As I write, the second evening of the Sanremo Song Festival 2013 is coming to an end, but let's "begin at the beginning" with an eclectic summary of last night's events:
This year the show is being presented by the genial talk show host Fabio Fazio and the comedienne Luciana Littizzetto [both of whom can be seen in the video below] and I must say it is pleasant not to have to watch the pirouetting of airheaded supermodels all evening [though we have had to contend with Bar Refaeli tonight]. I like la Littizzetto and I wish she'd give me the name of her make-up artist, but I do think her black tights spoil her outfits. OK, Luciana, you've got good legs for your age and we all know you're small but please stop making a career of that because you are too intelligent to need to do so.
Fourteen famous singers are performing two songs over the first two evenings and a televote and press jury vote combined decides which of each singer's songs will remain in the competition. There is also a separate contest for newcomers. I've already chosen the song I want to win - so it probably won't - and it's this one, from Maria Nazionale:
Last night there was a guest spot which went on too long from the comedian Crozza, funny as his imitation of Berlusconi was. There was also a quiet plea for gay marriage in Italy from the torinese couple Stefano and Federico, who are getting married tomorrow in New York. Good luck to them but I think we'll see a few more Popes before their request is granted here!
Then there was the great Toto Cutugno, who received a special award from the city of Sanremo. Cutugno sang his relaxed song L'Italiano with a backing group from the distinctly unrelaxed Red Army Choir, which made the song, for me, a double contrast because it expresses all that the rest of the world loves about Italians as well as all that exasperates us!
Tonight une certaine Madame Sarkozy, looking very elegant and proving that she can both sing and play the guitar, appeared and accompanied la Littizzetto in a comic version of one of Bruni's own songs. So Italian men, who dream en masse of la Bruni-Sarkozy, got their Sanremo drool.
But the undoubted star of tonight's show was Asaf Avidan, who got a well-deserved standing ovation. When Fabio Fazio announced that we were going to the commercials, I'm sure that everyone reached for the tissues - I certainly did!