Likely Televote Appeal
Likely Jury Appeal
What is causing punters to back a song that only received 14% of the public vote on the night?
Loud booing and jeering filled the Ariston when the Sanremo top-3 was revealed. Il Volo somehow made the cut despite being noticeably below par since their first night peak. Ultimo was no surprise given his following and his performance. More of a shock was seeing Mahmood in the top-3 given he was shown to be in the lower-tier of the public vote after the opening show. There was a lot of head scratching and amazement that a perceived also-ran toppled the likes of Simone Cristicchi, Irama, Loredana Berté, Daniele Silvestri and Ultimo. This wasn’t an unconventional Francesco Gabbani-type rewriting of the rules when he nosed ahead of Fiorella Mannoia 2017. This is the equivalent of a college runner, who has finished mid-pack in every 100-meter race, suddenly beating Usain Bolt at the Olympics – or at least that’s how it appears from someone who watched all five nights of Sanremo.
Mahmood promptly accepted the ticket to Tel Aviv and will now adapt his song, Soldi’ for Eurovision. So what of this song and the subsequent market reactions?
When Mahmood was confirmed as the winner, Italy’s outright price drifted to over 40/1. It has since been yo-yoing between 20/1-30/1. What is causing punters to back a song that only received 20% of the public vote on the night and supposedly won on the other metric in a planned attempt to stop Il Volo and Ultimo winning? The press had 30% of the vote last night. The professional jury only had 20%. Moreover, on the first night of Sanremo, Mahmood only attracted 1.75% of the televote, finishing 21st out of 24 acts!
There’s no doubt that Mahmood possesses a certain gravitas, but that doesn’t quite translate into the sort of charisma required to win Eurovision. The bopping and gesturing choreography typical of this genre will require much more visual variation to maintain the interest of Eurovision voters. Italy should be able to improve the presentation with backing vocalists and LED graphics, though to what extent?
Mahmood’s vocal is reliable within the confines of his monotonous song. And by monotonous I mean there isn’t isn’t much variation throughout the song, which is probably why the public didn’t vote for him. Last year Ermal Meta and Fabrizio Moro won with 54% of the Sanremo televote. This might be why Italy ended up 3rd in the Eurovision televote, as Non mi avete fatto niente – along with Meta and Moro – appealed to the vast Italian diaspora. It’s difficult to make a case for a similar result in Tel Aviv where there won’t be a manufactured jury score to overcome the televote drag.
If they sort the staging and make Soldi a more compelling 3-minutes to watch, then 8th-12th might be within reach. Without significant visual improvements I see Italy finishing 15th-20th.