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Sanremo's Y2K moments you may not remember

From Britney Spears' performance to the kiss between Victoria Cabello and Orlando Bloom

Sanremo's Y2K moments you may not remember From Britney Spears' performance to the kiss between Victoria Cabello and Orlando Bloom

Every passing day, the excitement for Sanremo 2024 is on the rise. Some are reviewing the list of artists in the competition to create the strongest team for FantaSanremo, some recall the most memorable looks, and others are stocking up on caffeine to survive the upcoming night marathon. However, everyone wonders if the new edition will surpass the glories of the past, in terms of looks, controversies, song quality, earning the right to enter the list of moments that marked the history of the Festival. We will soon find out, but in the meantime, let's indulge in nostalgia and revisit the Y2K moments of Sanremo that we may have buried in our memories. Remember Britney and Avril's performances? The Orlando Bloom and Victoria Cabello kiss? The Eminem controversy or the Ilary-Totti couple?

Sanremo 2001: Carrà defends Eminem

Eminem at Sanremo 2001? A true fish out of water, placed in front of an audience in suits and evening dresses, seemingly embalmed. The announcement of the rapper, then at the height of success for the release of The Marshall Mathers LP, was enough to upset bureaucrats and right-minded people due to the explicit content of his lyrics. Following an official complaint from the theological studies center in Milan about The Real Slim Shady, one of the three songs performed on the Ariston stage, was scrutinized by the Sanremo Public Prosecutor's Office before obtaining approval. Even in the hours before the performance, there were attempts to remove Eminem from the guest list. To defend Slim Shady, Raffaella Carrà, the host of that year's edition, stepped forward in a press conference, justifying the choice to have him on stage by tracing the artist's troubled biography and the cathartic expression of anger in his songs: "I saw the footage with the story of his life. It would be perfect for Carramba... He hasn't had love from anyone in his life. I was very moved, I see him as a boy in desperate need of affection. Of course, in music, he only puts his anger, like a kind of therapy. But when he finishes this therapy, how will he continue to do rap, angry music par excellence? I will meet him before his performance. If he tells me he doesn't want anyone on stage and doesn't want questions, I'll accommodate him. I don't want to pressure any artist". And so she did. Eminem, for his part, rebelled against preemptive censorship by showing the middle finger on a bar of Purple Hills by D12 with the lyrics "I don't give a fuck If this chick was my own mother I'd still fuck her with no rubber". After the music ended, Carrà shook hands with Eminem, saying "Great performance, really", thanking the guest amid a thousand technical problems and confirming herself as the true triumph of that Sanremo.

Sanremo 2006: Hilary Duff guest at the Festival singing in playback

Let's go back almost twenty years to 2006. Giorgio Panariello was hosting the edition, and there were many guests, including John Travolta, Christina Aguilera, John Cena, Shakira, Orlando Bloom, and Hilary Duff. The star of Lizzie McGuire appeared on stage with a full-on Y2K-style outfit: a black tulle dress, silver hoop earrings, a diamond cross around her neck, backcombed hairstyle screaming early 2000s, Bordeaux-colored lip gloss, and a dazzling smile. After that appearance, despite the playback, her hit Wake Up, written with her ex-boyfriend Joel Madden and brother Benji Madden, shot to the number 2 position, behind Madonna's Hung Up, staying in the top 20 for 21 weeks.

Sanremo 2012: Belén's little butterfly

Who won the Sanremo 2012 Festival? Who received the critics' award? Who was the most talked-about guest? I bet few remember (the answers are: Emma Marrone, Samuele Bersani, Adriano Celentano), but many have vivid memories of Belén Rodriguez and her butterfly. At that moment, the Argentine showgirl was at the center of gossip for her love story with Stefano De Martino, and everyone was curious to see how she would behave sharing the stage with Emma Marrone, her partner's ex. The result? No particular reaction to report. But the press was not disappointed because Belén, co-host of that edition alongside Gianni Morandi and Elisabetta Canalis, kept all of Italy occupied simply by descending the Ariston staircase in a turquoise and fuchsia dress by Fausto Puglisi with a daring slit that revealed a small butterfly-shaped tattoo positioned right next to the groin area. Belén rushed to say "I have panties, I have them", but the critics still spoke of scandal and an excessively daring dress, using words like "exaggerated," "excessive," and "vulgar." Even today, that small tattoo remains among the most talked-about moments of Sanremo. Let's call it the butterfly effect.

Sanremo 2002: Raoul Bova and Britney Spears as guests at the Festival

Over the years, many international stars have graced the Ariston stage. In the distant 2002, it was the turn of Britney Spears, who, at the height of her success, arrived on the Ligurian Riviera smiling and super friendly. So much so that she engaged in a gag, pretending to mistake a young Raoul Bova for the actual host of the festival and pretending not to recognize Pippo Baudo, the deus ex machina of that edition. After a brief exchange of banter, the pop star performed live with I'm not a girl, not yet a woman. The look? A pink dress covered in crystal fringes by Roberto Cavalli.

Sanremo 2006: Orlando Bloom and the stolen kiss from Victoria Cabello

In 2006, hosting Sanremo alongside Panariello were Ilary Blasi and Victoria Cabello. It was Cabello who gave the audience the funniest moments of the 56th edition of the Festival: she had her feet massaged by John Travolta and kissed Orlando Bloom. Just elected "The Sexiest Man Alive" by People magazine, the actor staged a silent film-style declaration of love, including a surprise kiss for his interviewer. Recalling that episode, Victoria, ironic and self-deprecating as always, said: "I think he broke up with his girlfriend after I kissed him on stage. On that occasion, I really used a bit of tongue; I got carried away by the moment".

Sanremo 2006: Ilary-Totti, we were so in love

2006 was important for Ilary Blasi. In June, she married Francesco Totti with a lavish ceremony in Rome at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, but the year had started even better with co-hosting Sanremo, just a few months after the birth of their firstborn, Christian. She and the captain of Roma seemed on top of the world, beautiful, talented, rich, famous, and in love. During one of the evenings, Totti, sitting in the audience to support his wife, had a brief moment, performing a quirky version of the stadium chant "Po-po-po-po-po-po-poo". All under the gaze, between amused and embarrassed, of Ilary.

Sanremo 2006: Fans in a frenzy for Jesse McCartney

Blond hair in full Y2K style, Jesse McCartney was one of the most acclaimed guests of 2006. The singer performed Because You Live, the third single from his debut album, Beautiful Soul, and, after briefly greeting the audience, disappeared behind the scenes of the Ariston. It was a small disappointment for the screaming and adoring teenage crowd that had waited for him since the afternoon, hoping for an autograph or a photo together.

Sanremo 2011: Avril Lavigne with colored strands sings "What The Hell"

Pop punk came to the Ariston stage in 2011 thanks to Avril Lavigne. An international super-guest on the last night of Sanremo 2011, the singer performed, accompanied by her band, with the single What The Hell, taken from the album Goodbye Lullaby. The look? Black T-shirt with pink writing, leggings, miniskirt, combat boots, fluorescent hair strands, and a microphone covered in rhinestones. In the end, interviewed by Gianni Morandi, Avril declared her love for Italy, one of the most beautiful countries she has seen, and for food like mozzarella and limoncello.

Sanremo 2005: Will Smith "punching" Paolo Bonolis

In 2005, on a promotional tour for the movie Hitch, Will Smith was a guest on Sanremo, giving the Italian audience twenty minutes of entertainment. On stage with the host, Paolo Bonolis, he rapped, chatted, danced, gave advice on how to pick up, and even "punched" his sparring partner. Smith returned to the Ariston in 2015, this time accompanied by Margot Robbie, but without matching the enjoyable of his first Sanremo appearance.