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Friday, 15 February 2013 19:48

Malta: Comic Duo Cover 'Tomorrow'

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. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVImc-3ppek

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

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 16:55

Eurovision 2013: Sketch of Stage Revealed

Following the success of Euphoria performed by Loreen on behalf of Sweden at the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, the Scandinavian country will be playing host to the annual music event for the fifth time in history. Innovation is the key behind every success and this years' edition of the international competition will surely prove to be a stepping stone to SVT, the host broadcaster who has always shown true professionalism whilst hosting their selection known as Melodifestivalen. Keeping their cards close to their chest, the production team has officially unveiled their first sketches of the stage which will be the highlight of two weeks of rehearsals and performances in May.

Martin Österdahl, Executive Producer of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest has spoken our in favour of creating a design which will unite the audience with the artists, wanting to create an intimate feel which is still spectacular in a manner that one has 'never experienced before'. A large part of the arena floor will be taken over by a stage and a catwalk which will look very reminiscent of the competitions hosted in Tallinn back in 2002, Helsinki in 2007 and Oslo in 2010 but nevertheless, SVT have promised that this will be a bigger showcase, one which despite the intimate feel will go beyond expectations. As a matter of fact, the team behind the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest is made up of Martin Österdahl, Executive Producer; Christer Björkman, Show Producer; Christel Tholse Willers, Relations Manager; and Johan Bernhagen, Production Manager. The scenographers are none other than Viktor Brattström and Frida Arvidsson.

Malta will be competing in the first half of the second semi-final with Tomorrow, co-written between Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat with vocals provided by Gianluca Bezzina having been selected through a panel of judges and tele-voting. This years' edition of the event will take place on the 14th, 16th and 18th of May at the Malmö Arena in Malmö, Sweden. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest as well as the Maltese participation which is being lead by the Public Broadcasting Services, members of the European Broadcasting Union.

Source: Eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io9GNF5IJ2Y

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. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONfd_rHtL74

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

Published in Local Music News
Saturday, 09 February 2013 23:00

Malta: The Journey Towards Malmö Begins

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: PBS, ONE TV, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io9GNF5IJ2Y

Friday, 08 February 2013 13:53

Malta: Gianluca Bezzina on Xarabank Tonight

In less than a week, Gianluca Bezzina has become a leading figure in the local music industry following his victory at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the song Tomorrow co-written between Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat. He has stated on a number of occasions that he never even expecred to make it through to the final selection show on Saturday and had to take the day off only in the morning but nevertheless, foreign critics have been extremely positive and we'll be rounding up some of the most notable names in the industry for a secondary verdict on his track which is going down extremely well. Tonight, he will be making an appearance on the popular programme, Xarabank hosted by Peppi Azzopardi and produced by Where's Everybody.

The details of the programme are quite secretive but nevertheless, this will be an important show due to the fact that the audience are yet to get to know Gianluca Bezzina better and one could definitely get the element that this is a similar year to 2010, when Thea Garrett who had won with the song My Dream had been relatively unknown to the music scene. The runners-up of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest being, Kevin Borg with the track Needing You and Davinia Pace with Betrayed have both gone on record stating that they are fully behind the winning entry and that Gianluca will carry the audience with his charisma. Public perception was a bit strayed in the beginning of the week but nevertheless, as expected, rallying behind the winner is somewhat normal and indeed, everyone is fully supportive of Gianluca Bezzina and his track Tomorrow which will compete in the first part of the second semi-final at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. You could see this evenings' programme on TVM at 20:45 CET and stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.
 
Sources: Where's Everybody, escflashmalta.com
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TQhOXowNa8
Published in Local Music News
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 16:10

Radio International: Special Programme Tonight

The Team of Radio International is back from sunny Malta and invites you to the weekly Ultimate Eurovision Experience. Apart from the means of FM Radio in the Netherlands on FM 106.8 and the audio stream from the studio via www.radiointernational.tv and on Digital Cable 781 & cable 88.1Mhz in the Netherlands, the show will also be web-televised via the Radio International TV Channel from the studio and linking up the many international Eurovision fans and friends and play your requests and read your messages out on air. The simulcast will be from 2000 – 2300 hours CET when Eurovision fans can join in and chat amongst each other via the Chat Room and request their favourite Eurovision entry.

This weeks' focus of Radio International is definitely on the Malta Eurovision Song Contest which was indeed won by none other than a debutant in the form of Gianluca Bezzina with the song Tomorrow co-written by Dean Muscat and Boris Cezek We had the opportunity to have a chat with the twenty-three year old doctor about his experience in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and the track itself which is very cheerful. Well mannered, and spoken like a true gentlemen, he paid tribute to the artists that competing saying he just wanted to get through to the show on Saturday night. Nevertheless, at the post-result afterparty, we also had a chat with last years' representative, Kurt Calleja who was relishing his status to someone new. This Is The Night was quite the hit in Baku, Azerbaijan where it qualified and received eight (8) points from the nations' voting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XVmeA3pPpA

In the meantime, moving slightly away from Malta, there will also be another three interviews on the show, two conjoined into one because it features Christer Bjorkman and Edward Af Sillen who speak to Radio International about the challenges that the country faces in terms of hosting the Eurovision Song Contest and the Melodifestivalen noting that the standard of both has to be high considering the viewing figures of both shows in the nation. Scandinavian countries are known to follow the event in large numbers and therefore, production values have to be quite strong. One of the earlier acts to be chosen this year is also Emmelie de Forest with Only Teardrops and we had the chance to get a word with her as well thanks to our colleagues from escXtra.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KeiXPxUodw

Radio International is always keen to present songs during the show apart from the weekly features and therefore, collaborating the two ideas together will see the emergence of Eurovision UnverCover whereas tracks performed at the Eurovision Song Contest will be covered by other singers. The actual tracks will be played first followed by the cover and this will make things interesting. Apart from this feature which will officially commence as of tomorrow, there will be new material played on the show by a number of former representatives. All of the latest news is also covered during the weekly broadcast noting resources from escflashmalta.com and escXtra where Luke Fisher, the Editor makes a weekly round-up. The same applies with Dermot Manning who confirms national finals and this week, he turns to Lithuania and Switzerland. Follow the show through the official website and also send your requests through the contact link which is found on the aforementioned website.

Source: Press Release

Gianluca Bezzina is the twenty-three year old doctor who will be representing Malta in the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Malmö, Sweden. Despite being a relative newcomer to the competition, he has been around for the past three years as the lead vocalist of the indie/alternative band known as Funk Initiative whose debut single Paris was a smash hit on the local radio stations including a number #1 chart position on 89.7 Bay. In 2011, they were nominated for the Best Newcomer Awards at the Malta Music Awards and the Bay Music Awards respectively and this gave them the courage to continue and more singles were released including The Liberators and My Robot Monkey Army Is Better Than Yours.

Following his victory at the 2013 Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the song Tomorrow co-written by Dean Muscat and Boris Cezek, escflashmalta.com had the opportunity to chat with Gianluca about what being in the competition felt to him especially denoting that this was his debut, following in the footsteps of his sister Dorothy who was taking part for the fourth year. The video interview deals with the upcoming preparations as they head onto Malmö, Sweden where he will be competing in the first half of the second semi-final alongside a host of nations including recent winners; Azerbaijan and Norway amongst others. The editorial board of escflashmalta.com would like to wish Gianluca, his onstage and offstage team and the Public Broadcasting Services, the very best of luck with their endeavours.

Source: escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lGhHaFSDyU

Published in Interviews
Sunday, 03 February 2013 12:10

MESC 2013: An Analysis of the Final Night

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

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

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5WFikKd8A8

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

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdCVLuz-dLo

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

Source: Emil Calleja Bayliss (image)

Published in Editorials
Saturday, 02 February 2013 23:00

Malta: Gianluca Bezzina Heading to Malmö

The Malta Eurovision Song Contest has truly become a spectacle for people of all ages to enjoy because the genres represented during these past two evenings have managed to attract the attention of many. The semi-final left a lot to be desired in terms of transmission quality but one could definitely note the improvements that took place during these past couple of hours. All of the sixteen (16) acts were treated equally, with rehearsals taking place this morning to iron out the respective issues that might have arose. Nevertheless, following an enchanting evening hosted by Elaine Saliba and Gordon Bonello, the winner was evident with Gianluca Bezzina and his entry Tomorrow co-written between Dean Muscat and Boris Cezek.

 

Full Results

92 points: Tomorrow - Gianluca Bezzina

80 points: Needing You - Kevin Borg 

48 points: Betrayed - Davinia Pace

47 points: In Control - Amber

42 points: Never Walk Away - Chris Grech

37 points: Wonderful Today - Petra & Richard

20 points: When It's Time - Claudia Faniello

19 points: Ultraviolet - Jessika

17 points: Love-O-Holic - Deborah C

13 points: Perfect Day - Janice DeBattista

12 points: Superstar - Scar

11 points: My Stranger Love - Corazon

10 points: Fall Like Rome - Richard Edwards 

9 points: Us Against the World - Gianni 

6 points: Starting from the End - Dorothy Bezzina

2 points: Too Little Too Late - Domenique

Gianluca Bezzina is the lead singer of the band Funk Initiative which has garnered a lot of positive acclaim in recent months, releasing successful singles Paris and The Liberators which both managed to make it to the top ten on 89.7 Bay. He is also the brother of Dorothy Bezzina who was also competing during the evening with another track entitled Starting from the End composed by Magnus Kaxe and penned by Gerard James Borg. Gianluca Bezzina never entered the Malta Eurovision Song Contest before and managed to conquer with his debut, which is an impressive feat and similar to what Thea Garrett had achieved back in 2010 with her entry My Dream. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the Maltese participation in the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 taking place in Malmö, Sweden where Malta will be competing in the first half of the second semi-final.

Source: PBS, escflashmalta.com, Emil Calleja Bayliss (Image)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdCVLuz-dLo
Saturday, 02 February 2013 17:30

Malta Eurovision 2013: The Final - LIVE

For the past twenty-five years, Malta has selected entries which have achieved various results, including close first runner-ups in 2002 and 2005 respectively, but nevertheless, in a minority when it comes to the non-winners' circle alongside nations such as Iceland, Cyprus, Albania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Portugal, Moldova and Belarus amongst others. This time round, our nation will be sending the twenty-sixth representative from a field of sixteen (16) entries which were shortlisted from an earlier list of twenty-four (24) as performed during the semi-final last night. The chosen act will hopefully follow in the footsteps of Kurt Calleja who qualified for the final with his track This Is The Night last year. The Malta Eurovision Song Contest has become something of a tradition in the past couple of years and despite the technical issues yesterday, one will be hoping for a much smoother transmission this evening!

This years' edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest is being broadcast through TVM, TVM 2 with special commentary by Norman Vella and Rodney Gauci, Radju Malta with commentary by Frederick Zammit and also through the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest. The hosts for the evening will be Elaine Saliba and Gordon Bonello whose roles will surely be larger this evening considering that they will be interviewing each of the sixteen (16) acts that made it through to the final. Rodney Gauci will also be doing a number of backstage interviews during the show in order to give the audience, a behind the scenes element. A number of special guests will be taking to the stage this evening including; Gorġ u Pawlu with the song Hot & Famous, the Swiss representatives; Heilsarmee who will be singing their entry You and Me, Kurt Calleja who is set to do a medley of original and cover songs and last but not least, the cast of D.R.E.A.M.S who will be opening the show with a medley of original songs in Maltese.

All right, the show is ON! The cast of DREAMS have taken to the stage... but those watching the commented version have been taken to the side to listen Norman and Rodney, blabbing. If “Majestuz, kbir” are the sort of comments we’ll be having, then I rather doubt many will be watching it on TVM2. OK, Norman, you’ve already cracked this joke. No need to keep telling us about Anton making you comment in exchange of a 2 free tickets. Will this commented version really be a side-watch of these two blabbing away? We’re missing out on the whole show. Please! 


It seems to have hit them, finally. We’re now watching the DREAMS cast giving what I can call a splendid performance. It’s cool to have this sort of Medley in a fun manner. Thumbs up to DREAMS - great opening! 

I can’t, for the life of me, follow this commented version. I wouldn’t mind skipping half the show if these two were really good at it. But they are wooden. The comments are, well, non-existent and they really look tacky with people just popping by to say something. Off to TVM, as it’s the show I’m interested in, anyway.  

Gordon and Elaine seem set to give a better show tonight. No, I have to take that one back... it’s too rehearsed. Elaine replies to the jokes before they are even completely spoken. It’s also looking a tad too wooden. And what do you do when you’re stuck? Well, you ask Carlo Borg Bonaci to save you, of course. Actually, this gets me thinking. Why couldn’t he have been the host? He’s great personality, really. Just a couple of lines and the ice has now been totally broken.  

Running Order

01. Superstar - Scar (Konrad Pule)

Scar gave a good show; the whole performance is convincing, with very strong stage presence. The leading singer is enjoyable and there’s utmost harmony in the group. In Calvin Klein laid-back looks, this cool pop-rock act is a twist you simply need to have in such a final. There’s nothing too fancy - and that’s surely a plus. Having said that, upon listening to the song more than once, you realise there’s very little to it. The structure and the idea work well, but you get the feeling there is something missing. I like it, yet it would have to undergo some serious arrangements in order to be deemed strong. As it is, it’s too much of a hey-it’s-good-but-nothing-major.  

02. Starting from the End - Dorothy Bezzina (Magnus Kaxe / Gerard James Borg)

One cannot overlook the great chorus of this song, it accompany’s Dorothy beautifully: it simply puts the song on an altogether higher level. Today’s performance, if possible, seems even stronger! You simply have got to love how Dorothy seems to play with the vocals with such ease; something to be truly appreciated in such contests. You can really feel the energy coming your way with the melody. Yet, though it was to be expected that the song would go through to the final, I think it will be hard for Dorothy to be Malta’s envoy: this is surely not the singer’s fault, but merely the song’s. It seems to me it lacks that little something which makes you say “that’s it!”  

03. My Stranger Love - Corazon (Paul Giordimaina / Fleur Balzan)

 

You can tell Corazon is doing her best to deliver. She has a good command of the voice; she knows how to work with it. It literally sounds like something coming out Disney! And yet, could anyone tell me what the song is really saying? I cannot quite put my finger on it: yes, there are many flowery words and all, but you can’t impress with that, can you? Also, the dress just didn’t work here. In fact, it looks so much better while she sits at the piano (rather Alicia Keys kind of thing if you ask me). Unfortunately, though I don’t mind it all that much, the history of the Eurovision works against this act: hardly do you see such songs doing well. All in all, I quite doubt she’ll be a high-flyer tonight. 

04. Ultraviolet - Jessika (Thomas G:Son / Philip Vella / Gerars James Borg)

Jessica simply loves the Eurovision - this is the first thing you notice once she takes to the stage (that and her hair look, very edgy, actually!) The singer oozes energy from all her pores. I like the singer more than I like her song, which doesn’t really tickle my fancy. Unfortunately, I don’t think this particular song does her justice; it comes across as if she’s straining her voice, though at some instances it strangely becomes really appealing and convincing. Possibly that’s the swedish element by G:Son...which could ultimately do well in Sweden this year. The song needs to be re-touched and enhanced in many aspects. As it is, I believe the song won’t place among the top ones. I must concede, though, that today’s performance was so exceedingly better than yesterday’s! 

05. Us Against the World - Gianni (Boris Cezek & Dean Muscat)

 

Gianni’s vocal range is limited, so you can easily notice he struggles with certain notes. However, this doesn’t really make you dislike the song. Actually, the very chilled feel that comes off that stage when Gianni and his band are at it is somehow pleasing. I think it evokes a something-Indie-like feel, which is rather nice on the ear. The only thing is that when you listen to the song per se you would imagine someone younger singing it. Though it’s generally good, I think it wouldn’t perform well in Sweden.  

06. Betrayed - Davinia (Elton Zarb / Muxu)

 

If you wouldn’t be looking at the TV, then you would just have to do it once Davinia starts singing. She has a peculiarly sultry voice, which really breaks the routine. I think that in reality, more than to the song itself, people listen to the daunting voice. I'm in a bit of a predicament, I think that on the whole I’m rather happy with the diversity this song has to offer. It’s very cool and in, and you can’t dispute that. The song will have to be enhanced and given a stronger feel to it. It really wouldn’t displease me if this act flies to the top.  

07. Needing You - Kevin Borg (Borg / Gribbe / Thornholm / Attlerud / Clauss)

 

Kevin is a strong singer. His winning the Swedish Pop Idol sort of proves that. It is exactly because you’d have high expectations that you would be looking forward to a really strong song. This is a hooking ballad, but I would say it has a bit of an old feel to it. The whole show was a good one; the voice, the lyrics, the melody. I can’t quite understand the purpose of having that model/dancer coming out at the last bit of the show, though... that’s surely an unnecessary element. I tried making myself like the song more, especially because I believe tonight's was much stronger and it stands a very good chance of making it to Sweden (at least if all that clapping and people standing is anything to go by), but I just cannot fall in love with it. Oh well.  

08. Fall Like Rome - Richard Edwards (Magnus Kaxe / Philip Vella / Gerard James Borg)

I really believe Richard has a beautiful voice; and his immaculate diction just renders his singing even more hooking. The looks are good - laid-back, yet stylish. That’s exactly what this sort of song asks for. I have my reservations when it comes to the song per se. I was expecting Richard to present us with something better and altogether stronger. The lyrics are too loaded, and I feel sort of confused in trying to grasp what it’s saying. The melody is very good and his falsetto skills are rather good (though yesterday they seemed more evident). Today's performance was dirtier than yesterday, also. But Richard is one of those who could have the so-called ‘package’ - but that will demand some thorough work on the arrangements.  

09. Perfect Day - Janice DeBattista (Boris Cezek & Dean Muscat)

Janice has a pleasing voice, but I can’t really get through to the song. I don’t like what she’s done with the attire and all... it almost looks dull. I think that such a young singer could play more with it. As for the song, it just doesn’t do it for me. I’m bored all through. Most of the others are head and shoulders above this one. I think it would get lost in the crowd were to be Malta’s envoy. It’s something you listen to just one - if at all. 

10. Love-O-Holic - Deborah C (Johan Bejerholm / Gerard James Borg)

This is the typical cliché you would be happy to have missed, then it pops up on TV and it knocks you down. There’s really nothing much I have to say about this one. I’m just surprised to find it in the final. I think that the semis were already too much of a present. When the song starts you think it’s so bad that it just has to get better. Alas, it really doesn’t. I concede that Deborah looks very natural on stage, but that’s not enough. Having said that, I believe this song is one of those you can either love or hate. I belong to the latter group. 

11. When It's Time - Claudia Faniello (Errol Sammut / Claudia Faniello)

 

Claudia is one of the few singers who gets better as an artist with each passing year. I don’t like the outfit much; I can’t seem to place it. I like the song and the music. Her rock-like voice blends in very well. The chorus is also a catchy factor in this one. All in all, it’s a song you want to listen to, and today’s performance was more powerful! However, I believe it needed some more work in reality. She should do well, yet it’s not this year’s winning song. It lacks that final convincing element. 

12. Tomorrow - Gianluca Bezzina (Boris Cezek & Dean Muscat)

Gianluca’s personality is as infectious as is his song: I honestly believe it has all the prerequisites. And I'm even more convinced after today's performance! The song has good lyrics and melody, and the vocal range of the singer perfectly accompanies the whole act. In reality, there is nothing really ground-breaking with the song, but with everything seemingly falling into place, you just get to like it and, well, you have to sing along. Some have said it’s not very Eurovision-friendly, but I wholly disagree with that. I think it could stand out in the crowd were it to make it. Come on, Gianluca, win! (And take Dorothy with you, for the backing! Yes!) 

13. Never Walk Away - Chris Grech (Grech / P Borg / M Borg / D Cassar Torreggiani)

I understand the hype surrounding this song/singer. He has great vocal skills in reality. The husky voice gives a nice feel to the song. The laid-back look is also welcome. If I have to come clean, however, I would say that the song lacks a proper climax. I listened to it all because what he does with the voice is really good. I think that with a good arrangement, this pop-rock one could easily become a radio hit. It definitely stands a good chance tonight, and it’s indeed one of my faves.  

14. Wonderful Today - Petra & Richard (Wayne Micallef / Richard Micallef)

I like Richard. I like Petra. But I don’t like them together here. I think Petra’s solo should’ve made it instead of this one. It was definitely stronger. The voices don’t seem to blend well together. Petra seemed overpowering to me. I am not too keen on the chorus, either. I was never too fond of duets, as it takes a special something for it to work as expected. Sadly, I didn’t see that tonight. 

15. In Control - Amber (Paul Giordimaina / Fleur Balzan)

Amber has great stage presence; she seems really comfortable up there. Unfortunately, I don’t think the attire has helped her much; nor did that of the backing vocalists’. It seems to me there was too much going on. She is usually the sort of singer you wouldn’t forget.  Well, after tonight, we’ll remember her for sounding a tad too sharp (not really in control) - better than yesterday, granted, but still not 100%. In any case, I don’t think this particular song breaks much ground. It has a good flow to it, yes, but that won’t work enough wonders.  

16. Too Little Too Late - Domenique (Marc Paelinck / Matthias Strasser)

I feel there’s hardly anything appealing about this act. The singer looks much older than she is. I can’t understand why they would make her go for such heavy makeup, jewellery and hair-do - she’s a pretty girl, and that’s evident. Overdoing was counterproductive.  The song just doesn’t convince me: it’s too much of a sombre ballad and she seems to find it difficult to change register. At times she was completely off. Again, there were much better songs that could’ve been here instead of this one. 
 

The Show (Part 2)

So the 16 acts are now over. Everything ran smoothly tonight, so the singers seem very pleased. In fact, after a recap to refreshen the audience’s memory, we are now being taken on a tour among the participants. And of course, we have a comfy, laid-back chit-chat with all of them. 
 

Time’s up! Tele-voting has now been closed. We’re taken back for some more small chat with the 16 contestants who, with each passing minute, look more and more anxious. In reality, this is the moment I dread the most. You get bombarded with loads of adverts, which ultimately just tire you out and make you contemplate whether you should just change channel or not. 

Seems like Petra and Richard’s wasn’t the only duet for the night. Gorg and Pawlu have now joined Elaine on stage and they seem to be prepared to perform their long-awaited Hot and Famous. All right, it’s just a rip-off of Gangnam Style and Slamdog Millionnaire. Mediocre, really. Some music playing, a lot of people dancing in the background and Rodney and Gordon disguised as Gorg and Pawlu. I may be very difficult to please, but whoever thought this would be fun was incredibly mistaken..so it’s really bad when Elaine asks for a “capcipa kbira”!  

OK, taking the stage now are the act representing Switzerland in this year’s Eurovision. I believe that if we make the right choice, we could actually do better than them.  Following is Kurt Calleja ...and he seems to have decided to go for a big performance. Well, albeit not impeccable (OK, you're right, it's a showcase of how-to-be-off), it has at least helped shake off the dullness that was about the engulf this second part of the night. 

Funnily enough, though we are still awaiting the results, it is being rumoured on another website that Amber is the winner. The website has since removed the page and it stated it was a technical error. Well, we'll soon discover that - the judges are now announcing their votes! 

Gianluca Bezzina is now leading the show, for the judges seem to have chosen him over Kevin Borg (who won the public vote). And it is with Carlo Borg Bonaci that we've had the confirmation - 


I cannot be any happier in announcing that GIANLUCA BEZZINA is the winner! Tomorrow will be representing Malta in Sweden! The audience doesn't seem all that happy, as the clapping has gone missing after Kevin Borg was confirmed first runner-up. 


Finally, 
One cannot not give credit to PBS when this is due. Tonight’s show ran smoothly - the sound, too, worked well. It’s good to see they have worked hard to make sure there wouldn’t be any snags today (unlike yesterday’s!) But that is where the praise starts and ends.  

 

What about the ‘jokes’? Don’t you think they were just as tacky? I saw no wit and no fun there. Of course, they couldn’t possibly harp on about politics: their bee in the bonnet must have been given some fresh air. (To which we all said “yaaayyy”, right?) Then we had: “liii tenk god ma libsitiex Carina” - Seriously, Gordon? Did you actually think that was a sharp one? No, throwing a jibe at Carina here and there just didn’t save the day. Nor did those crappy poems. Who comes up with these ‘brilliant’ ideas? 

 

I also think Elaine Saliba, despite being an adorable girl, just isn’t cut for this kind of thing. I still believe that Valerie Vella should host this show. She is polite, elegant and knows how to be pungent, without ever crossing the line. 

 

However, tonight we had an extra. We had the commented version on TVM2. I had to go back and forth to check what great work they were doing on the other side... and well, each time I was let down. You simply have to ask it: why, exactly, would they have a commented version without having decent commentators? Norman Vella may have been blessed with many things, but pungent remarks aren’t among that list.  

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