Italy - Nicolás G. Mancini-Suárez

Italy selected their entry for Lisbon 2018 a few weeks ago, when the iconic Sanremo Music Festival 2018 (68° Festival della Canzone Italiana di Sanremo 2018) took place in the Teatro Ariston of Sanremo between February 6 and February 10, 2018, organized by the Italian broadcaster RAI. The contest was hosted by the singer-songwriter and musician, Claudio Baglioni, alongside with two co-hosts, Michelle Hunziker and Pierfrancesco Favino.

As usual, there were two sections: Newcomers, also split into two separate contests: Sanremo Giovani and Area Sanremo; and the Campioni (Big Artists) section, this year featuring 20 entries. The winner of the Campioni section has the right to represent Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest. The hot favorites, according to the polls, YouTube views and Spotify streams, were the duo formed by Ermal Meta and Fabrizio Moro, with “Non mi avete fatto niente” (“You haven’t done anything to me”), followed by Lo Stato Sociale, with “Una vita in vacanza” (“A life on vacation”).

There were also several former Italian Eurovision representatives feature in the Campioni category this year. Nina Zilli came 9th in 2012 with "L'amore è femmina (Out of love)". Riccardo Fogli came 11th in 1983 with "Per Lucia". Enrico Ruggeri, the lead singer of Decibel, came 12th in 1993 with "Sole d'Europa" and Luca Barbarossa also came 12th in 1988 with "Vivo (Ti scrivo)".

During the grand finale show, the Campioni 20 candidates battled for the Leoncino, the coveted Sanremo grand prix. The overall combined results consisted of televoting (50%), the press jury (30%) and the expert jury (20%). After the first round of voting Anna Lisa, Lo Stato Sociale, Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro proceeded to the superfinal. In the end, it was the duo who emerged triumphant, receiving 44,66% of the votes. The winners announced that they will represent Italy in Lisbon during the traditional press conference after the final.

The winning song was written in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing and is an authentic complaint against global war and terrorism, its lyrics being referred to cities which have witnessed this kind of violence, such as Barcelona, Cairo, London, Nice and Paris.

Overall ranking:

1.       Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro – Non mi avete fatto niente

2.       Lo Stato Sociale – Una vita in vacanza

3.       Annalisa – Il mondo prima di te

4.       Ron – Almeno pensami

5.       Ornella Vanoni con Bungaro e Pacifico – Imparare ad amarsi

6.       Max Gazzè – La leggenda di Cristalda e Pizzomunno

7.       Luca Barbarossa – Passame er sale

8.       Diodato & Roy Paci – Adesso

9.       The Kolors – Frida (Mai mai mai)

10.   Giovanni Caccamo – Eterno

11.   Le Vibrazioni – Così sbagliato

12.   Enzo Avitabile con Peppe Servillo – Il coraggio di ogni giorno

13.   Renzo Rubino – Custodire

14.   Noemi – Non smettere mai di cercarmi

15.   Red Canzian – Ognuno ha il suo racconto

16.   Decibel – Lettera dal Duca

17.   Nina Zilli – Senza appartenere

18.   Roby Facchinetti e Riccardo Fogli – Il segreto del tempo

19.   Mario Biondi – Rivederti

20.   Elio e le Storie Tese – Arrivedorci