Country: San Marino
Song Title: “Chain of Lights”
Artist: Michele Perniola and Anita Simoncini
Semi-Final: Second, Position 3
Last year’s entry: “Maybe” – Valentina Monetta (24th Place)
Just like Montenegro, San Marino returns to the Eurovision Song Contest following its first appearance in the Final. For the microstate’s sixth entry ever in the Contest, we will not be seeing perennial representative Valentina Monetta but rather two Junior Eurovision alums: Michele Perniola and Anita Simoncini. Will their track “Chain of Lights” link up with televoters and juries?
If “Chain of Lights” feels rather Eurovision-y, there are two good reasons for that: the song’s writers Ralph Siegel and Bernd Meinunger (AKA John O’Flynn) each have lengthy resumes related to the Contest. Siegel wrote San Marino’s last three entries (elements of which can be found throughout this track), and the duo collaborated on several entries, including Germany’s winning song in 1982 and Montenegro’s 2009 entry (which just missed qualifying for the Final). I suppose having a track record allows for a steady writing gig, but aside from the win more than three decades ago, the songs do not seem to resonate when it comes to points.
Which leads to another issue with this entry: the Eurovision-y nature of the song and the incredibly young singers give the presentation an almost Disney on Ice aura. I don’t mean that to discredit the talent of Perniola or Simoncini, but the song lacks gravitas, which is an important factor for a successful entry. Although it occupies the positive end of the duet spectrum with Lithuania, the latter entry gets to its point much faster and draws the audience in. “Chain of Lights” feels like it is trying to build up to something, but the payoff isn’t overly satisfying.
What works in San Marino’s favor is its placement in the lineup. This track will counter the blandness of Ireland’s entry and has Montenegro as a buffer from Malta. Also, San Marino has built up a lot of goodwill the last few years, which may start paying off with some countries throwing some points their way. The qualification bubble is large for this year’s second semi-final, and 3 or 4 points here and there could make the difference.
To be honest, I’m rooting for San Marino not because of “Chain of Lights”, but because I like underdogs. I hope this advances, even if it ends up finishing in last place in the Final.