Sanremo 2021 might be postponed to April – Could this mean internal selection for Italy?

| November 19, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic influences the lives of humanity a lot. Europe in particular faces many restrictions and high infection rates. One of the most influenced countries, especially in the beginning of the pandemic is Italy, who suffered immensely. In order to prevent the country from further damage, Italy had one of the strictest and longest lockdowns in the world. After a phase of low infection rates, Italy, as other countries like Germany, Spain, France, Czech Republic, Belgium, UK, Austria & Switzerland, faces a second wave with even higher infection rates as in March. As a result, culture, tourism and gastronomy in particular are facing a very difficult time, being forced close once again. This might now has an impact on the biggest Italian music festival: Sanremo.

In July, RAI, the national broadcaster, already announced that Sanremo won’t go ahead in February as usual. Instead, it has been rescheduled for the 2nd until the 6th of March 2021, which is still the current dates. However, the host town Sanremo, where name of the festival derives from, has just asked for another postponement to the end of April. The pandemic in itself is only one reason for this request. In addition to that, the Sanremo festival couldn’t unfold it’s full potential in terms of tourism while massive restrictions such as closed shops, restaurants and hotels are active. Since the festival is a huge economical factor for the municipality, a festival without audience as it is usual during the pandemic is therefore not desirable. If RAI would agree to this demand, it would have serious consequences for the Eurovision selection process.

Even though Sanremo is considered as an independent music festival and even has a longer tradition than Eurovision itself, it normally has been used as the national selection process for Italy since their return in 2011. Even though there is no obligation to represent Italy at Eurovision after a Sanremo victory, many artists took the opportunity to present themselves to a wider audience. However, Eurovision songs and artists need to be chosen by a certain date which is usually around the middle of March. Especially this year, this date won’t be changed because every artist needs to record their performance by the end of March just in case Eurovision can’t be done in Rotterdam as planned. Therefore, Sanremo in April would definitely mean it cannot be used as a national selection this year which leads to the question: how Italy can pick an artist for Eurovision 2021? There are two possible options: Either RAI picks a song and artist internally as many other countries do, or they give Diodato the chance to finally represent his country, like he was supposed to do this year. He won Sanremo 2020 with the song Fai Rumore (Make Noise) and has been considered as one of the favorites to win Eurovision. 

What do you think is going to happen? Would you like to see Diodato to represent Italy again in 2021? Let us know down in the comments.

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