The Critics Choice: Introducing the Professionals of Semi-Final 1Written by Marc Calleja Bayliss
their respective preview videos and therefore, it is the time to commence our annual feature in which a set of professional individuals come together to comment on the songs competing in each round, marking them on an individual basis and then also choosing which songs they believe will ultimately qualify to the final night. The Critics Choice was initiated last year under a different name but has progressed slowly thanks to an undeniably stunning amount of professionals who have continuously supported our work.
The first semi-final seems to be quite open according to our set of critics who will be revealed momentarily. There seems to be a general consensus that the winner will not be coming out of this round of eighteen competitors yet nevertheless, there is some great work which can surely reach a high placing in the final. For the first semi-final, escflashmalta has decided to call upon three males, the first of which is Jan Van Dijck, the second being Knut-Oyvind Hagen and last but not least Max Persson. They come from The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden featuring a mixture of diverse backgrounds as will be seen.
Jan Van Dijck
Many Maltese might remember this name quite profusely noting that he has been in the finals of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest for the past two years as a songwriter to the songs performed by Richard Edwards who was given third place by the public on two consecutive years. His name is now written in stone having been the one to write Finally, the song which remains in the hearts of the Maltese public as the one which should have represented Malta. Nevertheless, the Dutch born composer has worked with other countries having been the person behind the Portuguese entry back in 1990 entitled Há sempre alguém. He also tried to represent Portugal once more in 2008 but his entry was pipped to second place thanks to Vania Fernandez who would go onto suceed in qualifying on behalf of Portugal for the very first time since the qualification system was put into place. At the moment, he is continuously working with Richard Edwards, with the hope of continuing to write tracks together, so that an album becomes somewhat possible.
In the past couple of years, the profile of Knut-Oyvind Hagen in the world of the Eurovision Song Contest has risen due to the fact that his entries have been garnering attention all over the continent. The one which the fans will surely remember is Rocket Ride from Norway performed by Jannicke Abrahamsen which reached the runner-up position back in 2007 when Guri Schanke and her song Ven a Bailar Conmingo' won the ticket. Nevertheless, another song which people will surely remember being written by him is the song Superhero performed by Sandra Oxenyrd in the finals of the Polish national selection the following year. The track was very popular with the fans yet did not manage to garner the ticket. This year, he submitted a song with local singer Kaya in the national final entitled Touched by an Angel and got through to the second phase before elimination. He is currently working with the Norwegian broadcaster, NRK within their music side and their participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Max Persson & Salar Gorgees (Pitchtunes)
The final name is a collaboration between Max Persson and Salar Gorgees, one of the upcoming team of music producers in the Scandinavian country of Sweden at the moment. They are together, the co-owners of the company; Pitchtunes based in Stockholm and has most recently worked with the local music sensation and now of course, Swedish Idol winner; Kevin Borg. The track that they worked upon is known as Unstoppable and served as somewhat of a comeback track for the artist who is currently working on yet another album which should be released in due course. The most tentalisizing project that Max and Salar have worked on though in recent months apart from this is surely the track Hungover released on the album Original Me by Cascada who knows for a number of hits including What Hurts the Most, Everytime We Touch, Evacuate The Dancefloor and Truly Madly Deeply. Working with some of the stars in the business gives more of a coherent idea of what the industry is shaping up to be.
The first review will appear as of tomorrow, Monday 9th April and will be featuring Montenegro. It is quite interesting the way that the points went for the acts in the first semi-final. Stay tuned to www.escflashmalta.com as we bring you these comments, biographies, pictures and of course the official preview videos as presented to the European Broadcasting Union. We would like to personally thanks Jarmo Siim and the rest of the team behind the Eurovision Song Contest who have been so kind to aid us in this project for yet another year. Be ready to read some scintillating comments and then on the night of the first semi-final, a live review by one of our editors and local singer Raquela. Stay tuned!