27 June 2017

Through our social media platforms on Facebook, and Twitter, we have proudly supported Spiteri Lucas Entertainment and their weekly production of “The Entertainers”, hosted by Janvil on NET Television by virtue of presenting a collage of photo featuring the artists that would be performing during that weeks’ episode. This week, we are presenting an article to help support the programme, and encourage you all to tune into NET Television on Saturday at 8:30 pm.

The line-up will feature two singers who have just taken part in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest; Raquela who finished in 8th place with “Ray of Light”, and Janice Debattista who as part of the band Crosswalk finished in 12th place with “So Simple”. They will be joined by classical soprano La Barokka, multiple ‘Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza’ and ‘Għanja tal-Poplu’ finalist Marie Claire, and relative newcomer Christian Aquilina. Weekly resident performances from Michela Galea and Ivan Spiteri Lucas might be expected.

As always, there will be a dance troupe to shift away slightly from the music, and this week it will be none other than the Dancel Dance Company, not too mention the weekly one-to-one interview which will be featuring popular chef Neil Darmanin. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the local music scene.

Source: Press ReleaseLuciano Bianco Photography

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Published in Latest News - Local

In less than 4 weeks, on the 18th February, Malta shall be choosing the next representative, and entry to represent Malta in the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which is taking place in Kiev, Ukraine.

Details about the most anticipated music event of the year have been emerging in recent weeks, with the final 16 artists drawn into a running order, the hosts made public, and tickets becoming available.

The line-up for this year’s edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest consists of a group of artists who have grown up in the public eye, some of which are making their debut in the competition, and others who can be termed as veterans. Two of those so-called veterans will be opening and closing in the running order, which can be viewed in full below;

01. Klinsmann – Laserlight (Dreher Emanuel, Stefan Moessle, Mathias Strasser)

02. Raquela – Ray of Light (Boris Cezek, Dean Muscat)

03. Deborah C & Josef – Tonight (Jonas Gladnikoff, Michael James Down, Primoz Poglajen, Sara Ljunggren)

04. Kevin Borg – Follow (Kevin Borg, Simon Gribbe)

05. Jade – Seconds Away (Kevin Borg, Simon Gribbe)

06. Crosswalk – So Simple (Boris Cezek, Dean Muscat)

07. Franklin – Follow Me (Cyprian Cassar, Ivan Grech, Matt ‘Muxu’ Mercieca)

08. Rhiannon – Fearless (Cyprian Cassar, Rhiannon Micallef)

09. Miriana Conte – Don’t Look Down (Cyprian Cassar, Matt ‘Muxu’ Mercieca)

10. Shauna – Crazy Games (Cyprian Cassar, Matt ‘Muxu’ Mercieca)

11. Janice Mangion – Kewkba (Mark Scicluna, Emil Calleja Bayliss)

12. Cherton – Fighting to Survive (Boris Cezek, Dean Muscat)

13. Maxine – Bombshell (Noel Cohen, Michael Macallister, Julie Hardy, Erin Bowman)

14. Richard Edwards – You (Richard Micallef)

15. Brooke – Unstoppable (Brooke Borg, Sara Biglert, Christian Schneider, Aidan O’Connor)

16. Claudia Faniello – Breathelessly (Philip Vella, Sean Vella, Gerard James Borg)

The Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2017 is taking place at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre (MFCC) for the very first time since 2013 when Gianluca Bezzina, a newcomer at the time had stormed to victory with his happy-go-lucky entry, “Tomorrow”, co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat.

The event shall be hosted by Daniel Azzopardi and Charlene Mercieca, neither a television host but both well-known with the public, with the latter having recently been in the public eye following a battle with cancer, and the latter being a leading male actor in the series ‘Strada Stretta’. 

On behalf of the editorial team at escflashmalta.com, we would like to wish everyone all the very best of luck in this year’s edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. Should you wish to support the contestants, purchase your tickets. Stay tuned to this portal as well as Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: PBS, TVM

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Stunning! One word, commonly used as a phrase to describe perfection. Somewhat rare that I use such language, for those who have come to know me, believe that I am difficult to please.

Last night at Rockestra, an annual event held under the auspices of the Office of the President of Malta in support of the Malta Community Chest Fund, I used this word a mere 3 times; for the collective Malta Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Sigmund Mifsud, and then for the powerhouse female vocals of Julie Zahra and Raquela.

Raquela, a stand-out artist, whose talent has been showcased time-and-time again on the national stage, having been in the finals of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in 2009, 2011 and 2013 as well as Teatru Unplugged 2013, was the highlight of Rockestra in 2014, performing a duet of "Say Something" with Konrad Pule, originally by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera. This year she took on, "A Thousand Years", originally by Christina Perri. Tried by several other local acts before her, all of whom were sub-standard, Raquela was in her element and zone, getting a rapturous applause mid-way through the performance.

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Julie Zahra, one-half of Malta's representative duo at the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2004, recently back to Malta following a lengthy stay in the United Kingdom was absolutely flawless in both her numbers, starting out with a jaw-dropping performance of Queen's "Who Wants to Live Forever", where she swayed left to right in a beautiful white gown, before giving an impeccable performance of "The Phantom of the Opera" in a duet with Frank Cardassia.

The two ladies were truly in a league of their own, and gave performances which bring talented foreign acts to shame and ridicule. The evening, a positive celebration of talent, featured several well known artists, all of whom gave their absolute best. Notable mentions include Raquel Galdes, Ludwig Galea, Justin GaleaChris Grech, Brooke Borg, Lawrence Gray, and Victorio Gauci of The Crowns. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the local music scene.

Source: escflashmalta.com

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Published in Opinions
Thursday, 04 September 2014 02:15

Malta: Rockestra Set for Two Night Extravaganza

Rockestra in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund will be returning for a sixth consecutive year, this time under the patronage of Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, 9th President of Malta. In a Press Conference held at the Presidential Palace in Attard, it was revealed that due to overwhelming public demand, the event is going to be held on two dates, the 27th and 28th September.

Rockestra, a spectacular event which encourages the general public to donate money to a charitable cause whilst listening to live music played by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Sigmund Mifsud will offer a stunning line-up with artists such as; Estelle Imbroll, Domenique (MESC 11, 13), Janice DeBattista (MESC 2013), Ivan Filletti, Tezara Camilleri, Graziana AxisaYlenia Vella (MESC 13), Samaria Bezzina (ESC 2013), Gianni (MESC 00, 12, 13), De Bee (MESC 14), Raquela (MESC 09, 11, 13), Franklin Calleja (MESC 13,14), Konrad Pule (MESC 00, 03, 07, 13) and Gianni (MESC 00, 12, 13).

Tickets for the Rockestra, available at €10 (standing) and €15 (seated), are only available for Sunday since Saturday officially sold out a couple of days ago. You may purchase yours through Ooii and thus ensure the experience of a lifetime, or rather a year. Rockestra is taking place at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre. We hope that you stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news from the local music scene.

Source: Press Release

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Published in Latest News - Local

On the 27th September, Rockestra in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund will be returning for a sixth consecutive year, this time under the patronage of Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, 9th President of Malta. What is different about 2014 is that there was a public call for artists who wanted to be a part of the spectacle, a call which in turn led to 118 submissions, all of which were heard by a professional panel of judges and shortlisted to represent the best possible talent that Malta is proud to offer.

Rockestra, a spectacular event which encourages the general public to donate money to a charitable cause whilst listening to live music played by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Sigmund Mifsud will offer a stunning line-up with artists such as; Franklin Calleja (MESC 13, 14), Raquela (MESC 09, 11, 13), Tiziana Calleja (MESC 10), Paul Borg Bonaci, Francesca Borg (MESC 12), Daniel Cauchi, Konrad Pule (MESC 00, 03, 07, 13), Gianluca (ESC 13), Matthew James Borg, Justin Galea, Ivan Filletti, Gianni (MESC 00, 12, 13), Simaria Galea, Lara Dimech, De Bee (MESC 14) and Brooke Borg.

Tickets for the Rockestra are available at €10 (standing) and €15 (seated) although the latter are almost completely sold out except a couple here and there. You may purchase yours through Ooii and thus ensure the experience of a lifetime, or rather a year. Rockestra is taking place at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre. We hope that you stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news from the local music scene.

Source: Press Release

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Published in Latest News - Local

As always, the cultural calendar of the entertainment industry in Malta is full of activities, especially during the holidays and one of the events which will surely be garnering a massive audience is the Teatru Unplugged Concert which is being organised for the sixteenth year. The first time that the event took place was back in 1998, with Jonathan Shaw and Nirvana Azzopardi opting to create a showcase for local talent. Speaking to the media, Shaw stated that ‘the show must go on and through Teatru Unplugged we will keep Nirvana’s alive’.

Josef Bonello, a former host of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest will be the compère for this years’ edition of Teatru Unplugged which is also set to incorporate seven (7) artists across several genres including; Rock, Pop, and Classical. The audience will be entertained by the likes of Stalko presenting rich and delicate vocals; the rocking voice of Chris Grech, a former finalist of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and with the retro feel good vibe synonym with former Eurovision Song Contest representative; Gianluca. Red Electrick, known for their vibrant live performances and the pop/rock band The Crowns will also feature in this year’s edition. Two impeccable female vocalists and former finalists of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest; Rachel Fabri and Raquela are also part of the line-up.

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escflashmalta.com invites all enthusiasts of the local music industry to attend Teatru Unplugged on the 6th, 7th, and the 8th December at the Teatru Manoel for a night of fun, music and great atmosphere. Tickets could be obtained from the official website at three different prices; €20, €15 and €10. As always, such an event would not be possible without the invaluable aid of the main sponsors GO. Nevertheless, special thanks go to the supporting sponsors The Point, Baileys, Johnnie Walker, BRND WGN and Camilleri Paris Mode. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the music industry.

Source: Press Release

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Published in Latest News - Local
Sunday, 15 September 2013 16:16

Malta: Audience in Awe of Majestic Male Duet

Rockestra, an event in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund, has always been billed as 'not to be missed' and with that slogan managed to attract it's largest crowd yet. Around twelve thousand (12,000) people flocked to the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre in Ta' Qali in order to witness some of the best talent that the local music scene has to offer along with the musical accompaniment of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra led by Maestro Sigmund Mifsud as well as four female backing vocalists; Angela Spiteri, Jackie Pace Delicata, Anna Azzopardi and Louisa Frendo Wirth. With several eurostars in attendance, it was quite difficult to select the strongest performance of the evening but we did manage to come to a conclusion that the evening belonged to male vocalists; Ludwig Galea and Chris Grech.

Ludwig Galea, a former representative for Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2004 was joined by Chris Grech, a finalist in this years' edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in an astonishing version of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. The audience was in awe of their vocal capabilities, and showed their appreciation by clapping, and singing throughout the whole performance. The event was star studded and two of the closing acts who drew the most attention and came possibly a joint second in terms of performance were none other than Ira Losco and Kevin Borg. The pop/rock princess took to the stage in a regal robe and a crown in order to perform another hit song by the group Queen, that being Radio Gaga. The first runner-up at this years' Malta Eurovision Song Contest, Kevin performed Livin' on a Prayer which many remembered him performing during Idol in Sweden. The public were so enthralled by the performances that they ended up clapping in sync, something that rarely happens in public events.

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Whilst those three artists managed to bring the house down, it is unfair not to mention artists such as Lawrence Gray, Claudia Faniello and Raquela whose vocal capabilities were stretched to the maximum especially with regards to the latter. Raquela, a participant within the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in 2009, 2011 and 2013 showed the public that she has a range beyond compare in a lyric-less song where harmonisation was key before returning for a duet version of the song Hallelujah alongside Sandrina. The concert was held under the distinguished patronage of The President of Malta and Mrs Abela and is supported by Parliamentary Secretariat for Culture and Local Government, Good Causes Fund, Malta Tourism Authority, Malta Fairs and Convention Centre, HSBC Bank, Banif Bank, Bank of Valletta, Vodafone, Tumas Group and Hard Rock Café. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source: Jahel Briffa

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Published in Latest News - Local
Sunday, 08 September 2013 19:32

Malta: Rockestra Fifth Anniversary Next Week

President George Abela, the individual behind the creation of the Rockestra will be seeing to his fifth and final edition of the annual rock concert as his administration comes to an end. The nations' finest talent will all be joining forces under one roof to perform a repertoire of well known songs with the accompaniment of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra under the musical direction of Maestro Sigmund Mifsud. On the other hand, the artistic director of the event organised by The Malta Community Chest Fund is none other than performer and comedian, Paul Borg Bonaci.

Paul Borg Bonaci, the Artistic Director stated that 'emerging artists will also have the opportunity to mingle with Malta's most popular singers, as Rockestrs 2013 will include works by groups such as Aerosmith, Alanis Morisette, Queen, Labrinth, Pink Floyd, The Police, Robbie Williams, Inxs and others. Moreover a number of intrumental pieces will be performed by the orchestra'. The concert is being held under the distinguished patronage of The President of Malta and Mrs Abela and is supported by Parliamentary Secretariat for Culture and Local Government, Good Causes Fund, Malta Tourism Authority, Malta Fairs and Convention Centre, HSBC Bank, Banif Bank, Bank of Valletta, Vodafone, Tumas Group and Hard Rock Café. Dr. Jose' Herrera, Parliamentary Secretary for Culture and Local Government encourages the general public to attend and enjoy the show but above all support the needs of the Malta Community Chest Fund.

This years' edition of the Rockestra is taking place on Saturday, 14th September at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre in Ta' Qali and is set to feature a scintillating line-up including none other than; Ira Losco (ESC 2002), Kevin Borg, Matthew James Borg, Konrad Pule, Lawrence Gray, Claudia Faniello, Ivan Grech, Errol, Chris and Moira (ESC 1994), Kenneth Calleja, Mikaela, Frank Calleja, Ludwig Galea (ESC 2004), Petra, Raquela, Tiziana and Daniel Cauchi amongst others. Tickets for the event are available at €10 for adults and €2 for children, albeit standing due to the fact that the small seating plan for sold out relatively early. They could be bought either online from the Official Website of the Rockestra or from the Malta Community Chest Fund Offices, Valletta and Sant'Anton Palace, between 9am and 2pm and from The President's Kitchen Garden which is open from 10am to 2pm and from 6pm till 10pm. For further information one can contact the office of The Malta Community Chest Fund on 21226226. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more of the latest news about the local music scene.

Source: Press Release

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Published in Latest News - Local

The 2013 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest took place just a couple of weeks back with Gianluca Bezzina and his entry Tomorrow co-written by Dean Muscat and Boris Cezek announced as the winner at the end of the evening. Congratulations are always in order as we wish him all the very best in Sweden as he competes in the first part of the second semi-final. Nevertheless, prior to the final, escflashmalta.com initiated the public, media outlets and a set of music industry professionals to conduct their choices. The editorial board has always been a proud supporter of the local music scene and thus has always sought to include features from which artists would generally benefit. For yet another year, escflashmalta.com is giving out three awards; Public Award, Critics Award and the Media Award in collaboration with Sas-Sitta produced by Spiteri Lucas Entertainment and Bristow Potteries who sponsored the trophies.

One of the key elements behind the success of any country within the Eurovision Song Contest is democracy and the people have a right to have their decision heard loud and clear, in a manner where it is not deafened. The votes on the night of the final of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest counted as one member of the jury and that was indeed a right decision because music industry professionals are required to select the best track. Our public poll received a total of 6454 votes, which is around two thousand more than the previous year and it has to be noted that whilst the top two were extremely close to each other, it seems like the others were somewhat far behind and fighting it out for a number of positions within the top ten and in some instances in the top five. It is important to denote that every individual had a vote per IP Address and therefore, we tried to limit the amount of double votes in this manner. It is important to always keep the public's opinion whilst voting because at the end of the day the song would be representing the country abroad but nevertheless, public perception about the artist is normally swayed according to the popularity figures, and this was something somewhat not attributed to our poll. The full results of the public may be seen in full below.

  1. Never Walk Away - Chris Grech (1512)
  2. Needing You - Kevin Borg (1296)
  3. Overrated - Marilena Gauci (522)
  4. When It's Time - Claudia Faniello (498)
  5. Loverdose - Melanie Zammit (472)
  6. Tomorrow - Gianluca Bezzina (404)
  7. Ultraviolet - Jessika (396)
  8. In Control - Amber (207)
  9. Perfect Day - Janice DeBattista (167)
  10. Tides of Illusion - Ylenia (158)
  11. Starting from the End - Dorothy Bezzina (145)
  12. Betrayed - Davinia Pace (141)
  13. Keep Believing - Raquela (110)
  14. Let Your Heart Talk - Franklin (82)
  15. Us Against the World - Gianni (78)
  16. Love-O-Holic - Deborah C (66)
  17. Fall Like Rome - Richard Edwards (57)
  18. Fantasy - Danica Muscat (46)
  19. My Stranger Love - Corazon (35)
  20. Too Little Too Late - Domenique (23)
  21. Wonderful Today - Richard & Petra (15)
  22. The Remedy - Klinsmann (11)
  23. Superstar - Scar (10)
  24. No One's Home - Petra (3)
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The professional members of the jury have always been pivotal behind the results not only during the Malta Eurovisoin Song Contest but also throughout the whole of Europe when national selections are concerned becuase people within the industry are somewhat ones which know the type of music which works abroad. They do not vote with an agenda as some people might denote as they would only come forth with the interests of the songs and the country which summoned them. escflashmalta.com has had the pleasure to work with a number of individuals in recent years and this time round, we were proud to have come up with panel of professionals such as; Martin Isherwood, a leading figure at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, Roberto Meloni, a two time Eurovision Song Contest representative; Stano Simor, a notable producer from Slovakia who works with Universal Music; Lina Eriksson, signed to EMI Music Publishing and has written tracks for artists out of Idols and Popstars and last but not least; Sharon Vaughn, a premier songwriter who has worked with Joe McElderry, Agnes, The Wanted, Alcazar, Brian Kennedy, Jedward and Kimberley Walsh amongst others. In one particular instance, we also required the services of Knut-Oyvind Hagen, a talented songwriter who also works at NRK, the Norwegian broadcaster. The full results of the critics may be seen in full below.
  1. Needing You - Kevin Borg (35)
  2. Loverdose - Melanie Zammit (25)
  3. Tomorrow - Gianluca Bezzina (22)
  4. Starting from the End - Dorothy Bezzina (22)
  5. Ultraviolet - Jessika (21)
  6. Love-O-Holic - Deborah C (20)
  7. Fall Like Rome - Richard Edwards (18)
  8. The Remedy - Klinsmann (18)
  9. Never Walk Away - Chris Grech (16)
  10. Betrayed - Davinia Pace (13)
  11. When It's Time - Claudia Faniello (13)
  12. Let Your Heart Talk - Franklin (10)
  13. Tides of Illusion - Ylenia (9)
  14. Superstar - Scar (8)
  15. Too Little Too Late - Domenique (8)
  16. Fantasy - Danica Muscat (7)
  17. Wonderful Today - Richard & Petra (7)
  18. In Control - Amber (5)
  19. No One's Home - Petra (5)
  20. Perfect Day - Janice DeBattista (4)
  21. Overrated - Marilena Gauci (2)
  22. My Stranger Love - Corazon (1)
  23. Us Against the World - Gianni (1)
  24. Keep Believing - Raquela (0)
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Being a media outlet, escflashmalta.com has always felt the need to make sure that all of the respective entries competing in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest are heard beyond the four corners of the globe from a competition perspective. Each of the twenty-four (24) songs competing in recent years can manage to stand up on their own and be counted as individual tracks with possible success. Calling upon ten members of the foreign press alongside ten members of the local press, it was a deep priviledge to see what type of songs the individuals, the organisation and the nationality would realibly go for in the true sense of the word. I would like to thank all of the media outlets and their representatives who took part and they were; Nathan D (89.7 Bay), Vikesh Godhwani (Insiter), Dorian Cassar (89.7 Bay), David Debono (100.2 XFM), Clint Bajada (92.7 FM), Aaron Benjamin (92.7 FM), Eric Montfort (Radio 101), Toni Sant (MMI), Ian Scerri (escflashmalta.com), Michael Bugeja (Times of Malta), Ian Fowell (Eurovisionary), Liam Whelan (ESCDaily), Theofilos Toronidis (ESCDaily), Garrett Mulhall (Eurovision Ireland), Jaime Solloso (Oikotimes), Alexandru Busa (esctoday.com), Emma Backfish (escXtra), Darragh Reck (RTÉ), Juergen Boernig (Radio International) and Luke Fisher (escXtra). The full results of the media may be seen in full below.
  1. The Remedy - Klinsmann (680)
  2. Never Walk Away - Chris Grech (580)
  3. Starting from the End - Dorothy Bezzina (500)
  4. Tomorrow - Gianluca Bezzina (480)
  5. Love-O-Holic - Deborah C (480)
  6. Superstar - Scar (380)
  7. Fall Like Rome - Richard Edwards (340)
  8. Betrayed - Davinia Pace (260)
  9. Ultraviolet - Jessika (260)
  10. Needing You - Kevin Borg (260)
  11. Loverdose - Melanie Zammit (240)
  12. In Control - Amber (180)
  13. Fantasy - Danica Muscat (160)
  14. Too Little Too Late - Domenique (160)
  15. My Stranger Love - Corazon (100)
  16. Keep Believing - Raquela (80)
  17. When It's Time - Claudia Faniello (20)
  18. Tides of Illusion - Ylenia (0)
  19. Let Your Heart Talk - Franklin (0)
  20. Perfect Day - Janice DeBattista (0)
  21. Wonderful Today - Richard & Petra (-20)
  22. Us Against the World - Gianni (-40)
  23. No One's Home - Petra (-80)
  24. Overrated - Marilena Gauci (-240)
escflashmalta.com would like to congratulate all of the winners and also the artists of each of the twenty-three entries in this years' Malta Eurovision Song Contest. In the meantime, thanks to Bristow Potteries and Sas-Sitta on NET Television for their continued support towards our portal and we hope for further collaborations in the coming years and months. It has been a pleasure working with esteemed professionals for yet another year and we'll soon be announcing our features for the Eurovision Song Contest which will include professional reviews of each of the countries' representation as well as LIVE reports of the shows with special guest commentators. Once more, escflashmalta.com would like to wish the very best of luck to Gianluca with his endeavours in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest.
 

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Published in Latest News - Local
Friday, 01 February 2013 19:30

Malta Eurovision 2013: The Semi-Final - LIVE

Xarabank is the programme which normally airs on a Friday evening but nevertheless, since the introduction of the semi-final system during the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, changes have been made to the overall broadcasting schedule. As a matter of fact, this is that evening and many that are anticipating a superb show shouldn't be disappointed because production values are through the roof. The Public Broadcasting Services has invested a lot of time into this venture and indeed, the results are showing at an international level, considering the almost qualification of Glen Vella with the song One Life in 2011 and the qualification of Kurt Calleja with his entry This Is The Night in 2012. Successful transitions have been made and the aim of the evening is to downsize and make sure that the public and the jury listen to the suitable sixteen (16) entries.

The evening will be hosted by Elaine Saliba and Gordon Bonello whilst Rodney Gauci will be taking on the role of backstage host whilst also doing the commentary with Norman Vella on TVM 2, for those who might not be that inclined within the forum of the competition itself. The official website of the Eurovision Song Contest will not be broadcasting the showcase this evening although showing the final tomorrow night. However, the foreign viewers should not fret because a live stream is being offered on the official website of the Public Broadcasting Services. Twenty-four (24) entries will be competing and eight (8) will have to be eliminated, despite the stunning talent that graces this years' competition. The judges coming from Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Croatia, Ukraine, Italy and Malta will have a tough decision to make whilst the public vote will count as one of the judges'.

1, 2, 3... Go! 

 

A collage of clips of last year’s winner, Kurt Calleja and his This is the night lead us to tonight’s show... And you get to think: really? Did we really do that?

And he’s now on stage; it looks impressive, indeed. The stage, not Kurt's performance, mind you. 

 

Elaine Saliba and Gordon Bonello appear on stage... and there seems to be an ugly problem with the sound. We can hardly understand what they are saying. Yay, brilliant start! 

And there is goes... we had to have a jibe at last year’s glove!

Everybody is sporting a Vileda glove. Not really funny, is it? Let’s not stretch it, please. It becomes lame. 

The judges are now introduced, with Maria Muscat and Carlo Borg Bonaci being the Maltese ones on the panel. 
 Off we go... not without a fair share of ads, of course.  

01. Fall Like Rome – Richard Edwards (Kaxe / Philip Vella / Gerard J Borg)

When Richard utters a couple of words you can’t but say “Yay, yay! He can pronounce them words properly!” He looks rather stylish and laid-back, with the unnecessary frills (which are usually predominant in this show). His captivating voice keeps you hooked all through. Yet, the song leaves a lot to be desired. It doesn’t quite do it, really. Too many metaphors and nuances there, so you can hardly follow.  He did give a nice performance, however, much more was expected of him. 

02. Tides of Illusion – Ylenia (Jason Cassar / Mario Farrugia)

Is it my impression or is she a bit off? Something isn’t working there. Also, the choreography seems a bit messed up: the dancers are sloppy and seemingly out of synch. On the whole, it was a rather boring show. The song is forgotten as soon as it finishes - unlike her dress; that we will surely remember. It hits you in the eye. 

03. Perfect Day – Janice DeBattista (Boris Cezek / Dean Muscat)

Janica has a nice voice, almost soothing. Yet, this isn’t really evident in the performance she is giving today. I don’t like the dress much, I think she could have done more with the attire; it looks way too sombre.
 

04. Never Walk Away – Chris Grech (M Borg / P Borg / D Cassar Torreggianni / C Grech)

So there was a lot of hype surrounding this song. Let's see. All right, he’s a very good voice. I’ll grant that. They are having very serious problems: it is not even synced. We are getting a very crappy version of the song. From the bits and pieces we could get at home, it is very evident that the song is one of the best ones thus far. Yet, it does lack a certain climax I believe - though that could easily be fixed. Indeed a good one here!


05. Overrated – Marilena (Philip Vella / Gerard J Borg)

Marilena comes on stage and your eyes start bleeding. Your eyes urge you to chop them off. What can I say? This is the typical song you have to have at such competitions. You will just get it out of your system once it’s over. The show is crap - the dancers/backing are more of a distraction - they surely don’t help the act. Yes, Marilena, totally Overrated. (Again, it was not even synced.)


06. No One’s Home – Petra (Wayne Micallef / Richard Micallef)

So do we have a vintage blues chic here? Well, if we do, she’s vocally stable and the voice is indeed remarkable. I would dare say that, vocally speaking, she’s been the best one so far. The whole act is, to be honest.  Petra has good stage presence (well, apart from her channelling Katy Perry a bit too much) and makes you follow her all through. A strong contestant - it would be a pity not to see her through. 


07. Starting from the End – Dorothy Bezzina (Kaxe / Gerard J Borg)

Dorothy’s impeccable mastery of vocals is impressive. The backing really makes the voice reverberate and blends really well. The acoustics are not doing her voice any justice; it sounds too tinny. Yet, the song is a strong one and, needless to say, makes you listen to it attentively. The whole act was a good one... even though her cheesy hand/arm moves could have been spared. Dorothy should definitely make it.


08. Too Little Too Late – Domenique (M Paelnick / M Strasser)

Domenique looks like a wrapped present in that dress and she’s looking twice her age. Jewellery, hair-do and makeup have totally overpowered her. She’s a really pretty girl, but the whole thing totally ruined that. The voice is nice one, but the song is weak. 


09. Ultraviolet – Jessika (T G:Son / Philip Vella / Gerard J Borg)

At first I somehow liked the looks. But then, the whole thing looked as if they’re two different things stuck together (OK, they are ultraviolet, but still...). I must say I don’t particularly fancy the song. Jessica strives to give a great performance, however it does come across as if she is straining her voice. All in all, she tries too hard and it shows. She'd have a better chance if she were to tone it all down and opt for softer and more mellow vocals. 


10. Let Your Heart Talk – Franklin (Ray Agius / Alfred C Sant)

If there’s something you can’t criticise about Franklin is that he is always impeccably dressed, wherever you see him. Yet, he didn’t really convince me here. He has a marvellous voice which hooks you and make you listen to each work attentively. He is having some tiny problems with the base notes; they need to be supported a little better. And perhaps a little more work on the breathing.. but then you say: “who cares?” That ending was superb!


11. When It’s Time – Claudia Faniello (Errol Sammut / C Faniello)

Where’s Carina when you need her? Claudia’s dress was fabulous last year... this year it just won’t do. That outfit looks, well, out of place. She should totally have gone for more of an Annouk sort of look. Which is an absolute pity! She is also wearing too much makeup. The song is beautiful, with gorgeous music. Claudia is actually one the very few singers who seem to improve with each passing years... This song is great for her kind of voice. She seems to have found her genre and range!


12. My Stranger Love – Corazon (Paul Giordimaina / Fleur Balzan)

Corazon looks like the innocent girl you would want to do well. Then you think that she writes her own songs and you say that’s a good bonus. She sits there, and she sort of reminds you of Alicia Keys: sleek, pony tail, long dress, chunky earrings. And then she stands up, and you see that dress. No, it really wasn’t the best option; yet one could say it’s something a bit different. The song would need some more syncopation. I think it would go well with a bit of a blues feel to shake off that classical Eurovision-sort-of-ballad and make it a tad more original. 


13. Needing You – Kevin Borg (Borg / Gribbe / Thornholm / Attlerud / Clauss)

They say Kevin is going to sing and most of the audience goes clapping and shouting - positive sign he needn’t worry much? Well, they surely weren’t clapping for that hairstyle. There is harmony on stage; the backing and Kevin are doing a great job. Yet, the song is not as strong. It’s very pop-band-goes-mushy-in-a-Christmas-special. And what’s with the dancer that joins him on stage? Isn’t she more irrelevant than Franco Debono? (to keep the comedians’ joke going, you know...) Nothing special, really. 


14. Superstar – Scar (Konrad Pule)

I always like Scar, really. I think they break the routine kind of thing. They always come up with a good song and structure; the presentation is simple - as should be. The leading singer is very laid-back, as the song demands. It’s a rhythmic song you need to have. Less is truly more in this case. 


15. Loverdose – Melanie Zammit (N Lundin, M Lundin, Gerard J Borg)

As much as stage presence is important, it is ultimately a song contest. I wouldn’t want to sound too harsh, but Melanie came off as one who hardly has any vocal ability. A pretty face, cool attire, fancy dancing and psychedelic projections in the background just won't cut it. No. The song left much to be desired, which is a pity as was expecting a great performance by melanie. 


16. Fantasy – Danica Muscat (Paul Abela / Joe J Farrugia)

That hair made her look much older than she actually is; but the rest seems to work really well together. Th performance was a good one. She has a good voice and masters it well; though it needs refining. The whole act was positive... BUT, why did you have to ruin it with that “tenkkjuwww” at the end, Danica? 


17. Wonderful Today – Petra & Richard (Wayne Micallef / Richard Micallef)

What’s happened to Petra? The leather skinny trousers don’t do her justice, do they? Also, the duet didn’t work out the way they must have thought it would work. Her voice is literally too domineering: she also comes off as hey-I’m-super-confident-ok?. When they sing together, their voices clash - she sounds flat and he becomes sharp. I surely preferred their individual songs. A poor act. 


18. Love-O-Holic – Deborah C (Bejerholm / Gerard J Borg)

She shrills and belts from the throat, her diction is pitiable and her moves leave much to be desired. The song was so boring and repetitive that I found myself wondering about how they would cope if her extensions were to catch fire.


19. Us Against the World – Gianni (Boris Cezek / Dean Muscat)

Gianni is cool and it’s a pleasure to have on stage, yet he has a weak vocal range. in fact he suffers with some notes. On the whole, the song various on the fun-decent song to sing along. It’s not boring, though it does get rather repetitive. Other than that, the stage presence is good and the whole act made sense together. Not a strong one, though. 


20. Keep Believing – Raquela (Raquela)

Quite a pleasantly different style for Raquela. However, it does get boring at some point, and then, all of a sudden it finishes and it leaves you expecting more to come. The song definitely needs more working. Also, the dress, too reminiscent of a disco ball gone wrong on her, isn’t working all that much here. 


21. Tomorrow – Gianluca Bezzina (Boris Cezek / Dean Muscat)

Gianluca's smile is infectious, as is his song. It's a cheeky sing along song without that typical Eurovision stamp to it. The stage setup is simple, as is his outfit which match the easy breezy mood of the song brilliantly. Having said that, I can't help but feel that the beginning, as well as the bass line and harmony resemble train's 'Hey Soul Sister' a tad too much. 

22. In Control – Amber (Paul Giordimaina / Fleur Balzan)

Amber is coming across as too nasal. Her singing is good, but that high note sort of hurt the ear. It was a rather good act on the whole, pleasant to follow. I found nothing special in it that will make me think of the song afterwards. Also, the attire wasn’t really the best they could go for. Her dress did not really and truly suit her, and the the backing vocalists’s dresses being didn’t fully complement the idea there. 


23. The Remedy – Klinsmann (Kaxe / Philip Vella / Gerard J Borg)

Kinsman seems to be another artist who strives to improve every year; it shows that he's growing and maturing. Then again, as always, he's a little too 'Busted', yet the song is decent. The tune is Catchy yet nothing to write home about. "Woow woow" seems to be his motto, he always finds a way to sneak it into his songs, year after year. All in all, though, a decent performance. 

24. Betrayed – Davinia (E Zarb / Muxu)

I have this ambivalent feeling about Davinia. I think the dress could have been better, as this one had a bit of a tacky feel to it. She has a surprisingly appealing and sultry voice. I admit I liked the whole act. It was good all through I believe. She should make it through as I think it is a strong one. 


 

The Show (Part 2)

 

Now that we are done listening to the songs, the hosts have opened the tele-voting. People have 15 minutes to vote for their favourite act. And what do the televiewers get during this time? You get ads on end... and it seems this interval is turning into a rather prolonged one. Though I’m not that keen on it, I believe it would have been much better to have some sort of filler. 

 

The filler seems to have been sorted - we have a recap of the 24 songs.  

 

And now that the 15 minutes are over, the tele-voting has been closed ...to be followed, of course, with another long list of ads. 

 

After a longish chit-chat with the contestants, when everybody was expecting the finalists to be announced, Chris and Moira take to the stage. And hey, why do we even need to have tomorrow’s final? Moira sounds brilliant tonight - let’s all vote her in, shall we? 

 

After two great performances by Chris and Moira, Alex Alden performs a cover of Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony. I personally think this wasn’t a very wise choice; you don’t have an unplugged performance as one of the fillers in a national contest.  

 

Qualifiers

 

Betrayed – Davinia (E Zarb / Muxu)

 

Love-O-Holic – Deborah C (Bejerholm / Gerard J Borg)

 

Never Walk Away – Chris Grech (M Borg / P Borg / D Cassar Torreggianni / C Grech)

 

Us Against the World – Gianni (Boris Cezek / Dean Muscat)

 

Perfect Day – Janice DeBattista (Boris Cezek / Dean Muscat)

 

Ultraviolet – Jessika (T G:Son / Philip Vella / Gerard J Borg)

 

Too Little Too Late – Domenique (M Paelnick / M Strasser)

 

Starting from the End – Dorothy Bezzina (Kaxe / Gerard J Borg)

 

Wonderful Today – Petra & Richard (Wayne Micallef / Richard Micallef)

 

Tomorrow – Gianluca Bezzina (Boris Cezek / Dean Muscat)

 

Fall Like Rome – Richard Edwards (Kaxe / Philip Vella / Gerard J Borg)

 

Needing You – Kevin Borg (Borg / Gribbe / Thornholm / Attlerud / Clauss)

 

Superstar – Scar (Konrad Pule)

 

My Stranger Love – Corazon (Paul Giordimaina / Fleur Balzan)

 

When It’s Time – Claudia Faniello (Errol Sammut / C Faniello)

 

In Control – Amber (Paul Giordimaina / Fleur Balzan)

 

 

For televiewers, what proved to be the highlight of the show was the dismal sound quality throughout the first half of the show. Yet, all in all, I admit this evening showed a true improvement on previous years, probably due to the fact that artists who are not synonymous with the show participated for the first time, which improved the quality of the songs offered drastically. This also offered a bigger diversity in terms of song styles and genres, since lyricists and songwriters who used to write most of the songs in previous years seem to have lost their monopoly...

 

On the other hand, I must say the presenters did a better job this year. Yet, this is not because they were wittier or anything of the sort: they were just lucky that the elections are  round the corner. In fact, just to make sure that they combine two of the Maltese population's obsessions, they went all out with snide election remarks/jokes. It seemed funny at first, but then it all went floppy when they started stretching it. In a post-show press conference, it was revealed that the opening act in the final will be Superstar by Scar whilst the closing act will be Domenique with Too Little Too Late. The rest of the running order will be decided by the producers in the next couple of hours.

 

Source: TVM, escflashmalta.com

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