ESC 2017 Review: San Marino – Spirit of Serhat

This is surprisingly high for me to rank San Marino two years in a row. What can I say? I’m inhabited by the spirit of the night.

These are my own PERSONAL rankings of what I think of 2017’s Eurovision songs but I’m also going to make some bold predictions about the eventual fate of the song. These will probably be very wrong for a variety of reasons including I have no idea what almost half the artists sound like live or what type of staging and song changes could be made. There’s plenty of songs that have been let down by their staging (2016 Spain for example) so in the end they’re just guesses in the dark.

Country: San Marino
Artist: Valentina Monetta & Jimmy Wilson
Song Title: Spirit of the Night
My Ranking: 25th (out of 43)
Semi Final: 2nd Semi Final
Final placement prediction: NQ

What can’t you say about San Marino? If you’re unfamiliar San Marino is a micro state completely surrounded by Italy. It’s population of only 32,000 people means that every city Eurovision has even been hosted in has more people than the country of San Marino – even the audience in the stadium at Eurovision is larger than their population! San Marino joined the contest in only 2008 and as late comer has enjoyed their fair share of being completely crushed by nations with populations larger than theirs by 100x or more. Out of San Marino’s 7 entries only one has moved on to the final, where it promptly got nearly last place. San Marino isn’t in it for the glory though, they’d just like to be noticed on the national stage and also for people to come and spend their money in their country.

Moving on to this years Sammarinese entry, it’s not surprising to Eurovision fans that half of this singing duo is none other than Valentina Monetta. The one and only San Marino native is heading in to the ring for a whopping fourth time joining a very elite club of people – this ties her for woman with most entries in to the contest so if she returns next year she’ll be the new record holder. While many people join the two timers Eurovision club including some of our entrants for this year (Omar Naber, SunStroke Project, Koit Toome and Laura, etc.), there’s only been four or five people who have gone more than three times. San Marino is also known for sending somewhat out of the box entries including last years disco hit “I Didn’t Know” by Serhat so it’s not surprising that they’re not sending Monetta alone to deliver her Eurodance hit “Spirit of the Night”. Valentina will be joined this year by Jimmie Wilson, an American singer from Detroit who has spent significant time in Germany where he was in musicals about Obama and he also lived in Poland where he competed in Poland’s version of “Must be the Music”.

So what about the song itself? Well “Spirit of the Night” is a fairly catchy and upbeat Eurodance song. We already know that Valentina can sing and Jimmie’s entries in both musical theater and live singing competition give us a good gauge that his voice work will be great. They work well together despite being some of the oldest entrants this year (at only 40ish year a piece) and the song has a good beat that makes you tap your foot. While the song is quick to lay on the cheesy factor it never gets anywhere near as cringe as “I Didn’t Know” (either version) and it kind of ends up making you smile instead of laugh.

The song feels like it is trying to blend together the 70s-80s-90s. The bridge reminds me of the 90s but they’ve got the disco beat in the background and the girl group sounding vocals. I think this song is actually a more effective song than most of the songs that San Marino has sent and it has the ability to actually be really fun on the stage. I was most impressed with how balanced their voices were against each other which is amazing considering that this is not an easy song to sing either. With some clever staging this could actually qualify and get some televoting points. That’s a long shot but stranger things have happened.

In the end it’s San Marino and we know this entry is pretty much dead in the water in terms of winning but I think it’s a great little uplifting song that is fun to dance to. There are way worse ways to spend three minutes of your life.

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