24 April 2017

In just over 24 hours, the Grand Final of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest will be taking place with 26 participants; 10 from the 1st semi-final, 10 from the 2nd semi-final, the 'Big 5' and the 'host country' all vying for the trophy, and the chance to host the international spectacle next year.

Following the aftermath of the Thursday show, the production team of the competition led by SVT sat down with the EBU and created a running order based on the halves that they drew at the post show press conference.

As a matter of fact, the proposed draw was unanimously approved by the EBU Executive Supervisor, Jon Ola Sand and the Chairman of the Reference Group, Dr. Frank-Dieter. This year's final will be taking place at the Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden and will be hosted by Mans Zelmerlow and Petra Mede, who have led the two semi-finals successfully.

01. Belgium

02. Czech Republic

03. The Netherlands

04. Azerbaijan

05. Hungary

06. Italy

07. Israel

08. Bulgaria

09. Sweden

10. Germany

11. France

12. Poland

13. Australia

14. Cyprus

15. Serbia

16. Lithuania

17. Croatia

18. Russia

19. Spain

20. Latvia

21. Ukraine

22. Malta

23. Georgia

24. Austria

25. United Kingdom

26. Armenia

On behalf of the escflashmalta.com, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for following the minute-by-minute commentary on Facebook and Twitter, led by Claudia Faniello and Karen DeBattista during the 1st semi-final, and by Janice Debattista and Brooke Borg during the 2nd semi-final. In the final, it will be conducted by Julie Pomorski and Franklin Calleja.

We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news about Malta's participation in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, led by singer/songwriter Ira Losco who will be performing "Walk on Water", co-written alongside Tim Larsson, Tobias Lundgren, Molly Pettersson Hammar and Lisa Desmond  in slot #22.

Source: eurovision.tv

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Malta returns to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest after a 1 year absence with Ira Losco giving a spectacular performance of “Walk on Water”, an original song which she co-wrote alongside Molly Pettersson-Hammar, Tobias Lundgren, Tim Larsson and Lisa Desmond. Revealed as the 10th qualifier with seconds to go before the closing of the show, it was truly a nerve wrecking experience for the Maltese delegation, and the fans at home and in the arena.

In the Press Conference following the 1st semi-final, Ira drew her starting position half, and Malta will once more be singing towards the end of the 26 participant show, with ten of those being qualifiers revealed tonight including: Azerbaijan, Russia, The Netherlands, Hungary, Croatia, Austria, Armenia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, and of course Malta. There were some gasps in the audience when Iceland and Estonia failed to get through to the next phase.

During the course of the evening, escflashmalta.com through Facebook and Twitter ran a minute-by-minute #live commentary featuring Claudia Faniello and Karen DeBattista, whom we would like to publicly thank for their ongoing support. Make sure to join in on Thursday as the baton is handed to Janice DeBattista and Brooke. On behalf of the escflashmalta.com, we would like to congratulate Ira Losco and her behind-the-scenes team for their hard work and dedication. Stay tuned for all the latest news.

Source: escflashmalta.com, eurovision.tv

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Tuesday, 11 November 2014 17:50

JESC 2014: First Run of Rehearsals Complete

escflashmalta.com has always been present to bring you the latest updates from the local music industry and with the Junior Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Malta, it should not come as a surprise that this event will be wholly covered as well. Members of the editorial team have been viewing the first rehearsals, and have recapitulated their thoughts. LIVE blogging will kick-off as from tomorrow through Facebook and Twitter.

The Netherlands kicked off proceedings yesterday and things surely started on a positive note as Julia gave a strong vocal rendition of her up-tempo number. The visuals on stage are spectacular and the predominant colours are orange and red. This will be closing the show on Saturday and it is surely one to watch out for.

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Sweden have stayed true to their craft with the choice of song, noting that there is a mixture of dance, and pop, something which Thomas G:son is very much known for. Julia is joined on stage by four female dancers, whose choreography is very well adapted to the tune. The vocals are good, and the overall outcome is positive but the song is not too memorable to place highly.

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The song from Bulgaria has been considering as one of the favourites heading into the event. Sadly, we did not get to hear the singer sing live as she is currently unwell and we wish her a speedy recovery. The visuals of this one are once again strong and the predominant colours are purple and blue. The main attraction is definitely the huge castle projected on the screens.

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Russia sends Alisa, the young girl in the white dress with a big ballad! Last year’s winning formula for Malta. It is a very strong song and its orchestration is fantastic. The visuals are simple and let the singer be the focus of this song. The vocals are good but nothing extraordinary. Russia still remains as one of the favourites for this Junior Eurovision but they need to up their game to stand a chance.

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Vincenzo Cantiello took the stage all alone for Italy and it is quite remarkable that he is the only guy in the competition. He sings his big emotional ballad right from the heart and impresses everyone present with his big voice. He went all out in the first rehearsal but held back on all the other takes. It seems that blues and red will be used for this number. He is surely one to watch out for as he has got the total package. 

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Ukraine’s Sympho-Nick singers are the first ones to make full use of the stage as they also use the catwalks. The intro and the end of the song remind me of ‘Gravity’ yet the three girls do a very good job vocally. The visually are impressive and suit the song perfectly. Not sure on how this will do but few if any think it stands a chance of doing well.

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The smiling girl from Armenia is surely having fun on stage. She truly feels at home and it shows in every run. The backdrop is extremely busy and might distract a bit but it still manages to transmit the positive energy of the song. She is accompanied on stage by five dancers and towards the latter part of the song she joins in the routine despite this she does a good job on the vocals. This might surprise on the night!

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Sophia from Cyprus seemed to have been eagerly waiting to get on this stage for a long time as she nails every take she does. The visuals are surely one of the very best and although she is all alone on stage she makes full use of it. She is surely having fun and making the most of this experience – the only drawback this song has is that she is early in the draw and people expect to see dancers other than that she has everything going for her. 

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And the second day of rehearsals kicks off. It’s a happy day for Georgia as Lizi had a good rehearsal this morning. The graphics scream Junior Eurovision but blend well with the thought behind the song. Lizi is accompanied on stage by four dancers. She gives a good vocal performance yet the song seems to lack something and it is a tad too repetitive.

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Montenegro are embracing the fact that from this year the Junior Eurovision is aiming more towards adolescents as their two female teenagers take the stage. Their vocals are on but the girls look uncomfortable on stage – they seem to be over rehearsed and the simple routine they have makes them look awkward. Hopefully things get better for them.

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Josie from Croatia took the stage with Game Over and she is accompanied on stage by two dancers. The song is repetitive and some might find it boring. The visuals are quite particular and naturally feature graphics from games with different codes. This is another number which few people see it doing well. Sadly, it is very difficult at this stage to make significant changes. 

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Up next was San Marino and their girl band ‘The Peppermints’. This is surely another number which one would consider weak. The girls did a good job on the vocals yet nothing impressive. Their staging looked a bit all over the place and they definitely need to work on that area. The visuals are good and the graphics look good but that is where it stops.

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Serbia’s Emilija starts on stage sitting on the piano and then moves on to centre stage. She delivers her song to perfection and surely makes it one of the best entries rehearsing today. Her vocals were spot on and the graphics although plain they really blend in well with the entry. Nothing much to criticize here, one can say simplicity at its best. 

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Ula, the sweetheart from Slovenia is up next and this is another strong rehearsal. Some of the media in the press centre expressed a liking to this song. There is nothing outstanding about it but it is a song performed well and everything is coming together on stage. The visuals are dark and one expects the girl to wear something light in order to let her be the focal point.

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Federica for Malta was on next and she proved why she is one of the hot favourites to do the double for Malta. She tried her song four times in total and she delivered vocally every single time – it was truly impressive. The journalists in the hall were as impressed and it seems like they all gathered here for Malta’s rehearsal which is definitely a good omen.

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Belarus is up next and this is a surprise today. Visually it looks really strong and the same thing can be said for the choreography. The song is catchy and surely has a lot of potential to do extremely well. The singer is confident and looks great on screen. The visuals are impressive and this is another song that has the whole package. A very pleasant ending for the first round of rehearsals!

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#Together is a slogan which greatly encompasses the feeling felt throughout the venue, whether among the technical staff, members of the press or the delegations. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the 2014 edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

#Together, the slogan and concurrent theme for this year's edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Malta is definitely being exercised to the maximum, if last night's successful event is to be taken into account. As the delegations made their way to the Summer Residence of the President of Malta in Verdala, the production team assembled to create a harmonised running order, following the initial draw ceremony which saw Federica from Malta pick number #15, Julia from The Netherlands pick number #16 and Nadezhda from Belarus pick number #1.

A quick glance at the full running order, it seems that the production team wanted to re-assure that a bell curve of genres is very much applicable to the audience watching in the arena and at home. A mixture of ballads, mid-tempo and up-tempo songs were slotted in according to the section of the draw in which the artists drew. Amidst screams of joy, and laughter, the delegations were all pleased with their place in the running order and looking forward to the week ahead, knowing that Malta will provide an excellent host country for the international music event.

01. Belarus

02. Bulgaria

03. San Marino

04. Croatia

05. Cyprus

06. Georgia

07. Sweden

08. Ukraine

09. Slovenia

10. Montenegro

11. Italy

12. Armenia

13. Russia

14. Serbia

15. Malta

16. The Netherlands

In support of Federica Falzon and her entry "Diamonds", written by Elton Zarb, Matthew Mercieca and Gillian Attard, we urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the 2014 edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Periodally, members of the editorial team will be present at the Marsa Shipbuilding to bring you everything as it occurs.

Source: escflashmalta.com, junioreurovision.tv

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On the 15th November, Malta will be hosting the 12th edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest within the Marsa Shipbuilding, under the watchful eye of the Public Broadcasting Services and the European Broadcasting Union.

Vladislav Yakovlev, executive supervisor on behalf of the European Broadcasting Union, who is currently in Malta for the upcoming Heads of Delegation Meeting, set for Tuesday, has recently gone on record stating that the competition “it’s looking like we’re going to have 16 countries taking part this year, which is a great number and I’m very happy to welcome many country both into and back into the Junior Eurovision family”.

Whilst Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Malta, Netherlands, Russia, San Marino, Sweden and Ukraine will all be returning back to the competition following their participation in 2013, It is worth noting that there are several countries who are returning after an absence of one year or more such as; Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Serbia. There is a third group of countries who will be making their debut and thus participating for the very first time and these are; Italy, Montenegro and Slovenia

7 out of the 16 participating countries have already made their entry public, whilst another 5 have revealed the names of their entries, which will in turn be made public in the next couple of days. You will find all the information listed down below.

Armenia: Betty – People of the Sun

Belarus: Nadezhda Misyakova – Sokol

Bulgaria: Krisia, Hasan & Ibrahim – Planetata na Detsata

Cyprus: Sophia Patsalides – I Pio Omorfi Mera

Georgia: Lizi Pop – TBA

Italy: Vincenzo Cantiello – Tu Primo Grande Amore

Malta: Federica Falzon – Diamonds

Montenegro: Masa Vujadinovic & Lejla Vulic – Budi Dijete na Jedan Dan

Netherlands: Julia – Around

Russia: Alisa Kozhikina – Dreamer

San Marino: The Peppermints – Breaking My Heart

Slovenia: Ula Lozar – TBA

Sweden: Julia Kedhammar – Du Ar Inte Ensam

Ukraine: Sympho-Nick – Pryyde Vesna

Serbia and Croatia, 2 of the last countries to reveal their return to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest are yet to make a formal announcement with regards to their artist or entry choices, whilst Georgia and Slovenia have yet to reveal the name of their entry. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook & Twitter for all the latest news from the world of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: Junior Eurovision (Official Website), escflashmalta.com

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Thursday, 19 September 2013 17:49

Croatia: HRT Confirms Withdrawal to the Media

Mižerja, performed by Klapa s Mora on behalf of Croatia at this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest could only muster thirty-eight points to finish in thirteenth place and continued a series of disappointments for the balkan nation who have not managed to get through to the final in four years. HRT, the broadcaster responsible for the participation of Croatia has in turn revealed that they will be taking a year off citing financial reasons rather than negative results.

Croatia is one of the countries yet to win the Eurovision Song Contest with their best result being a fourth place achieved on two occasions; in 1996 with Maja Blagdan and Sveta Ljubav and in 1999 with Doris Dragovic and Marija Magdalena. HRT, the broadcaster is yet to decide on whether to broadcast the event or not in 2014 according to the interest of the general public who have always shown great support towards the international showcase. Despite the one year break, it is also expected that the nation will find the right artist and entry for the 2015 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and thus return. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: HRT

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Since the introduction of the jury and tele-voting system, it seems that the anticipation for the split vote is relatively high by viewers of the Eurovision Song Contest, which this year amassed around one hundred and seventy million according to an earlier press release issued by the official website of the international event. In the past four years, the European Broadcasting Union had released the total points of each entry as given by both the jury and the tele-voting but due to the implementation of a brand new system, they have decided to publish the average placing of each nation through both jury and tele-voting.

The results of the first semi-final were quite predictable to be honest noting that Only Teardrops by Emmelie de Forest for Denmark was the varage with both the juries and public at large with Russia's entry What If finishing second in both as well. The juries and the public agreed on seven of the ten qualifiers in general witht he jury opting to select Austria rather than Lithuania and the public preferring Montenero and Croatia over Moldova and Estonia respectively. Montenegro have somewhat managed to gather favour with the public whilst Austria still hold the cards in their hands when it comes to the juries stating tele-voting was rigged a couple of years back. 

Denmark - 167 (1 / 1)

Russia - 156 (2 / 2)

Ukraine - 140 (4 / 3)

Moldova - 95 (3 / 11)

Belgium - 75 (7 / 7)

The Netherlands - 75 (6 / 9)

Belarus - 64 (9 / 8)

Ireland - 54 (10 / 6)

Lithuania - 53 (11 / 5)

Estonia - 52 (8 / 13)

Serbia - 46 (15 / 12)

Montenegro - 41 (14 / 4)

Croatia - 38 (13 / 10)

Austria - 27 (5 / 15

Cyprus - 11 (12 / 14)

Slovenia - 8 (16 / 16)

In the second semi-final, things were rather enticing and this was very much what several opinionists had stated when it came to discussing the quality of the tracks competing. As a matter of fact, the jury and the tele-voting agreed on six songs in total, including jury winners Malta whose entry Tomorrow performed by Gianluca managed seventh place with the public.This was a coup for the Mediterranean nation who had never secured any type of first place result in the past. The jury opted to send through to the final acts such as Israel and San Marino rather than Romania and Hungary whilst the public at large preferred Bulgaria and Switzerland to Armenia and Georgia. For the second straight participation, it seems that Armenia is continously losing the public appeal which had originated in their initial participations. 

Azerbaijan - 139 (2 / 3)

Greece - 121 (3 / 2)

Norway - 120 (4 / 4)

Malta - 118 (1 / 7)

Romania - 83 (13 / 1)

Iceland - 72 (8 / 8)

Armenia - 69 (7 / 11)

Hungary - 66 (11 / 9)

Finland - 64 (6 / 10)

Georgia - 63 (5 / 13)

San Marino - 47 (10 / 12)

Bulgaria - 45 (17 / 6)

Switzerland - 41 (16 / 5)

Israel - 40 (9 / 14)

Albania - 31 (12 / 15)

FYR Macedonia - 28 (14 / 16)

Latvia - 13 (15 / 13)

In the final, things somewhat remained pretty much the same noting that the countries which had performed well in their respective semi-finals managed to enter in the top ten with the inclusion of Italy who performed brilliantly in both the jury and the public vote. This was not the case with their entry last year noting that Nina Zilli had managed to get her top ten score thanks to mostly jury support as the public put her in a lower mid-table position. Marco Mengoni and his entry L'Essenziale managed eighth and tenth respectively to finish in seventh place just ahead of Malta whose entry this time round finished in ninth place both the jury and public vote. On average, Spain has managed to finish last in both the jury and the public vote but unfortunately the disappointing result was given to Ireland with Ryan Dolan managing a decent mid-table with the public as opposed to a bottom three with juries. 

Denmark - 281 (1 / 1)

Azerbaijan - 234 (2 / 3)

Ukraine - 214 (6 / 2)

Norway - 191 (4 / 6)

Russia - 174 (10 / 5)

Greece - 152 (14 / 4)

Italy - 126 (8 / 10)

Malta - 120 (9 / 9)

The Netherlands - 114 (7 / 11)

Hungary - 84 (21 / 8)

Belgium - 71 (11 / 17)

Moldova - 71 (5 / 19)

Romania - 65 (24 / 7)

Sweden - 62 (3 / 18)

Georgia - 50 (13 / 23)

Belarus - 48 (22 / 13)

Iceland - 47 (17 / 12)

Armenia - 41 (19 / 15)

United Kingdom - 23 (15 / 22)

Estonia - 19 (16 / 24)

Germany - 18 (20 / 16)

Lithuania - 17 (25 /21)

France - 14 (12 / 25)

Finland - 13 (18 / 20)

Spain - 8 (26 / 26)

Ireland - 5 (23 / 14)

escflashmalta.com has also noted two predominant differences between the jury and the public vote in the final noting that Sweden managed to gather a strong representation thanks to the professional panels in the participating countries managing a third place whilst Romania climbed up the board thanks to the general public. Unfortunately both entries were drowned down by the other half of the score as Sweden could only manage eighteenth in tele-voting whilst Romania was third from last in the jury. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest but in the meantime, keep following for news about the local music scene.

Source: eurovision.tv

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Saturday, 18 May 2013 14:04

Eurovision 2013: Voting Order Announced

In years gone by, the running order of the voting process was scheduled in the same manner in which the performances took place but nevertheless, the system was altered a couple of years back when the juries gained their voting priveledges back, and which now undoubtely decide half of the respective result. The European Broadcasting Union would like to make the best possible showcase for the millions of viewers watching all over the world including; China and Australia and therefore, where possible, changes in the leaderboard will be implemented just to create an exciting feeling for all to enjoy.

Valletta, the capital city of Malta will be the backdrop for the voting this evening with the spokesperson being none other than Emma Hickey, otherwise known as Jeremy's love interest in the music video for Tomorrow, which is the entry representing the country in the international music showcase. The song which is co-written by Dean Muscat and Boris Cezek with vocals provided by Gianluca got through to the final round following an initial qualification phase held on Thursday. Malta was announced as the ninth country following what seemed to a nerve wracking situation. This evening, during the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, Malta will be performing in position number #9.

  1. San Marino (John Kennedy O'Connor)
  2. Sweden (Yohio)
  3. Albania (Andri Xhahu)
  4. Netherlands (Cornald Maas)
  5. Austria (Kati Bellowitsch)
  6. United Kingdom (Scott Mills)
  7. Israel (Ofer Nachshon)
  8. Serbia (Maja Nikolic)
  9. Ukraine (Matias)
  10. Hungary (Éva Novodomszky)
  11. Romania (Sonia Argint)
  12. Moldova (Olivia Furtuna)
  13. Azerbaijan (Tamilla Shirinova)
  14. Norway (Tooji)
  15. Armenia (Andre)
  16. Italy (Federica Gentile)
  17. Finland (Kristiina Wheeler)
  18. Spain (Inés Paz)
  19. Belarus (Darya Domracheva)
  20. Latvia (Anmary)
  21. Bulgaria (Joana Dragneva)
  22. Belgium (Barbara Louys)
  23. Russia (Alsou)
  24. Malta (Emma Hickey)
  25. Estonia (Rolf Roosalu)
  26. Germany (Lena)
  27. Iceland (Maria Sigrun Hilmarsdottir)
  28. France (Marine Vignes)
  29. Greece (Andriana Magania)
  30. Ireland (Nicky Byrne)
  31. Denmark (Sofie Lassen-Kalhke)
  32. Montenegro (Ivana Sebek)
  33. Slovenia (Andrea F)
  34. Georgia (Liza Tsiklauri)
  35. F.Y.R. Macedonia (Dimitar Atanasovski)
  36. Cyprus (Loukas Hamatsos)
  37. Croatia (Uršula Tolj)
  38. Switzerland (Mélanie Freymond)
  39. Lithuania (Ignas Krupavicius)

All of the participating countries in this years' Eurovision Song Contest will be casting their votes, half of them as decided by a panel of professional experts and the other half by the million of people watching in their homes. As one could denote from the list above, there are a number of well known individuals who will be reading out the points of their country, amongst them being; Tooji (Norway), Anmary (Latvia), Lena (Germany), Alsou (Russia) and of course, the most famous one being Nicky Bryne of the former group, Westlife for Ireland. Speculation is running high that Italy did extremely well with the juries last night as opposed to Denmark who might have not scored one of the top results. This is yet to be seen. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more of the latest news.

Source: eurovision.tv

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Good Evening! Welcome to the live coverage of the first semi-final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest being held in Malmö, Sweden. Members of the European Broadcasting Union had to confirm their participation in the international showcase by December and as a matter of fact, during this period some nations had selected both their artist and entry for the event. Sixteen (16) countries will be performing this evening with six (6) of them being eliminated at the first hurdle noting that the other ten (10) will be going through to the final stage on Saturday night where they will compete with another ten (10) qualifiers from the second semi-final and the countries which have already qualified due to their respective financial status.

In recent years, social media has become an important tool to get a message across and escflashmalta.com has been proud to keep you updated through both Facebook and Twitter whilst bringing you exclusive content through Flickr and YouTube respectively. This evening, the special coverage that is annually planned is set to be conducted by our Head of Press, Emil Calleja Bayliss as well as guests; Claudia Faniello, a two time first runner-up at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and Simon Casey, a former first runner-up in the Irish selection as well as a successful recording artist with Universal Music Ireland. All of the three are extremely professional in their line of work and their interests in music have been duly recorded over time.

The Show (Part 1)

Good Evening! Welcome to Sweden and to the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest. This year, the arena is relatively small in comparison to other years but nevertheless, looks jampacked noting that it was sold out in less than half an hour. An extremely large choir is currently on stage as they perform Euphoria, the winning entry of last year before being joined by Loreen herself. This is a first to see the winner of the year before performing in the first semi-final but nevertheless, she will also be performing a brand new song in the final. Petra Mede, the only hostess for this evening takes to the stage in what seems to be a silver like colour although the material is very much like tin foil. 

Austria

Emil: She looks so scared. Her eyes look it and her voice is a tad shaky but she slowly picks up. The backing have a cool yet strange choereography. The staging is interesting and the small arena looks great on screen. The viduals are impressive. The song is a modern R&B number which should go down well but perhaps it is a bit too early for the viewers to remember. A good one.

Claudia: I think that this is a little bit average especially to kick off this evening yet the performance was good enough.

Simon: Our first semi-final is under way. Didn't really enjoy this performance and it didn't go anywhere, which is a shame as she a really good voice. Natália's Irish roots may not be enough for her to qualify tonight.

Estonia

Emil: A black and white start and surely an interesting trick for the viewers to remember. Kudos on the Estonias but the Maltese had done it first in the Junior Eurovision. The sweet simple ballad is performer strongly. She starts from the catwalk and walks back to the main stage. A flowing dress to hide her pregnancy  It is a typical Scandinavian ballad. The climax is a strong one, but I can't see the viewers voting for this one - the jurors would have to save this one. Interesting number.

Claudia: For the second time in a row, we have another average song and this does not really look to be the best of starts for this years' Eurovision Song Contest.

Simon: Nice ballad singer and she looks great but I'm looking for something special from a ballad these days and I just didn’t enjoy the song. I was waiting for big finish but a in fact it was a little boring for me. 

Slovenia

Emil: An electro dance number which would help making it a summer hit. Would it be a eurovision hit? I doubt it. She might get a number of votes for her looks or her dancers though. The song is average and nothing that we haven't heard before. The vocals could be much better and sounded shrieky in a number of parts. I'd guess it is game over for Slovenia already. She needs a miracle to get through.

Claudia: This clearly remind me of an extremely famous club song and whilst it is a good track in itself, the vocals are clearly weak this evening. Unfortunately these type of songs are dominating the charts despite not being my cup of tea. 

SimonA good dance track. Hannah put in a great performance and a really catchy chorus. I enjoyed this performance and it has an outside chance of qualification. She sounds like Madonna.

Croatia

EmilThis sounds like music to my ears after Slovenia. Pure class with six great voices. This is what Eurovision should be about - countries presenting something traditional and strong. The only criticism I might have is that it is a bit static or sound a tad repetitive but the voices are impeccable with great harmonies. If viewers forget this, I can't see the jurors doing the same. Let's hope they manage to save it if that is the case.

Claudia: I must say that this is definitely not my cup of tea and the only thing that I can point out from this performance are their awesome boots. I am sorry Croatia!

Simon:  This is a little different, the Croats answer to Il Divo. Nice performance and good harmonies. I like it but I don't know how it'll translate European wide considering that it might be respected by minorities.

Denmark

EmilThe ULITIMATE Eurovision favourite - the odds are shortening like mad. A military tattoo feel and this song has WINNER written all over it. Can't see any other song beating this. The performance is interesting and the she sells it well even though she might not be giving her strongest vocal performance. The cheers she's getting in the audience suggest that this is hers to loose - although she's quite close to home so that helps loads. Winner of 2013!? I think so.

Claudia: First things first, it seems that this definitely a crowd favourite this evening and apart from that fact, they have also borrowed my outfits without asking, haha. This is a feel good with great lyrics. This is the second year in a row that they have a great song!

Simon: Good performance by Emmelie, I really like this song. Catchy as hell. I think it's a little reminiscent of last year’s winning song and the strongest performance so far tonight. Think this song has a real chance in the finals.

Russia

Emil: Her clear vocals are beautiful and she carries the song with such grace yet the excitement get the best of her in the beginning. The harmonies with the backing sound great though and the way the whole arena lights up during the key refrain is impressive. Another great stomper. Can't see it beating Denmark but Russia will possible fight to be in the top three this year. 

Claudia: This is definitely a Eurovision Song Contest entry because the key-change is extremely typical. It is also very much like an X Factor winners' single. Nevertheless, Dina is an extremely strong performer.

Simon: Vocally a great performance from Dina and one of my favourites. Certain to qualify. Really strong message here as well. There is a slight feel factor of Katrina and the Waves 'Love Shine a Light' (which is good). No need to bring back the grannies this year!!

Ukraine

Emil: Ruining a good song with a giant!? Well Jack and the beanstalk has been a great inspiration. Another great number which picks up as soon as she starts singing although her vocals sounded a bit low at first. She oozes charisma and she connest well with the camera. Will this gospel number appeal to the viewers at home? Considering it is Ukraine, and the song is a strong one it should do well. Ukraine can expect another top ten result. Three strong numbers after each other. Will someone suffer?

Claudia: Whoa! The giant is clearly an impressive touch and he is somewhat part of the choreography. The visuals are just stunning and the vocals on stage are coming across really well on the sound system. This is well performed! Not a winner though!

SimonThere's a real Disney feel to this song, certainly one of the strongest performances tonight and really should qualify for Saturday night.

The Netherlands

EmilThe famous Anouk is next. She looks beautiful on screen but she avoids eye contact with the camera and stays with her eyes closed during most of the performance. Clearly not the way to connect with your audience. It is the slowest song in the competition and although it has a classic feel to it and Anouk gives a strong interpretation it will be up to the jurors to save this one tonight I feel. It is a bit boring I fear.

Claudia: Anouk, a vocal genius and once more, another strong performance for this evenings' competition. The song in itself is nothing too extraordinary but nevertheless, the versatility is the key behind it's success.

Simon: Don’t like being too critical but I just didn't get this song, it certainly was very different and she has a very decent voice but can't see her qualify for the final. (She's for the birds)

Montenegro

EmilSpacemen make their way to the Eurovision stage too and they are joined by an alien. Not my cup of tea and can't see whether this song will have any appeal whatsoever. It is different to the one that came before it and that is the only reason I see her picking up some votes. I guess it is a bit too modern and the Eurovision stage is not the place to showcase this kind of music. Noise pollution? Quite close.

Claudia: Whilst I respect several genres of music, this is too electronic for my taste. The costumes for the performance definitely remind me of the ones used during one of Fab's latest videos.

Simon:  A very forgettable performance apart from its raunchiness, this song is going nowhere.

Lithuania

Emil: Lithaunia present a good modern pop song with an electronic feel to it. I feels a bit too generic but it is a good entry performed by a very likable guy which will pick up a few votes for his charm. The song might be a little mid table but with some neighbourly help, some luck and a good performance it might actually make it.

Claudia: A Pet Shop Boys attempt. Actually enjoyed this tune but I think the vocal was quiet poor tonight.

Simon: The crowd is really warm this evening and that is very positive for the performers. The track itself seems to have taken us back through time, back to the 80's in a genre similar to the one made popular by AHA, including the blurred visuals. 

Belarus

Emil: Belarus go with a cheesy cha cha number which would have been fit in the Eurovision Song Contest back in the 1990's. It is a bit too late. The performance is strong but the same cannot be the said for her vocals. They sound strained and weak in places. The outfits are cool though and her PR strategy was amongst the strongest. Will that help her pass? I doubt it.

Claudia: Typical entry from the Eurovision Song Contest, the outfit along with the staging has been done a million times before. Hmm, there is something about Alyona which reminds me of Charlotte Perelli although her figure is definitely more intriguing.

Simon: She reminds me of Shakira, and he tune is a little similar to the Turkish 2003 winner. Certainly has potential to qualify tonight, really think its a song that will grow on people. 

Moldova

EmilThe music is strong for this one and so is her voice but the fact that we can't understand what she's singing about is a distraction. The dress is spectacular though and the overall visuals are amongst the best in the competition. I wouldn't count this one out especially after that performance.

Claudia: The piano and the strings definitely catching my attention and the dress in itself is very similar to the one used by Olivia Lewis during the 2005 Malta Song for Europe. This song in itself does not really go anywhere and that is relatively disappointing. Good performance though! I would never see myself in such a dress!

Simon: A great vocal from Aliona, really good singer. Nice power ballad and the best we've heard from Moldova ever. I think she’ll qualify.

Ireland

Emil: Ireland haven't done well recently and they think that the best thing to do is go with an uptempo number with half naked men on stage. Will it work? I guess it will take them to the finals tonight. The song came to life on this stage and the drum beats sound and look great. Not your typical Irish sound but it's kind of good. Ryan gives a strong performance and surely merits the final.

Claudia: Well, I am not too sure of the graphics being used in this performance or the clothing for that matter but nevertheless, this is done well in it's respective genre.

Simon: Well done Ryan, this song has been growing in me the last few weeks and tonight he's given a great performance. A very different entry to what we're used to. I'm really hoping Europe vote or us tonight. Congrats Team Ireland.

Cyprus

Emil: This song is so beautiful, she performs it with such grace and her look reminds me of Celine Dion. Her vocals are strong and the traditional ballad leaves everyone haunted. One of my personal favourites for tonight and I think it should sail with ease to the finals. Touching. Well done Cyprus. Pity the Greeks aren't here to help you out tonight as you truly deserve all the help you can get.

Claudia: Whoa! What a choice of outfit! This looks amazing on screen. She does look a little bit like Celine Dion from far away. You need to have a really good song to succeed in a foreign language. I am not too sure.

Simon: Unfortunately this has been my least favourite performance tonight, just lacking pretty much everything. The weakest by far.

Belgium

Emil: He looks like a scared little boy on that stage. The backing are truly amazing but his voice is just weak. Pity as the beat of the song is quite good and if it was performed stronger it could easily make it but he literally kills it. One big car crash vocally. Sorry Belgium, next time think about sending a singer who can actually sing. Do not blame the lack of neighbours this year.

ClaudiaBelgium, I have to denote this as to having an extremely modern sound but the choreography is not too my liking unfortunately. It also has the feel of a radio song rather than a track that succeeds within the Eurovision Song Contest.

Simon: Good pop song and well performed. Roberto has a strong voice. Nice vibe to it and I'm thinking the Irish entry is a little similar (obviously we're tops)

Serbia

Emil: Barbies gone wrong. I guess they let a weird niece dress them up who has spent her life under lock and key by her insane parents. Whoever decided on the outfits should be SHOT! The song ain't bad but it ain't good either. They look stupid and the whole act looks ridiculous. Pity as the song would have had some potential if they had a decent performance. Thank God the vocals are in place cause it would have been miserable.

Claudia: I am quite disappointed with the songs in this years' first semi-final. This was yet another forgettable song but nevertheless, the vocals are well performed throughout the whole entry.

Simon: Good uptempo song to bring the the first semi final to a close. Has to be said its one of the stronger songs tonight. Three strong vocalists and there'll be plenty of young lads voting for them tonight. Serbia should qualify.

The Show (Part 2)

Petra Mede, the hostess for the evening hast just opened the tele-voting and a recap of the songs has just been shown on screen. A series of interval acts will be taking to the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest and first up is Petra Mede who takes us through memory lane and enters a number of performances. Well, the voting has just come to an end and now we have the proper interval act which is a choreographed set of movements to a magnificient backdrop known as Aurora or rather, the Northern Lights.

Emil:  Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine

Claudia: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine

Simon: Belarus, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Moldova, Netherlands, Russia, Serbia,  Slovenia, Ukraine

We just had Lynda Woodruff and she was epic in her sketch. A recap of the six direct finalists is currently being shown on screen. One has to note that they have an amazing set of songs especially compared to the quality of the songs performed this evening. Bonnie Tyler, Robin Stjernberg and Marco Mengoni are in the arena representing the countries directly in the final which are voting in this semi-final! The time for the qualifiers is here!

Moldova

Lithuania

Ireland

Estonia

Belarus

Denmark

Russia

Belgium

Ukraine

The Netherlands

Tonight! The time has arrived for the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest to take place and following two dress rehearsals last night and another one this afternoon, the excitement is definitely there and people are somewhat intrigued to be so close to the first evening. The first semi-final will consist of sixteen songs, with the countries ranging from all over the contintent. The main favourites for this evening have somewhat been drawn alongside each other and that may prove to be difficult. A non-scientific analysis is seen below to hopefully predict the qualifers of the evening pertaining to two different factions. Remember that escflashmalta.com will be having a live report conducted by Emil Calleja Bayliss and guest writers; Claudia Faniello and Simon Casey.

In recent weeks, escflashmalta.com has collaborated with a number of professional personnel from all across the world with vast knowledge about the music industry. The sixteen entries which will be competing in the first semi-final this evening were thoroughly analysed and graded both on an individual basis and also within the context of a competition. The latter scoring system was taken and added to the result of the public poll to create ten qualifers based on the system used at the Eurovision Song Contest which gives 50% weighing to the public and another 50% weighing to a professional jury. We are glad to reveal the results of the qualifiers according to this result in alphabetical order. The system was explained in order to answer any queries with regards to why countries may be missing from the poll on the right hand side of the screen which has now been closed.

There was a general consensus between the public and the professional panel of experts on eight tracks in total whilst noting that both factions predicted a song each which the other did not, leaving a song out in the process which had received the same type of result. In the meantime, out of the six (6) non-qualifiers predicted, both sides agreed on a total of four (4) entries and awarded them no points. escflashmalta.com would like to denote that this is not the opinion of the website with each of the professional panel as well as the public casting their personal votes. In the first semi-final the panel consisted of Magnus Kaxe, Lina Eriksson and Matt Mercieca (Muxu). Stay tuned to our portal in the coming hours for more of the latest news. Remember that Malta will be competing in the second semi-final. All shows will be shown on TVM with commentary by Rodney Gauci and Gordon Bonello.

Source: escflashmalta.com, eurovision.tv (image) 

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