(Photograph Courtesy of Oikitimes.com)
The stage is set and built – and looking amazing as always in the small island of Malta. They are poised tonight to select the Semi finalists who will compete in their National Final tomorrow evening. Who will represent Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 in Malmö?
With a National and International jury assembled, this is going to be a National Selection that would rival any Eurovision Final itself. There are familiar names and faces from the Maltese Music Industry competing along with a Swedish Idol Winner – so expect a spectacular show.
The honor of hosting tonight’s show goes to Elaine Saliba and Maltese comedians Gorg & Pawlu. The show will be broadcast from the Malta Fairs & Convention Centre at Ta’ Qali.
WHEN AND WHERE CAN I WATCH THE SHOW?
The show begins at 20:45 (CET)
Follow the web stream on this link
SO WHO IS COMPETING TONIGHT?
There are 24 acts competing in the Maltese Semi Final where a Jury and Public vote will decide on the lucky 16 performers who will progress onto tomorrow’s final.
Here is a play list of the 24 finalists. Scroll through the videos and see if you can pick a winner. Below we have written a review of the songs. The standard is of a high standard and a lot may change when you get to see them performed live.
(YouTube Videos Courtesy of Karl Malta)
Chris Grech – Never Walk Away
Chris sings this rock ballad very well. It starts slowly and then builds like a freight train gaining speed. Chris knows how to work the camera and does not over sell the song. It reminds me of something from American rock band Daughtry. Personally I think this would be touch and go in a Eurovision Semifinal as it needs to rise to another level to grab your attention.
Kevin Borg – Needing You
Well this is the artist that has the biggest International reputation – well in Scandinavia – as Maltese Man Kevin Borg “assimilated” Sweden and won Swedish Idol. So he is a well-known person in that part of the world. He would certainly score well across the Nordic countries for that recognition alone. As for the song – Well Kevin’s time on Swedish Idol has served him well as he is note perfect in the song. Furthermore he knows how to use the camera and sold the song to the viewer. That is key in Eurovision. There is a good key change in the song that will lend itself to dramatic lighting effects. However as for the song – I am really disappointed in the team supporting Kevin. He should have been given a better song to perform. This sounds like a Westlife song from over 10 years ago that would have done very well at Eurovision, but in 2013 I fear that this song – like Westlife – would be over.
Melanie Zammit – Loverdose
Always hard to judge a high energy dance track when it is just the singer on their own as this song is screaming out for dancers to be with Melanie. It is an edgy electronic pop song – that seems to be dominating the National finals in many countries this year. One cannot help but think that a lot of artists are looking for the success of “Euphoria”. While being a funky song it is lacking a catchy hook and therefore sounds somewhat generic. It is like a B-Side of a Lady Gaga song – good potential but just needs a hook to stick in your head.
Jessica Muscat — Ultraviolet
Now the competition begins. Jessica is a feisty flamed haired singer that just sparkles on camera. The song has a simple piano and drum baseline that just grabs you instantly. The chorus is very anthemic and with backing singers supporting Jessica on stage, they can easily get the audience on board with them. The cheeky “Na Na Na Na Na” hook is the icing on the cake for me. By far the best song. Jessica could score very well at Eurovision.
Ylenia Vella — Tides of Illusion
Ylenia is a singer with potential who needs to work on her stage presence but she definitely has potential. Her movements were more of those of someone who was out having fun with their friends on a Saturday night in a club, but as for being special enough for Eurovision – I think not. Again an electro pop song that uses “Euphoria” as a guideline though it does not have the soul of Loreen’s version. I think this sounds a little generic and could get lost at Eurovision – though as a singer Ylenia is one to look out for in future National Maltese Finals.
Gianluca Bezzina – Tomorrow
Yee Haw – how could you not like this song. It is one of those songs that tells a story about a Man called “Jeremy who works in IT” who finds the most beautiful girl in the world. With a catchy chorus and verse and a singer like Gianluca, who is so cheeky and charming, you cannot help but love this song. Gianluca is joined by 3 band members – one of which is on the ukulele and this song has the sound of a modern mid tempo pop/country song. This had me singing along from the first note. This would go down so well at Eurovision.
Raquela – Keep Believing
Euphoria part 3 – but this one is somewhat more entertaining than the 2 previous attempts in this final. It has light and shade and has an unusual – part yodel and part “Ah Ah” hook to it. Again hard to judge how this will do until you see it performed in the arena. As it stands the performance was just mainly hand gestures to the camera but not enough use of the stage. The song has some potential though.
Davinia Pace – Betrayed
If you like the British singer Paloma Fait then you will love this song – luckily I love Paloma Faith! Davinia has a soulful voice that is so distinctive and this is what makes this song stand out from others. A mid tempo song about female empowerment sung with passion and conviction. Now I want to really ask the stylist what they were thinking of when they put Davinia in a short metallic dress with a ruffle the size of Malta itself on the dress. Davinia is a statuesque woman and does not need to be dressed in an 80’s Dynasty replica dress. I could see her performance looking good if styles in either a fitted Black Tuxedo Suit or blue jeans, white t-shirt and leather biker jacket – but certainly not what the stylist had her in. A good song that if presented correctly could qualify at Eurovision.
Richard Edwards – Fall Like Rome
With a title like “Fall like Rome” you hope that the Italians are voting in the Maltese Semi Final if this song gets to Eurovision. We know Richard from earlier Maltese National Finals and the man can certainly sing and perform on stage. So you feel confident that he is going to deliver a strong performance. The song when it started I thought was going to be like France from 2011 and an operatic masterpiece but it changes into a mid tempo middle of the road country song – and that is not a bad thing. On a second listening I could see this doing well in the American Country Charts. It is an easy song to latch onto. What this song is missing is a key change and a big climax. I would if I was the writers revisit the melody and add one in. This will make this song sound more complete.
Claudia Faniello – When It’s Time
An edgy ballad from a sultry singer. Not your ordinary ballad especially when it has a booming drum beat throughout it. It reminds me of something you would expect Elke Brooks to sing. Claudia has a powerful voice and can present it well. However just like Richard Edward’s before her – this song is lacking a climax to the song – and you know that Claudia’s voice is so able to go up another gear. This song has potential but needs to be revisited ASAP as the writers could have a contender on their hands.
Debora C – Love-O-Holic
This is a song with an identity crisis as it sounds like 2 different Katy Perry songs put together. Yes there should be a change between the chorus and verse but there should be common thread in the melody going through the song. This seems to have been ignored. The lyrics are some what predictable – “I want to feel a love injection” – I am scared of needles! But Debora looks great on camera and certainly gave the performance everything that she had. Maybe not a winner unless they make the song sound more cohesive.
Franklin Calleja – Let Your Heart Talk
With boy band good looks and puppy dog eyes, you are not expecting such an amazing voice to come from Franklin. The vocal range that he demonstrates throughout the song is remarkable. This is a ballad but a strong contemporary one. Franklin connects with the viewer and that makes this song work for me. In the battle of the male soloists a lot of people maybe comparing Kevin and Franklin. If I was looking for the song and the singer that could take Malta to the final between both songs – I would have to go for Franklin. “Let Your Heart Talk” is a ballad with some nice RnB touches. A strong contender.
Half way there – stay with me.
Petra and Richard Edwards — Wonderful Today
Well Richard Edwards will be a busy man on the night of the Maltese final as he is back again but now with Petra for a soft rock mid tempo song. Petra has a great voice and the harmonies that her and Richard sing are strong and compliment each other. Petra sings the first verse and chorus on her own and when Richard joins her the song steps up a gear and really grabs you. A good key change where their voices come into their own. This is a great little song. One thing I would recommend is that when Richard joins Petra on stage he should not walk on to the stage so sternly. He looks like he was going to go up to her and shout. Try and get him into place more subtly. This is going to do well.
Amber – In Control
A bluesy/jazz song that you could see in a broadway musical like Chicago. Amber has a good voice and does play to the camera. This style of music tends not to score well at Eurovision for whatever reason. However Amber got the memo about the key change and steps it up in the second half of the song. If I was her manager I would have her dressed in a 1950’s costume and backing singers in similar attire and create a theme as this will sell the song better. Personally I like it but I think it may struggle at Eurovision.
Dorothy Bezzina – Starting from the End
Now we are back to the serious contenders. A soulful song that has a modern urban feel to it with a great stringed base line that turns a ballad into a power ballad that has bite to it. I love that you are into the chorus of the song early which is critical. I think you get to the anthemic chorus within 40 seconds of the song starting. Dorothy’s vocals are sensational and the song has a clear beginning, middle and end with a great break in the pace that brings you smack back into the key change of the song. I just want to see Dorothy play more with the song and have a more urban appearance to her that matches the song. However this is a strong contender.
Danica Muscat – Fantasy
Danica looks like a pop star and is electric on camera. She sang to the camera and never missed her place once. A good ballad that will identify well with young people looking and voting during the show. Danica has that quality that girls will look at her and want to be her friend as opposed to feeling jealous of her. A good guitar solo in the song that lifts the song. Two strong songs side by side may split voters and juries alike. A good potential at Eurovision.
Klinsmann – The Remedy
Could this be Klinsmann’s year? He has been in the Maltese final before yet has not won the contest before. This year he brings us the song “The Remedy” which for me is his best attempt to date. This is a catchy song and his voice suits this rousing song. The verse has a lot of “Oh Oh Oh’s” which would have an arena singing along to. It reminds me of Suzanne Vega’s song “Luka” which is a compliment in my books. With his good looks, great voice and instantly likeable song this could be Klinsmann’s year.
Janice DeBattista — Perfect Day
A return to the ballads and this is somewhat reminiscent of a mid 90’s entry in Eurovision. Janice sings the song in a charming way but the song does not grab your attention. It has no build or growth in it. Janice did not work the stage with conviction. I think this will get lost on the night.
Domenique — Too Little Too Late
Another stunning looking singer that looks wonderful on camera. The song though is like “Perfect Day” that was performed just before it. It sounds like it should have been on the sound track to a Disney movie like Aladdin. Again there was not much depth to the song that would make you want to listen to it again.
Gianni Zammit — Us Against the World
Sounding like American college bands like Weezer though more of the age of the Rolling Stones, there is a disconnect between the song and the band. A good song that I think would sit better with a younger band – which is a shame. I think a younger band would resonate and identify more with the essence of the song and have a greater affinity with the younger voting audience. This is not me being ageist – this is just a case of matching the right song to the right singer. Gianni sounds great vocally but you just expect a different band to be performing this song.
Corazon Mizzi — My Stranger
A song that I could have seen in the late 80’s and early 90’s of the contest. Sung well by Corazon but it did not have any lasting impact on me. I cannot see a mass audience for this music in 2013.
Scar – Superstar
A good American sounding 4 piece rock band. Vocally good and the lead singer works the camera well in the performance. The chorus is catchy and I can remember the song clearly but for me there was no clear distinction between the chorus and the verse which would lend the song to a bigger performance. I might suggest that Scar and Gianni Zammit swap songs! I think each others songs would suit the other.
Petra- No One Home
So Petra got tired of Richard and ditched him and is back again singing another song on her own with her band. A bluesy rock song which is good but you cannot help but compare it to the duet that she performs with Richard earlier, which for me is far superior. You may have the fear that by having 3 songs between Petra and Richard in the final that it may actually split their own vote. If I was them I would concentrate on their duet. This though is a good song and Petra knows how to perform it. The duet for me though.
Marilena – Overrated
Last song in the final. This a dance track sung by Marilena who looks like Charlotte Pirelli/Nielsson circa 1999. The song is catchy though it needs a lot more production values on the track. The base beats needs to be much deeper as it sounds very thin like a demo track. It needs a lot of drums and keyboards to fill out the song. With some very suspect dance moves this does seem somewhat like it was hastily put together. There is time to salvage the song between now and the final.
There you have it. Who do you think would score well at Eurovision?
Author/Website Founder and Editor in Chief- Garrett Mulhall