Tonight was the night many Eurovision Song Contest fans had been waiting for for a long time, a song to represent Italy on its return to the contest. Roberto Vecchioni was the overall winner of the festival, while Raphael Gualazzi was the choice of a specially commissioned jury to go to Germany in May.
The first song to perform was Davide Van De Sfroos with Yanez. It is not an Italian sounding song by any stretch of the imagination, but sounds like a gypsy song. Next was the most political song of the night, Chiamami Ancora Amore sung by Roberto Vecchioni. The words are a lament to what Roberto sees as the decline of Italian culture.
Lifting the mood a bit after that was Anna Tatangelo with her rock song, Bastardo. She had been knocked out of the festival on the first evening by the Guria Demoscopica, which was made up of people from all parts of the social and generational spectrum. She was only able to perform on the final night thanks to the votes of the Italian public, who voted her back in to the festival on Thursday in a ‘sing off’ between the other three songs that had been eliminated. Another rock song followed, although a rather softer one, called Fino in Fondo, sung by Luca Barbarosa and Raquel del Rosario. They combined successfully to make this duet very appealing.
Next was veteran Al Bano, who, like Anna Tatangelo, has the Italian public to thank for his presence in the festival on the final night. Amanda é Libera is a very Al Bano style ballad. Following Al was La Crus, whose song, Io Confesso, is slightly old fashioned, but no less appealing for that. He was followed by Giusy Ferreri and her rock song, Il Mare Immenso. It sounds rather ordinary in what is a high quality level in this year’s festival.
Italian X-Factor winner Nathalie started at the piano when she performed Vivo Sospesa. It is moody and slightly dark. Rock seems a popular genre this year, and Arriverá, is not only of that style, but also very anthemic. Its performers, Modá con Emma had a good chemistry between them as well as powerful voices.
The last song of the Artisti section featured Franco Battiato, who is something of a modern legend of the Italian music scene. He teamed up with Luca Madonia to sing L’Alieno. It was popular with the audience in the theatre and the fact that they had not been eliminated from the festival by now suggests some support for it in Italy, but it doesn’t travel too well.
While the votes were being cast from all over Italy, Rafael Gualazzi was introduced and he came on to the stage to perform Follia d’Amore, with which he won the Giovanni section of the festival on Friday evening. With a sense of inevitability, he stood next to host Gianni Morandi, who started talking about Italy’s return to the Eurovision Song Contest. Sure enough, Raphael was then announced as the choice of the special jury to represent Italy in Dusseldorf.
A legend not just of his time, but of all time, Massimo Ranieri came on to the stage to sing a few songs, mostly with Gianni Morandi, including Nel Blu, di Pinto, di Blu, which really got the audience in the Teatro Ariston involved. Massimo is still in very fine voice and showed he is a born entertainer.
To extend the tension a little more, three of the ten acts went through to a final round of voting. The three finalists were Al Bano, Modá con Emma and Roberto Vecchioni, much to the delight of the audience.
As well as these three songs competing for victory, the journalists covering the festival had a vote among themselves to find their favourite song. The top three were; La Crus, Luca Madonia feat Franco Battiato and Davide Van De Sfroos. The journalists also voted for which of the three finalists was their choice as the best song. This vote went to Roberto Vecchioni.
After a lot of talking – this is Italy, after all – the three finalists performed their song again, starting with Roberto Vecchioni. Modá con Emma were next, then, last but definitely not least, Al Bano.
Gianni started thanking everyone involved in the putting together of the festival, a clue that the result was not far away. When it came, it was a very popular result in the Ariston. In third place was Al Bano, not bad considering he had been temporarily eliminated from the competition. In second was Modá con Emma. Therefore, the winner of the 61st Sanremo Festival is Roberto Vecchioni with his song, Chiamami Ancora Amore. It is a traditional Italian style song with a lyric that seemed to strike a chord with Italians.