Italy: Mahmood to Tel Aviv!

Italy – Italian broadcaster, RAI, concluded the annual San Remo festival which historically chooses Italy’s Eurovision entry. This was the 5th night with all 24 entries presented again. The winner is Mahmood with “Soldi“!

This was tonight’s line-up (not the draw of tonight’s show):

  • Achille Lauro – Rolls Royce (1st participation)
  • Anna Tatangelo – Le nostre anime di notte (8th participation)
  • Arisa – Mi sento bene (5th participation)
  • Boombadash – Per un milione (1st participation)
  • Daniele Silvestri – Argento vivo (6th participation)
  • Einar – Parole nuove (1st participation – San Remo Giovani winner)
  • Enrico Nigiotti – Nonno Hollywood (2nd participation)
  • Ex-Otago – Solo una canzone (1st participation)
  • Francesco Renga – Aspetto che torni (8th participation)
  • Shade & Federica Carta – Senza farlo apposta (1st participation for both)
  • Ghemon – Rose viola (1st participation)
  • Il Volo – Musica che resta (2nd participation)
  • Irama – La ragazza con il cuore di latta (2nd participation)
  • Loredana Bertè – Cosa ti aspetti da me (11th participation)
  • Mahmood – Soldi (2nd participation – San Remo Giovani winner)
  • Motta – Dov’è l’Italia (1st participation)
  • Negrita – I ragazzi stanno bene (2nd participation)
  • Nek – Mi farò trovare pronto (4th participation)
  • Nino D’Angelo & Livio Cori – Un’altra luce (6th participation / first participation)
  • Paola Turci – L’ultimo ostacolo (11th participation)
  • Patty Pravo & Briga – Un po’ come la vita (9th participation / first participation)
  • Simone Cristicchi – Abbi cura di me (5th participation)
  • Ultimo – I tuoi particolari (2nd participation)
  • Zen Circus – L’amore è una dittatura (1st participation)

So there were 22 artists joined by the 2 “young” category winners, Einar and Mahmood. A few new comers join some long-time returnees like Loredana and Paola! A lot of songs are already available online, on the artists’ official youtube page for instance. You can check more information on the artists on Rai’s official site.

There were four nights during the week, with all artists presenting their songs, and the final was this Saturday, to join the fun of a second Super Saturday! Recently, the winner was asked to go to Eurovision and it’s now considered an actual national final, even if it’s a much older contest with its own history separate from the European contest.

After many commercial breaks and many guest artists performing through the night, we got the full results, and many honorary awards. The audience in the theater was definitely shouting Loredana after she was announced only 4th! Other favorite Irama had to settle for 7th. In the end, they took a bit longer to announce the Top 3:

  1. Mahmood – Soldi
  2. Ultimo – I tuoi particolari
  3. Il Volo – Musica che resta

It’s notable that Ultimo announced before the contest that he did not desire to go to Tel Aviv and to Eurovision. Was this taken into account by the jury, who placed Ultimo, who won 47% of televote (to Il Volo’s 39% and Mahmood’s only 14%), only second overall? Il Volo, Eurovision televote winners in 2015, had to settle to third and are not likely to go to the contest again… unless Mahmood backs down! But the juries’ strong support seem to imply that it’s RAI’s pick to the contest, over someone who didn’t want to go and singers who already went.

This is Mahmood’s performance in the first night:


EDIT: he has officially accepted to represent Italy to the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in Tel Aviv! What do you think of this song? What are its chances in the contest?

552 comments on “Italy: Mahmood to Tel Aviv!

  1. I have just watched the Icelandic finalists. Hera was great as always but can’t make us forget that she has arrived with an ESC in the 90s ballad. Just because of Hera’s competence she probably deserves to be in the final anyway.
    Hatari: I am on the fence here. A couple of years ago, I would have supported it 100 %. However, so much has changed over the past years, all the aggression that has crept into and poisened our societies. As a result, everything aggressive instantly puts me off. This is more about the performance than the song imo, and as an act it is very strong and despite everything miles ahead of Hera’s nostalgic tribute number. The dancer is insanely hot …

  2. I’m curious to see Letiția Moisescu and Sensibil Balkan – “Daina” in today’s Romanian semi..

  3. Our Dima’s new single, this time he is in very melancholic mood. He shouldn’t. He got Timbaland, Lazarev got Kontopoulous 😃

  4. Thank you San Remo for providing us with another great winner.This is my favorite Italian entry since their return.A song with great artistic value both music and lyrics-wise.
    Mahmood is great on stage,strong vocals and stage charisma.The urban,rap sound combined with the lyrics of an almost poetic value talk about the troubled relationship of a son with his father and maybe of an immigrant with his new homeland,a glimpse at the life in the working class suburbs of a European metropolis .It really resonates with the current political and social context in Europe.It is such great luck that “Soldi” will now be part of the esc history.

  5. Another song Mahmood wrote for Marco Mengoni:

  6. UlIn a YT video, Ultimo blasts the San Remo Festival for encouraging people to spend their money on televoting and then use the jury to completely disregard their choices through tactical voting. As full results come out, it seems that Mahmood was as low as 21st in the public’s preferences on the first night of the festival, and that the exact same thing had happened when he won San Remo Giovanni. Italy has been completely consumed by the row over SR results since Saturday night. Let’s hope this will not discourage artists of stature to take part in the festival in the future:

  7. Italy has proven it is another drama loving Mediterranean country! Even the minister of interior got involved! Pleeeeeease!🙄
    If I were Mahmood,after all said and done,I would let them send Ultimo and watch Italy ending up in the bottom 😒

  8. Mahmood was asked by La Stampa whether he is going to Eurovision and he replied:

    “I don’t know. We must get a better understanding. We have to see how much work it entails and have to make up our minds.”


  9. I tuoi particolari starts at #5 in the Italy’s official chart week closing terza serrata. Only San Remo entry to chart already during the festival week.

  10. What a mess; doesn’t help that the voting system is intransparent (I know someone explained it here but if even I can’t figure it out, I dont expect the average televoter to deal with it. Needs to be 50-50 seems the easiest – but with the televote so lopsided, this is farcical. Sorry for Mahmood who’s in the middle of this mess (which predictably is being politicized); I was just getting behind the song, too.

  11. Twitter in Italy is ON FIRE!!

    “Se Mahmood” is trending on Twitter in Italy with 15k+ tweets, first position. It is tied to his doubts about Eurovision partecipation and people is trying to tell him to accept and not give up about the political annoiances and Ultimo’s reactions.


  12. What has been happening in Italy the last 24 hrs regarding their esc entry? It seems there have been some developments that I missed?

  13. RAI’s president says San Remo’s voting system needs “fixing”:

    “There was a clear imbalance between the popular vote and the jury made up of a few dozen people that caused controversy,” RAI President Marcello Foa told the network’s UnoMattina show. “This is the real point that it is necessary to reflect on. Does this system work or not? “It should clearly be fixed so that the public feels represented”.


    • Picking music experts instead of random celebrities for the jury might be a good start. I have never understood why we get so many TV presenters in ESC and ESC-related juries, but never a music professor f. e.
      But then, considering the times we are living in, a professional jury probably wouldn’t help. The people would fume and shout “Kill the experts!” if the jury didn’t support their choice. As Michael Gove said before the Brexit referendum: “people in this country have had enough of experts”. :(
      We are living in crazy times.

    • And who’s Marcello Foa?Have you done any background check on him?He’s a supporter of various conspiracy theories who has been installed in his place by the current populist government.He’s an anti-vaccinationist who in the past has promoted several conspiracy theories one of which is that the German police following the orders of Angela Merkel would hide any evidence of Islamic terror-related incidents in Germany and beyond.

      • He is also the one who was going on about how they want to have rap in the contest to bring in the young audience etc, etc just two days before the final. I think he is simply going with the prevailing wind now to cover his behind.

        But I did not comment on what he said. Since he is RAI’s president, what he says about the contest or about the voting system obviously makes the news. I think you have a curious “hygienic” view of what is newsworthy :)

        • I don’t,But people who don’t know who he is should know more about him.He’s not just the current RAI president.His installement has caused uproar in Italy because of his known “journalistic” past.And of course, based on all his past statements, he’s not happy with Mahmood’s victory.

  14. Mahmood performs “Soldi” without orchestra in RAI’s “Che tempo che fa” show

  15. Italy’s deputy prime-minister Luigi Di Maio (from the 5-star movement) writes on Facebook that the song he listens non-stop from this year’s festival is “Abbi cura di me” by Simone Cristicchi. But he thanks San Remo for laying bare ” the abysmal distance between the people and the elites”. He goes on: “What won was not what the majority of voters at home wanted, but the wish of a minority jury mostly consisting of journalists and the radical chic”.

    • Sweet. Both sides can use San Remo for their political deeds. I hope The Experts are feeling happy and contempt now.

    • Those populists are like a juke box with a limited number of songs. You press a certain butten and know exactly what comes next (people vs elites blablabla). ‘Abbi’ was my personal winner too but I don’t start insulting the winner if I don’t get it my way. This man has no decency … :(

      • It’s becoming more and more obvious the vote was trigged, so can’t really blame this populist milking it. RAI sows now, what it Swedes. Besides he is milking it with the most ”elitist” song in the selection 😃

        • People won’t notice the contradiction because it is all about us vs them. :(

          • Culture wars make people blind, on both sides. San Remo of course can make a political statement and can only imagine what the reaction would have been if the message was opposite.
            Mahmood is the victim here, as is San Remo. I have no sympathy for The Experts who triggered this or RAI who let it happen.
            As for ESC, we are most likely to get Il Volo now. Some might call it poetic justice 😃

            • San Remo juries have been fishy ever since I started watching. Some years ago, they crowned an elderly guy with an anti-Berlusconi song winner but even Signore B. had the decency to just stay quiet instead of making a fuss. Those new populists are street gang yobbos who think that they need to have it their way in every aspect of life and culture. They endlessly keep going on about the people, the terrible elites and identity. Yuck!
              Don’t they have more important issues to address in Italy? The economy f. e. or the infrastructure? Politicians are supposed to be people who know how to run a country but this bunch which currently pretends to be a government/administration only know how to wreak havoc. :(

            • It’s not just populists’ fuorore. I wish it was. Ethics are mixed nowadays with politics, and that’s the sadddest thing of it all.

      • In the Guardian, a journalist from La Repubblica says that “for this government it takes little to trigger propaganda and if they want to, they will find a way to intervene”.

        But then he adds that it is plausible that journalists in the voting panel “may have been sending a political message” by backing the song they did…

        • I know. It is a terrible mess but Mahmood has nothing to do with it. He is the victim of the ongoing fight between intellectuals/artists on one side and populists on the other.

            • But if I have to choose between a political message of inclusion, respect etc. and people agitating people against each other, I know which side to pick. It is not the same.

            • Inclusion does not come by fixing the results of a song contest. Only rancour comes from that.

            • Indeed it doesn’t because the majority think that they are entitled to decide everything. Just like silly people in Germany shouting “Wir sind das Volk”. :(

            • Both sides are happy with their little Culture War as it keeps their clienteles loyal and ready for blood. So I don’t expect an end to it.

            • They better took notice of the positive reaction Mahmood got on almost all corners of the ESC universe. I think that he would be top 5 for sure.

            • Let’s see. It doesn’t seem that the public in Italy was much impressed. Personally I think it can do well as a sound. But his vocals can be unpleasant and they need a totally different stage approach. Compared to what other countries are choosing so far, I much prefer it though. But it’s too early to talk positions.

              Off now to do my präteritum exercises. I also have to write an essay about my first day at work. How am I supposed to remember, that was such a long time ago, lol.

            • Good luck with the Präteritum. :)

    • I’ve just read all your comments and I must repeat what I said yesterday. SR 19 made a fool of itslef and of all the artists who worked hard on stage; the moral superiority of mink coat liberals is as prejudicial and harmful as the populist view of the world. Both should be avoided like the plague. RAI wanted to make things current and they went about it the wrong way. I hope they have learned their lesson and make the necessary changes. It’s time to move on; ‘Soldi’ won and it will represent Italy in Israel. On to Serbia!

    • Disgusting attack of Salvini’s obedient pet – a direct intrusion of the far right populists into music as well now. These people are not just clueless, they are crass spoiled children.

  16. As I’m selecting songs here for my San Remo playlist (friends edition) I found a little gem. Nonno Hollywood is actually pretty good.

    San Remo, a gift that keeps giving 😃

  17. Expert jury in Helsinki has chosen The Most Stylish Hottie of San Remo 2019.

    And the winner is tail coated Briga in Finale.

    No good pic available, sorry!

  18. Conspiracy theories of the populist right and left have entered ET.If we don’t get our preferred winner,voting was rigged.What a sad spectacle.

    • Seems to me that this scandal wasn’t triggered by populist left or populist right.

      • But it’s just your opinion with no shred of evidence.All i see is people can’t get over the fact a song they don’t support won and are willing to side with figures like Salvini and Di Maio so as to keep promoting their theories.I have seen the analytical results and they make perfect sense.Artists entering SR know it’s not full televoting.It’s always better when there’s general consensus on who should win but with a 50-50 system results like the one we had last Sunday are bound to happen.Based on musical merits alone i would give an even bigger margin to Mahmood over Ultimo’s standard Italian ballad and Il Volo’s rather underwhelming popera ballad.

        • Then why on earth RAI is admitting that the system is flawed? If you read my comments yesterday you see perfectly well I have nothing against Mahmood winning. I don’t rage about results in any competition. Based on musical credits only, I would have given Mahmood lower top 10. Based on being street and politically correct, I would put it much higher just like expert jury did.

          • Thing is neither me nor you are a member of the SR expert jury.They made their choice and now they have people who don’t like those choices cry foul.Nothing new.I’m sure next year they will be guided to follow what das Folk wants.
            When you say RAI you mean its current president Marcello Foa?You can check above who he is. I wish Michos would have done better background check before bring all that trash in here.

            • Das Folk? Seriously? No need to continue. Sad spectacle Indeed.

            • And it’s spelled Volk, just for your future references when really whipping these culture wars up here.

            • It’s really low pointing out a simple misspelling i did while writing from my phone.

            • Using word Das Volk of Italian televoters is beyond low.

            • Ok I am sure he did not mean that…

            • Using nazi references doesn’t happen by accident, and if it does it’s even worse – then it’s just a casual way of whipping up controversy. Shade here was set on you, Shevek, Porky and me. We have let populist trash in this haven, so it’s ok call Italian televoters Das Volk. I don’t think so.

            • I hope and believe it was just a typo :)

            • It wasn’t. Dimi pointed out that it was low from me to correct his mispelling of Das Folk to Das Volk as he was on the phone.

            • “Trash”? Once again I have to point out that what is newsworthy is not ordered according to anyone’s “hygienic” view of the world or their ideological preferences. Nobody assigned you or any other commenter with cleaning duties. You can write what you want here as well which you do and nobody goes around calling it “trash” I think.

            • Since Saturday night you just post here certain things trying to create a certain atmoshere that the SR jury and press voting was rigged.We’ve seen you posting mainly Salvini’s, Di Maio’s and now the culmination of all this Marcello Foa, without even mentioning anything about who he is. just trying to create legitimacy around your theory that voting was rigged by liberal elits who tried to make a statement.Of course, nobody assigned me with any cleaning duties and you’re free to post whatever you want here but don’t expect all those things to go unanswered. I also have to defend what i feel is right and directly counter your arguments.

            • I have no such theory about any elites – these people are not “elite”. The festival wanted something sounding “current”, “modern” and a foray in what is popular in the italian charts, while at the same time their juries were aching to make a political statement after the tug-of-war with the government over immigration the previous days. They went overboard without being subtle about it at all and very predictably all hell broke loose as I told you would happen on Saturday night already. It really is pretty simple.

              If there is any theory about liberal elites etc. you are the one who is putting flesh to it by insisting that “there’s nothing to watch here”, “moving on” etc, treating the whole row as it is somehow politically inconvenient (to whom?) while Italy’s front pages are consumed with artists’ reactions, poltical infighting etc. Was it me or Ultimo who said he feels personally responsible for people wasting their money while 30 journalists and 8 people unrelated to music decided the winner? Is it me or Mahmood saying he “needs to look into things” before deciding to go to Eurovision? Don’t we not need to know the context that lead to these statements according to you?

              When you are making this into a crusade, even waxing lyrical about an entry in a genre nobody knew you liked until now, hailing its “resonance” regarding the situation in the italian suburbs etc. who is investing this with political significance?

            • Ultimo is just a bad loser.Didn’t he know before entering that those 38 people would determine half the result?What would he do if he had won televoting in esc but was ranked 8th f.i by the esc juries.Would he visit all national broadcasters around Europe crying over the money people wasted voting for him?
              I don’t understand your reference abiut a genre i don’t like.I can like almost all genres but i have my favorite ones of course like most people.My first reaction while watching Mahmood’s performance on Tuesday was “:send him to Tel Aviv”.It was instant like and i never thought i would have to apologize about it because some people may find it weird or suspicious.My interpretation of the lyrics was just that.My own interpretation of what the song is about.
              And again your argument that this was a political statement on behalf of the press(?) is just that.Your idea iof what happened,I saw the press reaction while they were watching Mahmood perform and they were loving it.And even if there’s a shred of veracity in that, we have seen this happening in various competitions and awards.But again it’s just your idea of what happened.

            • Ok then, we have a battle of interpretations. The whole world is about interpretations. No need to get so worked up about it.

            • No,my reference wasn’t an accident but it was a reference to the people, mainly Northern League supporters who campaign against Mahmood in social media bullying and trashing him.I don’t know why people in here feel offended by that.

            • I thought you meant Foa, not Folk. I told you San Remo was going to whip up passions in Italy from Saturday night already. Which is why this is an unfortunate affair.

  19. Dimi, you used it of Italian televoters. I also don’t think it’s ok using nazi references of Lega Nord, no matter how much you hate them. They are many things, but nazis they are not. Maybe you should do a little recap of Germany’s history to spot the difference.

  20. #pray4ritornoIlVolo

  21. Dimi, you also don’t use the word ”people” of me, I don’t like casual out of place nazi references, it dilutes the original meaning. Also like I told you before, I don’t like loonie right nor loonie left and their rethorics.

  22. To lighten up things a bit here let’s have another look of the Most Stylish Hottie in San Remo 19 SS and his winning moment.


  23. Who’s eagerly waiting to listen to Dolly Style’s next MEGA HIT called ‘Habibi”?! :D
    I hope they will start performance like on the Arab market, and end like dolls.. :D

  24. So why exactly are we middle-aged white men fighting over this? *takes step back*

    • I don’t know what you middle-aged guys are doing lol.

      • Neither do we. LOL That’s the problem … and because white men don’t know what to do anymore in our changing societies they have become very fond of growing beards in order to symbolically protect their phallus … Gosh! I am a feminist, am I not?

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