13 December 2017
Luke Giles

Luke Giles

With a population of just over 33,000 – San Marino has always had a hard time to find an act to represent them at the Eurovision Song Contest. All the songs which they took part with have been produced internationally – and from eight participations in the contest, only three performers from the tiny microstate have taken to the Eurovision stage as lead performers. With this in mind, it is no surprise that San Marino RTV, in collaboration with UK company “Raff Raff Ltd.” have launched their search to find the so called “Internet candidate” for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest – set to be held next May in Lisbon, Portugal. 

The aptly named contest “1 in 360” (1in360.com) invited performers from all corners of the world to take part in the Sammarinese selection process. To be in contention, interested persons were invited between October and November to be in contention for the process. A reported 1000 entries were received from approximately 80 countries – nineteen of those entries came from Maltese singers. 

From the entries received, ten of them will make it to the live shows of the competition - set to take place between January and February next year. One of the final ten spots will be reserved for a Sammarinese artist, another will be selected from the vote of OGAE clubs across Europe, whilst the third will be given to the performer with the most “hearts” on the 1in360 online platform. The remaining seven spots will be chosen by the 1in360 organising team, in consultation with San Marino RTV. 

Right now at the time of writing, the voting window is open to determine the candidate with the most votes on the 1in360 website – who will gain a spot in the final ten for the San Marino selection. Voting in this stage is open until midnight on December 10th. Below we introduce the Maltese candidates for the selection – to vote for them, click on their names and click the love heart in the top left corner of the screen. 

Dario & Grecia Bezzina

Gail Attard

Nicole Azzopardi 

Jessika

Franklin Calleja

Dario Mifsud Bonnici

Dominic Cini

Lyndsay Pace

Victoria Sciberras

Maria Cassar

Sebastian Calleja

Ozzy Lino

Clinton Paul 

Malcolm Pisani

Kieran Richard Wilson

Kyle Zarb

Dan Muscat

Mark Anthony Bartolo

Aleandro Pace Tahir

Jamie Sghendo

The final line-up for the San Marino Eurovision selection is expected to be determined by the end of the year. Whether or not a Maltese performer will be part of the lineup remains to be seen – but if this did happen, it would not be the first time that a Maltese artist was part of the Eurovision selection in another country; back in 2007, sisters Natasha and Charlene made it to the Bulgarian selection with the song “Open Your Eyes”. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. 

Source: escflashmalta.com, San Marino RTV, 1in360. 

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er the past week, the Maltese team in Tbilisi have been on a full schedule of rehearsals, excursions and media activity before the live show on Sunday. As is the case with all of the sixteen participating countries at Junior Eurovision, Malta's participant Gianluca Cilia took to the stage for two rehearsals earlier in the week, followed by two dress rehearsals - one of which was watched by the juries across Europe, counting for 50% of the final vote.

10 year old Gianluca is accompanied on stage by dancers Daya, Desmea, Yana, Jasmin and Annika - who are a prominent feature during his energetic performance, choreographed by Annalise Ellul. The number is heavily inspired by the song's music video, which is featured within TV-screens on the LED wall at the back of the stage. On screen, the beginning of the song starts with an effective monochome filter to give the performance a retro feel, which returns to full colour as the chorus kicks in. 

During the first rehearsal, the Maltese team used the time wisely to get used to the stage and to test out different ideas in terms of camera angles and lights - which were reviewed in the "viewing room" (where each delegation can give feedback on the direction of their performance) after the rehearsal. By the time the second rehearsal came around a few days later, Gianluca's performance was looking slick and professional.  

Judging by the reactions within the press areas, the Maltese song was impressing almost everyone. Some press members noted that Gianluca is oozing charm on stage, whilst others said that the performance is eye-catching and that it is performed with great ease. During the dress rehearsal which the juries will watch, the performance also received the best reaction from the press area. 

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This year's Junior Eurovision Song Contest takes place on Sunday, November 26 at 16:00 local time. The show can be followed live at this time on TVM or junioreurovision.tv. This year, 50% of the final result will be determined by the result of an online vote at www.jesc.tv - you can cast your vote from 18:00 on Friday right up until 15:59 on Sunday, as well as during the live show after all countries have performed. 

Source: ESCFlashmalta.com Team

Image Credit: Luke Borg (PBS / Fade In Media)

The running order of this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest has been determined this evening, during the event’s official opening ceremony – held at the regal Georgian national library in Tbilisi. In addition to seeing this year’s participants on the red carpet, viewers and guests of the opening ceremony were treated to performances by Georgian national ballet, Sukhishvili – alongside previous entrants of Georgia at Junior Eurovision.

The countries performing in the first and last position were chosen by random draw, along with the running position of the host country. The draw was also carried out by the hosts of the opening ceremony, which included last year’s winner Mariam Mamadashvili. The remainder of the running order was chosen by the contest producers to ensure an entertaining show. This was announced by the European Broadcasting Union later in the evening.  

01. Cyprus

02. Poland

03. The Netherlands

04. Armenia

05. Belarus

06. Portugal

07. Ireland

08. F.Y.R. Macedonia

09. Georgia

10. Albania

11. Ukraine

12. Malta

13. Russia

14. Serbia

15. Australia

16. Italy

As you may have noticed, our very own Gianluca Cilia, and his entry ‘Dawra Tond’, penned by Emil Calleja Bayliss with music by Dominic Cini will be performed towards the latter part of the show. Over the next few days, each country be rehearsing on the stage at the Olympic Palace in Tbilisi. The live show will be airing at 16:00 CET, and Maltese viewers will be able to follow all the latest on Television Malta (TVM). In the meantime, for all the updates throughout the week, we urge you to follow escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter.

Source: junioreurovision.tv, tvm.com.mt

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Wednesday, 08 November 2017 08:58

JESC 2017: Speaking to Malta's Gianluca Cilia

This year, for the very first time since 2008, Malta is represented by a male soloist at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. He will be performing the infectious "Dawra Tond", an original song composed by Dominic Cini with lyrics by Emil Calleja Bayliss. We have recently caught up with the 9 year old and had a chat about his upcoming experience in Georgia along with what he hopes to achieve in music, and life.

 

Hi Gianluca! Congratulations on being chosen by the public to represent Malta at this year’s Junior Eurovision! How did you feel when you realised that you would be flying the Maltese flag in Georgia? 

Thank you :) This was a big surprise for me.  This was my 1st experience competing to represent Malta in JESC and I wasn’t expecting to get such a result!

Can you tell us a bit more about your song – what is the message behind it? 

'Dawra Tond' is a very happy and positive song.  It is about life seen in a spinning motion, full of fun and games and which unites everyone together. 

You sing part of your song in the Maltese language – for those who do not understand Maltese, what are you singing about? 

The Maltese parts are 2 chants of  traditional Maltese games which also feature a circular motion. 

Your music video is very colourful and lively – it has received a lot of positive comments online. How did you find the whole experience of filming it?

The music video was one of my best experiences ever!! They were 3 full days of so much FUN! Most of the people in the video are my friends and the elderly man dancing is my grand great father! It was really funny seeing him bust a move to my song! That was a special moment.  My most favourite part was when I was riding the car.  I also got the chance to go on a long ride in between filming. 

How are the preparations for Tbilisi going? Are there any surprises that you can tell us about your performance?

We have a lot going on at the moment!  Daily rehearsals, shoots, interviews.  Everyone is taking really good care of me and I feel special J

A small surprise is that I will have 5 dancers accompanying me on stage. Our choreographer, Annalise, is making sure that we are super fun to watch!

My vocal coach Ms Pamela is also doing an amazing job and working magic on my voice and performance.  

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When it comes to getting ready for the competition, what aspect you finding the most challenging?

The most challenging part is keeping up with both school and JESC related preparations. I can’t neglect school work because it is very important. I have less free time because I want to make sure to do well in both school related work and JESC preparations!

Did you manage to hear any of the other songs from this year’s contest? Which did you like so far?  

Yes I have heard all released songs so far.  They are all different and each has a great potential. Thanks to Social Media I have managed to make friends with all the other singers representing their country in JESC. Can’t wait to meet them all! 

What do you know about Georgia so far? What are you most excited to see in Tbilisi? 

I have heard a lot of positive things about Georgia and how beautiful its capital city is. Georgia like Malta has its own language, Georgian. Something you don’t find in Malta are the mountains and I’m really looking forward to see the beautiful sceneries in Georgia

Have you been part of any international competitions before? And if so, what are your best memories from them? 

I have competed in several competitions in Italy and Romania.  My best memories were meeting new friends from different countries.  Sometimes some did not speak English but we still managed to make friends and have LOADS of fun!

Where are your three favourite places to visit in Malta – and why? 

1. Gozo – Gozo is Malta’s sister Island.  I was born on this beautiful island which I really enjoy visiting from time to time.  I enjoy the countryside in winter and its beautiful beaches in summer.

2. Paradise Bay – This is a beautiful small sandy beach. 

3. Blue Lagoon – The Sea again!  The blue lagoon is famous of its crystal clear waters! 

I am so proud and lucky to live on such a beautiful island.  I LOVE swimming and living on a small island like Malta makes it easier to enjoy different beaches and make the most of my summer holidays.

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When you’re not at school or rehearsals, what other things do you like to do in your free time?

I have different hobbies and at every change I get I am writing a story (I love writing adventure stories), drawing or reading a book. I’m a BIG fan of Lego and love creating my own things. I also enjoy chatting with friends.

Who are your favourite singers at the moment? If you could do a duet with anybody, who would it be and why?

I love Michael Buble and Italian singers Massimo Ranieri and Il Volo. My dream would be to perform with all of them!! I hope this dream comes true.  I love Buble’s swing music.  Massimo Ranieri is an Italian versatile amazing singer whose songs I love and Il Volo started off at my same age.  Their songs vary from modern to classic and I simply love listening and watch them perform live!

Do you have a personal goal for the competition? 

Definitely meeting new friends and have loads and loads of fun! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a boy my age :)

Thanks for your time Gianluca, and best of luck at this year’s Junior Eurovision!

Thank you so much for this lovely interview. I can’t wait to perform live in Georgia and make you sing and dance along to Dawra Tond!

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After 129 entries were submitted and two elimination phases, the finalists for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest has been announced. The reveal was shown this evening during the evening news on TVM - where the shortlisted artists were seen at the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta, learning their fate as the competition progresses to the next stage.

Since the first eliminatory phase which was announced on September 15th, the thirty shortlisted entries were filmed while performing their entries live. This footage was then reviewed by a number of local and international expert juries in order to establish sixteen finalists. These finalists will take to the stage at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in a live show at the beginning of next year. 

Aidan - Dai Laga (Aidan Cassar)

Avenue Sky - We Can Run (Jonas Gladnikoff, Matthew Ker, Glen Vella)

Brooke Borg - Heart of Gold (Christian Schneider, Aidan O’Connor, Sara Biglert, Brooke Borg)

Christabelle Borg - Taboo (Thomas G:son, Christabelle Borg, Muxu)

Danica Muscat - One Step At A Time (John Ballard, Ruth Mussie, Jerusalem Yemane, Irena Krstva, Kian Fakhar)

Deborah C - Turn It Up (Christian Schneider, Aidan O’Connor, Sara Biglert)

Dwett - Breaking Point (Elton Zarb, Muxu)

Eleanor Cassar - Back To Life (Jonas Gladnikoff, Michael James Down)

Jasmine Abela - Supernovas (Charlie Mason, Jonas Thander)

Lawrence Gray - Love Renegade (Cyprian Cassar, Muxu)

Matthew Anthony - Call 2morrow (Jonas Gladnikoff, Tom Wiklund, Peder Eriksson)

Miriana Conte - Rocket (Cyprian Cassar, Muxu)

Petra Whiteford - Evolution (Elton Zarb, Muxu)

Rhiannon Micallef - Beyond Blue Horizons (Cyprian Cassar, Rhiannon Micallef)

Richard & Joe Micallef - Song For Dad (Cyprian Cassar, Richard Micallef)

Tiziana Calleja - First Time (Tina Stenberg)

From the list of sixteen finalists, twelve of them have reached the finals of the Malta Eurovision selection in the past - five of them featuring in last year's final. Around half of the songs have been produced locally - whilst the others are by international teams based in the United Kingdom and Sweden - some of them also being behind songs of finalists and winners in the Eurovision Song Contest previously. Richard Micallef, who will perform his entry with his father, was of course part of the group "Firelight", who reached the final for Malta back in 2014.

The newcomers to the festival are 18 year old Matthew Anthony, Aidan, Avenue Sky (which Aidan is also a member of) and Dwett - consisting of Mikhail & Cherylis. Last year, Mikhail was seen auditioning in Romania with his song "Sail Back" for their national selection process. 

More details about the 2018 Malta Eurovision Song Contest are expected to be announced by Public Broadcasting Services in due course. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: tvm.com.mt

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Friday, 29 September 2017 21:50

JESC 2017: Bilingual Song for Gianluca Cilia

"Dawra Tond" (English - Spinning Around), has been revealed as the Maltese entry for the 2017 Junior Eurovision Song Contest. The song, performed Gianluca Cilia, was released this evening after the eight o'clock news on TVM. 

This year marks Malta's 13th participation in Junior Eurovision - which takes place this year in Tbilisi, Georgia on November 26th. The Maltese song for this year's edition has been written by Emil Calleja Bayliss - writer of many songs on the local music scene, such as "Kewkba" by Janice Mangion - the second placed entry in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2017. It was composed by Dominic Cini, singer and two time finalist in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. The song, which is performed by Gianluca in both English and Maltese, was selected by Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) after an open call for songs. 

The official video for the song was filmed over three days, and features Gianluca alongside backing dancers in a number of scenes around the streets of Birgu and Bormla - as well as in a traditional barbershop. The uptempo song is the second song that Malta sends to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest which includes the Maltese language (the first being in 2010). 

Gianluca Cilia - soon to turn 10 years old just before the grand final in Georgia, has been singing from the of six. He has already taken part of a number of local and international singing contest, such as those in Italy and Romania. His latest victory was of course winning the ticket to represent Malta at Junior Eurovision - which he did at the start of July, beating off nine other singers in a live final broadcasted on TVM. 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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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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