publicity that San Marino has had over the years — even going all the way back to their debut in 2008. After a meeting between their then Secretary Pier Marino Mularoni and Dima Bilan, the broadcaster was soon flooded with messages from Russia after being featured in news and music programs.
“The BBC provocatively said once ‘Is San Marino New Britain’s Best Friend?’ because we were among the few to vote for the UK,”Alessandro says. “Today I type ‘ESC 2019 + San Marino’ and Google gives me 8,330,000 results.’ How much is all this worth? Impossible to say, not to mention the high television ratings and the interaction of fans with the web, rounding possibly billions of views. People also discover San Marino, a tiny entity invisible to large numbers. It’s overall invaluable.”
A strategy to succeed in the contest is not as concrete. “You need shrewdness but you also need luck, the song, the right character in the right year and a great production team,” he says. “But we have won twice, in 2014 and 2019, in our own way. A heroic Valentina who did not want to give up despite everything — then forgotten by her country — and a champion of style and elegance named Serhat.”
What do you think about Alessandro’s comments? What are your wishes for San Marino’s representation in Rotterdam? Let us know in the comments below!