17 October 2017
Friday, 29 September 2017 21:35

MESC 2018: Shortlist of 30 Entries Made Public

Public Broadcasting Services Malta (PBS) have announced a shortlist which made it through the first eliminatory phase of the 2018 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, the island's well followed selection process for the Eurovision Song Contest. The news was revealed online at tvm.com.mt after the TVM evening news on Friday, September 15.

A total of 129 entries were submitted to PBS, twenty-seven less than the year before. From these, the broadcaster has shortlisted thirty, which will be further shortened to sixteen within the next month. The list of names announced features a feast of seasoned professionals on the Malta Eurovision scene, along with a number of new names. No details of songwriters have been announced, but it is expected that songs are by a mix of local and international composers. 

Abire Sekkaki - Casablanca Love

Aidan - Dai Laga

Aidan - See You

Avenue Sky - We Can Run

Brooke Borg - Heart of Gold

Christabelle Borg - Taboo

Dan - If Only

Danica Muscat - One Step At A Time

Deborah C - Turn It Up

Deborah C & Josef Tabone - Human

Dominic Cini - Pictures

Eleanor Cassar - Back To Life

Ishmael Grech - Good Times

Jasmine Abela - Supernovas

Kelsey Bellante - Super Woman

Kevin Paul Calleja - Great Adventure

Kimberley Curtis - Monsters

Kurt Anthony Cassar - You Will Find Me

Lawrence Gray - Love Renegade

Malcolm Pisani - Kiss

Matthew Caruana - Call 2morrow

Mikhail Attard & Cherylis Camileri - Breaking Point

Miriana Conte - Rocket

Nicole Azzopardi - Mixed Feelings

Petra Whiteford - Evolution

Raquel Galdes - In My Mind

Rhiannon Micallef - Beyond Blue Horizons

Richard & Joe Micallef - Song For Dad

Stefan Galea - Closer

Tiziana Calleja - First Time

International fans will surely recognise the names of Richard Micallef and Nicole Azzopardi - the former representing Malta in 2014 as part of "Firelight", and the latter taking part for Malta in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest back in 2010. Other notable mentions can be made to Eleanor Cassar - returning after a number of years away from the local festival scene, in addition to Christabelle Borg - re-entering the festival after working on her first EP with international producers. 

It has been said that during these past couple of days, singers have been invited to a live audition phase in order to hear how their songs sounded when interpreted live. During this elimination phase, a number of local and international expert juries will be involved to choose the top sixteen finalists which will then compete during the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2018. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: TVM, PBS

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Wednesday, 12 February 2014 19:13

Malta: Anton Attard Replies to Plagiarism Claims

During the course of the weekend, the Public Broadcasting Services organised the 2014 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, won by Firelight and their entry Coming Home, written by frontman, Richard Micallef (a.k.a Edwards). Many had instantly denoted a similar sounding sound to tracks such as I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons as well as Let Me Go sung by Gary Barlow, the latter of which was released following the submission process initiated by the Public Broadcasting Services back in 2013.

Anton Attard, Head of Delegation and Chief Executive Officer of the Public Broadcasting Services spoke to the Malta Independent with regards to the similarities, stating that the genre is indeed very close to one another but then insisted that the songs are different. He went onto point out that 'people will always make claims of the sort. More often than not, the people behind these claims have a personal interest.' In the past weekends' Malta Eurovision Song Contest, Firelight won after receving the majority of the support from the professional judges, missing out on the public vote, finishing behind Jessika (8th overall), Daniel Testa (3rd overall) and DeBee (2nd overall). Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news.

Source: The Malta Independent

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Sunday, 09 February 2014 18:12

MMAs 14: Firelight Added as Special Guests

Firelight, composed of Richard Micallef, Michelle Mifsud, Tony Polidano, Matthew Ellul and Leslie Decesare are still fresh off their victory at the 2014 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the song Coming Home written by Richard Micallef but nevertheless, they are ready to kick off their promotional campaign with a special guest appearance at the Malta Music Awards later on this evening. The event hosted by Angie Laus, Arthur Caruana and Nicole Tabone will commence at 19:00 CET and will be broadcast on TVM at a later date.

Apart from Firelight, the star studded event will include a multitude of performances from the likes of Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2014 hostess; Ira Losco as well as participant; Sophie whilst the local music scene will be in full force as Red Electrick, Winter Moods, Norbert, The Crowns, Gaia Cauchi and The Rifffs will all take to the stage of the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre. The evening is surely set to be another one to remember with the best talent being recognised by a panel of professional judges who selected their favourites a couple of weeks ago. A full detailed report on the Malta Music Awards will follow on escflashmalta.com in the coming hours. Stay tuned.

Source: MMM

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Published in Latest News - Local

It was one of the most open fields in recent years with both the local and foreign members of the press finding it extremely difficult to pin-point one (1) particular entry to represent Malta at this years’ edition of the Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark. Nevertheless, at the end of the evening, the jury and the public reached a verdict, and chose Firelight who will be slotting their pop/folk tune Coming Home, written by Richard Micallef, in the second semi-final.

As a group, Firelight were making their debut in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, having originally entered two (2) submissions for the competition, the other one being Bite the Bullet. Nevertheless, the lead vocalist of the group is none other than Richard Edwards whom many will remember to being the first runner-up at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest back in 2011 with the song Finally co-written with Jan Van Dijck. Firelight which also features Michelle Mifsud, Tony Polidano, Matthew Ellul and Leslie DeCesare are gearing up to release their debut album in the next couple of weeks. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news from the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and the Maltese entry, as soon as it becomes available.

Source: escflashmalta.com

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In 2014, the Public Broadcasting Services, responsible for Malta’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest decided to conduct a national final with just twenty (20) entries, rather than the typical twenty-four (24) which many had become accustomed to in recent years. Promotion is always vital, and escflashmalta.com has sent each entry to a professional panel of individuals in the music industry, who have in turn passed on their comments. This year, we have asked the likes of John Scott from the United States, Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom, Sharon Vaughn from the United States but based in Sweden, Stano Simor from the Czech Republic and Greig Watts from the United Kingdom to do the honours. Today’s review is centred on Coming Home, written by Richard Micallef with vocals provided by the group Firelight.

Firelight, the name is new, but the content definitely is not. Richard Edwards and Michelle Mifsud are the lead vocalists of this song, having previously been on stage together as lead vocalists on another two occasions; in 2003 with Take Me Back Again and in 2005 with It’s Up To You. Nevertheless, Richard has been super successful as a solo artist, having also been part of the competition on another four occasions; in 2011 with Finally (2nd), in 2012 with Look At Me Now (6th) and in 2013 with Fall Like Rome (13th). The group has been confirmed to be a project which will continue following the competition with the group set to release their debut album in a couple of weeks. It is worth noting that those which feature in the project also include; Tony Polidano, Matthew Ellul and Leslie DeCesare.

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Richard Micallef, also known by his stage name as Richard Edwards is a seasoned songwriter, co-written songs with his brother Wayne Micallef, during the early stages of their respective career. As a matter of fact, they were responsible for at least three (3) entries in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest prior to their solo career paths, two of which they performed and have been noted above, and another entry in 2005, that entitled Let’s Make a Change performed by Andreana and Christian Arding as a duet. After a couple of years off, Richard engaged in a successful collaboration with Jan Van Dijck, coming up with songs such as Finally (2011) and Look at me Now (2012). As from 2013, he reverted to writing with brother Wayne, and was responsible for Wonderful Today, a duet with Petra Zammit and also No One’s Home, a solo entry for the aformentioned Petra.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 69%

John Scott: Good energy and vibe among the band members. The vocal mix is quite nice. I think the song is good, but not great. The hook did not stay in my head after it was over.

Martin Isherwood: Well sung. Lots of nice words but not necessarily in the right order. Very confusing lyrics. Not sure if he's coming or going. Mumford and sons inspired. I'd be surprised if this does well despite it being pleasant. Unusual switch to the female vocal in the middle section and not sure why? They look like a lovely family.

Sharon Vaughn: I love this group! Great harmonies and wonderful individual voices. I was sold! But one note... please, PLEASE lessen the use of the tambourine player... at least mix him back and don't put him right behind the lead singer, it is very distracting!

Stano Simor: I like it! I can feel a lot of positive energry in this band. It’s amazing! Traditional instruments always give a different dimension of any song. Firelight are amongst my favourite performers in this years’ competition and this is a really good song, which I see in Eurovision. Feminine vocal pleasantly refreshes the entire song.

Greig Watts: Ah for me this song is a big letdown, I thought it started well and the verses and voices are nice to listen to, but there was no chorus to start with, it comes round the second time but I’ve almost lost interest by then. I enjoy it when the female voice comes in and the two voices contrast well, actually it’s a song that might be good to listen to in the car whilst driving home, but I could not sing this back to you when it’s finished so unfortunately it’s going to get forgotten.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

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Published in Opinions

The package has always been coined as to being the element which the public and the jury must select to represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest and one cannot deny that this element has not been analysed thouroughly by nations who have achieved success in the past. It has long been said that some nations who have not achieved positive results in recent years, are trying to turn back the time and check what they had done but nevertheless, times are changing and past formulas might not be the way to go and that is something that the Public Broadcasting Services has taken up in recent years, denoting a change of strategy with sheer professionalism becoming the element behind the actual selection process. Each of the competing acts in this years’ Malta Eurovision Song Contest have achieved promotion through both television and radio, whether individualistic or as a group altogether. Our portal in the meantime, has been looking at all of the tracks through a series of professional critiques by people who barely require an introduction within the international music market.  The one with the highest score will be given an award on the popular show Sas-Sitta which airs on NET Television. The final review of the series will be focusing on Wonderful Today, composed by Wayne Micallef to the lyrics of Richard Micallef with the vocalists being Richard and Petra

Introducing this duet, many people will realise that both Richard and Petra are already competing in the competition as soloists and therefore, having an additional track might not help with the overall giving of votes, both with regards to the jury and the tele-voting but the genre does differ in the tracks and this is due to the fact that they bring completely different vocals to the table which when come together form a vocal harmony which is beautiful.  Richard Edwards has become one of the most popular performers in the country having managed to finish third in tele-voting for two consecutive years with Finally and Look At Me Now which were both co-written with Jan Van Dijck, ultimately placing in second and sixth place respectively whilst Petra has been away for the competition in the past year having been a finalist in 2008 with Street Car of Desire composed by Elton Zarb to the lyrics of Rita Pace, in 2010 with the track All I Need composed by Andrew Zammit with lyrics by Keith Zammit and of course in 2011 when she had managed to get through with the song Unintentional, where she had gone back to her songwriting roots working with Elton Zarb and Rita Pace once more. The genres are absolutely different as already noted above but nevertheless, both have built strong reputations in the business. Since coming together as a romantic item in the past couple of months, several people have been wanting a duet and thus came the idea of this entry, Wonderful Today

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The focus here is definitely on the entry that they are presenting as a duet rather than their solo performances which have already been analysed thouroughly by our professional panel of critics earlier on in the series. Wonderful Today could be best described as a pop/rock track with that little bit of a country twang which definitely suits both vocals equally. What is rather impressive about this entry is that there is a merge of vocals rather than someone trying to sound better and that is why, it is a vocal union.  The presentation is going to be crucial and many have come forward telling the editorial board that Richard has to calm down when it comes to the entrance because in the preview video, it looked as if he was set to start shouting at Petra and thus, it would not look good on screen. Nevertheless, I have no doubts that the professionalism of these artists like most of the other performers in the local music scene will see to it that certain issues will be ironed out. The songwriters of this entry are of course, the Micallef brothers who have written a number of tracks for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in the past including Take Me Back Again in 2003 and It's Up to You in 2005. They will also be competing with two this year. It is quite unfortunate that Wayne could not participate as a solo artist this time round due to personal issues but nevertheless, his contributions are somewhat well noted.  

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 62%

Sharon Vaughn: A Monster chorus. The verses don't match up to the choruses but the singers are amazing and sell this song.

Martin Isherwood: Nice idea for the chorus. Lyrics work ok despite the title. Voices are good. Competent but hardly distinctive in any way.

Stano Simor: Petra and Richard are extremely good singers. But the song did not touch me at all. It belongs to the average song of this competition and I think it will have a hard to enforce. We'll see, fingers crossed.

Roberto Meloni: Good singers! the song sounds a bit “old fashioned” but I like the combination of the voices and their complicity on the stage. 

Lina Eriksson: Maybe this song would have worked better as a solo-artist song? But then again I always have a hard time liking duets. As always I adore Richard but having Fall like Rome still playing in the back of my head….well this just isn’t as good.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

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Published in Opinions

The Public Broadcasting Services has invested in a stunning showcase to present to the audience of the notable Malta Eurovision Song Contest in the past three years noting the improvements made into the presentation as well as song quality, which has not only been noted locally but even in foreign waters from where entries have also been submitted consistently. The improvement in this manner has also been seen through the results at the Eurovision Song Contest noting that Glen had almost qualified from the semi-final whilst Kurt Calleja managed the feat last year. escflashmalta.com is collaborating with the television programme 'Sas-Sitta' in order to present three awards to entries that are competing in this years' Malta Eurovision Song Contest. A panel of critics have voted for their favourite entry, first as a standalone track and secondly within the confines of a competition with the latter garnering important yet the percentage is an indication of the former. The twelfth entry to be reviewed is entitled No One's Home performed by Petra, co-written between the Micallef brothers otherwise known as Richard and Wayne.

Introducing Petra is quite intriguing noting that she stands in-between the newcomers and the veterans by virtue of being in her prime and promoting her music in the best possible way. The first very first time that I had seen her perform was during the Malta Song for Europe back in 2008 when she had managed to make it through to the final eight songs that year with the track Streetcar of Desire composed by Elton Zarb and penned by Rita Pace. It was the beginning of a successful career which would see her make several guest appearances on the local scene and then ultimately returning for another two performances in the leading competition in the country, these being in 2010 with All I Need composed by Andrew Zammit and penned by Keith Zammit and in 2011 with a completely different type of entry entitled Unintentional composed by Elton Zarb and penned by Rita Pace, the same team from which she had gained acclaim. Nevertheless, her debut performance is still the one which the people seem to enjoy the most. In the meantime, she has achieved success in other competitions, finishing in the first runner-up position at the Għanja tal-Poplu with the track Rakkont Ta' Omm composed by Heathcliffe Balzan and penned by Deo Grech as well as the Summer Hit Song Contest with Forget My Name composed by Heathcliffe Balzan and penned by Natasha Turner respectively.

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Being honest, I believe that the return of Petra is quite a breathe of fresh air to the competition because she brings about songs which are intriguing and honest, reflecting the mood of the public at times whilst staying true to the sound itself. The entry which she brings forward to this years' competition bears the name No One's Home and it is pop/rock entry with that sort of country tinge, giving it the opportunity to develop within the three minutes whilst reaching more than one demographic of an audience. Songwriting credits are always important and this track brings about the Micallef brothers, Wayne who himself is a former finalist within the Malta Eurovision Song Contest having made the cut in 2009 with Where You Belong, in 2010 with Save A Life, in 2011 with Everybody Sing and last year with Time and Richard who is incidentally competing like Petra with two entries, the solo track entitled Fall Like Rome and the duet with Petra bearing the title Wonderful Today. Whilst Wayne is taking the year off from performing, Richard brings about a runner-up finish in 2011 with him and this is the first track that they wrote together for another artist. It has to be pointed out though that Petra is dating her lyricist although, this has been at the centre of the local media for quite some time especially with the fame that Richard had garnered in the past couple of months.
 
The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 52%

Sharon Vaughn: Love her voice, my favourite singer. The song should have made use of the title.

Martin Isherwood: Can't see why it's called no-one home - as it is not the real focus of the song. Bluesy, rocky, competent but uninspiring. Doesn't feel like a Eurovision song. Hints of Aquilera Genie in a bottle. 

Stano Simor: Old fashioned. Very dull song. Searching for that something special but nothing comes up and it just leaves you cold. This kind of rock music does not work anymore.

Roberto Meloni: The style of this entry is far too old unfortunately and she sounds much better in the duet rather than this entry.

Lina Eriksson: At first I really like the retro feeling in the verse of this song. But then the chorus isn't at all what I expected and I feel they don’t really fit together. I’m left disappointed. Good verse – not such a good chorus.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

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Published in Opinions

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