In a tweet from their official Eurovision account, Italian national broadcaster RAI have confirmed that Italy will be competing next year in Tel Aviv at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. This follows news earlier in the year that famous Italian music festival Sanremo, which has been used as the national selection for Italy's Eurovision representatives since their return to the contest in 2011, was going to undergo a number of big changes to the process.
It is expected that the prestigious Sanremo Music Festival will once again act as the selection process for Italy's Eurovision performer however the show does not act as an official national selection show. The winner of the festival is offered the opportunity to perform to the huge audiences that Eurovision brings in - approximately 200 million each year - however if they decline then RAI are able to select the next most suitable contestant. In the past this has seen runner up Francesca Michielin represent Italy in 2016 and going further back, Raphael Gualazzi represented Italy in 2011 after winning the recently axed Newcomers section.
In the past, there would be two different competitions running parallel to eachother - the 'Big Artists' and then 'Newcomers' which offered a platform for younger, less famous talent to showcase themselves. The changes announced in July 2018 by RAI show that these categories have now been merged - and that in December 2018 a 'Young Sanremo' competition - for Italian performers under the age of 36 - will take place which will allow the two winners to go on to perform at Sanremo next February. The dates for next years 68th Sanremo festival are the week of February 5th-9th, with the festival airing each evening.
This year - Ermal Meta and Fabrizio Moro won Sanremo and accepted the invitation to perform their winning song 'Non mi avete fatto niente' at Eurovision 2018. Their performance was very successful and they finished the contest in fifth position with 308 points.
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