San Marino decides – Jessika wins 1in360 final and Eurovision ticket

After a lot of fuss and changes in the rules, San Marino finally came to the conclusion that it will be Jessika who will represent them at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.

San Marino’s new 1in360 selection has been quite intense. People from all over the world submitted their entry to the open selection, and 11 of them made it to the final. Out of those 11 acts, only one is actually from San Marino. That’s Irol. In the final he had the company of Giovanni who is almost local, as he is Italian. Eight of the remaining nine finalists are from various European country, and finally, Africa was represented as well, in terms of Tinashe from Zimbabwe.

Favourite to win were Austrian Sara de Blue and Maltese Jessika, as they were fastest to collect the money, but as other acts reached the 8,000 euros as well, it became more difficult to see who would make it as no one knew what the jury would prefer.

Voting controversy

At first, it cost 1 euro to vote in the selection. Then San Marino announced that they would change the procedure so that it would cost 20 euros, and that the artists got points based on how much money they collected via the so-called shareholder voting. Though with the maximum of 8,000 euros for each act, so that acts who wanted to vote for themselves wouldn’t have to spend more than that. In case of several reaching the 8,000 euros, they would all get 12 points, and the jury would then decide.

That change was met with lots of complaints. Fans thought it was way too much to pay 20 euros. San Marino then changed again, and put the fee down to 2 euros.  The remaining issue still, is that the broadcaster basically encouraged all acts to supply their own money in order to reach 8,000 euros and 12 points. No one knows who will end up receiving the money, so we might have a broadcaster who earns a lot of money, and in the end it’s a 100% jury decision, as many of the acts have reached the 8,000 euros and as such each get 12 points from the public.

About the show

The show was held in Slovakia once again and hosted by Nick Earles and Kristin Stein. In the jury panel there were slight changes as Neon Hitch couldn’t make it due to weather conditions. In her place there was the Eurovision veteran John Kennedy O’Connor.

1in360’s Grand Final was broadcasted live in SMRTV’s website and many struggled to watch the show as there were many connection problems.

The acts performed one after the other and before each act took the stage, a small introduction video of each was aired. As for the interval act, Slovakia’s 2011 representatives – Twins – took the stage for a performance. Zoe also performed Loin D’Ici.

The songs

Let’s take a closer look at the 11 different songs, San Marino had to choose between, in order of performances.

Camilla North – Yo No Soy Tu Chika

Perhaps the catchiest tune of them all. Resembling Dua Lipa’s New Rules and Luis Fonsi’s Despacito, Camilla had an amazing song on her hands. Nonetheless, the judges weren’t impressed and accused of lack of energy.

Judah Gavra – Stay

The first of three versions of Stay presented was Judah’s. There were some vocal issues during the performance. As for the song, it talks about someone who is dying and is, obviously, a very sad tune. Judah’s arrangement of the song is perhaps the most Pop version of them all.

Tinashe Makura – Free Yourself

Tinashe certainly brought the African flavour to the competition by mixing a tiny bit of Reggae to his feel good song. It surely brings diversity into the competition.

Giovanni Montalbano – Per Quello Che Me Dai

Surely one of the most appropriate songs to represent San Marino as it is full in Italian and it has been some years since the last time that San Marino performed in Italian at the Eurovision Song Contest. The song is a very pretty midtempo that has scored many good comments from the judges. John wasn’t impressed though.

Irol (feat. Basti) – Sorry

The fusion between Pop and Hip Hop in Sorry make it quite appealing. Nonetheless, it may be a huge risk sending such an entry to the Eurovision stage as it could be considered a filler and just another cute song.

Jessika Muscat (feat. Jenifer) – Who We Are 

Joined by robots, Jessika presented one of the most Pop songs of the entire competition and even look-wise, she brought the diva aspect into the game.

Sebastian Schmidt – Stay

Sebastian’s performance didn’t begin in the best ways as his ear piece wasn’t working properly. He had to repeat his performance yet he was most of the times off key.

Emma Sandström – Diamonds

Diamonds is a smooth Pop Dance song that could easily become a radio hit. The judges weren’t very impressed with Emma’s performance but liked it better than the show’s first heat.

Sara De Blue – Out Of The Twilight

With amazing vocals and an amazing stage presence, Sara de Blue came in as the favorite to win. She impressed the judges except the brand new John O’Connor who said her dress was distracting.

Jenifer Besky – Until The Morning Light

Bringing a bit of Adele flavour, Jenifer brought also some Soul into the 1in360 stage. The judges were impressed with her powerful vocals and liked her outfit.

Franklin Calleja – Stay

Maybe the most dramatic version of Stay. Franklin is also very dramatic himself but very competent when it comes to vocal performances. The judges agreed that he was a potential winner.

The results

Everyone was shocked when Sara de Blue was announced as the runner-up. At the end, Jessika’s duet with Jenifer Brening won the competition will represent San Marino at this year’s Eurovision.

San Marino at the Eurovision Song Contest

The small country with a population of only 33,000 had a sneak-participation at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. The San Marinese/Italian band Miodio represented the country with the song Complice. With only five points, the country finished last in its semi-final.

Broadcaster SMRTV withdrew from the contest in both 2009 and 2010 due to financial issues. They returned in 2011 with Italian singer Senit. She also failed to reach the final, and unfortunately, it would take another few years before they finally experienced making it to the final. That was in 2014 when San Marino for the third year in a row sent their local singer Valentina Monetta. Maybe was her third entry, and that just did the trick as it finished 10th in the semi-final. That is to date still their only final qualification.

Valentina also returned in 2017, this time in a duet together with American Jimmie Wilson. Spirit Of The Night was easy to sing along to for the fans, but that didn’t get rewarded on the scoreboard as the duo received only 1 point, and as such wasn’t near a qualification.

Five of the San Marino entries have been written by German legendary Eurovision songwriter Ralph Siegel. In the video below, take a look at these five entries which are from 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

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