2017 Review: San Marino

When I first heard San Marino’s 2012 entry, I facepalmed and I’m pretty sure my jaw hit the keyboard in the school computer lab before coming up with words to yell at Ralph Siegel.

In 2013, I screamed when I heard Valentina Monetta was returning to the contest, but I eventually warmed up once the song came out, even feeling a bit disappointed when she missed out by one place in the semifinal.

In 2014, I didn’t even react when SMRTV announced she was coming back for a 3rd time; pretty sure the only reason to send her at the time was to finally bump San Marino into the final. And she did. It was only 24th out of 26th, but it was a spot in the final and she got to perform twice that week.

Fast forward 3 years to 2017. San Marino’s sent two 16 year olds from JESC building singing about building a potential fire hazard and a Turkish Jeopardy host singing disco. They’ve been memed on Twitter into the country that sends artists from countries that don’t participate in Eurovision, or even the country that sends reject national final entries.

Well they didn’t send a reject national final entry (How would they select it? Through OGAE Second Chance? A national final similar to Twitter contests? And how weird would it be if Loreen represented San Marino?). Instead they announced that one person would be from the EU and another person would be from outside the EU. Enter Valentina Monetta for the fourth time and American-singer-living-in-Germany Jimmie Wilson.

If the US could vote in Eurovision and people participated in neighbor voting, then this would be the one country that I would vote for despite not being that big of a fan. Even though I could also choose between Albania (Lindita lives in Georgia), Denmark (Greenland is part of North America), Iceland (the closest country in Europe on the Atlantic side), or Russia (Sarah Palin can allegedly see Russia from her house). However, Jimmie Wilson happens to be from Detroit. I live in southeast Michigan. That’s close enough.

As for the song itself, I listened to it for the first time and guessed that it was a Ralph Siegel entry. No surprise. Given that a lot of people on Twitter have been complaining about the number of ballads, being an uptempo song, albeit an uptempo disco song from the 70’s and/or belongs on a cruise ship and/or Schlagerfeber might have fun singing this, should give San Marino a bit of an advantage. At first listen the voices don’t seem to mesh very well, but that appears to be due to accents. Valentina Monetta, being from San Marino and not speaking English as her first language, still sings English with an accent. Jimmie Wilson, on the other hand, is from Michigan and doesn’t have an accent at all. There’s also the factor that their voices have really different textures- one is smooth (reminding me a bit of Leslie Odom Jr. or Guy Sebastian) and the other not as smooth.

The conversation that they’re having in the song seems kind of awkward at first listen, but at the same time I haven’t paid much attention to the lyrics. It probably would not matter as much, as the few groups that do pay attention to the lyrics are a) the small group of fans who learn all the lyrics, b) whoever puts subtitles over the live performances, and c) Buzzfeed, which proceeds to mock lyrics over the said subtitles.

While I do think SMRTV should find someone else that isn’t Valentina Monetta to represent the micronation (or at least give her a jazz song to work with for once), this isn’t bad and there might be another borderline qualifier for San Marino this year. However, if they don’t, I wouldn’t be surprised.


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