Thursday, February 16, 2012


Judging by the twitter feeds on Tuesday night, Italians were not impressed by the opening evening of the 62nd Sanremo Music Festival.  Of course, it could be that online I attract, and am attracted to, people who are as cynical as I am but it has to be said that a lot was going wrong on the Ariston stage:

Presenter Gianni Morandi was being assisted by actor, singer and comic Rocco Papaleo and the glamour was supposed to have been provided by the Czech model Ivana Mrazova but, the young lady being unwell, last year's assistants, Elisabetta Canalis and Belén Rodriguez, were drafted in at the last minute.  Now I don't mind the ex-nearly-Mrs-Clooney, who has an unexpected comic talent, but I can't stand Rodriguez and I don't know of a woman who can.  More of her later.

Then the electronic voting system refused to work and the in-studio jury members were forced to use pen and paper. Worst of all, the much trumpeted and eagerly awaited appearance of veteran singer Adriano Celentano was well-nigh disastrous:  Celentano, whose contract apparently stated that he could more or less do what he liked, did so, giving a long speech in which he suggested that two Catholic magazines and Corriere della Sera should close and launched a personal attack on one of the newspaper's critics. Thus Rai found itself apologising to the Catholic bishops and the boards of the unfortunate publications yesterday morning and such was the media outcry that the organisation's deputy director was dispatched to Sanremo to oversee the rest of the festival.  This, in turn, gave rise to the headline, "Sanremo commissariato!" in most newspapers today.  In my opinion, Adriano Celentano should have stuck to singing for he is no Roberto Benigni and his worst offence was to have bored everybody to tears.

Gianni Morandi, however, had reason to be pleased with himself as the show had gained a record 50% of the audience share - until, that is, the second evening on Wednesday, when the viewing figures fell dramatically.  There was a moment, however, when they are reported to have soared, and that was when Rodriguez glided down a staircase wearing a long dress slit to the groin and designed to reveal a butterfly tattoo right there. I could just imagine the eyes of every man in Italy popping out with the possible exception of those poor male souls already exhausted by discussion of Rodriguez's cleavage, which appeared smaller on Wednesday night than it had on Tuesday.  Men are so innocent in some ways, aren't they, girls? They have no idea what a good bra can do.... 

Thankfully, on Wednesday, Ms Mrazova arrived so hopefully we have seen the back of Rodriguez.  After all, we've seen everything else and I don't know why she doesn't just appear nude and have done with it.   But there was more trouble in store for Morandi, who might have been about to breathe a sigh of relief, and this came in the form of a comic duo called I Soliti Idioti.  These two performed an unfunny sketch about homosexuality and press-ganged an obviously uncomfortable Morandi into presiding over a mock "marriage ceremony" on stage.  Then Morandi made the mistake of declaring, several times, that he "has nothing against gays but...", thus offending the entire gay community.  From his press comments this morning, he obviously doesn't understand why and this evening has been saying that he "loves gays".  Poor Gianni - he does try!  He is much loved in Italy so there is no doubt that he will be forgiven.

Tonight, I am glad to say, has gone better as it is Viva l'Italia! evening and the competition singers are performing, with guest stars from different countries, Italian songs which have had worldwide success.  With Patti Smith, Brian May, Sergio Dalma, Lucio Dalla, José Feliciano and Macy Gray among the guest performers, this has been a successful evening with several standing ovations.

Oh! I almost forgot - the competition songs!  Most of them seem a little lacklustre to me but there are two that I am rooting for. I'll tell you more about these on Saturday.


J. M. P. said...

Celentano's speech was in the Catalan press yesterday ("Celentano attacks everyone except him"). I'm more impressed by Patti Smith performing at Sanremo. Tonight I'll look for the videos of Viva l'Italia evening and I'll wait for your review of the whole thing this weekend.

LindyLouMac said...

It certainly has not got off to a good start this year!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

That's an accurate assessment of the speech, Josep! Patti Smith was great. I've been voting and will tell you all about it tomorrow.
Hi, LindyLouMac. It certainly didn't!


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