Last night, the annual Sanremo song festival kicked off - this contest was in many way the model after which the Eurovision Song Contest was created.
Ironically, this old institution will serve partially as Italy's national final for Düsseldorf, where RAI will attempt a successful comeback after fourteen years without participation.
Not entirely - the will be one overall Sanremo winner, which will not automatically be sent to the ESC. Instead, a jury will pick the most suitable ESC-entry separately and the golden ticket could, theoretically, be given to any participant - successful or not.
My guess is that RAI also has examined the waters a bit before going ahead with the ESC pick. Selecting a huge star with no interest in representing Italy abroad could result in really bad publicity.
Maybe the selected ESC entry has more to do with whose management is eager for european exposure rather than the songs in question?
Anyway, on the first night, two candidates fell out of the running (but could theoretically be sent to Düsseldorf anyway), one of which was singing legend Anna Oxa, who represented Italy at Eurovision back in 1989.
Anna Oxa & Fausto Leali - Avrei voluto (Italy 1989)
She has a grand history of taking part in Sanremo, and it was thanks to winning it together with Leali that she was sent to Lausanne. Their Sanremo song of 1989 is nothing short of a masterpiece, and clearly worked as a model for their eurosong as well.
Anna Oxa & Fausto Leali - Ti lascerò (Sanremo 1989)
Anna also made two most dignified appearances with smashing songs in the late 90's. She would not be a bad choice for Italy even these days. And if they don't want her, Albania could ask her nicely.
Originally, her family name spells Hoxha, and reveals her Albanian ancestry.
Anna Oxa - Storie (Sanremo 1997)
Anna Oxa - Senza pietà (Sanremo 1999)