24 May 2017
Emil Calleja Bayliss

Emil Calleja Bayliss

Sunday, 10 February 2013 00:00

Malta: The Journey Towards Malmö Begins

A week has already passed from the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and preparations are now in full swing to the second semi-final that will be taking place on the 16th of May. It seems that PBS are still weighing the various options in order to ensure the best possible participation for Malta and Gianluca Bezzina’s Tomorrow. During the past days Gianluca was invited to various TV programmes where he spoke about his victory in last weekend’s Malta Eurovision Song Contest which came to a surprise to the young doctor who was taking part in the competition for the fun of it.

During an interview on Bla Agenda, presented by Norman Hamilton on ONE TV, Gianluca revealed that in the upcoming days there are plans for him to visit Armenia and The Netherlands. Most probably he would be joining a number of other countries in The Netherlands for the annual Eurovision in Concert. It is quite early to say but one expects the singer to visit a couple of more countries in his lead up to the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo. Obviously more details will be announced in due time by the Public Broadcasting Services who for another year have been entrusted in taking care of Malta's participation in the contest.

This kind of promotion is always vital as different countries and different journalists get the opportunity to get to know Gianluca better and also get used to the song our country is offering for this year's competition. PBS are yet to announce more details in regards to this year’s entry but many are expecting the final re-mastering of the song to take place and the promotional video to be shot in the upcoming weeks. Gianluca promised that if there will be any changes to the entry they will be minimal as they want to keep the simplicity as one of the key elements in the entry as he believes this was vital for the song’s success. 

The song in fact has been receiving positive reviews across the board from the online community and Gianluca’s genuine smile is being considered infectious. Toni Sant, a local music critic had classified the entry as one of the best songs in this years’ selection whilst Martin Sapiano also commented that it is one of the first times that he is happy and agrees with the result of the song chosen to represent our country at the Eurovision Song Contest. His support is also coming from the foreigners who seemed to be very happy with Gianluca’s win – in fact a poll conducted by Radio International placed Tomorrow in first place by a good margin amongst all the songs competing locally. 

The only criticism the song has received was that it resembles ‘Hey Soul Sister’ by the popular band Train but PBS were quick to answer that even the jury took this into consideration when deciding who should represent Malta and they thought that there is no relation between the two tracks except for the ukulele, which is a prominent instrument in both songs. Gianluca himself pointed this out too during ‘Bla Agenda’ and anyone who watched the song performed live with guitars on Xarabank can vouch that the songs have nothing in common with the removal of the ukulele. Thus any comparison between the two songs is unfounded.

During all his television appearances Gianluca continuously thanked songwriters Dean Muscat and Boris Cezek for believing in him and trusting him with their entry, his family for their constant support and all the people who voted for him and are supporting him in his bid at the Eurovision Song Contest. Surely this would have not been possible without their constant support along with the support of his team which includes; Kenny D’Ugo, Gabriel Cassar, Christopher Tate, Samaria Bezzina and Louisanne Tate. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news on Gianluca’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: PBS, ONE TV, escflashmalta.com

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Saturday, 09 February 2013 19:34

Finland: UMK 2013 Final - LIVE

In 2006, the dynamics of the Eurovision Song Contest were set to completely change due to the fact that the longest competing nation without a victory, in the form of Finland, finally managed to overcome their issues and triumph with the track Hard Rock Hallelujah performed by Lordi. Since then, they have managed to qualify on four out of six occasions, including a third place finish in the semi-final in 2011, with Paradise Oskar and his entry Da Da Dam. They have been carefully rebranding the process and have come up with the system known as Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu which gives space to new and upcoming talent in the nation.

YLE, the broadcaster behind the changes to the selection procedure has been very intrigued about the element of promoting vocal talent, whether solo, a duet or a group and in any genre deemed accessible by the internal jury, people from the music industry with years of experience. They take the role of mentors and evolve the demos to entries which could go onto represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest, with the hope of receiving success. There has been a lot of positive acclaim for this years' process and some entries are thought to be strong contenders as they head onto the neighbouring country of Sweden, next May. The official website of the Eurovision Song Contest will be offering live streaming of the show live as it commences at 20:00 CET.

After a relatively strange opening act the artists are introduced on stage and they walk on the catwalk one by one. The hosts come on and welcome all the visitors watching tonight's grand final. Both of the hosts are in black attire which look rather classy and one should expect a great show tonight from the Finns. The hosts introduce and speak to the jury of the night who will decide tonight's winner with the public at home - earlier in the week it was announced that in case of a tie the public vote will be the decisive vote. 

Running Order

Lost - Arion 

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We start of proceeding with a strong rock song from the band Arion. It is something which will surely go down with the Finns and I believe that this song will have also a strong appeal to the European audience. The band give a strong vocal rendition and I wouldn't be surprised if the country goes for this. All the members seem to have had a blast performing and this is surely one to watch out for tonight - after all Finland is known to be the country of Rock. 

He's Not My Man - Elina Orkoneva

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The singer is accompanied on stage by six band members, oops that is one more than the stipulated number that the EBU allows. She is in a long red glittery dress which suits her cabaret number. I think it is a good effort and a strong entry but possibly not strong enough to leave the desired effect at the Eurovision Song Contest. She gives a very strong vocal rendition, the song is good fun and the singer seems to have enjoyed it too. 

Dancing All Around the Universe - Lucy Was Driving

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Another band with a mature pop rock entry this time round. I like the importance on the lyrics and how the music compliments this. It has a great arena feel which I am sure will go down well at the Eurovision Song Contest with the audience clapping along to the strong beat of this entry. It is performed to perfection and the audience seemed to have loved this. Quite a strange band name but overall it is another great entry.

Marry Me - Krista Siegfrids

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Cheesy pop is in the mix and althouth it is cheesy, it damn catchy and I am sure Katy Perry would have accepted this song in a heartbeat. Too many people on stage though and if this had to win the performance itself will suffer drastically as there are around eleven people on stage . The song is catchy and although the vocals are not perfect, they are still good. She performs in a wedding dress and the audience go crazy for this one. This is tonight's dark horse.

Saturday Night Forever - Last Panda

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Another pop rock entry from the band Last Panda.  Not so keen n the vocals but the song is another catchy one and you can easily clap and nod along to its beat. Not sure on the popularity of these bands but their votes might be split considering all of the songs are strong. Pyros on the performers' hats, hmmmm quite an interesting trick. Seems to remind me a bit of Summer of 69 though. Still another strong entry. 

We Should Be Through - Mikael Saari

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No words can really express how great this song is - it is simply a master piece. The music is simply excellent, the voice blends in perfectly and his strong rendition make this entry magical. The competition is great but this entry is even greater. Something that will go down really well if this is chosen to represent the country. One would expect it to score as well as Suus and Kuula, if not even better. It has to be my personal favourite by far and if it wins will surely top my list for a very long time.

Flags - Great Wide North

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A rockish hairstyle and a weird suit. The song genre falls under rock but I must admit it is not as strong in comparison to all the previous entries we have heard. The vocals are good though and the audience gave them a good applause too, but not as big as the previous one. Quite a middle of the road song and I don't see this doing well tonight and probably won't do well at the Eurovision too if chosen even though the title is a strong one for such a competition. 

Colliding Into You - Diandra

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A strong favourite for tonight and I can understand why. It is a very strong entry which is very current and will not only do well at the Eurovision Song Contest but can easily be successful in the charts across Europe. The singer performs it with ease and the live backing aid in the performance of the entry. I am not sure on the dancers because sometimes they look like a distractions but this along with Mikaelis should fight for victory tonight. Another great one.

The Show - Part Two

After the weird opening act, we desperately needed a weird interval act. I can't really get what is going on now on stage with an Egyptian themed routine. Thank God the competition was magnificent because the only good thing about this interval act is probably the half naked men. Oh well, that normally goes down well with the Eurovision audience so probably they just wanted to attract as much viewers as possible. This must be the craziest result ever. The jury just voted and the results are super tight with three songs in the lead. These are 'Marry Me', 'We Should Be Through' and 'Flags'. The others follow closely and the result is going to depend on who the public want to see carrying the Finnish flag.Finally something decent for an interval act a we get a number of female vocalists singing popular songs in relation to Sweden - these include last year's Eurovision winner and some ABBA hits amongst others. 

The top three songs are shortlisted before the final result is announced. The three songs are: 'Colliding Into You', 'We Should Be Through' and 'Marry Me'. 'Colliding Into You' is the first song out of the competition and after some tense music the winner is announced! Finland has chosen 'MARRY ME' for Malmo with 'We Should Be Through' sadly in second place. A good cheesy pop song that should do well at the Eurovision Song Contest. She was the third favourite for victory but she managed to surpass her competitors Diandra and Mikael to take away the crown. Great final from the Finns with a good winner, well with a selection this strong they couldn't really go wrong.

Sunday, 03 February 2013 13:10

MESC 2013: An Analysis of the Final Night

The Malta Eurovision has come to an end - a surprising one for the majority of the people for different reasons. The first congratulations has to go directly to PBS who took on board the comments by the public and ensured that the problems that hampered the performances in yesterday’s show where a thing of the past. The show was one of very high quality and for one of the few times, if not the first, that the winner was announced before the strokes of midnight. The show was thoroughly planned and the timing was well scheduled. The audience loved the opening act by DREAMS – the same act opened last year’s showcase and it was heavily criticized but the choice of songs and presentation left the desired effect as it was done professionally without any glitches whatsoever.

The presenters once again kept things light and although some might have criticized Gordon Bonello for his light hearted rhymes they were seen as cute and in most cases they were cleverly funny. Once again, it was up to Elaine Saliba to carry the heavy weight for tonight’s job and for the second consecutive night she did a job well done. The short interviews before each act were nicely planned and fitted the show whole heartily – although some singers could have done with better questions. The interval was possibly the best ever we have had in a long time. Gorg & Pawlu started off proceedings with their hit Hot & Famous, the Swiss representatives, Heilsarmee followed with their Eurovision entry and Kurt Calleja closed off proceedings with a medley of popular hits where he included some songs from his repertoire.

The results started off with the public opinion which saw Kevin Borg winning the full points from there, followed by Gianluca Bezzina who was clearly the second favourite behind Kevin – something which was also evident in the hall. Chris Grech followed in third place and his applause in the hall clearly indicated beforehand that he will do well with the public. From the comments on the web and the comments in the hall, these three names were seen as the main contenders for victory. Davinia Pace was surely the surprise of the evening as she finished in a distant third place collecting a number of high points from the jury which propelled the new comer to the competition up to a second runner-up finish after a very powerful performance filled with energy and dominance throughout.

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The jury votes were very close to the public in terms of their votes in general; the only difference which proved to be a pivotal one in terms of the results was that the outright favourite with the jury was Gianluca who garnered the full points from all the jury with the exception of one judge who put him in second place. These were enough though to put him ahead of the rest of the pack with Kevin finishing a relatively close second but in May it will be Gianluca who will be flying the Maltese flag for Malta. The song was never the outright favourite but throughout the week it garnered popularity and was clearly seen as the entry that can cause the upset on the night. This became more evident during the semi-final night and things just got brighter for Gianluca from then on. 

The win was somewhat reminiscent of Thea Garrett’s win back in 2010 as this was Gianluca’s first time ever in the local competition. He is well known for being the front man of the band Funk Initiative and he has also performed with the choir Voices. Gianluca will become the third straight male singer to represent the country which is another first for our nation as past winners were dominated by females. One of Gianluca’s backing vocalists has already had a taste of Eurovision, as exactly ten years ago she was part of the winning team with Lynn Chircop’s ‘To Dream Again’ – perhaps someone should book her as their backing singer for 2023, you never know it might work. Gianluca’s entry ‘Tomorrow’ is receiving good feedback from abroad and his charisma will see him through this meaningful experience. 

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Tomorrow has the feel good factor, so good that you get instantly hooked to its rhythm and find yourself humming along even thought you might not know the exact words. The entry can also be described as fresh with a positive outlook. The simple lyrics and the simple musical structure give the entry a great feel whilst Gianluca performs as he is narrating a dialogue and the whole act looks like it has been set up to perfection. Dean Muscat and Boris Cezek, the songwriters were the most successful team in this year's Malta Eurovision with three entries in the final and although they are new to the Eurovision scene they have experienced plenty of success on the local airwaves.The team from here onwards will start their hard work in order to ensure that Gianluca gets the best possible coverage in Europe and also by having a great performance in Malmo, Sweden. Hard work pays off and being a doctor by profession he knows that if he works hard things will eventually come as you shouldn’t leave things you have to do today for ‘Tomorrow’.

Source: Emil Calleja Bayliss (image)

Another year passed and another semi-final took place with loads of surprises in store for all those following the show in Malta. Everyone had been expecting a top notch show on the night having some of the best technical crew the local contest has ever seen and with twenty-four entries regarded as some of the best songs Malta has ever had in a selection you would have thought that things were too good to be true but up until the final rehearsal everything ran smoothly. 

  

Kurt was this year’s opening act and although we barely got to see him on stage as there was a clip showing his adventure that led to Baku, it was done and presented well, with Kurt closing the last part of the song on stage with the audience clapping along.The preview cards before each song were done intelligently and it subtly promoted the programmes on TVM – something which proved to be quite a hit with the audience and the viewers at home. They were totally different to what we see each year and this was one of the highlights of the show.

The problems apparently started from the beginning of the show as a number of viewers contacted escflashmalta.com to say that both the presenters and also the songs were experiencing problems in regards to the sound and the picture on screen. This thankfully got better as the show went on but the first few songs were the ones that suffered the most.  Anton Attard, the Chied Execitive Officer of the Public Broadcasting Services and the man behind the festival started the press conference just after the show by remarking that the issue was addressed and solved after the first few songs.

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Another thing that put people off, both the ones in the audience and the ones at home was the actual length of the show which at some points it seemed a little bit outstretched. Many remarked that there were far too many breaks whilst the foreigners were shocked that in order for Malta to eliminate eight songs they have to hold a never ending semi-final. The fact that the show was hampered by technical glitches didn’t help matters as the viewers’ frustration increased.

Thankfully the presenters kept the show light and made their best to entertain the audience and the viewers at home – this was surely a daunting task considering that the show ran for around four hours. The fact that there is an election round the corner made it easy to have light hearted jokes throughout. Comedians Gordon Bonello and Rodney Gauci proved to be a hit whilst Elaine Saliba carried the show with her charm. She looked more at ease than last year and she proved to be quite the expert as Gordon remarked - even their outfits proved to be a hit and they didn’t cause the stir they did last year.

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The interval acts included the Maltese representatives at the 1994 Eurovision Chris & Moira and Alex Alden were good and if the show was not that long, a lot of people would have enjoyed their performances more. By the end of the show, just before the results were announced everyone was eager on heading home. The music before the results did create tension but a lot of people thought it was far too long as they should have gotten over and done with it.

The results themselves proved to be surprising with some songs which weren’t really expected to make it qualified whilst others who had received quite positive acclaim before failed to make the cut on the night. One can note that the dance tracks were all left out and mostly the jury went for mid-tempo songs alongside with a number of ballads. The biggest shocker of the night was Klinsmann who despite presenting one of the best songs he ever presented and giving a strong performance he still failed to make the cut – many saw him as a definite qualifier and a contender for the top of the leader board. 

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Other singers like Petra and Franklin gave the performances of their life but they were simple not good enough for the jury tonight. Ylenia, Melanie and Raquela performed well too but their dance tracks would have surely been compared to last year’s winner so the jury thought this was not the way to go. Danica was spot on, when vocals were concerned but the song seemed to lack that magic spark whilst Marilena and her track Overrated didn’t cause a stir and the whole act looked somewhat dismal in comparison to the rest.

Well, like any other contest, the semi-final proved to be eventful with plenty of surprises and unfortunately a number of negative aspects – although one can be rest assured that the Public Broadcasting Services are doing their best to ensure that tomorrow’s final will be extremely good – their aim is one – giving Malta and the Maltese the best final ever. Let’s just take today’s performance as a dress rehearsal and hope that just like any other production when the dress rehearsal is weak, the final productions proves to be  a huge success. Until tonight…

Source: escflashmalta.com

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Wednesday, 30 January 2013 07:15

Malta: Monroe Release Their Debut Single

With each and every passing year, the Malta Eurovision Song Contest sees a revelation – there’s always an act which comes out of nowhere and people simply fall in love with their entry. Two years ago, the talk of both the local and foreign fans was none other than Kelly Schembri who surprised quite a few of people with her number Love Me Like Your Money. The fresh upbeat entry was somewhat of a bombshell as our selection had never seen something quite like it in a way – well to say the least, there was quite a buzz around it and many saw it as the favourite to represent Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest. 

The entry went on to become quite a hit and its remix also hit the radios charts and was given lots of airplay. Kelly went on to shoot the video were the sensual message of the song was portrayed clearly. Back in Malta, specifically in the local selection, Kelly shared the stage with three friends, two of whom now form the upcoming band ‘Monroe’. This was surely a great launching platform in Malta for the UK based artist as she went on to release Kleptomaniac a year later and performed the entry in the 2011 Malta Music Awards where she earned two nominees for the Best Female Singer and for the Best Image. Kelly Schembri, also known as Kelly Stelfox with the international community has just released her first single with the girl band Monroe entitled Go Home.

The song has been well received thus far as they managed to launch it on BBC Introducing on BBC Radio London. The number can be described as fresh, current and one which oozes sensuality with various sounds that will easily make it a hit. The song has an electronic dance touch with an urban feel to it make that make this entry distinctive with all the ingredients necessary to be a radio hit. The girls have certainly come a long way and their first official single written by them surely proves this. The trio will be heading to Malta this weekend to perform this number to the Maltese audience at the Malta Music Awards. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the local music scene and follow all the latest from the girlband on Twitter or their official website.

Source: Press Release

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Tuesday, 29 January 2013 01:05

MESC 2013: Initial Rehearsals Commence Today

The final preparations are now going at a steady pace, the stage is set and today the singers will take the stage for their very first technical rehearsal. This is when the excitement starts and builds up throughout the week with the actual showcase taking shape as the days go by. The Public Broadcasting Services has released the stage design for this weekend’s Malta Eurovision Song Contest in which, twenty-four entries will be competing with the hope of representing the country in this years' Eurovision Song Contest set to take place in Malmo, Sweden.

The stage design is once again designed by the talented Carlo Schembri who has been entrusted in carrying out this job for the past number of years. His precision, creativity and flare of imagination leaves us guessing till the very ending but the final result is always spectacular to say the least. The stage is particularly designed for a television spectacle which allows numerous possibilities in terms of different shots the viewers will be able to see during the show this weekend. The director of photography is surely not new to the scene having been Stage Graphics Co-Ordinator at the Isle of MTV – Johnny MC will work closely with Nick Malbon, the Lightning Director for the festival who has also worked with MTV as an architectural lightning programmer.

Having such an experienced team is surely the key for success; they will be aided by Front of House Engineer, Arturo Pellegrini who has collaborated on various projects with Mediaset. The monitor engineer for the festival is also world class like the former names; Filippo Zecchini’s portfolio includes the likes of Andrea Bocelli, Zucchero, Riccardo Cocciante and Pavarotti. The overall set and lightning are going to be some spectacular and PBS described this as a ‘first for Malta’. That is no easy task to live up and expectations are running high but with the first preview image of the design and the stage lit up things look more than promising. Getting the feel and slowly start getting accustomed to the stage, with the positioning and the shots is surely a challenging task which the singers will have to surpass.

The rehearsals are there to make sure that by Friday night everything will be top-notch with everyone ready to rock the arena and rise to the occasion; with a mix of new comers and experienced contestants, it is going to be interesting to see who ready to shine brighter than the others and snatch the golden ticket to Malmo. In the meantime, apart from guest performances from the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest representative, Kurt Calleja and the cast of the hit musical dream series; D.R.E.A.M.S, there will be a special performance of Hot and Famous by the comic duo Gorg & Pawlu as well as Heilsarmee who will be representing Switzerland with the track You and Me. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services

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Friday, 25 January 2013 20:50

Iceland: First Three Finalists Selected

RUV, the broadcaster responsible for the participation of Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest has been taking the competition very seriously in recent years and this has shown in consistent qualifications. Following the success achieved by Yohanna and her entry Is It True? The country has never looked back and with an increasing amount of submissions received this time round, the panel of internal judges as picked by the broadcaster is finding it more difficult to select which tracks should make it to the live stage. This evenings’ first semi-final will showcase the leap of song quality witnessed in the past couple of years despite the use of the Icelandic language. It is expected that the winning entry will then be translated into English for better international recognition.

Guðrún Dís Emilsdóttir and Þórhallur Gunnarsson will be the hosts for the pre-selection process which has been coined as Söngvakeppnin 2013. The chosen performers are somewhat well known in the Icelandic music industry, with two particular artists having already been to the Eurovision Song Contest, these being Birgitta and Yohanna who did their country proud back in 2003 and 2009 respectively. The genres of the songs that are set to be presented could be denoted to be slightly slow but nevertheless, they evolve well and it should be an entertaining showcase. A live stream of the first semi-final this evening is set to air through the official website at around 21:00 CET. It is important to note that three entries will be making it through to the final this evening and tomorrow night with the possibility of adding a wildcard to be decided by the jury and the broadcaster in due course.

Þú - Jóhanna Guðrún Jónsdóttir

Jóhanna Guðrún Jónsdóttir (Yohanna) Iceland: First semi finalists (Photo: RÚV)

Johanna is in a gold halter shirt and is accompanied by the composer who is playing a guitar and four backing vocals, all in black. The song like all the others tonight is in Icelandic. A good pop song but has nothing special about it. Such a pity that she has returned to the competition with a weak song considering she had one of the best ballads the Eurovision has recently seen. Don't know what the competition hold tonight but it's surely not strong enough to leave any impact tonight to make the finals. 

Ekki líta undan - Magni Ásgeirsson

Magni Ásgeirsson Iceland: First semi finalists (Photo: RÚV)

A good solid rock songs follows next. The singer takes the stage all alone and carries the song brilliantly. He has a great tone to his voice and makes full use of this. He sells it well and the song reaches a nice climax which is enhanced with the lights on stage. Surely a stronger entry than the previous one and if they have to go for the song this should do really well tonight. Nothing else to say except that this might be a little bit too much for Eurovision and might not stand out at all but the quality is surely great. 

Lífið snýst - Svavar Kristinsson & Hreindís Hólm

Svavar Knútur Kristinsson and Hreindís Ylva Garðarsdóttir Hólm Iceland: First semi finalists (Photo: RÚV)

It's a sweet song that will go down well with the audience as it has the feel good factor. The main singers are accompanied by another four member on stage and they are all playing instruments along to the rhythm. The vocals are good but the duo need to work more on this especially in the parts they sing together. Good overall but once again difficult to stand out I reckon. It's a song we've seen at the Eurovision and some of them didn't do that well even though they were sung in English, so I doubt of its chances in Icelandic. 

Sá sem lætur hjartað ráða för - Edda Viðarsdóttir

Edda Viðarsdóttir  Iceland: First semi finalists (Photo: RÚV)

The singer takes the stage with three backing singers, a guitarist and person who seems to be acting whatever the singers is singing. An interesting idea which has been used before and doesn't really have much significance in this run of the mill song. The backing add an interesting touch but that is it. Her dress is probably the best thing about the song and it's not really great either. She gives a good performance but there's nothing special that stands out and screams boring. 

Ég á Líf - Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson

Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson Iceland: First semi finalists (Photo: RÚV)

Finally a sweet decent ballad that is melodic and sweet. The Rockish look of the singer adds an interesting touch to the performance. I don't know what he is singing about but he's warm and oozes charisma throughout. The song is great in its simplicity and this should sail through the finals tonight as it is clearly the best entry we have heard thus far. It reaches an interesting climax with a folk sound to it. I can see this in Eurovision and even though it is in Icelandic, this works as a bonus. 

Meðal Andanna - Birgitta Haukdal

Birgitta Haukdal Iceland: First semi finalists (Photo: RÚV)

Birgitta is back. I do not think that this is a better song to what she has presented back in 2003 but the entry is a strong one. Her vocals are good but sound slightly strained at certain points in the song. The camera shots and the lights work wonders to elevate this song even more. She is wearing a long white dress and accompanied by four backing vocalists in black. A typical Scandinavian ballad which surely will go down well both the public and the jurors. This is a potential winner I reckon and surely deserve to make the finals tonight alongside the previous entry.

The Show (Part 2)

The first semi-final participants have performed and three will make it through to the next phase of the competition which will be staged on the same day at the final of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. As a matter of fact, we are covering the semi-finals for this reason, to make sure that all of the acts will be analysed in the same manner. A recap has just been shown on screen, twice in order for the public at home to select their respective favourites. There seems to be a discussion on the programme about something related to music. Nevertheless, the announcement is expected sometime soon. A former Icelandic entry is performed by an upcoming group.

Qualifier 1: Meðal Andanna - Birgitta Haukdal

Qualifier 2: Lífið snýst - Svavar Kristinsson & Hreindís Hólm

Qualifier 3: Ég á Líf - Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson

Thursday, 24 January 2013 00:00

Malta: 'Euphoria' Covered by Local Band

The success of the Eurovision winning song has been remarkable – Euphoria has possibly been one of the most successful Eurovision winners ever and certainly the most successful entry in recent time. Loreen has made a name for herself not just in Sweden but also across the shores as she has been invited to multiple events in different countries to perform her hit single. Malta was also lucky enough to welcome the star during the summer months were she had her own mini concert where she was supported by Maltese Eurovision Song Contest representative Kurt Calleja and Brooke, who has recently been nominated for three Malta Music Awards.

Somehow most of the radio artists have always distanced themselves from the Eurovision Song Contest but this trend seems to be a thing of the past as the contestants in this year’s Malta Eurovision Song Contest proove with some of them having had radio hits before entering the competition. A relatively new band who is slowly emerging is Scarlet Sally, formerly known as Miss Chief. The band is made up of Janice DeBattista as the lead vocalist of the band, Luke Grech and Mathias Mallia on guitars with the former providing also the backing vocals, Joseph Axiak on bass and Lesnich Vassallo on drums. 

The band originally formed for a tribute concert of the popular band Coldplay and from then on they never looked back. The band has been doing gigs around the Islands for quite some time now but it was only recently that they decided to take things up to the next level. Their first official release came yesterday where they launched a cover version of the Eurovision Song Contest winner Euphoria. The band goes for a completely different take on what we are normally accustomed to as they perform the song acoustically – something mellower but works wonders. The vocals of Janice shine throughout the song and her soft touch make this a brilliant rendition. 

The band made sure to work on a strong arrangement and this shows as everything comes together perfectly. This goes on to show that apart from having talented individuals in the band they all work together to have the best sound possible – apart from that the video APT Malta shows the band relaxed and enjoying themselves whilst working on this cover. The band is planning to release more material in the upcoming weeks; in fact their first original single is currently at the mastering stage whilst new songs are also on the horizon for the band. To follow the latest updates from the band make sure to like their Facebook Page and follow them on Twitter. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the local music scene.

Source: Press Release

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We are officially less than a month away from the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2013 and as the excitement looms closer, two particular entries keep on gaining momentum in the poll on our web portal.. The song Never Walk Away interpreted by Chris Grech has managed to pip Needing You performed by Kevin Borg out of the top position thus far. Things can still change and therefore we encourage all our readers to vote in our poll and share the poll with family and friends – it is a case where the more votes the merrier. One can vote from every IP address, this guarantees a fair ground for all the participants. 

It seems that the rest of the positions have somewhat been the same in the last couple of weeks but each and every vote counts as the positions are fairly close. Apart from Chris Grech who gained the top position over Kevin Borg’s entry, it has to be noted that even Ylenia Vella garnered a number of votes and thus moves up a number of positions in the last couple of days. The top five though remain unchanged and although the race is close each song has kept its own respective position – with Loverdose in third, Overrated in fourth and Ultraviolet in fifth place. 

It is important to note that Overrated has not been officially released by PBS, although its release is now imminent and it should be online in a couple of days. Marilena joined the other 23 semi-finalists after the withdrawal of Saska Hunt and the announcement was done more than a week and a half ago. The page of the singer has been uploaded on the official page but the video with the full version of the song still looms on the horizon. This somewhat gives the entry a slight disadvantage in terms of views online but it would be very difficult to say that it will have a direct effect on the actual result.

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Mentioning online views on the internet – it seems that this is simple a one way race. Never Walk Away by Chris Grech has almost garnered double the views of Kevin Borg’s entry Needing You which stands in second place. The rest of the pack follows and it seems that ultimately the views acquired on YouTube are in a way a reflection of the results the poll on escflashmalta.com has at the moment. There are only slight differences but in general it seems like the general public is in consensus on who are the favourites to represent the country in the city of Malmo, within the Scandinavian country of Sweden. 

Another song which has attracted a massive following on YouTube is the song Hot & Famous by the comedic pairing of Gorg & Pawlu which was announced on Xarabank as the 25th entry in the competition as a wildcard. During Xarabank, it was never said that this was a joke but few expect the duo to officially compete on the night especially since the singers’ profiles was not updated with the rest of the competitors. A video accompanying the clip has also been issued but no official statement by Public Broadcasting Services was released to say that this song will not be competing. If this video had to be compared with the other songs in contention, it ranks second after Chris Grech’s Never Walk Away.

We might be in for a surprise in terms of their participation but if not, probably Gorg & Pawlu will feature in some way or another, at the Malta Fairs and Convention Centre on the 1st and 2nd of February. There are a number of possibilities for the popular comic duo to make an appearance – either as part of the opening or interval act or more importantly as part of the presenting team who will present this years’ competition. Keep following escflashmalta.com for all the latest updates, rumours and news in the lead up the one of the biggest music showcases the Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: YouTube, PBS, escflashmalta.com

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Thursday, 20 December 2012 19:53

Lithuania: National Final - LIVE

LRT, the national broadcaster in Lithuania has been pretty successful at the Eurovision Song Contest in recent years noting that they have managed to make it through to the final on two successive occasions, first in 2011 thanks to Evelina Sasenko and her entry C'Est Ma Vie which finished in nineteenth place and then in 2012 with Donny Montell whose track Love Is Blind fared better in fourteenth place. This time round, they decided to keep the format in a similar manner to how it has been recently due to the achievements and it seems that the result might pay off again considering that fans of the international competition have been quite positive about the quality of songs in the final stages despite one or two that you have been there instead of others which is always the case.

The final which is set to start at 20:15 CET will be aired live through the official website of the broadcaster as well as the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest which has once more got the transmission rights having already aired the selection of Belarus earlier this month and will also be responsible for showcasing the Festivali I Kenges Final on Saturday of which a live report will also be taking place on escflashmalta.com There are eight entries competing this evening having qualified at the hands of a panel of judges as well as tele-voting with each having 50% stake in the result. Amongst the participants, there are a number coming from music reality shows such as X Factor and The Voice whilst former representative; Lina Adomaitis also tries his luck for another year as a soloist. 

Pop Ladies start off the show with an electric rendition of the famous 'We Are The Winners' that represented Lithuania in 2006 and finished in sixth place, the best ever result for the country. The male host Andrus welcomes the audience and does the introductory  speech before tonight's show kicks off. The singers are introduced to the stage and it seems that Monika who was meant to sing Baby Boy won't be performing tonight so that leaves the Lithuanian grand final with seven songs. The jury is introduced and it seems that the night is stuck around the number seven as the panel of judges is made up of seven members. Off we go with the show...

Božolė – Happy And Free (Andrius Borisevičius, Audrius Balsevičius)

A pop number with some soft electronic touches to start off the show. It a good opening show but can't really get the groups movements, they all seem like having fits on stage and all the strutting around the stage is a bit outdated. The song is a happy one but I don't think it is good enough to even stand a chance at being chosen tonight. It's one of that entries that will be lost at the Eurovision Song Contest. It reminded me a little bit of the song Lithuania sent back in 2002.

Ieva Zasimauskaitė & Gabrielius Vagelis – I Fall In Love (Raigardas Tautkus, Raimondas J.Nabus)

The next number is by a duo singing your typical love song but they have an interesting twist. The song starts off with just a mime on stage and the main singers join in later on. There are three backing vocalists on stage too and the act seems too sweet not to like it. The song has your typical key change but although the contemporary number is actually good, the vocals hit rock bottom after the key change. I was enjoying it before that happened. What a pity! In general I think this song has potential though! 

Gerai Gerai & Miss Sheep – War In The Warderobe (Vilius Tamošaitis)

A dance pop number is next. The visuals are great tonight and I love the hologram effect of the singer wearing different outfits behind her. She is joined on stage by a drummer who later becomes a trumpeter. Four dancers join the number as the show progresses. It has a hint of being a joke entry but it does not really fall into that genre. Overall, I think it an interesting number but I doubt it has any Eurovision potential in general. Again, I think it is one of those entries that will get lost on the Eurovision stage. 

Linas Adomaitis – I W 2night (Linas Adomaitis, Bjorn Hansen)

Bizarre! Some won't get this entry but the modern hip-hop with the cheesy pop chorus works perfectly. It's original and although I can't really get the title but it is a happy sing along. He is no stranger to Eurovision and he returned to the contest with an even better entry than his 2004 attempt. Their vocals during the semi-finals were more compact but overall I guess it was the best song so far. The presentation is hip and cool, and if it makes it through to the Eurovision stage I expect to see a car on stage. 

Dar – Jump! (Arvydas Martinėnas, Gorgi)

The Lithuanian Alcazar take on the stage after the commercial with their pop dance number with some techno influence. They have some weird movements on stage and in general the vocals are not up to scratch tonight. The song is too generic and it has no climax and it follows along the same vein it starts in. Nothing more to say... after the last entry this seems to be just another song in another random selection unfortunately and that says a lot I guess. 

Girmantė Vaitkutė – Time To Shine (Vytautas Bikus, Girmantė Vaitkutė)

Your typical Eurovision ballad and I wouldn't be surprised if this triumphs tonight. The song is good and it has a nice climax to it. The singer has a strong voice and if she can work a bit on her diction it would be just great. The melody is nice and it builds well into the chorus and the bridge later on although I would have loved if it was a bit slower towards the beginning before it picks up. Still, I think it will be difficult to beat this one tonight especially after Lithuania reached the final with a similar song back in 2011. 

Andrius Pojavis – Something (Andrius Pojavis)

A different presentation to his semi-final performance. He is wearing a top hat and he has three other performers on stage doing some acrobatic movements. This dance song with some rock touches goes nowhere though and although it is a good song in general I don't think it will leave any impact at the Eurovision Song Contest. The show with the song was the most important thing in this and I do not think that, that is the aim of this show. Apart from that the melody seems to remind me of the 2009 Swiss entry.

 The Show (Part 2)

The second part of the show has just started and with their best entry at the Eurovision Song Contest, We Are the Winners, tele-voting is officially announced with a recap of each entry being shown live on television. The entertainment is being provided by the group Sarka who are closer to murdering the hit pop song Stop in certain areas. Another recap with War in the Warderobe leading the charge during the interval. It will be quite interesting to see which entry ultimately gets the best result. Another female group performance currently taking place as the final results are being tallied. LRT have to be commended on their presentation t his evening noting that they have indeed come a long way in the past couple of years. The finalists are all being welcomed on stage at the moment.

Super-Final

  • Andrius Pojavis – Something
  • Gerai Gerai & Miss Sheep – War In The Warderobe
  • Girmantė Vaitkutė – Time To Shine

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