In the bronze medal position of my top 39 countdown, it’s the smallest country currently in the contest, and one of the world’s tiniest countries, the microstate of San Marino. The Most Serene Republic is so small its entire population would fit in most English Premier League stadiums with plenty of room to spare. Yet this tiny country competes at Eurovision with countries immensely bigger than it (34,000 people to Russia’s 146 million) and in 2021 has generated more headlines and excitement than most. The wonderful Italian singer Senhit will be representing San Marino again, with (possibly) American rapper Flo Rida joining her on stage in Rotterdam…
Senhit’s Freaky Trip to Rotterdam
Senhit has been a remarkable ambassador for San Marino in the contest (although she is indeed Italian, born in Bologna). She’s a returning artist from 2011, where she represented San Marino with the song “Stand By” – a very chilled pop song, very different to what came in 2020 and 2021. She was invited back as the 2020 artist and her entry was a 70s disco inspired bop “Freaky“. Reselected for 2021, she’s been delighting fans with her extraordinary “Freaky Trip to Rotterdam” series where she’s covered a wide range of Eurovision songs, including classics like “Congratulations”, Waterloo” and more recent songs like “Alcohol is Free” and “Rise Like a Phoenix”. Her interpretations have been amazing combined with stunning and avant-garde costumes and performances.
Her song for 2021, “Adrenalina”, is something of a revelation coming from San Marino. It’s a full on, quality ethnopop bop that I absolutely love. It’s been written by both Senhit and a whole host of (mostly Swedish) writers with a proven Eurovision pedigree (including Joy and Linnea Deb). It’s much more than yet another ethnobop-by-numbers though – the instrumental hook uses the sounds of Eritrea in East Africa, where Senhit’s parents are from, and so the song has a real connection to the singer. The music video is both artistic and a bit bonkers, just what we have come to expect from Senhit. And of course, it features a certain US rapper…
Flo Rida at Eurovision (maybe)
The “will he, won’t he appear” has been such a feature of the run up to this year’s contest and Senhit and the Sammarinese delegation have been playing it beautifully – giving them far more publicity than you would expect from such a tiny place. The day the rumour broke about Flo Rida being in San Marino’s entry (teased and encouraged by Senhit herself!) sent the fandom into an absolute frenzy on Twitter. And then when it turned out to be true… but maybe even more surprising was the song itself – an absolute belter of a song. Flo Rida has actually collaborated with a Eurovision artist before – Jessica Mauboy (though well before she went to Eurovision).
San Marino’s best ever result?
Qualification chances are probably about as good as they are going to get for San Marino – never guaranteed of course, but I think they will do it. “Adrenalina” opens the second semi-final, and it’s well merited – Senhit’s enthusiasm, artistry and playfulness all shine through in an energetic and colourful performance. We still don’t know if Flo Rida will be there for the actual shows, but it seems to be more likely than not. While that will be great to see him at Eurovision, he’s the icing on the cake rather than the essential ingredient – for that is Senhit and the song itself and this really does have a chance to get San Marino’s best ever result.
San Marino in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 2008
Appearances (excluding 2020 this year): 10
Best result: 19th in 2019
2019’s result: 19th