Malta: PBS Need to Get a Grip

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A substantial part of the Maltese music industry is impatiently awaiting the rules for the 2011 national selection which will see another entry head on to the Eurovision Song Contest. Following another disappointing result in May, the Public Broadcasting Services which is the broadcaster of the biggest musical event in Europe, promised that change would take place and despite the expectations, the rules for the selection procedure are yet to be announced and this is quite frustrating when one notes that the selection is probably just two months away.

For as long as I remember, the regulations for the biggest musical event here in Malta are announced sometime in September and despite this being an optimal time in previous years when there was only one show in February, it is definitely not optimal for when a selection kicks off in November because the artists along with their respective songwriting team do not have enough time to prepare the songs and that is why a product might be classified as a bit shabby or maybe done quickly. The Public Broadcasting Services only offers a month for the artists to come up with their respective entries whilst countries like Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark open up their submission process just after the Eurovision Song Contest takes place and closes sometime at the end of September. This is quite an ideal timeframe because there would be enough time for the package to be complete and finished to the best possible quality.

Since the long selection process was initiated back in 2009, things have gone downhill according to the feedback received by the public and results at the actual event has just been a proof of this with Malta failing to make any impact at the final with Chiara and the song “What If We” composed by Marc Paelinck and written by Gregory Bilsen and then falling short of making the final in 2010 with Thea Garrett and her song “My Dream” written by Sunny Aquilina and composed by Jason Cassar. Personally, I was fully supportive of both entries because I believe they were the best out of their fields but things have not been so smooth. In recent weeks, I was hearing and watching the songs from the past two years and the quality has been quite poor to say the least and yet I am putting most of the blame on the Public Broadcasting Services for not giving artists and songwriters, the time to come up with the best possible quality. I know that this is a lost point this year but I sincerely hope that the rules for the selection in upcoming years will be published sooner to let everyone work at their own pace and time.

In the meantime, songwriters and artists along with enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting for the 2011 regulations to come out in order to start preparing for yet another season because the time that is being taken is very much unwelcome and many have come forward to complain. The Public Broadcasting Services has been undergoing an overhaul with Joe Mizzi taking over from Claire Thake-Vassallo as Chairman and with Anton Attard, a Eurovision enthusiast and businessman taking over from Albert Debono as Chief Executive Officer.

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