Spanish singer Ana Mena wants to represent Italy in Eurovision. To do this, the malagueña premiered this Tuesday with her unpublished song Duecentomila pray, with Latin touches, at the mythical San Remo Song Festival, which this year is celebrating its 72nd edition. Mena, born in Estepona, failed to conquer the jury in her debut and finished last in the classification of the first semifinal, in which 12 of the 25 artists who compete in total participated with new songs composed for the occasion. This setback takes her away considerably from the statuette of the little golden lion that the winner of San Remo receives and supposes the pass for the Eurovision Song Contest, which this year will be held in Turin after the victory of the Maneskin in 2021.
The Spanish still has the chance to come back until Saturday at the next galas or even to opt for other awards such as best lyrics, best composition or the award given by critics or the press. Although at the moment he has not received too good reviews for his song. “The biggest cluster of obvious things we’ve heard in months. We could have saved it. It is not clear why she was selected for the Festival, ”says the newspaper The Republic. “A piece that runs behind the trends that – fortunately – are dying out”, dictates Il Corriere della Sera.
Ana Mena already knows the San Remo stage, in 2020 she participated in the festival as a guest, singing a duet with Riki. The Spanish has been triumphing in Italy for years and conquering the summer song lists with her songs with transalpine rappers like Fred De Palma and Rocco Hunt, of whom she usually releases a version also in Spanish. The Malaga has assured that her passion for Italian music and the San Remo Festival dates back to her childhood, when she watched the contest from her house in Malaga with her father. On Friday she will have to interpret a version of the sixties, seventies or eighties, like the rest of the competitors. For the occasion, she has chosen to cover the song Medley with Rocco Hunt, a rapper who won San Remo in 2014 in the New Proposals section, and with whom Mena has become known on the Italian charts.
Your options will become clearer in the next galas, when the other half of the artists in competition participate and the classification is completed. In the first two, the jury made up of 150 representatives of the media accredited to cover the festival, divided into print, digital, radio and television media, votes. As of Thursday, the classification will also be decided by the telephone vote of the public and a demographic jury of a thousand people selected by the organization, who will vote through a specific application.
In Italian, by obligation
The Spanish singer faces other great voices from Italy such as Mahmood, who already won San Remo in 2019 and came second in Eurovision, with her popular song Soldier; the historical singer and actor Gianni Morandi, the outstanding rapper Achille Lauro or the popular singer-songwriters Elisa and Giusy Ferreri.
The participation of the Spanish has not been without controversy, due to its origin, in the San Remo Festival, a sacrosanct event in Italy that breaks records every year and that this Tuesday brought together more than ten million people in front of the television , with an impressive audience share of 54.7%. “We are happy that a successful Spanish singer pays homage to Italy, obviously with an Italian song,” Amadeus, presenter and artistic director of the event, settled in his defense.
The organization is strict, the lyrics of the songs must be in Italian, as is the case with duecentomila pray, although short sentences in other languages are accepted. It is the first time in seven years that a foreigner has competed after the Belgian-Canadian Lara Fabian in 2015. Although Spanish singers or groups have already participated in the historic contest on other occasions, such as Julio Iglesias, in 1969; The Braves, in 1967; Youngsters, in 1973; Bertin Osborne, in 1983; the group Aguaviva, in 1972 or Las Ketchup, in 2004. In addition to other international artists such as Louis Armstrong, in 1968; José Feliciano, in 1971 or Cher, in 1967.
On the other hand, there are even those who accuse the malagueña of plagiarism, due to some similarities in the music of her song with love, a very popular piece in Italy by singer-songwriter Gianna Nannini. In recent months, the Spanish has studied a lot of Italian music, an example is her version Light musicbased on the Musica Leggerissima of Colapesce and Dimartino.
This edition of San Remo began with a bang, with a performance by the greatest musical phenomenon of recent times, the Roman group Maneskin, winners in the last edition with their song Zitti e Buoni, with which they also won Eurovision. In Italy these festival days are eagerly awaited, not only because of the musical proposals, but because San Remo also dominates all the conversation in the country, pending who is going, what is said and what is done in the Ariston theater, which usually bring surprises.
This year, in addition, the public will return, absent in the last edition due to the pandemic, although attendees must wear a mask at all times, show their vaccination certificate and comply with the regulations against crowds.
The festival has also prepared a cruise ship anchored a short distance from the coast of San Remo from which some connections will take place and where those who test positive for the coronavirus can also be isolated while they work on the event.