San Marino: Second wildcard act for national selection announced

by Jessica Weaver 1,466 views

We now know the second wildcard act set to compete in the upcoming national selection for San Marino at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. Giovanni Montalbano has won the second wildcard vote, joining Emma Sandström in the country’s selection for the European event.

Back at the start of December, online voting opened to members of the public, in which everyone from across the globe was able to select their favourite artists in the line-up for San Marino; the winner of which would go on to receive the second wildcard in the Sammarinese national selection.

Votes have been accumulated over recent days, with many bidders receiving 6-figure sums within the voting procedure. The top 2 artists of the online vote received huge numbers of over 300,000 votes in total, causing many fans to question the legitimacy of the online vote.

Fraudulent voting addressed

Last week, the company behind San Marino’s Eurovision 2018 national selection – 1 in 360 – released a statement regarding fan reports of fraudulent voting, with the organisers expressing that there is “very little [they] can do to prevent fraud in a free social media vote”.

With this, 1 in 360 requested fans and voters to “give all candidates a fair chance”. The statement reads:

We’ve received emails from several 1 in 360 fans alleging fraud in connection with the open process for the selection of wild card no. 2. Specifically, they pointed out that certain candidates gained tens of thousands of votes in a short period of time. We appreciate this may look suspicious.

Going into this, we considered requiring fans to pay a small amount of money in order to cast a vote. While this wouldn’t have prevented fraud, it would at least have made it more expensive. In the end, however, we decided to be as inclusive as possible.

There’s very little we, as organizers, can do to prevent fraud in a free social media vote. Some of the same singers who’ve achieved a large number of votes on our website also garnered tens of thousand of views and/or likes on YouTube. This shows the difficulty of policing the process.

While it’s technically possible to identify multiple votes from the same IP address, it becomes very messy to distinguish legitimate artists from those who, for example, purchase bulk votes from a botnet operator (which is easy to do).

We went into this fully aware that we can’t control the outcome of an internet based vote. That’s why we decided to use a mix of different voting mechanisms, including the fan club vote, the San Marino wild card and a jury vote for the remaining seven candidates.

Keep in mind that ultimately we’re looking for the “internet candidate”. Given that, it’s only natural that one wild card should be decided by the internet, with all the good and bad things that this entails.

If any of you objects to the results, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to do so during the live shows.

In the meantime, we’d ask that you give all candidates a fair chance.

With this statement in mind, 1 in 360 together with the Sammarinese national broadcaster – SMRTV – confirmed that Giovanni Montalbano has been crowned the winner of the internet vote, therefore receiving the second wildcard in the national selection.

Italian singer Montalbano received 388,633 votes in total since voting opened on the 1 December, with fellow Italian artist Gloria Zaccaria coming a close second with 382,237 votes.

Two wildcards decided, one to go

Giovanni Montalbano joins Finnish singer Emma Sandström in the Sammarinese national selection, becoming the first 2 official artists to be confirmed for the competition.

One further wildcard act is set to be determined in the coming days, with the artist set to be determined via SMRTV. The final wildcard will be offered to an artist of Sammarinese descent.

Seven more artists will be chosen to compete in the national selection by the specialist jury, therefore meaning that a total of 10 artists will be competing for the right to represent San Marino at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.

San Marino’s national selection for Eurovision 2018 will kick off next month, with the winner of which set to be determined in February 2018.