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How it feels to watch Sanremo when you're almost thirty

A Sanremo story - Part I

How it feels to watch Sanremo when you're almost thirty A Sanremo story -  Part I

Following the Sanremo Festival at the threshold of thirty years means living a nice emotional rollercoaster: is the enthusiasm with which I follow it the consequence of the fact that I am getting older or just a form of sadism that makes me enjoy in front of the cringe? Good question. For sure, however, no one is so basic as to follow the Festival for Music - on the stage of the Ariston you come to officiate a national ritual carnival collective, the music is only one often forgettable derivative. Let's skip all the initial stages of the event: after the first scenes of Fiorello and Amadeus, Achille Lauro is announced. My eyes roll ready for this year's new tarantella: will he ride on stage naked as Lady Godiva or will he descend from above on a cross dressed as avatar alien? Anything is possible. Strangely enough, the theatrics this year are reduced to a minimum: squeezed into a pair of leather pants, he self-corrects (Lauro being transgressive? Groundbreaking) thus procuring the first controversy of the evening. Outside the Ariston, catechist mothers and anti-abortion prelates sharpened their knives. 

Immediately after him, we return to the tracks of the mainstream: Yuman and Noemi arrive in rapid succession with the usual somewhat emphatic love songs that I have already forgotten; Fiorello makes a skit about no-vax (which, personally, would have deserved much more nastiness, but always better than nothing); and then a very lively Gianni Morandi whose joie de vivre I find myself envying. Finally La Rappresentante di Lista, on whose appearance I will now give some statemements that I refuse to elaborate better in the future: 1 - the vibe they give is that of two villains of Tim Burton's Batman; 2 – anyone wearing a tiara after the age of eight and outside of a European royal family is a giant walking red flag; 3 – incredible that the most transgressive thing that can be done in Sanremo are the communist declarations, the real great taboo of our country. 

After Michele Bravi, come Maneskin, fresh from their American exploits, already so international that they do not even seem close to the adorable and sexy guys from Rome we had known with X-Factor. Amadeus makes a bizarre curtain in which he goes to pick them up at their hotel on a golf-cart providing us with great material for future memes, after which they sing Zitti e Buoni, same old same old, but the band remains a national glory or, in boomerese, as Amadeus defines them: «A GLOBAL PHAENOMENON». Massimo Ranieri, also more vital at 70 than me today, comes and goes and then Mahmood and Blanco arrive. For a moment the space-time distortion that surrounds Sanremo in Wandavision style is interrupted and we return to the Italy of 2022.

I'm glad to know that you can make modern music at the festival. Who thought we could call Mahmood daddy one day? The song is very emotional-sighing-screaming but basically Sanremo is Sanremo, isn't it? After so much beauty and a sexual tension on stage that has not been seen since the days of Madonna and Britney comes Matteo Berrettini, who is preparing to become the next national hunk now that Roberto Bolle is 40 and Raul Bova has entered Don Matteo-verse. Ana Mena follows closely, with a piece that I already know that I will hear throughout the summer in Sicilian discos next August. The song is a pleasant trash, however, a bit like a Tagadà soundtrack, a bit unbridled as in the days of Paola and Chiara. Who knows if, remixed, it can not become a hit to be played at this year's Ortigia Sound System.

In quick succession: Rkomi in a biker outfit that reminds a bit the Winter Soldier, a bit  G.I. Joe's Snake Eyes, a bit Ghost Rider as played by Nicolas Cage but with a pleasantly aggressive look that was refreshing to see after a succession of boring blazers; Maneskin renutrn with a new song, this time tearful in excellent Sanremo style, which makes you regret the times when Damiano was pole dancing on national television; there was a performance of Dargen d'Amico (another great icon) to which I would like to remind that the pants go out of the high sneakers but that honestly had a nice suit of Alessandro Vigilante - shades aside. Then, the lethal interlude. In order: Ornella Muti shares memories of the great actors with whom she has worked that can all be summarized with the phrase «They were good guys»; a heavily sponsored siparietto by Orietta Berti and Rovazzi on a cruise ship to present Dimartino and Colapesce; an intervention by Claudio Gioè who promotes the new fiction of Rai 1 which, from what I understand, should be the most complete compilation of stereotypes about Sicilians after The Godfather – Part II and, finally, Giusy Ferreri, elegantly harnessed in Philipp Plein.

This was followed by the most cringe moment of the evening: Raoul Bova in an electric motorcycle and as a Catholic priest with a cross in plain sight hanging around his neck announcing that he will become the substitute for Don Matteo (insert here triumphant statements on how long Don Matteo lasted) with a moment of disturbing self-awareness in which Amadeus admits that Rai fiction works because it is so reassuring and from "peaceful sleep" that it could act as an alternative to Valium. After this promotional curtain for the most "reassuring" TV series in Italy, they arrive on the stage of Meduza with Hozier. Now, I don't know who of the readers was present during the indie wave of the early 2010s, but Hozier is a great singer who maybe didn't deserve to be the vocal accessory of Meduza but who I personally love as much as I do myself - so a lot.

The moment he appeared was the only flash of enthusiasm I've felt since I had seen Blanco in a cape. After this rare moment of internationality, the obligatory tribute to Battiato brings us back down to earth and, finally, the evening ends (strangely at a decent time, thank God) with the ranking of the Press Room which, surprise surprise, sees Mahmood and Blanco in the lead.