#MALTA: Live blog of MESC #AllAboard at 20.45 CET
Our friends on the Mediterranean’s happiest rock choose their song for Lisbon tonight. Will we get a contender for the crown, or will Malta stay in the semi-final again?
You know the score now, just hit refresh to follow the blog. You can also follow proceedings HERE.
The winner will be decided by a 50/50 mix of jury and televoting. We’ll go more into that during the show.
And we’re off, with a short monologue…
A violinist greets us, followed by a well-choreographed dance routine, like we see most years. There will be lots of adverts along the bottom of the screen during this transmission. I’m trying to ignore them too.
We’re now getting introduced to the 16 acts we’ll hear tonight. They’re all in different parts of the arena. Some on stage, and some on the audience, showing that common touch.
Ooh, it’s Claudia. She’s presenting this year, so what better way to show she’s still in fine signing voice than for her to sing ‘Breathlessly’ from last year. She’s looking good.
We’re getting introduced to the various jurors from around Europe. They Regína Ósk from Iceland, as well as representatives from Czech Rep, Albania, Macedonia, and Italy.
At last, it’s onto the songs:
AIDAN – Dai Laga
He’s in silhouette for starters, and then backed by red light. Lots of red light. His two dancers look like they could have been pulled from the audience although they can cut some shapes. It’s an untempo funky little number that may not be the best thing we hear tonight. However, a show can be judged by the first act, so it’s a reasonable opener. But not a winner.
Miriana Conte – Rocket
We’re staying uptempo and funky, and this is a more pleasing little number than song 1. It’s a decent little song, with lots of power in Miriana’s voice. She’s meaning what she’s singing, and her lithe backing dancers add to the effect. Maybe not a winner, but a pleasant song.
Jasmine – Supernovas
More uptempo-ness with an aggressive little song featuring Jasmine in an outfit to remember. Bare midriff and high red boots. She’s got a crooked doorframe type prop to keep her safe. Her chorus is a little on the repetitive side, and while her voice is powerful, it’s almost – almost – shouting. Not a winner.
Matthew Anthony – Call 2morrow
Matthew is popular from the airhorns in the crowd. He’s a striking gentleman who’s sat down. Think Toše Proeski in 2004. We get a lyric that includes references to texting and sleeping. The choreography is nicely simple when he does stand up and wander around the stage. His song is very different to the others we’ve heard despite it being uptempo. I don’t think the televoters will think the same as his fans in the audience though.
First major ad break of the night.
Danica Muscat – One step at a time
Danica has a chum on stage with her who makes her feel very special. Think Loreen and her mate dancing on the box together. Maybe he’s just a friendly stalker. The song is a little on the repetitive for me, and is OK. But I still think we’re yet to hear the winner.
Dwett – Breaking point
We’re getting our first duet and our first ballad of the night. To start with, she’s on stage, and he’s on the backdrop. Like Big Brother. They eventually unite on stage and do that thing where they face other and sing loudly. It’s not bad, and they do have decent voices. The song appears to be about the rockiness in their relationship, which might not be a good thing to sing about. ‘Where do we go from here’? Back to the Green Room I think.
Lawrence Gray – Love renegade
Lawrence has three dancers on stage who are in long grey raincoats. Over bikinis. Some fashion statement. His song is aiming for the adult rock market judging by its tempo and vibe. As a song, it’s got a traditional structure but I’m not sure where it’s headed. His aforementioned dancers seem to be stealing the show once they’ve discarded their raincoats. He also asks us (Malta) to make some noise. That strikes me as him realising he’s lost the audience.
Richard & Joe Micallef – Song for dad
Duo time again. Richard is back again, with his brother Joe. He’s already got a following judging by the crowd. The song has an anthemic quality and starts really well. Lots of applause here after the first verse. Dad Joe starts off in the front row of the crowd which is a surprise to many. It’s a song in Richard’s typical style and is the best thing we’ve heard tonight. By some considerable distance. It’s got a massive (almost Kewkba size) reaction.
Sketch time. A woman gives birth and calls the child Claudia. She’s then told it’s a boy. So what better name than Fabrizio? Cue lots of laughs.
Major ad break two now…
Tiziana – First time
Tiziana’s a vision in sparkly orange. And she looks very happy. This a classic big ballad that you could imagine the legendary Mary Spiteri singing. And she has a ‘tree’ on stage with her. There are country overtones to this ballad and she can carry a tune. As a song, it’s another middling one. Not especially bad, but not a world beater either.
Eleanor Cassar – Back to life
Eleanor is in basic black and appears to be static during the first verse, as she has a mike on a big stand. She’s aiming for power during the chorus but it almost verges on more shouting. It’s eurosong by numbers but does have something about it. Perhaps it’s the heavy beat, or the moving lips on the backdrop. Definitely one of the best tonight. And the crowd love it.
Rhiannon – Beyond blue horizons
Power and long notes are Rhiannon’s thing. She’s giving us a ballad and means business. It could be a good song, but part of me is waiting for it to get going, which it doesn’t really do. It’s OK, but not quite a winner despite the crowd liking it.
Brooke Borg – Heart of gold
Another popular bunny judging by the airhorns. She is bathed in red light and flanked by a pointy prop. Very disco. But it gets better. They’ve saved special camera effects for her too. To be fair, this has potential to win tonight as it’s catchy and has a good hook. There’s also the positive vibe about the song which you can’t argue with. One of the best two tonight so far.
We get a quick sketch from your typical Maltese school. All of the kids have Eurovision themed names. Including three Chiara and a child christened Katrina-And-The-Waves. They then, as a chorus, give us a short extract of Chiara’s ‘Angel’. Very nice.
Ad break number three. Don’t go too far.
Christabelle Borg – Taboo
A disco vibe again with this song that seems to have lots of lyric. Christabelle also goes for the dramatic lighting and lightning effect. It’s because she’s singing from behind a screen that has all manner of fun projected on it. She swaps her position behind the screen for some backing dancers. It’s very effective which could help its chances. This has everything.. The aforementioned box, fun lighting and pyrotechnics. This contest is now getting interesting.
Deborah C – Turn it up
Back again is our Deborah. She’s decided upon a Latino beat and tries to give us the sultry look. It’s pleasantly uptempo but I still think lacks something. The structure is pretty standard so has to rely on the beat and dancers. It’s good, but not a winner.
Ad break time again…
Avenue Sky – We can run
The only group tonight is a six-piece boy band with some interesting dance moves going on. They’re all good mates by the looks of things. It’s standard in that they all sing a little bit each, and harmonise for other bits. The lyric is a little repetitive but the vibe is generally positive. Not a winner.
Petra – Evolution
Finally is Petra who has a big dramatic voice for a big dramatic song. And she has a mirror on stage. And our friendly stalker from earlier. She makes an effort, but it sounds like a 90 second song stretched to last three minutes. Not a winner.
Deborah C then gets another go. It appears the ad break after her first performance was put in because of a technical issue. She zig-a-zig-as again.
Another skit showing various Maltese ESC and MESC performers in a fiction museum, along with some clothes allegedly worn by them. More giggling in the arena.
At about 23.17 Maltese time, the phone lines are thrown open. To keep us occupied, it’s back to the dancers and their progressive routine.
Twenty minutes after the voting opens, we get the countdown closing it. The televoters now have picked their winner.
Gianluca now takes to the stage. Not Mr Bezzina the doctor, but Gianluca Cilla, who sang for Malta in the 2017 Junior ESC in Tbilisi. He performs several songs.
We’re building up to Claudia now, and we relive the moment she won MESC last year. She’s in a different frock to the one at the top of the show. She seems at ease, probably because she’s not in competition and can just do what pleases her.
Voting time, with the jury vote first.
And with the televoting…
It’s Christabelle! She’s a clear winner, getting the most votes from the jury and the televoters.
Good luck to her. Thanks and good night.
Author: John Stanton
Source: Eurovision Ireland, TVM