ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Malta


It has become customary for the editorial board to engage professional individuals from the music industry to assess the songs competing in the Eurovision Song Contest as presented to the European Broadcasting Union during the Heads of Delegation Meeting. Greig Watts, Joseph Zammit, Sharon Vaughn and John Scott from the United Kingdom, Malta, Sweden and the United States have been entrusted with the second semi-final, comprising of sixteen songs and set to take place on the 8th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Making use of the running order and kicking off with number #1, we catch up with Malta (PBS) who will be represented by Firelight and the song Coming Home written by Richard Edwards Micallef.

Richard is 31. Music is in his blood. His father is a well-known singer in Malta and just about all his family are entertainers. Richard plays the Appalachian mountain dulcimer, acoustic guitar, and percussion. He is joined in Firelight by his sister, Michelle Mifsud, on the piano, and brothers Wayne William, as backing vocalist, and Daniel Micallef on the acoustic guitar. Additional band members are Tony Polidano, on the upright bass, and Leslie Decesare on the drums and harmonica.

In 2005, Richard took a step away from home to venture in the UK music industry. While in the UK he got the chance to perform alongside Leona Lewis, Ray Quinn and other X Factor contestants. He got the thumbs up from the legendary Simon Cowell on the judge’s panel and made it to the final 80. Later Richard joined a British rock band called Cast Away. His role in the band was playing the bass and vocals. He spent time touring many places across the south east of England. Richard returned to Malta in 2009. He has co-produced a number of singles with his brother, Wayne William. 

His music made it to the local charts hitting the top spot for a number of weeks. Richard entered the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in 2003 and 2005 as part of the group The Mics. Since 2010, Richard took part as Richard Edwards and came as close as the runner up in 2011 with the song Finally. Firelight’s song Coming Home is a mix of pop, rock and folk rolled into one. Richard believes people will be able to relate to Coming Home in many different situations and thinks it should be especially poignant for the thousands of emigrants who travel across Europe for work, spending months away from their families.

Malta, a country which is quite similar to Iceland in terms of results, noting that they have finished in second place on two previous occasions, and are yet to record a victory. It was back in 2002 and 2005 when the small Mediterranean Country almost topped the board not to mention that during the nineties, they failed to reach the top ten only once, at the end of the decade with Times Three and their entry Believe N Peace. Two artists have represented the country on more than one occasion, those being Chiara and Fabrizio Faniello whilst several others have tried their luck including; Miriam Christine, Chris and Moira, Mary Spiteri, Debbie Scerri, Paul Giordimaina, William Mangion and Georgina.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 80%

Greig Watts: This one may have an advantage as I heard it before when judging for Malta, however I didn’t mark it very highly then and was proved wrong as it got through. For me it doesn’t really have a chorus so I still think its hard to see how it will do well in Eurovision overall. It has a nice blend of the two voices, but nothing has grabbed me and its 2 minutes into the song already, what seems to be the chorus is 2 mins 15 and im a bit bored by then, best part is the change when the female comes in.

Joseph Zammit: And might as well start from home. I have to admit that the first time I heard it during the Malta Eurovision, I judged it rather harshly as a band who jumped on the commercial success that the ‘Mumford’-style bands had achieved last year. And I still believe that. They did however release a new version out for their official video which makes it somewhat less of an homage to Mumford and Sons and more of a stand alone song, and I have to admit, I do like it. 

The vocals in this are very unique and pleasing to the ear, the rhythm and melody of it is catchy and it easily gets stuck in your head, lyrics make sense and I’m sure are meaningful if applied to the correct setting. I did notice that the lead singer’s brother has now joined the band to go up for the competition as well. I don’t know whether it was an act of brotherly love or whether he dragged him along to rub it in his face that he was the one who beat him, just like any good brother would. The latter image amuses me. I have faith that this song will do well in the competition. I’m not saying that because of some ardent feelings of patriotism but because this song is all in all a very good song. 

Sharon Vaughn: This remains my favourite of all the contestants in this semi-final. They are current, the singers are incredible and by far the best in the competition.

John Scott: This one grows on me with each listen. The vocals and playing are very strong. The male female combination is interesting. 



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