So the Mediterranean’s happiest rock selects a song for Stockholm tonight. Who will follow in the footsteps of Amber? Will the warrior instinct finally come out with a song worthy of the Grand Final? Or will it mean another early bath?
Fourteen songs will try tonight. A curious mix of jury and televoting will pick the winner, but more of that later.
You can watch the whole darn shooting match HERE.
What better way to start than with a certain Destiny Chukunyere. If you didn’t know, and if not why not, she won Junior Eurovision in Sofia last November. Malta became a very happy place again.
Onto song one from Deborah C. She’s back again with All around the world. She’s been around a bit – her words, not mine. And she’s feeling alive. This is a good way to open the show and this has a beat that would go down well in a Euroclub. Go on Eurofans, admit it – you’d dance to this. This might not win, but it might be the only one with a saxophone motif which can only be a good thing.
Baby-faced Franklin is next on with Little Love. This is a nice ballad which is trying to demonstrate his full vocal range. It’s moving along very well and it’s very in the mould of Cyprus’s John Karagiannis from 2015. It does actually improve as it goes along too. It’s hugely popular with the crowd.
Former JESC contestant Daniel Testa has a song called Under the Sun for us. There’s upbeatedness about this and a bit of cheering from the crowd for starters. He’s going for the uncamp Glen Vella vibe, and it works. On the downside, he appears to be not looking at the camera when he sings. There is a big crowd there, but it’s the televote that counts.
After a, erm, brief break for a word from our many sponsors, we move onto song 4, which comes from blonde Brooke. She’s singing ‘Golden’. This is your classic power ballad. Lots of emotion and a big big voice with suitable brief gaps in the song to permit the crowd to cheer. There are elements of last year’s [Maltese] Warrior about it – a good thing? I’m not sure. There’s definitely a voice in there dying to get out. It’s got the biggest reaction so far.
Raquel is next. It’s a name that conjures up a certain image, which she dispels immediately with her short hair. She’s performing ‘Flashing lights’. We get slow verses and upbeat choruses. And the director likes showing us the young slip of a girl playing the drums. She could be a Bezzina. Her voice is a little bit Cranberries, with longer and slightly less warbly notes. It’s OK, but not a winner I’m afraid.
Christabelle is next with ‘Kingdom’. There’s a massive reaction to this. It’s an instantly likeable song and the best thing so far. Christabelle isn’t alone on stage – she’s joined by a collection of young pretty dancers. I like it I like it. It gets a huge reaction at the end – even bigger than Brooke.
Song 7, ‘Falling glass’ is from Corazon. She’s in white and sat at a piano. It’s playing without her touching the keys. And she has an interpretive dancer in a long blue nightshirt. In keeping with others tonight, it starts slow and then the beat kicks in for the second verse. It’s an interesting song that has woken me from the long ad break we’ve just suffered. However, it might be just a bit too repetitive, and Corazon’s attempted high note doesn’t really add anything. There’s polite applause.
Dominic sings ‘Fire burn’. He’s going for broke, with yet another dance beat. He means business and is trying to exude ‘cool’. There is a fine line between looking cool and looking creepy and he flits between the two. Nevertheless, it’s a good song for radio. At least until he tries the high note. And just when we get to the bridge, I thought a key-change might be heading our way. But no, he sticks to the key of creepy. Not really my thing. Sorry.
Jessika, with ‘The Flame’, is next. She’s in a long white dress and of course has her trademark red hair. And she’s all glam compared to when I met her a few Maltasongs ago. I’m afraid it’s not the best thing I’ve seen Jessika do, however she can carry a tune. It’s not her that’s the problem, I think it’s the song. She’ll get there one day.
Jasmine performs ‘Alive’ as song 10. Well, she’s definitely alive. She’s going all dramatic with almost-see-through outfit, glammed up hair and severe backdrop of galaxies. There are lots arm movements too, just to emphasise how alive Jasmine is. She starts alone, before two po-faced dancers in black outfits and neat beards come to join her. Hmmm. There are a few notes here that she doesn’t quite hit, and it’s a tad repetitive for my liking, so I don’t think it’ll be heading to Stockholm somehow.
Seasoned performer Lawrence Gray is next singing ‘You’re beautiful’. It’s very very ballad and his only accompaniment is a string quartet. Girls in demure outfits that generally leave little to the imagination, naturally. He does demonstrate how rich his voice it, and this is from the heart. However, I think it’s perhaps a little dated. Sort of 1990s dated, when Ireland kept winning. There’s a bit of David D’Or thrown in there for good measure. Not a winner.
Maxine has a whimsical little number in her song ‘Young love’. It has elements of 1950s bubblegum fun about it. There’s even a bright stage to give it that retro feel. It’s actually very pleasant. Nit pleasant in a winning sort of way, but pleasant in a ‘makes-you-smile’ sort of way. And of course, we’ve all been there with young love. I’ll tell you my young love if you tell me yours.
Surprisingly, Ira Losco is the only former Eurovision entrant tonight. She is hoping to win with ‘Chameleon’. She looks like she’s here to win, and the crowd are cheering her right from the start. Her very dramatic song sees her in a long white dress and a hood. There’s more disco beat to get us all going and you can tell there’s some class going on here. I’d be happy to see her in Stockholm but I’m not being biased – honest. This could win, although we might have seen better songs. It’s definitely top three tonight.
Last but not least is Kim with ‘Lighthouse’. She sings about sunshine after the rain. Is she implying that Ira is rain? Kim has just her guitar to help her out. She’s clearly playing it too. My first thought is that it’s very very charming. A change from some of the histrionics we’ve seen tonight, and these songs can sometimes spring a surprise.
If I can predict correctly, the winner will come from Brooke, Christabelle and Ira Losco. Kim could be the outsider.
Phone lines are open and we get little reprises of each song. Then a nice long ad break for the audience to get more Cisk and Kinnie.
As the phone lines close, Destiny comes back on stage and gives us a couple of songs. Namely ‘Black heart’ by Stooshe, ‘At last!’ by Etta James, and ‘Freedom’. I don’t need to post another photo of her, cos you should know what destiny looks like by now. In my most humble of opinions, she has a cracking vocal range for someone of her age. She’ll be at the senior ESC before we know it.
And what’s this? It’s only Amber with part of a certain song called ‘Warrior’. But she’s sporting a new more efficient hairdo. I never saw that coming. Then she, like Destiny, goes all funky and breathy on us. I need to do my research as I’m not sure of the titles of the songs Warrior morphs into.
Results time. After the televoting, Christabelle on 8 points, Brooke on 10 points, and Ira Losco on 12 points. These only constitute part of the vote though.
Juror One: 8 points to Christabelle, 10 points to Ira Losco, 12 points to Brooke
Juror Two: 8 points to Franklin, 10 points Ira Losco, 12 points to Brooke
Juror Three: 8 points to Jasmine, 10 points to Franklin, 12 points to Ira Losco
Juror Four (the one and only Luke Fisher): 8 points to Franklin,10 points to Maxine,12 points to Ira Losco
Juror Five: 8 points to Christabelle,10 points to Brooke,12 points to Ira Losco
The final 12 (from juror five) went to Ira, giving her a total of 68 points.
And it’s Ira aiming to go one place better than 2002. I for one wish her well.
Author: John Stanton