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!

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Mws
Mws
5 months ago

I always love watching San Marino’s Entry every year. It always feels like a local karaoke champion given a big stage, but they always bring a humble song that’s heartfelt and quite endearing. Eurovision just wouldn’t be Eurovision without San Marino 🙂

Valentino
Valentino
7 months ago

Sadly Eurovision has moved from a show which unites Europe into one which only respects those who have the money.

Loin dici
7 months ago

Remember that Australia’s invitation was a three-year perfectly executed plan, but they are also fierce competitors nonetheless. They should stay for their determination and leg-breaking willingness to serve us hot cakes in a platter (almost) every year.

Joe
Joe
7 months ago
Reply to  Loin dici

They bring a dedication sorely lacking in some delegations that have been in the game for years.

alex
alex
7 months ago

when San Marino will say their plans for eurovision 2020??

Joe
Joe
7 months ago

Hey, as long as San Marino sticks around, I’ll always be ready to support them.

Ghostlyas
Ghostlyas
7 months ago

Does the EBU no longer do the thing where you kick the countries that did really bad?

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
7 months ago
Reply to  Ghostlyas

Not since 2003!

Joe
Joe
7 months ago

Two years in a row, the winner was a country that would’ve been relegated if they hadn’t decided to take more countries (Latvia got to compete in 2002 because Portugal opted out and Turkey got to compete in 2003 because they expanded how many countries were allowed to compete).

Jonas
Jonas
7 months ago

It’s totally unfair to keep an actual EBU member out of the contest while still allowing Australia to compete. I hope this guy is wrong.

Azuro
Azuro
7 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

They’re not keeping Andorra out, they’re just not putting in effort to get them to rejoin. Andorra withdrew voluntarily after a string of bad results and has now been absent for a whole decade, but they still get the invite each year. They just decline it and the EBU don’t try to persuade them otherwise.

Jonas
Jonas
7 months ago
Reply to  Azuro

He said the EBU weren’t “receptive” to their return…which is a shame.

Rasmus
Rasmus
7 months ago

No i want Austrlalia to stay. they have their own national selection and i want to keep them They are one of us now.

Jonas
Jonas
7 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus

If they’re “one of us” now, then perhaps they might like the pay full EBU membership fees.

Erste Reihe beim ESC
Erste Reihe beim ESC
7 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

Jonas – do you know exactly what Australia pays ? Tell us ….

Azuro
Azuro
7 months ago

While they’ve not confirmed the actual amount. It was confirmed Australia pay a fee equivalent to the Big 5.

Jonas
Jonas
7 months ago
Reply to  Azuro

Confirmed by whom? It seems illogical for a tiny underfunded broadcaster like SBS to pay the same EBU fees as the BBC who have 60 million viewers. Are you referring to the song contest participation fees or the full EBU memership fees? Why would an associate member pay the same as a full member when they aren’t granted access to the same privileges?

Jonas
Jonas
7 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

By “equivalent” do you mean percentage wise or the actual number? The BBC might pay a huge amount and SBS a tiny amount, but it’s the same percentage of their budget…?

Erste Reihe beim ESC
Erste Reihe beim ESC
7 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus

Rasmus – I agree with you 100 %. They came as “guests” but served us quality and they share the same passion as we do here in Europe. They are no more “guests” – they are “friends” now. On the other hand I would like to see Kazakhstan in our contest too ….because what they served us in JESC is “high quality” – so the EBU should invite them too – and maybe they prove in ESC too that they are like Australia.

Rasmus
Rasmus
7 months ago

no more then 20 in each semifinal. If more countries want in after 46 then thay have to wait. Kazakstans, Kosovo can be in but if we are to many already then they have to stay out some years i feel. 2007 again i dont want.

ESCFanGA
ESCFanGA
7 months ago

Just because Australia has sent good songs to Eurovision doesn’t excuse the fact that they’re not in Europe. Besides, I imagine if other countries outside Europe participated in Eurovision they would also send good songs as well.

Wiwision Song Contest 2020 in Otterdam | Open down
Wiwision Song Contest 2020 in Otterdam | Open down
7 months ago
Reply to  ESCFanGA

Australia was only meant to participate in 2015. That was also when they sent their only good song. The rest of their songs are bad.

Sav001
Sav001
7 months ago
Reply to  ESCFanGA

The name Eurovision doesn’t refer to Europe but to the European Broadcasting of which SBS, the Australian broadcaster are associate members of, therefore they are allowed to participate by invitation.

Kosey
Kosey
7 months ago

I’m not sure I agree with the micro-countries being involved in ESC. I am all for diversity and celebration of different cultures, but does Serhat really represent the San Marino culture? And does a country with a proportionately tiny population deserve more international publicity than say a regional part of a large country? Personally, I would introduce some sort of size limit.

Fabio
Fabio
5 months ago
Reply to  Kosey

Is there any Swedish culture in the Swedish entries? Because they are commercial pop songs in English. According to you rule, half countries should be banned to enter the contest.

Erste Reihe beim ESC
Erste Reihe beim ESC
7 months ago

Wiwicocks (what a name) – you forget that Australia pays a lot of money to be in our contest …..then you can drop the big 5 too. Money makes the world go round ….it’s a fact we shouldn’t forget ……….and Australia serves us most of the time good songs. If you want to create more money for the contest you need sponsoring and commercial spots during the show (like in Malta). Hey, why not ? – as long as those breaks are max. 1 min. long. Look in the USA to the “Superbowl” – what companies pay there to place… Read more »

Erste Reihe beim ESC
Erste Reihe beim ESC
7 months ago

Wiwicocks – don’t get me wrong I want small countries and microstates to be here in the contest and I know that they don’t have alway the money to pay the fees from the EBU – but to kick out other countries (you named Australia) is the wrong way. The EBU should think about how to help those “poor” countries and not overstrain the others (like the “big 5”). I hate commercial breaks during a show like the Eurovision but if that is the “only way” to keep those beloved countries in our contest, then it is okay for me.… Read more »

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
7 months ago

And the thing is, countries pay a Eurovision participation fee based on what the broadcaster can afford – wealthier countries make larger contributions and smaller countries have a smaller fee. I don’t know exactly what SBS pays, but with Australia having one of the larger GDPs among the participating countries, I would guess that they are closer to $$$ than $. So in a way, Australia’s participation fee helps subsidise the discounted fees of smaller countries. Australia are also known for bringing good quality acts, which raises the overall standard of the contest and gives other countries something to aspire… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
7 months ago

Australia may be a wealthy country, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that SBS have tonnes of cash to splash about. They don’t. Surely the EBU’s fees are based on the funds of the actual broadcaster, not the country itself?For associate membership, do the other Australian broadcasters (ABC and others) pay the same as SBS? It would be nice if they weren’t so secretive about it.

Erasmus
Erasmus
7 months ago

I think we can strech the number to at least 20 countries I mean the duration would be like 10 minutes difference to what it is now. + If countries like Slovakia, Turkey, Bosnia… came back Australia would probably back out or would be kicked out

Wiwision Song Contest 2020 in Otterdam | Open down
Wiwision Song Contest 2020 in Otterdam | Open down
7 months ago
Reply to  Erasmus

I think that would work.

Rasmus
Rasmus
7 months ago

You cant have more then 20 in a semi and not more then 2 semis. Its stupid and unfair to all. I dont want like in 2007 again!

George P.
George P.
7 months ago

I don’t think I understand. Many participants should mean smaller prices for each. The more successful a thing is, the less expences are needed, unless is artificially made only for the elite. So what Eurovision will last 5 hours? Bring back televoting during the song. Only 3 minutes of televoting for each song.

Joseph Mendy
Joseph Mendy
7 months ago
Reply to  George P.

Did not understand one word of that comment.

George P.
George P.
7 months ago
Reply to  Joseph Mendy

I guess in 2010 and 2011 televoting was during the song. You could vote only while the singer was singing that particular song (3 minutes).

George P.
George P.
7 months ago
Reply to  Joseph Mendy

In case my english is not good enough, I can tell for sure that in 2011, you could vote for a country, only when the singer was singing. If you wanted to vote for Running Scared, you had to wait for Ell & Nikki to start singing, and from there, you had 3 minutes, the lenght of the song.

Sav001
Sav001
7 months ago
Reply to  George P.

It’s the same now. You vote after everyone has sung.

Mr Vanilla Bean
7 months ago

Oh, and Crisalide as a song deserved the top 3, in my opinion. Too bad it didn’t work so well on stage. Awful flag waving at its worst is a big part of what went wrong there, in my opinion.

Ani
Ani
7 months ago

I dont see the ebu not being warm to Andorra coming back when jon ola tried to get them back in 2015. I think this is bs

Jonas
Jonas
7 months ago
Reply to  Ani

Don’t forget that in 2014 there were only 37 countries so EBU was ready to bring back any country to the competition in 2015. It’s +40 since then so they are calm now. They even disqualified Romania without a second thought a few weeks before the show in 2016. They were ready to do same with Macedonia in 2018.

Ani
Ani
7 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

thats not true theres no ‘oh 40 so were calm now’ that’s silly

Mr Vanilla Bean
7 months ago

The EBU turns San Marino’s bogus televotes into a gravely overlooked scandal every year. I am pro microstates at Eurovision and believe that the EBU must make Andorra’s return as easy as possible for them. They were good enough for them before, and the are actually European. I also believe it should not be more than 45 countries per year and it works well so far, with different ones withdrawing and returning. I know the EBU is greedy about oligarchy money but they better think long and hard about keeping any European country away on purpose. I don’t think they… Read more »

Mr Vanilla Bean
7 months ago

Plus, if Andorra won, either Spain or France would probably say yes to hosting. They have numerous suitable venues. Might be the only chance of hosting they’ll be able to get these days with their less than impressive results.

uzhas
uzhas
7 months ago

46 would not work if the host was a big 5 country

1TruSeer
1TruSeer
7 months ago

44 would be no different to 43, as would mean 19 in each semi final, rather than 19 in 1 and 18 in the other.
In reality the maximum capacity is probably 46, 20 in each Semi final, plus Big 5, plus host.

Montenegro, Hungary, Slovakia, Bosnia and Turkey, all of whom competed sometime in this decade would take us to 46.

Denyel137
Denyel137
7 months ago
Reply to  1TruSeer

In the official rules of the Eurovision Songcontest on the EBU website, it is stated that “46 is the maximum number of participants allowed to compete”

Jonas
Jonas
7 months ago
Reply to  Denyel137

The rules also used to state that participants must be full-time active EBU members, so what do rules matter?

pepe
pepe
7 months ago

EBU should find another solution for the SM tele vote then that fabricated non transparent result that is based on the voting of some other countries.

Stevan
Stevan
7 months ago
Reply to  pepe

id just make a panel of regular people from san marino to act as a televote

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
7 months ago
Reply to  pepe

uh the only solution would be to just use the total scores from all the other countries so this year it’d be 12 norway, 10 holland, 8 italy etc. there’s no way greece n cyprus got 10 n 7 from their “televote” lmfao

Joe
Joe
7 months ago
Reply to  pepe

I remember hearing somewhere that this was the first year so many Sammarinese people voted that their votes actually registered, so we may be seeing their actual votes.

Jo.
Jo.
7 months ago

That explains a lot of things tbh. I don’t think we will see many more countries in the contest, unless Eurovision gets even bigger, which would make impossible for countries like San Marino to stay in the competition.