Emil Calleja Bayliss
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.
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.
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.
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.
Simon: A 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.
Emil: This 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.
Emil: The 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.
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!!
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!
Simon: There's a real Disney feel to this song, certainly one of the strongest performances tonight and really should qualify for Saturday night.
Emil: The 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.
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)
Emil: Spacemen 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.
Simon: A very forgettable performance apart from its raunchiness, this song is going nowhere.
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.
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.
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.
Emil: The 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.
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.
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.
Simon: Unfortunately this has been my least favourite performance tonight, just lacking pretty much everything. The weakest by far.
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.
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)
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.
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!
It has been a great start to what looks like an amazing week full of live music – the Beland Music Festival kicked off in spectacular fashion last night with the participation of local heartthrob Kevin Borg who serenaded the crowd with his magical voice and charisma. The Beland Music Festival this year moved from the Market Square to Bulebel and one can say that the move was a success, the festival got bigger and if today’s concert was anything to go by one can easily say it got even better.
Barber’s Cut, a new upcoming band led by Kelly Busuttil opened proceedings and got the crowd going; showing that they indeed have potential. The audience seemed to have enjoyed the relatively unknown band, who mixed it up playing some of the most popular hits. They were followed by the talented Glen Vella and Pamela, who entertained the crowd with a number of popular cover versions. As the time went on, the crowd got bigger and bigger, everyone awaiting the arrival of Kevin Borg and when he finally took the stage Kevin received a hero’s welcome in Bulebel.
He kicked off proceedings with his Swedish Idol Winner’s single With Every Bit of Me and continued with a mix of cover versions and songs from his own repertoire. He closed the first part of the concert with his Malta Eurovisision entry, Needing You, where he was accompanied by former Eurovision representative Glen Vella, Pamela, Josef Tabone and Janice Mangion. The second part of the show was as strong and the crowd cherished every moment with cheering, waving and singing at the top of their lungs to Kevin’s hits. Kevin was clearly moved and described the event as being even better than his Swedish Idol final as he had never expected so many people to attend the event in aid of Puttinu Cares.
Kevin encouraged the people to attend and donate to this genuine cause. Tonight’s music festival will feature Malta’s top female artist – Ira Losco is set to take the stage for her first Summer gig and her first gig after the launch of her album The Fire which proved to be a major success. She is expected to sing some of her latest songs along with a few numbers from her previous records, she will be supported by The New Victorians an up and coming band and also Planet Seed fronted by Klinsmann. For more details on what to expect during the Beland Music Festival you can visit the programme here or their official Facebook Page.
It is important to note that on Thursday, the organizers behind the Beland Music Festival saw it fit to organize a big screen in order to support Malta’s bid in the Eurovision Song Contest – so we encourage you to join with your family and friends, grab your Maltese flags and on Thursday go and watch the Second Semi-Final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Bulebel as part of the Beland Music Festival. The atmosphere is expected to be electrifying as there is nothing more special than cheering for the Maltese representative together and creating a mini Eurovision atmosphere here in Malta.
Apart from enjoying the live music for a great cause, at the Beland Music Festival you can chill and relax, there’s a children’s area and a number of stalls where people can just sit there as the concert is ongoing. There is something for all the family and for all the music lovers it is something you surely can’t miss as apart from donating towards Puttinu Cares you would be also supporting the local talent who invest so much time and effort to deliver a great product. So make sure to visit the Beland Music Festival and donate something for a great cause. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.
The festival will open on the 10th of May and will come to an end on the 17th of May and if last year’s event is anything to go by, this year’s festival will be better and even bigger, in fact they have moved the festival from their normal location to Bulebel. Slowly it is establishing itself as one of the event all the lovers of local music look forward to, in fact a number of people have been asking about the festival for quite some time. Each and every day has a special theme or a special act assigned to it which also includes a foreign tribute band of one of the biggest bands that ever existed.
Friday - 10th May at 21:00
Kevin Borg Live in Concert
Supported by: Glen Vella, Pamela, Barber’s Cut & Paul Curmi Dance Studio
Saturday - 11th May at 21.00
Ira Losco Live in Concert
Supported by: Planet Seed & The New Victorians
Sunday - 12th May at 20.30
Pop Hits & Maltese Classics
Eleanor Cassar, Stephanie Zammit, Georgina, Franklin Calleja, Chris Grech, Olivia Lewis,
Luisana Bartolo, Nadine Barolo, Charlotte Bartolo & Gillian Attard’s Children Choir
Monday - 13th May at 20:30
Red Electrick, The Riffs & The Crowns
Tuesday - 14th May at 20:30
The Green Gathering
Tarcisio Barbara, Kirstie Barbarbara, Kurt Galea, Naomi Balzan, Katoushka Mifsud, Malcolm Camilleri, Kirstie Balzan
Feast songs: Eleanor Cassar, Gillian Attard, Alexia Fenech, Stephen Mizzi
Wednesday - 15th May at 20:30
Guns 2 Rose – Tribute Band
Supported by: Fuse Box & Harriet Cohen
Thursday - 16th May at 20:30
Eurovision Song Contest – Second Semi-Final on a Big Screen (Malta’s Night)
Friday – 17th May at 20:30
Bon Jovi Tribute
One can see the festival as an opening to the summer months activities as other activities take place all around the island during the summer months but most of them would not be held on such a grand scale. To organize such a massive event is not easy and Beland would not have been able to provide such a field with different artists were it not for the support they found from their sponsors. The event is free of charge but those in attendance are encouraged to give a small donation that will go directly to Puttinu cares as for another year, the event is being held in aid of Puttinu Care which works for such a noble case. So remember from the 10th of May to the 17th of May your entertainment spot should be in Zejtun at the Beland Music Festival. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more information.
- The Beland Music Festival
- Kevin Borg
- Glen Vella
- Ira Losco
- Planet Seed
- The New Victorians
- Eleanor Cassar
- Stephanie Zammit
- Franklin Calleja
- Chris Grech
- Olivia Lewis
- Luisana Bartolo
- Charlotte Bartolo
- Nadine Bartolo
- Gillian Attard
- Red Electrick
- The Riffs
- The Crowns
- Tarcisio Barbara
- Kirstie Barbara
- Kurt Calleja
- Naomi Balzan
- Katoushka Mifsud
- Malcolm Camilleri
- Kirstie Balzan
- Alexia Fenech
- Stephen Mizzi
- Fuse Box
- Harriet Cohen
- Eurovision Song Contest 2013
Gianluca is surely busy with the preparations for the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which is now less than two months away. Although things have been quite quiet because of the local elections in Malta, the work was still being done by all the team to ensure that the local entry is promoted appropriately and the song will have the best possible presentation during the second semi-final on the 16th of May where Malta will be sixth in the running order.
The competition seems to be high this year and qualification is a barrier we need to overcome, so in order to boost our chances, the Public Broadcasting Services has decided to have a trick up our sleeves. The Public Broadcasting Services believes that the media is a sucker for a sweet unusual story, so if you manage to sell them this you will stand out. It has been made clear prior and after Gianluca’s win that his family is musically gifted and since this is something rather unusual – the team decided to use this to our advantage.
The film and musical The Sound of Music made a hit because of this and having a real life story would surely go down well with the media in Malmo – maybe this might be the actual trick that the country needs to finally bring the Eurovision Song Contest to Malta. The Bezzina family is quite big, in total they are nine – seven siblings, the mother and the father. The only problem which arose was when the family found out that the Eurovision rules state that each song can have up to six performers on stage as this meant that three members were going to be left out!
Whoever knows the Bezzina family, knows how humble and down to earth they are but with a shot at stardom in sight, it seems that the family has become more competitive than ever, in order to get one of the six slots available to perform in Malmo. Gianluca brings the number of members to be chosen down to five because since he won he has to be the performer on stage, but the other places are up for grabs. Big sister, Dorothy Bezzina has basically assured herself of a place when she was appointed as the vocal coach for the song by the team.
That means, that in actual fact there are four places left. Close sources to our website told us that the decision is going to be taken by Dorothy and Gianluca since they are the stars of the family. Gianluca is somewhat reluctant on making the choice though but Dorothy decided to grab the bull by its horns and decide who is going to make the cut herself. Distant family members told us that right now, Dorothy is being considered as the queen in the Bezzina household as all the other members are trying their best to impress the oldest sibling in choosing them.
The idea of the Family Von Trapp from The Sound of Music puts the parents in pole position to grab two of the places in the final six and that would mean that there would only be two places left. Samaria, the sister who accompanied her brother in Malta is in outrage as her place is definitely at risk - a close friend of hers stated that she completely lost it when she found out the news. She cannot compete as much as the others since she is living abroad but she had been going mad on buying flowers to her older sister and sending all kinds of gifts to her.
Close sources to the Public Broadcasting Services state though that she shouldn’t worry much as they plan on keeping her in the song for the sake of some continuity since she was present in the national selection and also in the video. This would leave two brothers and two sisters fighting for the last spot – quite awkward I would say but no one has a clue to which sibling this spot will go to. It seems that Dorothy will be making her decision solemnly based on who manages to serenade her with gifts she likes. The talent is strong and therefore any member would be fit to take a place in Tomorrow.
Gianluca is over the moon that instead of his friends, he is going to have his family on stage with him and he commented that it is unfortunate that the Eurovision Song Contest rules allow only six members on stage as he feels this is discriminating big families and music groups. The original members of the band seemed to be rather tolerable with the idea, although sources stated that Louise Ann threw a huge tantrum when she found out that her second Eurovision experience came to an abrupt end.
The family version of Tomorrow was well received by critics and thankfully the team decided beforehand to put the family version on the official single. To give the idea of a united family front, the background of the Maltese song will feature ALL the members of the family going round different parts of Malta – similar to the idea of what we see in The Sound of Music in Austria but this time with the blue sea and clear skies of the Mediterranean island. Let us all hope that all this havoc leaves the impression we want and next year we will all be waving the Maltese flag in Malta. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more updates as they come forth.
UPDATE: Without a shadow of doubt, this was one of the many jokes that have been going round in celebration of April Fools Day. The editorial team of escflashmalta.com would like to thank the Bezzina Family for being so positive towards the story whilst stating that Gianluca will be joined on stage by Louise Ann Bugeja Tate, Samaria Bezzina, Chris Tate, Kenny D'Ugo and Gabriel Cassar. Also thanks to the Public Broadcasting Services for their support with regards to the story.
AMPTV, the broadcaster responsible for the participation of Armenia within the Eurovision Song Contest is planning their seventh entry for the international competition having taken a year off. An internal selection took place to select the artist, being none other than Gor Sujyan, who is mostly known for being the lead vocalist of the band known as The Dorians, who are also set to be performing throughout the national selection as part of the background team. This will not be the first time that Gor Sujyan will be going to the showcase for the simple reason that he was a backing vocalist to Eva Rivas and her entry Apricot Stone back in 2010 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.
The last entry that Armenia presented within the international spectacle was Boom Boom performed by Emmy, one of the most popular female stars in the country but the track could not make it beyond the semi-final, finishing in twelfth place with just fifty-four points. Gor Sujyan is set to perform four entries this evening, out of which a professional jury and the public will select the winning entry. The songwriters of the tracks will be announced following the end of the selection in order not to influence the voting but it seems that they come from a mixture of Armenian and foreign songwriters.
The Head of Delegation, Gohar Gasparyan who was also a judge during the semi-final of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest will be hosting the show alongside Avet Barseghyan. During the course of the evening, guest performances are expected by Gianluca who will represent Malta with the track Tomorrow as well as Sophie & Nodi who will be representing Georgia with the song Waterfall. Following the release of the lyric video for Tomorrow, Gianluca will be performing the mastered version of his entry this evening. The song selection is set to commence at 18:30 CET and could be watched through the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest.
The first song of the evening kicks off and the singer is accompanied on stage by a band for this pop ballad number with a rock touch. The song has a relatively catchy refrain but the overall outcome is not so pleasant. It seems that it lacks something. The audience give a good cheer to the singer who clearly needs to work a bit on his look and perhaps a bit on his stage presence. Not a bad start to the show though.
The second song follows suit and he is once again accompanied on stage by the same band. Not even a costume change and it seems that if these are all the song that Armenia is going to go with at the Eurovision Song Contest they will find it quite difficult to do well. This is more of a rock number with no climax at all. Well I guess it can only get better from here on.
A soft rock ballad is the third number of the night and indeed the selection does get better. This song suits his vocals more, although he needs to improve his diction on it for it to sound smooth. The song has a nice climax and the guitar solo sounds nice too. Definitely the best song thus far. Nothing extraordinary mind you but good enough and the audience seems to agree.
Well the singer seems to be stuck on different planets but surely the last two songs featuring the planets were the best of the night. It seems that this follows in the same genre as the previous one but this is somewhat more generic. This might do better as it may have a more commercial appeal. The singer seems to be more comfortable in this number and will surely be one of the two favourites tonight.
The Show (Part 2)
The public televote is now open and the interval act kicks off with the junior representative at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. The band gives a very strong performance of their catchy tune and the audience seem to love this number tat has traditional elements in too. It might possibly be stronger than their actual Eurovision song as this is the best song we have heard all night. The best part of the show for all the Maltese is surely Gianluca's interpretation of Tomorrow in Armenia. Gianluca is introduced to the stage and the song starts off with the lyric video in the background.
Gianluca performs confidently and the audience seems to love the entry clapping along to its tune and some of them singing along to Tomorrow. Gianluca's smile certainly shone through the performance and it seems that his first official outing in foreign shores was a hit. The Georgian representatives follow Gianluca on stage and they perform their power ballad 'Waterfall' which although might have a relatively slow start it picks up and the ending is quite uplifting. Good performance by the Georgian duo.
Lonely Planet will represent Armenia in Malmo.
During the nineties, Ireland was the envy of several countries which competed in the Eurovision Song Contest having managed to win on four out of ten occasions, but their victory achieved by Eimear Quinn and her entry The Voice in 1996 would remain their last up to this point. For the past three years, the country has been quite successful, noting that Jedward and Niamh Kavanagh has managed to get through the semi-final hurdle with the former even managing a top ten position. Tonight, following two attempts by the brotherly duo, a brand new artist is chosen to fly the flag for Ireland, one which will either represent pop, ethnic or dance.
RTÉ will be hosting the national final known as Eurosong 2013 through The Late Late Show as has been the case for quite some time. In 2011, the broadcaster sought to maximise their respective resources by virtue of invited known professionals in the music industry to select the artists and the songs they would present in the selection themselves. This year, there was a lot of investment in each entry noting that official videos were shot following the internal selection process of the professional personnel including; Mairead Farrell, Shay Healy, Mark McCabe, Niall Mooney, and Stuart O'Connor. The host for the selection this eveing will be Ryan Turbidy and there are a number of guests set to take to the stage including 2006 Eurovision Song Contest winners; Lordi. Tune into the show through the official website.
A brief discussion is going on before they kick start their selection and it seems that Ireland has high hopes for this year's competition. They believe that for them to win they have to have the best song in that genre and whoever wants to win has to act like they want to win. One of the commentators was not really nice on commentating about the songs chosen thus far. He didn't say anything but indicated that the competition thus far is rather weak. Most Eurovision fans agree with him but there are three countries which are seen to have strong entries although they might not challenge for victory - this includes our own entry Tomorrow. Will Ireland find the magical forumla that got them so many wins in the ninties?
Inchequin – Son Kez / The Last Time
Can't really get what this song is about. The performers seem to come from all over Europe, including Turkey which won't be taking part in the selection. The staging is Irish, the music has some great elements when the instrumental parts get on but when they start singing is like they blabbing through this ethnic dance number. The six members look odd together and I can't get this Turkish Irish fusion. They commentators are praising them and they get a good reaction from the audience but I can't see what were they thinking. One said it's got something! I think they might be slightly high tonight and their expectations are a bit too much if this is anything to go with.
Aimee Fitzpatrick – Crashing Down
The birthday girl is accompanied on stage by the 1994 winner Paul Harrington along with three backing vocalists. Her vocal rendition is perfect. Simplicity is the key in this number and it seems to work wonders. The staging is beautiful and considering that this is Ireland, few would be surprised if this triumphs tonight. It actually miles better than the previous number although the song itself seems to lack that special something but it might possibly be the best chance Ireland had this year. The soft song has touching lyrics and with the number of uptempo songs being chosen and with a good draw this might actually do well at the Eurovision.
Zoë Alexis Bohorquez – Fire
The third song comes from Zoe and her vocals along those with the backing sound a bit off. I guess that the studio really did not help make this performance better. The hand movements and some parts of the refrain were reminiscent of Kurt Calleja's 'This is the Night'. The song has a Eurovision feel to it and with a stronger performance it can easily do well. I don't think it set the room on fire though but the extra push from Niall Mooney who has great experience in the contest and the help by Donna McCaul who represented Ireland a while back can give this an extra edge but it needs loads of work to achieve a good result for Ireland. Decent.
Ryan Dolan – Only Love Survives
If Ireland think they are heading for a win with these songs, they are under an illusion. This started promising and has some good hooks to it but it lacks something. It sounds amateurish and needs a lot of work if it wins again. The good thing about this is the staging, the rest needs work and loads of it really. It follows along the same lines of a dance number, which we will hear loads of this genre in the upcoming edition of the contest. The vocals were not bad but they need work too. The commentators are definitely watching a different show to the rest of us - everything seems to be great with all the entries when this is clearly not the case and if this is everyone's 'A' game then unfortunately, Ireland is doomed!
Kasey – Kiss Me There
Final act for the evening and even though this is the last song, it feels like it was a very long night. From all the songs we have heard tonight, I guess this is actually the best one but the vocals again sound really weak. The fact that it is another dance song doesn't help and the performance looks somewhat dead. The performance and the vocals need work but I think if they are going for a song that made a slight impact it would be this or song two possibly but then again it looks outdated. Quite dire from Ireland! The nation that gave us some brilliant classics has lost all its plot. Freudian slip by the commentator 'Euro-trash'. He summed up most of the tonight's show it seems.
Level playing field. Well we all know why. None of the songs really stands out tonight. This show is not doing any justice to the Irish selection. If they wanted a Eurovision winner, they could have scrapped the selection and started over. Maybe that would have worked. The voting lines are now open and the regional jury along with the public will decide the winner tonight. Well seeing the recap, there's only one way to go and that is song 2 I guess. Not that is anything special but it is good enough. Will they win with any of these? Definitely not. Will they reach a top ten? Highly unlikely. Will Ireland even make the through the semi-finals? If things don't take a drastic turn, unfortunately they might be staying there.
The show continues and after the so called 'experts' commented about the songs we get a recap of some of the songs competiting in the contest this year. It seems that the Maltese song was not interesting enough for the Irish to put it amongst the mix of their songs. They are still under the illusion that any of their songs can actually do the trick. Oh poor guys, they are so going to be let down. For the interval act, we have the 2006 Eurovision winners Lordi. Quite strange for Ireland to get a foreign act when they have so many different winners but a bit of change always helps especially to get one of the latest winners, if you consider the 2006 Eurovision winners amongst the latest winners.
The jury awards the top place to Crashing Down with Only Love Survives in second place but it was a tight race with just a two point difference. The tele-vote awards the full points to Only Loves Survives and it pushes Crashing Down to second place. Ryan Dolan wins it and will represent Ireland in Malmo.
The popular comic duo known mostly for their viral hit ‘Hot & Famous’ have decided that it is time to take on another project, this being Gianluca Bezzina’s Malta Eurovision entry ‘Tomorrow’. The duo have built quite a reputation with their constant covers pertaining to the local situation and it seems that the Maltese version of ‘Tomorrow’ is going to be another massive hit. They decided to have a political take on the local Eurovision entry, with lyrics pertaining to the slogans and the proposals of the main political parties. The strong easy going melody was a perfect fit to the tongue in cheek lyrics and with the media bombing us with different kinds of messages – it is somewhat refreshing to see someone taking the mickey out of the situation.
The Maltese political satire of ‘Tomorrow’ has all the ingredients for it to be a hit with the Maltese because these are the two most talked about subjects in the country. The elections and the Eurovision Song Contest are surely two of the hottest topics on the islands and whether someone is genuinely interested or not they still follow every step – if they do not, they still get to hear about it from family, friends or colleagues. You will always find that relative, friend or colleague obsessed with one of them -it is like these two are ingrained in our DNA and they are part of our national heritage. Some argue that perhaps the only thing that unites us as Maltese is the actual Eurovision Song Contest because in May everyone would be rooting for the Maltese song.
It seems that ‘Tomorrow’ did not just pick up the fancy of the comic duo Gorg & Pawlu, but internationally renowned opera star, Joseph Calleja has also taken a liking to Gianluca Bezzina’s entry. Joseph Calleja commented on the song through his official Facebook page, he went on to say: “I think this is the first time I am commenting about the Eurovision Song Contest but Malta’s entry this year is truly excellent. Am really enjoying this song performed with admirable freshness by Gianluca.” This is surely another accolade for the young artist and his team whose song continues to receive very positive reactions from the Eurovision fans and various critics that follow the yearly competition. This inaugurates well for the young artist whose talent and freshness has captured the attention of many.
Source: Facebook, PBS
Maltese Eurovision representative, Gianluca Bezzina was better known as the lead singer for upcoming band Funk Initiative which took everyone by surprise by presenting a new genre which few would have thought to explore but at the end of the day this collaboration between friends who happened to be musicians worked well. Their success started by winning the KSU Singers and Songwriters showcase held between 2009 and 2010, whilst they finished as runners up at the MKSU Battle of the Bands. Not just that but their what started as a University venture took them well beyond that as they were also nominated for the best upcoming talent in the two most prestigious music awards on our islands – the Bay Music Awards and the Malta Music Awards.
They describe their style as indie alternative with hints of jazz, funk, rock but the main element in their music is fun. The band is made up of Gianluca Bezzina on vocals, Paul Torpiano on keys and backing vocals, Daniel Cassar on guitars, Fabian Bonnello on saxophone and tambourine, Daniel Buttigieg on drums and percussions and Shaun Abdilla on bass guitar. Previous releases by the band which were very well received were Paris, The Liberators and My Robot Monkey Army is Better Than Yours - the latter was released in the hot Summer months. Their videos are always intriguing and different from what anyone would expect; that's what makes Funk Initiative the band they are; different and fresh.
The band is riding high after Gianluca’s triumph at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest but all their fans know that the teaser for their upcoming video has been circulating for quite some time now and this is actually the best time to release this track. Architects is brought to you by Funk Initiative, in collaboration with SACES, ELSA and INSITE. A university project in all sense – in the video of the song you will be watching a yearly tradition that takes place between two rival faculties at the University of Malta. You can find more information about Funk Initiative on Facebook, Twitter and their YouTube channel. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news from our shores and beyond.
Source: Official Facebook Page
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
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.
Lost - Arion
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.