The first night of Italy’s 74th edition of the Sanremo Festival was long, despite ending ahead of time. With Amadeus (host and artistic director of the event for the fifth consecutive year), it is normal to stay up late. It certainly must have been more complicated for the rapper Il Tre, who had to wait until 2 a.m. to get onstage at the Ariston Theatre.
The winner of the last edition, Marco Mengoni, visibly excited, opened Sanremo 2024. He was co-host for the whole night, together with Amadeus. The conclusion of the night, with the announcement of the top five voted by the accredited press, provided some surprises.
The first in the ranking is Loredana Bertè, ahead of Angelina Mango, Annalisa, Diodato and Mahmood. Both Diodato and Mahmood have already won in past editions (in 2020, and in 2019 and 2022, respectively).
In the next few days, the press vote will be joined by that of radio stations and the general public. The average of the different votes will determine the overall winner on Saturday (Feb. 10).
Below, find the best moments from night 1 of the 2024 Sanremo Festival. The winner of the song contest will represent Italy in Eurovision.
Remembering Giovanbattista Cutolo
A touching moment was Daniela Di Maggio remembering her late son Giovanbattista Cutolo. The 24-year-old was killed in Naples in September in a shooting that began for futile reasons. Also “Giogiò,” as he was nicknamed, played the horn in the Sanremo symphony orchestra and should have been at the Ariston Theater again this year.
Lazza Hugging Zlatan Ibrahimović
There are moments that go beyond supporting one football team or another and unite everyone, like the hug between Lazza (the chart-topping rapper was a guest at the evening) and the former star of AC Milan Zlatan Ibrahimović (of whom Lazza is a big fan). Lazza came second in Sanremo 2023 and his song “Cenere” was the most streamed of the year in Italy, as well as being sung by Milan AC supporters during the matches.
The team, which has always been one of the most important in Italian football, is Billboard Italy’s media partner in Sanremo 2024. It is the beginning of a project that will bring the two worlds – music and football – to communicate with each other more.
The Tribute to Toto Cutugno
Another very emotional moment of the first evening of the Sanremo Festival was the tribute to Toto Cutugno, who died in August. “He will live in Sanremo forever,” said Amadeus before his 1990 performance of “Gli Amori” was screened, accompanied live by the orchestra. Toto Cutugno is a symbol of the Sanremo Festival. Together with Al Bano, Milva, Anna Oxa and Peppino di Capri, he holds the record of 15 participations in the festival. His song “L’Italiano” remains one of the most successful Italian songs ever.
Dargen D’Amico’s Plea
Sanremo is not only about music. There was a speech that has not gone unnoticed. It is that of Dargen D’Amico, who at the end of his performance said thank you for the opportunity of presenting “Onda Alta,” a song that talks about migrants in the Mediterranean. D’Amico had a large number of teddy bears on him, like those abandoned by children who cross the sea and fail to reach their destination. He dedicated the song to his cousin Marta, who studies in Malta and is lucky because she can go wherever she wants, while many children in the Mediterranean area are now living under the bombs. “Ceasefire now,” said D’Amico before leaving the stage.
Tedua’s Performance on the Cruise Ship
Last year, the live performances on the Costa Smeralda (the cruise ship anchored off Sanremo) were not so memorable. So thinking that it might not go well for chart-topping rapper Tedua either, his performance with “Hoe” was a pleasant surprise. It’s difficult to be convincing in that rather surreal situation with a cruise audience, but Tedua did it.