Currently Eurovision’s smallest regular contestant by far (Monaco no longer enters), San Marino brings a distinctly tongue-in-cheek (well, actually completely bonkers) attitude to the contest, but I’m so pleased they continue to enter (and at time of writing they have just confirmed their participation in 2018’s contest) – it makes Eurovision that much more fun to have at least one of the microstates taking part. Of course San Marino at Eurovision is synonymous with one contestant in particular…. Valentina Monetta!
Yes, the lovely Valentina holds a joint Eurovision record for appearances at the contest – four times now and never rule her out from entering again! She also achieved San Marino’s only (to date) qualification to the grand final – a victory in itself for the tiny republic. They only have 8 entries for me to choose from, so you may spot Valentina once or twice in here…
5. Valentina Monetta “The Social Network Song” (2012, 14th place in semi-final, 31 points)
Valentina’s first effort is probably my least favourite of her entries – undeniably fun and cheesy, it’s not quite up there with her other two solo efforts. Extra points for managing to work “cybersex” into a song at Eurovision though!
4. Valentina Monetta & Jimmie Wilson “Spirit of the Night” (2017, last place in semi-final, 1 point)
After a three year break, she was back! But this time with the muscular musical theatre singer, American Jimmie Wilson. Another cheesy effort (a common theme for many Sammarinese entries!), uptempo, somewhat vintage in its musical style and with several key changes – what more could you want at Eurovision! Sadly it didn’t go down well with juries or televoters but it will always be appreciated on a Eurovision-themed club night dancefloor.
3. Valentina Monetta “Maybe” (2014, 24th place, 10 points)
Entering the contest for her third year in a row, Valentina finally did it, achieving San Marino’s first qualification for the grand final. The cheer from the crowd was HUGE when the country’s name was read out as one of the qualifiers. It’s a much more subtle and lower tempo song than her other entries, but the song’s style suits Valentina’s jazzy singing style.
2. Serhat “I Didn’t Know” (2016, 12th place in semi-final, 68 points)
The only non-Valentina entry in this top 5 is for Turkish singer Serhat. The version of this song presented at the contest came about through the power of the Eurofans over social media. The original song was medium to slow and way too serious. The disco version they’d recorded hadn’t been intended as the version for the actual contest but the reaction to it was so strong over the original, San Marino and Serhat switched to the disco version and fully embraced it in the presentation, staging and fun factor – all appreciated by the fans and it came pretty close to qualifying in fact!
1. Valentina Monetta “Crisalide (Vola)” (2013, 11th place in semi-final, 47 points)
Ah the agony, this so almost qualified for the final – and really deserved to in my view (how the producers put this up second in the running order is beyond me!). It’s a Eurofan favourite and solidified Valentina as a modern Eurovision institution…
Hope you enjoyed this ode to Valentina (and Serhat) – and thank you San Marino for sticking with the contest and bringing cheesiness and craziness in equal measure!