Italy’s longest-running and most anticipated music contest, the Sanremo Festival, will host its 73rd edition from February 7 to 11.
How the Sanremo Festival works
Broadcast from Teatro Ariston in the Ligurian city of Sanremo, the five-night extravaganza will showcase 28 original songs, broken into two performances: 14 songs will premiere on opening night, and another 14 on Wednesday.
Voting will take place throughout the week. Votes compiled are a combination of a public televote (34%), a jury comprising members of the press (33%) and 300 members of the general public (33%).
Each song will be performed at least three times. On the final night, the top five songs — based on an average between votes compiled during the week and on the final night — will determine the top five contenders. Finalists will sing their songs for the fourth and final time, after which the voting will close. Results will be tabulated and then announced.
The winner will go on to represent Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest, set to take place in Liverpool, England in May 2023.
Prime-time lineup at the 73rd edition
This year’s roster of non-competing guests is packed, with last year’s winners Mahmood and Blanco set to appear on the opening night. Italian influencer and entrepreneur Chiara Ferragni will give an opening-night monologue, which is expected to touch on the complications of being a working mother in Italy. (Ferragni previously announced that she would donate her presenter’s fee to D.I.RE, Donne in Rete Contro La Violenza, a women’s anti-violence association.)
Big-ticket guests on the second night, February 8, will include Gianni Morandi and the star-spangled Black-Eyed Peas (sans Fergie).
The third night, February 9, will feature Italian supergroup Måneskin, who are back in the Boot after a disappointing Sunday night at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, where they lost to jazz singer Samara Joy for Best New Artist. Peppino Di Capri will perform that same evening; viewers and voters will then have the opportunity to hear all 28 competing songs again.
The final night, February 11, will include English long-haulers Depeche Mode, who will grace the stage for the third time since their debut at Sanremo in 1986.
Rounding out the festival program are Salmo, Cugini di Campagna, the Poohs, Massimo Ranieri, Al Bano, and Angelo Duro, among others.
Update on Zelensky's appearance
We previously reported that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky would appear via video to address the audience on the festival's final night. Zelensky will instead send a message by text to be read by the festival's host and creative director, Amadeus.
Some members of the Italian press had previously reported that Rai was unwilling to air a potentially controversial video message from Zelensky, but the public broadcasters clarified at the festival press conference that it was the Ukrainian ambassador to Italy who requested the shift to a text format.
To keep the news light, Amadeus cracked at the press conference, “I’ll read the text in Ukrainian, [a language] I know well,” going on to clarify that it would arrive pre-translated.
Where to watch the Sanremo Festival
The Sanremo Festival will be broadcast on Rai 1 in Italy. For those abroad, live streaming is available via RaiPlay.
All five nights will air beginning around 8.40pm Central European Time.