San Marino participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008, marking its debut in the long-running international contest. The Sammarinese national broadcaster Radiotelevisione della Repubblica di San Marino (SMRTV) officially confirmed San Marino’s participation in the contest in November 2007 after deliberation amongst the broadcaster’s shareholders.
The pop-rock band Miodio represented San Marino at the contest in Belgrade with the Italian language song « Complice« . However, San Marino’s debut entry in the contest was not very successful, with the song placing last in the first semi-final of the contest with just five points.
After participating for the first time, San Marino withdrew from the 2009 contest due to financial difficulties at SMRTV, having originally submitted its application for participation. It returned again in 2011.
San Marino’s debuted at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008. Radiotelevisione della Repubblica di San Marino (SMRTV) announced in November 2007 that it was considering entering the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 2008, all depending of the share holders of San Marino RTV. Half of the stock of SMRTV at the time belonged to Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI), the Italian broadcaster which withdrew from the contest in 1997. SMRTV, however, officially announced its participation at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008, held in Belgrade, Serbia in November 2007.
As the Sammarinese broadcaster of the event, it was SMRTV’s job to organize a process to select the country’s entrant. For its first Eurovision appearance, SMRTV sought to host an internal selection process.
A jury, headed by singer Little Tony, was appointed to select the entry from a pool of songs submitted by those interested; the deadline for songs to be submitted was set at 25 February 2008. When the deadline passed, fifty songs had been submitted to San Marino RTV from all across Europe. Many Italian artists wishing to enter Eurovision applied to San Marino RTV, including the Italian entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1997, Jalisse. Other entries submitted to SMRTV included those by Massimo Bertacci and Michele Imberti. Entries from other Eurovision national selections in other countries were also submitted to SMRTV and included « If You Never Back » by Elnur Hüseynov and « We Are One » by Alexa from the Azerbaijani and Moldovan national finals.
On 11 March 2008, the jury made its decision and selected the Italian–Sammarinese band Miodio to be the first Sammarinese entry with the song « Complice« , sung in the Italian language. Miodio consists of Nicola Della Valle (vocals), Paolo Macina (guitar), Andrea Marco ‘Polly’ Pollice (bass), Francesco Sancisi (keyboard) and Alessandro Gobbi (drums). Upon the announcement of their participation, they stated that they embody « a new way of thinking, born by anger and the will to react [to what] each individual carries in their ego ».
As only the « Big Four » and the winner of the previous contest were guaranteed a place at the final, San Marino had to qualify through a semi-final. The 2008 contest featured a new system for semi-final allocation in order to reduce the problems of neighborly and diaspora voting that occurred in years past. Following a draw held on 28 January 2008, San Marino was allocated a place in the first semi-final, held on 20 May 2008. Though only participating in the first semi-final, SMRTV announced that it would air both semi-finals in San Marino, which in turn allowed parts of Italy in its broadcasting area to watch the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in several years.
Miodio performed in the first semi-final on 20 May 2008, appearing fifth out of the nineteen countries. The performance featured the band wearing black suits, but with each member wearing it in a different style. Aniko Pusztai, set designer and dancer at La Scala in Milan, joined the group on stage. SMRTV said that they believed that choreography was as important part of the group’s performance as the song itself, deciding to use « emotional impact » for the performance. The broadcaster said that Pusztai would « move on the words of the text, merging the music with dance, a sort of angel, a white that will contrast with the dark soul of the group ». The background on the large television screens on stage was a wavy light blue colour.
Miodio’s performance did not manage to inspire the crowd, and San Marino only managed to receive five points with its debut entry: two points from Andorra and three points from Greece, placing it last of the 19 entries. Placing last in the semi-final, San Marino did not qualify for the final and became the eighth country to debut in the contest with a last place finish.
Points awarded by San Marino
Points awarded to San Marino
|12 points||10 points||8 points||7 points||6 points|
|5 points||4 points||3 points||2 points||1 point|
After coming last in Eurovision, Miodio went on to compete in the Golden Stag Festival in Romania, as well as the Pjesma Mediterana contest in Montenegro. They also went on tour in Italy, San Marino and Moldova during the summer. In 2009 the group took part in the online section of the 59th Sanremo Festival, placing in the top 10 with their song « Evoluzione genetica ». In 2010 the group took part in the Sanremo festival again, taking part in the Nuova generazione category with the song « Perdo contatto ».
It was announced in May 2008 that the Winner’s Tour for the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 would finish in San Marino after traveling through Europe. During the tour, the Sammarinese Minister of Youth stated that San Marino had « good hopes to return » in 2009. Artists later announced their wish to represent San Marino at the contest, including Little Tony of the 2008 jury.
It had been rumoured that SMRTV would withdraw from the 2009 contest due to poor results in their debut attempt, however SMRTV rebuked that claim and confirmed its interest in the 2009 contest. However SMRTV were forced to withdraw from the 2009 contest, having earlier applied to enter, due to financial difficulties faced by SMRTV. SMRTV again declined to participate at the 2010 Contest after failing to receive sponsorship to send an entry to the contest in Oslo, Norway. This came after SMRTV had successfully selected Italian duo Paola & Chiara to represent the country. However, San Marino came back to ESC in 2011.
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(Note: Entries scored out are when San Marino did not compete)