San Marino in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016

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Eurovision Song Contest 2016
Country San Marino
National selection
Selection processInternal Selection
Selection date(s)Artist: 12 January 2016
Song: 9 March 2016
Selected entrantSerhat
Selected song"I Didn't Know"
Selected songwriter(s)
  • Olcayto Ahmet Tuğsuz
  • Nektarios Tyrakis
Finals performance
Semi-final resultFailed to qualify
(12th, 68 points)
San Marino in the Eurovision Song Contest
◄2015 2016 2017►

San Marino participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 with the song "I Didn't Know" written by Olcayto Ahmet Tuğsuz and Nektarios Tyrakis. The song was performed by Turkish singer Serhat, who was internally selected by the Sammarinese broadcaster San Marino RTV (SMRTV) to represent the nation in the 2016 contest in Stockholm, Sweden. Serhat's appointment as the Sammarinese representative was announced on 12 January 2016, while the song, "I Didn't Know", was presented to the public on 9 March 2016.

San Marino was drawn to compete in the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest which took place on 10 May 2016. Performing during the show in position 8, "I Didn't Know" was not announced among the top 10 entries of the first semi-final and therefore did not qualify to compete in the final. It was later revealed that San Marino placed twelfth out of the 18 participating countries in the semi-final with 68 points.


Prior to the 2016 Contest, San Marino had participated in the Eurovision Song Contest six times since its first entry in 2008.[1] Their debut entry in 2008, "Complice" performed by Miodio, failed to qualify to the final and placed last in the semi-final it competed in. San Marino subsequently withdrew from the contest in 2009 and 2010, returning in 2011 with Italian singer Senit performing "Stand By", which also failed to take the nation to the final. Between 2012 and 2014, San Marino sent Valentina Monetta to the contest on three consecutive occasions, which made her the first singer to participate in three consecutive contests since Udo Jürgens, who competed in 1964, 1965 and 1966 for Austria. Her entries in 2012 ("The Social Network Song") and 2013 ("Crisalide (Vola)") also failed to qualify San Marino to the final. However, in 2014, Monetta managed to bring San Marino to the final for the first time where she placed 24th with the song "Maybe". In 2015, the nation once again failed to qualify to the final with the song "Chain of Lights" performed by Anita Simoncini and Michele Perniola.

The Sammarinese national broadcaster, San Marino RTV (SMRTV), broadcasts the event within San Marino and organises the selection process for the nation's entry. SMRTV confirmed San Marino's participation at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest on 24 September 2015.[2] All of San Marino's entries at the Eurovision Song Contest have, to this point, been selected via internal selection, a procedure which the broadcaster opted for once again to select their 2016 entry.[3]

Before Eurovision[edit]

Internal selection[edit]

On 12 January 2016, SMRTV held a press conference at SMRTV studios where they announced that they had internally selected Turkish singer Serhat to represent San Marino at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. The SMRTV Director, Carlo Romeo, and the Sammarinese Head of Delegation, Alessandro Capicchioni, were also in attendance.[3][4] Serhat was selected to represent San Marino after the broadcaster received a proposal from the Italian agency 23 Music.[5]

The song that Serhat performed in the Eurovision Song Contest, "I Didn't Know", was presented on 9 March 2016 during a press conference held at the InterContinental Le Grand Hotel in Paris.[6][7] The song was composed by Olcayto Ahmet Tuğsuz with lyrics by Nektarios Tyrakis. Tuğsuz had previously composed two Eurovision entries for Turkey, "Hani?" (1982) and "Şarkım Sevgi Üstüne" (1987), while Tyrakis was the lyricist for "Shake It", the Greek entry in 2004, and "Love Me Tonight", the Belarusian entry in 2005. The song was recorded at the Piste Rouge Studios in Brussels and was arranged by the French musician Cyril Orcel and Belgian-African musician Guy Waku. The song was recorded in English, French and Italian.[6] The lyricist for the Italian version, "Non ero io", was Mariella Nava while the lyricist for the French version, "Comment savoir", was Stéphane Laporte.[8] The concept and creative director for the Sammarinese entry was Manfred Thierry Mugler; Mugler also directed the official music video for the song, which was filmed in Paris.[6]


On 21 March 2016, the Sammarinese delegation announced that their request to change the official contest version of "I Didn't Know" had been approved by the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group. The song was changed from the ballad version, which was originally presented on 9 March 2016, to the disco version, which was released earlier as part of the EP for the song. The decision was made in response to positive reactions that the disco version received on YouTube and social media.[9]


Serhat completed an extensive promotional tour in the lead up the Eurovision Song Contest to specifically promote "I Didn't Know" as the Sammarinese entry. Serhat appeared in television talk shows and radio shows in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Malta, Greece, Macedonia and Albania.[10] Among his appearances, Serhat performed "I Didn't Know" during the E Channel programme Bravo Roula in Greece and during the TVM programme Xarabank in Malta.[11][12]

At Eurovision[edit]

Serhat during a press meet and greet

According to Eurovision rules, all nations with the exceptions of the host country and the "Big 5" (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) are required to qualify from one of two semi-finals in order to compete for the final; the top ten countries from each semi-final progress to the final. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) split up the competing countries into six different pots based on voting patterns from previous contests, with countries with favourable voting histories put into the same pot.[13] On 25 January 2016, a special allocation draw was held which placed each country into one of the two semi-finals, as well as which half of the show they would perform in. San Marino was placed into the first semi-final, to be held on 10 May 2016, and was scheduled to perform in the first half of the show.[14]

Once all the competing songs for the 2016 contest had been released, the running order for the semi-finals was decided by the shows' producers rather than through another draw, so that similar songs were not placed next to each other. San Marino was set to perform in position 8, following the entry from Armenia and before the entry from Russia.[15]

The two semi-finals and the final were broadcast in San Marino on SMtv San Marino and Radio San Marino with commentary by Lia Fiorio and Gigi Restivo.[16] The Sammarinese spokesperson, who announced the top 12-point score awarded by the Sammarinese jury during the final, was Irol MC.[17]


Serhat during a rehearsal before the first semi-final

Serhat took part in technical rehearsals on 2 and 6 May, followed by dress rehearsals on 9 and 10 May.[18] This included the jury show on 9 May where the professional juries of each country watched and voted on the competing entries.[19]

The Sammarinese performance featured Serhat dressed in a burgundy crimson suit performing together with five female backing vocalists/dancers dressed in silver-coloured costumes.[20] The stage presentation featured Serhat performing at a microphone stand while the backing vocalists/dancers perform a choreographed routine atop raised platforms. The LED screens projected disco and falling star designs with blue and red lighting. The five backing vocalists and dancers on stage with Serhat were Caroline Hauwel, Ellia Palazzi, EmilIe Weber, Jessica Fagniot and Ophelie Crispin.[21]

At the end of the show, San Marino was not announced among the top 10 entries in the first semi-final and therefore failed to qualify to compete in the final.[22] It was later revealed that San Marino placed twelfth in the semi-final, receiving a total of 68 points: 49 points from the televoting and 19 points from the juries.[23]


Voting during the three shows was conducted under a new system that involved each country now awarding two sets of points from 1-8, 10 and 12: one from their professional jury and the other from televoting. Each nation's jury consisted of five music industry professionals who are citizens of the country they represent, with their names published before the contest to ensure transparency. This jury judged each entry based on: vocal capacity; the stage performance; the song's composition and originality; and the overall impression by the act.[24] In addition, no member of a national jury was permitted to be related in any way to any of the competing acts in such a way that they cannot vote impartially and independently. The individual rankings of each jury member as well as the nation's televoting results were released shortly after the grand final.[25]

Below is a breakdown of points awarded to San Marino and awarded by San Marino in the first semi-final and grand final of the contest, and the breakdown of the jury voting and televoting conducted during the two shows:[23][26][27][28] The televoting results have been declared invalid. In accordance with the Rules, the televote from this country have been replaced by an average result of a representative group of televote results of other countries. [29]

Points awarded to San Marino[edit]

Points awarded to San Marino (Semi-final 1)
12 points 10 points 8 points 7 points 6 points
5 points 4 points 3 points 2 points 1 point
12 points 10 points 8 points 7 points 6 points
5 points 4 points 3 points 2 points 1 point

Points awarded by San Marino[edit]

Split voting results[edit]

The following five members comprised the Sammarinese jury:[24]

  • Monica Moroni – Chairperson – flute soloist, teacher
  • Leonardo Bollini – musician, guitarist
  • Carlo Chiaruzzi – audio engineer
  • Gea Gasperoni – pianist, teacher
  • Edoardo Monti – musician, beat creator


  1. ^ "San Marino Country Profile". EBU. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  2. ^ Jiandani, Sanjay (24 November 2015). "San Marino: Has SMRTV confirmed participation in Eurovision 2016?". ESCToday. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b Weaver, Jessica (9 January 2016). "San Marino: Artist announcement on 12 January". ESCToday. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Eurofestival 2016: San Marino RTV presenta l'artista" (in Italian). SMRTV. 9 January 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  5. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (12 January 2016). "Serhat to represent San Marino". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Roxburgh, Gordon (9 March 2016). "San Marino: Serhat presents "I Didn't Know"". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  7. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (1 March 2016). "San Marino: Serhat to present song on 9th March". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  8. ^ Weaver, Jessica (18 February 2016). "San Marino: Multinational team behind Eurovision entry". Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  9. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (21 March 2016). "San Marino changes to disco version of "I Didn't Know" for contest". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  10. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (25 April 2016). "Serhat concludes European promotional tour". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  11. ^ Laufer, Gil (17 April 2016). "Eurovision 2016: First live TV performances for Serhat, Ira and Nina Kraljić". Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  12. ^ "Serhat f'Xarabank". (in Maltese). Xarabank. 19 April 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  13. ^ Jordan, Paul (21 January 2016). "Semi-Final Allocation Draw on Monday, pots revealed". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  14. ^ Jordan, Paul (25 January 2016). "Allocation Draw: The results!". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  15. ^ Jordan, Paul (8 April 2016). "Running order of the Semi-Finals revealed". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  16. ^ "Eurovision 2016: San Marino RTV conferma al commento il duo Fiorio-Restivo". (in Italian). Eurofestival News. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  17. ^ Granger, Anthony (2 April 2016). "San Marino: Irol MC announced as Eurovision 2016 spokesperson". Eurovoix. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  18. ^ "Media Activities" (PDF). European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  19. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (9 May 2016). "Now: It is decision time for the Juries". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  20. ^ Nilsson, Helena (6 May 2016). "Day 5 at the Globe Arena". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  21. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (2 May 2016). "First day of rehearsals at the Globe Arena". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  22. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (10 May 2016). "We have our first ten finalists". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  23. ^ a b "Eurovision Song Contest 2016 First Semi-Final". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  24. ^ a b "Here are the judges for Eurovision 2016!". European Broadcasting Union. 29 April 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  25. ^ Jordan, Paul (18 February 2016). "Biggest change to Eurovision Song Contest voting since 1975". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  26. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 2016 Grand Final". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  27. ^ "San Marino in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 First Semi-Final". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  28. ^ "San Marino in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 Grand Final". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  29. ^ read 2016-11-13