We are at the top 10! Yes the very top set of my rankings and we begin with quite a surprise I expect. It’s not perhaps a surprise to see San Marino here as I’ve placed San Marino in my top 10 last year and in 2019. What is more surprising is for me to have a rock song in my top 10 – albeit punk/glam rock. Yet that is what the singer and songwriter Achille Lauro (real name Lauro De Marinis) is bringing – but more than that he will be bringing a stage performance and aesthetic like no one else at the contest.
Achille is no newcomer to the music scene – he is a very well established Italian artist, having entered the Sanremo Music Festival three times (most recently this year) and has had multiple top 10 selling albums and singles in Italy in recent years. He was invited to enter San Marino’s national selection as one of a group of “big artists” and went on to win (by a single point) with his song “Stripper”. This was a different song I should add to the one he entered Sanremo with.
You wouldn’t think this sort of song, very much in a British glam/punk rock style would appeal to me but the fusion of the genre with Achille’s aesthetic and performance, and his sheer outrageousness has me really rooting for it. Perhaps not surprisingly it has been getting little love among the fandom but I still think it’s incredible that San Marino is being represented by such an artist as Achille.
Gender and sexuality fluid, not afraid to court controversy, creator of spectacular costumes and performances, he is absolutely not some Måneskin copy as some uninformed people have labelled him. He’s been around much longer than last year’s winning band, and as well as being a musical artist, he’s also acted, directed and produced in TV and film, hosted TV shows, exhibited his own art, written books and acted as the creative director of a record label.
Much of the above will be lost on the average viewer or eurofan but I sincerely hope there is some path for him to make the grand final, though it does look to be a really tough ask. I’m not sure either juries or the public will give him enough votes to qualify (and Italy votes in the other semi-final so no points from them to help). I think that would be a great shame as I am sure he is planning something eye catching and memorable that would be worth seeing on the Saturday night.
San Marino in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 2008
Appearances (excluding this year): 11
Best result: 19th in 2019
Last year’s result: 22nd