Marco Masini, with the song "Uomo Volante" ("Flying Man"), won the 54th edition of Sanremo Song Festival, traditionally the key event in the Italian music calendar.

Marco Masini, with the song "Uomo Volante" ("Flying Man"), won the 54th edition of Sanremo Song Festival, traditionally the key event in the Italian music calendar. Winners in the five-night festival, which concluded Saturday (March 6), were chosen by popular vote. "Uomo Volante" -- published by Mamadue/UVA Fragola/MBO -- received 295,000 viewer preferences.


The second and third places went, respectively, to Mario Rosini, with "Sei La Mia Vita" ("You Are My Life"), which was published by Cafe Concerto Italia/Vanni G Music/Luna Piena/Dino Vitola Editore), and to Linda, with "Aria Sole Terra e Mare" (Air, Sun, Land and Sea"), published by Look Studio/MrStudio.

Saturday night's five-hour broadcast on state-owned RAI TV had an average audience of 9.2 million viewers, for a 48% share. The program peaked at 15 million, or 56%. RAI has declared itself "satisfied" with the viewing figures.

The Festival has been embroiled in controversy in recent years and this year's edition was more so than usual. Industry body FIMI "disassociated itself" from the event, on account of a dispute with RAI TV and the city of Sanremo over unpaid expenses from previous editions. With much of the Italian record industry staying away, many of the 22 contestants were either unknowns or artists out of contract.


Veteran singer and producer Tony Renis, who was appointed artistic director of the festival in October, was widely criticized from the Italian media on account of his "undesirable friendships" in the United States. In turn, Renis slammed those record labels who had "boycotted" him and who had "sabotaged" his attempts to bring big international guests to the event.

He did, however, make an exception for Universal. The world's largest record company decided to send foreign artists, including Lionel Richie, and cooperated in the licensing of the festival compilation, released by Rai Trade, RAI's publishing division/record label.

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