Valentina Monetta Brings “Spirit” to San Marino

Two Eurovision legends are at it again. Oh, and Jimmie Wilson.

Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson will represent San Marino at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv. (Screenshot: YouTube) Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson will represent San Marino at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv. (Screenshot: YouTube)

Valentina Monetta is the patron saint of Eurovision among the Sammarinese. When she takes the stage in Kyiv in May, her four performances will account for half of San Marino’s entries, and will tie the record for the most Eurovision appearances. She’s also the only San Marino participant to ever qualify through to the Final — on her third try, with “Maybe” in 2014. “Spirit of the Night” marks a different milestone for another Eurovision legend, providing Ralph Siegel with his TWENTY-FIFTH Eurovision songwriting credit.1

This is a duet so I should probably mention the other vocalist. Jimmie Wilson is an American singer whose previous credits include the Michael Jackson-produced Sisterella, and a German production of “Hope! — Das Obama Musical.”2 Will all of this experience lead to San Marino’s second-ever appearance at the Grand Final?

This entry is a Hot Mess, and I mean that in the most loving way possible. The first two verse/chorus sections start out nicely, both fun and energetic, and the video has a pink-and-green club aesthetic that could translate well to the Eurovision stage. All of a sudden, what should be an accessible dance tune tries to do way too much. Right at the two-minute mark, we have our first (!!) key change. It’s straightforward at first, but then the vocalists depart from their established melodic / harmonic lines in a way most folks won’t be able to follow (and my ear definitely did not the first go-round). We then have our second key changes, which takes us down a step, and the third key change (back upwards) in relatively quick succession. Three key changes in different directions within sixty seconds, and then the song is just kinda … over? Given some of Ralph Siegel’s previous work, some wonkiness is to be expected, but I’d prefer it to be delightfully weird rather than sounding like it was maybe a mistake.

All of that said: other than cropping off the intro and outro to get within the 3-minute time limit, I don’t have any particular must-have changes for this song. Having some slightly weird songs is part of the point of Eurovision, and who am I to tell Valentina and Ralph (and Jimmie) how to do their thing? I’ll just look forward to the semi-final.

  1. He also wrote Monetta’s previous three entries.  
  2. I don’t mean to be dismissive of his presence, but he’s a complete newbie who’s along for the ride with two legends. So.  

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