ITALY – Italian singer Mahmood won the Sanremo Music Festival on Saturday, but his country’s interior minister is clearly not among his fans. Matteo Salvini took to Twitter as the song contest ended to voice his preference for the second-placed finisher Ultimo, and to ask: “The most beautiful Italian song?!?”
Salvini’s ex-girlfriend Elisa Isoardi, however, had a different take on Mahmood’s victory: “Proof that the meeting of different cultures creates beauty,” she wrote on Twitter.
Mahmood, who is of Sardinian-Egyptian heritage and was born and raised in Italy, was forced to answer questions about his identity again just moments after his victory at Sanremo, telling a pressing conference: “I am 100% Italian.”
The 69th annual Sanremo festival saw Ultimo finish second, while Il Volo victors four years ago, placed third.
Mahmood, who sang Soldi, will now represent Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv in May.