Oh I’ve been looking forward to this one! San Marino, along with Azerbaijan, is the youngest Eurovision nation, joining the contest in 2008. Scared off by coming dead last in the 2008 semi-finals, San Marino returned in 2011 with Italy, but again failed to qualify.
Undeterred, 2012 saw an eyecatching entry by flame-haired Valentina Monetta with a Ralph Siegel-penned song about Facebook. Or at least it was until the EBU pointed out their policy of not promoting products or businesses, at which point it was hurriedly re-written as the Social Network Song. It certainly got plenty of attention, and assured San Marino’s place in Eurovision legend.
Unfortunately it still didn’t qualify, even though 14th in a semi-final was San Marino’s best result to date. This year, in a bit of a shock twist, Valentina’s back to fly the Sammarinese flag in Malmö with another Ralph Siegel original. Only this time it’s AMAZING.
Valentina is an inherently likeable character, and unlike certain participants this year, is keeping her sense of humour whilst still respecting the contest and trying her best (take notes, Anouk). Crisalide is an Italian-language inspirational ballad about overcoming adversity and staying optimistic, neatly mirroring Valentina’s quest to take San Marino to its first ever final.
All other underdogs bow down, as the little microstate is my real champion of the year. It starts as a beautiful piano-led waltz, with Valentina’s gorgeous vocals soaring. But ballads are a tricky thing, and it’s easy to cross the line into boring. Not this one though, and in its final minute it pulls off a switch to a string-led schlager dance stomper, and two key changes. It’s enough to leave you breathless, head spinning but uplifted.
A Sammarinese win? Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, the odds are against it as a non-English track, and internet buzz doesn’t always translate to Eurovision success. But my God, I want this to win so much, it’s crazy. Get the wind-machines out, make this the moment of the contest! Buona fortuna, Valentina, I hope there is space in San Marino!
For more reviews of ESC 2013 entries and news, please visit my Malmö hub, or just click “Malmö 2013” at the top of the page.