If there’s one country I’ve written most about on here, it’s the United Kingdom. Obviously. After that, however, it has to be San Marino. There’s just something about the microstate that I find utterly fascinating. In the time since I started this blog, they have never failed to do something iconic with their entry. So after a bizarre week’s worth of a sparsely attended national final, last night was never going to be your run-of-the-mill selection. All hail the most serene republic!

San Marino were on the hunt for a new King (or Queen) of the Castle

Only a few weeks ago we had the proper Sanremo with all its music, its showbiz and its entertaining fannying about. After five nights of Italy’s finest we may have thought we were done, but along came the Sammarinese with their very own version of the format to conclude Una Voce Per San Marino. There was everything you’d expect from the long-running musical marathon, just on scaled-back San Marino-sized production.

“Fio, they’ve stolen the format!”

We had ‘affable male host’ fulfilling the Amadeus role with aplomb. Certainly an upgrade on clipboard man from the week. Senhit perfectly filled the role of roaming co-host, sprinkling her showbiz magic on everything she touched. A monologue, an ABBA medley, duetting with the guest acts. She deserves a bigger and more appreciative crowd. The stoney faced Sammrinese just didn’t cut it. Go on Ama, bring her in for Sanremo ’23!

The aforementioned guest stars may not have been quite as numerous as Sanremo but they were certainly as iconic. In all fairness Al Bano ambling out to sing a song or two and faff about is pretty much as prime Sanremo as you could wish for. There may not have been the international guests such as Dua Lipa or Lewis Capaldi but they did have Valentina Monetta. It would’ve been wrong not to feature San Marino’s premier AirBnB proprietor in some fashion. Her and Senhit just about remembering the words to each other’s songs will be one of my highlights of the season.

Then there’s what the show was all about, the artists themselves. OK, so Sanremo wouldn’t choose such a geographically diverse lineup but when you have the strength Italy do there’s no need. Where they are similar is the diversity of styles. I’m not saying all genres were covered, but there was a damn sight more variety on the show last night than we’ll see from a number of other national finals this year. Una Voce also found itself aligning with Sanremo in having a wide age range amongst the artists, with the legendary Spagna at the upper end. Though I’m not sure who’s the older out of Spagna #1 or Spagna #2?

After all that it came down to the classifica generale, with a scoreboard clearly modeled on Sanremo. However, it wasn’t quite as slick as it’s counterpart as two artists a-piece shared 4th, 5th, 6th & 7th. Lads, always have your tie-breakers sorted pre-show! Not only did the scoreboard format sway from the Sanremo standard but so did the result. Achille Lauro actually bloody won. The iconic Italian performer will take Stripper to the Turin stage and the Contest will be all the better for it. This filthy, beguiling rock anthem stands San Marino in good stead of making their third consecutive Eurovision final.

What a time to be alive! Grazie San Marino. Allora .


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