November 20, 2019

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The first semi-final of the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest has just come to an end and for the very first time in years it seems that the people are somewhat happy with the outcome in terms of qualifiers with ten (10) nations passing through to the next stage of the competition which will be held on Saturday evening where a total of twenty-six (26) countries will be competing to take home the honour of winning the prestigious music event which is the most followed non-sporting celebration in the world. From our standpoint it seems that our reviewers of the evening got most of the qualifiers right with Raquela managing to predict seven, Claudia managing to predict eight and Emil managing to get nine right. In the meantime, the experts and the readers of our website correctly predicted seven entries through this evening with Switzerland, Latvia and Finland put through instead of Russia, Albania and Moldova.

Just a reminder that this evenings' qualifiers were announced in no particular order. In the meantime, we would like to point out that the final envelope which has become the 'golden envelope' does not hold any special significance but they just wanted to add the suspense in general for the last qualifier which this year were none other than Jedward and their entry Waterline for Ireland. Here comes a reminder of the qualifiers this evening in the order that they were announced whilst we await the draw for their final starting positions to take place. The press conference is now being shown on the official website which you can follow here. The announcements will be made in the way that they were announced this evening.

Running Order in the Final

01. United Kingdom

02. Hungary

03. Albania

06. Russia

07. Iceland

08. Cyprus

09. France

10. Italy

13. Azerbaijan

14. Romania

15. Denmark

16. Greece

19. Spain

20. Germany

23. Ireland

26. Moldova

This evening marks the opening of the Eurovision Song Contest with the very first semi-final of the prestigious music event being staged from Baku, Azerbaijan and as one could have noted from the past couple of days, there is surely a lot of excitement building up as eighteen (18) countries will be competing against each other for one of the elite ten (10) spots which are very much up for grabs. The countries competing this evening are a mixture of East, West, North and even Central and that is why it makes up for an extremely interesting evening. We are definitely vying on making it even more interesting with three individuals signing up to do the live commentary including none other than our very own Emil Calleja Bayliss; an upcoming lyricist having just finished as the runner-up in the Għanja tal-Poplu competition, Claudia Faniello; the runner-up in this years' edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and also Raquela; who has taken part in the Malta Eurosong on three occasions thus far with fifth being her best result. 

Good Evening! Welcome to the live report of the very first semi-final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which is taking place in Azerbaijan following the victory of Ell & Nikki with their song Running Scared, the ballad which soared and impressed the tele-voters and the juries putting it in first place overall. Tonight, ten (10) countries will continue their journey on hoping to win the competition, some of which for the very first time. The hosts this evening are two extremely beautiful women known as Leyla and Nargiz as well as the charismatic Ell who was one half of the winning team last year. The rehearsals were very well this afternoon and yesterday and therefore, everyone is ready for the first semi-final. In Malta, we would like to remind you that the commentator for the evening will be none other than Elaine Saliba, a formidable hostess in this years' Malta Eurovision Song Contest and last years' Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza as well as Ronald Briffa who is a special guest.

LIVE 

The hosts are on stage with the ladies clad in beautiful black and red dresses whilst the male is wearing a black suit which really suits him. The staging looks incredible on the television screens. It seems that the English language has improved from the rehearsals and therefore, they have toned it down speaking in German, French, English. They introduce the Eurovision Song Contest and we are off with the performance. Enjoy the evening people!

01. Montenegro

Raquela: The Opening track is shocking and unexpected. The verses are in a jazzy tune and therefore somewhat interesting. I wish the concept was slightly more clear ... but in its complexity it seems like they're bringing euronews on stage. The product is too weird though overall.

Emil: Dark Vadar at the Eurovision Song Contest. If he is trying to be funny he is failing msierably. If I had a buzzer, I would be buzzing constantly as probably the sound of the buzzer is more interesting. A guy sing talking with a giant trojan horse behind is surely not the way to impress. Will probably go down as the WORST song in EUROVISION HISTORY!

Claudia: I just cannot believe this entry and do not know whether to comment or not. I just cannot help but thinking to put this on mute at this stage as this is a track which does make up the numbers this evening. I do admire that he wrote this entry himself. I do believe they could have sent something better.

02. Iceland

Raquela: Beginning with a good and strong orchestration...vocals sound smooth and sleek..Hearing this song...brings Evanescence to mind.. Layout of performers on stage looks good...vocals sound really good in sync! Loved her dress!! Gorgeous!

Emil: A big Eurovision drammatic ballad - an instant Eurovision fan favourite since the day it was chosen. The singers looked a bit scary but they warmed up throughout the performance. The stage movement could have been a little more creative though. Typical Eurovision performance and I loved it.

Claudia: I like the dramatic aspect of the song, I think melody is a bit weak though for my liking. In the begging it reminded me of a well known Irish song known. The vocals are strong and this should do well this evening.

03. Greece

Raquela: The tune is catchy...seems like a candy twist to Greek traditional music and the performer is a sexy lady with an extremely thin voice in my opinion. The overall package of dancers leaves much to be desired although they seemed to pull it off.

Emil: Back in 2005 they found a winning formula so they decided to replicate this Greece. Found a singer who looks like Helena Paparizou and sent her to Eurovision with a similar song and a simlar presentation. Having said that she's HOT and will get a number of votes based on that. The song's catchy and the vocal performance was decent although the backing singer helped her carrying it through. Always fun to listen to this type of music.

Claudia: This is something which we have heard quite a number of times before actually because it is a very typical entry from Greece. I do like this song though, the best thus far even though I do not like the vocals too much.

04. Latvia

Raquela: Desperate housewives goes to Eurovision....but love the glamour! Catchy tune, good vocals and a good combination of voices put together. In it's simplicity it's still catchy and who knows what will happen with this track this evening. Melody line is very strong and can be hummed easily.

Emil: When you think that Desperate Housewives finished, you meet the new Housewives at the Eurovision Song Contest. They seem to be really desperate and the creator of that choreography deserves to either die or else given an award for making the audience laugh their hands off. The song is catchy and kind of sweet but the presentation is LAME. Vocally was good but can't believe what I just saw, I guess when mid-life crisis hits you can go to Eurovision.

Claudia: Like how the performer refers to music as being her oxygen ... I do like the chorus but then again, the act is quite weak and not really a fan of the song. I love her vocals when she does the higher bits but I think it starts low for her voice.

05. Albania

Raquela: Well, as Elaine pointed out, hairstyle is quite over the top. I'm hoping this will turn into something beautiful. She executes a perfect vocal rendition, hitting every single note!!! Simply Amazing! I am literally in awe!Very expressive...I have goosebumps!

Emil: Albania sent the evil queen from Snow White. Her voice is AMAZING and it simply blew me away. I guess my dog doesn't agree with my commets as she was shaking her head throughout. She's very talented and the highly drammatic performance will surely be a hit. I guess the jury might save this tonight.

Claudia: I love love how she sings with so much passion, it's a real pity I can't understand what she's saying! Wonderful vocals! Her voice and passion has stolen my attention and that says a lot... Goosebumps!

06. Romania

Raquela: Positive energy radiates from this group!! I love the cohesive unit of bagpipes, accordian and saxophone and drum. Her dress looks so fresh...and the colours look great. Orange and gold....so sexy..the song brings happiness, good times and joy! Just makes me want to get up and dance!

Emil: I have to confess this is my ringtone and I love this song to bits. I think it can be a massive Summer hit and I won't be surprised if it wins the Eurovision but she needs a stronger vocal performance as tonight's performance left MUCH to be DESIRED as it was quite weak. The choreography is fun and you can dance along to the tune. I guess this will go down quite well with the Maltese.

Claudia: I absolutely love back-pipes. It has a typical romanian sound, I'm not a fan of the vocals. Didn't do much to me honestly because she was someone off beat at times this evening. It is just another song honestly.

07. Switzerland

Raquela: A good vocal rendition, and despite it being a band, the voice is quite defined. Hard to grasp lyrics completely. But the overall scene, loving the laser effect...compliments the song. Seems like a good response from the public.

Emil: Not a fan of this song. Although the tune is strong, the fact that they are singing in English and I can't understand what they're saying is a bit irritating. The crowd's got in it too. I don't think this will have a chance tonight - the jury can save it but I highly doubt it. It's not catchy enough that the public will remember this and vote for it.

Claudia: I love his voice, I think this song could be a hit. It's so modern. Maybe the Eurovision Song Contest isn't the proper stage for it though. I would rather imaging it in another type of showcase though. This was meant to be a radio hit and I would definitely vote for this.

08. Belgium

Raquela: Overall a good song but not for such a stage. The tune does not seem memorable enough and her dress is somewhat cute and girly. The build up was somewhat impressive actually.

Emil: Simply ballad and I guess the inspiration behind her outfit was fom Malta's own Danica Muscat as it looks very similar to her outfit at this year's Malta Eurovision. A sweet love song that few will remember at the end of the night. Simplicity was surely the key for Belgium but I guess it was a bit too simple for my liking.

Claudia: I'm not crazy about her vocals, it has an old sound to it which is very much like the past decade actually. The overall outcome is very forgettable. She is so young though and she must be enjoying this whilst feeling very emotional.

09. Finland

Raquela: Love the dress, colour and style! Good and fresh melody line. Very pleasant to listen to...seems to bring the Corrs back to life noting their hiatus. Despite being a ballad, it has definitely captured my attention...I wouldn't mind listening to this again..

Emil: Back to back ballads and the fact that this is in Swedish gives it an edge. The singer is beautiful and oozes charisma as she sings. She looks like a girl out of a fairytale and although I think it might struggle to make it through it is still classy and atmospheric. It is different and the traditional feel to it makes it special.

Claudia: The very beginning of this song actually reminded me of the track I'm With You by Avril Lavingne. I like the serenity that comes with her facial expression but the song in itself is weak but then again, I have a soft spot for strings, nothing else really.

10. Israel

Raquela: It's got a radio-like effect , playful quality!!! This is a track which reminds me a lot of the seventies. There is something amiably retro to it. 

Emil: Love the rhythm to this song. They all seem to be having fun performing this odd entry. They tried to be funny but at least they presented some decent to our ears. The girls on the piano looks like she's high and the singer looks really odd perhaps like the Mad Hatter from Alice & Wonderland. Still I like this one. I guess it will do well tonight. It will surely be a bordering on whether to qualify or not.

Claudia: Ohh, Israel decides to go boogie this year. It's sounds to me like an opening song of a Japanese cartoon from the 70/80s.

11. San Marino

Raquela: The beginning of this song seems promising and well it suddenly becomes cheesy pop. Seems like a group I'd hire for a kid's party. Brings to mind the Spice Girls!!!! Voices however were in sync and overall catchy tune.

Emil: San Marino thought that whatever they send won't have a chance to qualify and it seems they decided to go for the stupidiest song ever. Pity after last year's strong effort. The girl can sing but this song surely doesn't allow her to show it. They took social networking addiction to a new level. Please don't forget to like our Facebook page we need more LIKES.

Claudia: I hate the subject. How stupid, sorry for being blunt. The act and her outfit are just hideous and her laptop just looks absolutely stupid.

12. Cyprus

Raquela: A lot of energy and I just keep being stunned at her beauty!! Looks like an underwater effect. This does stand a chance to make it through this evening.

Emil: I love everything about this performance except the vocals. Under than that I truly think they everything is perfect. The choreography is fun, the girl is sexy and the backdrop was SPLENDID. One of the fan favourites and I guess the public has to save it tonight after that performance.

Claudia: This track could easily be a club summer song for students and I believe that the track is just too low for her voice. She's the best up-tempo song so far and could be a dark horse this evening. I did dance to it!

13. Denmark

Raquela: Good voice...lost for words..maybe reminds me of natasha bedingfield? I didn't get the overall theme. This is very middle of the road and it is a maybe qualifier this evening.

Emil: Nice, simply and catchy. A radio hit and since it contrasts really well with the one before it, it will do well. The whole group looks relaxed and they all look cute. I guess this will sail into the finals tonight and will secure another good result for Denmark. Nothing else to add. Simplicity is the key and it works.

Claudia: Breathe of fresh air... Very radio! It's modern and I love how she uses her voice. I like this a lot actually.This my favourite this evening. I love the bass in the song.

14. Russia

Raquela: Now we've got a folk experience....seems fun to watch, and there is strong applause from the public...mmm I wonder what's coming! Its a risk! Evolves into an unexpected beat...seems like a dance beat! surprise surprise. I wonder what will pop out of that oven.....hahaha......maybe a Christmas tree? and...its they are...fresh out of the oven...BUNS.

Emil: How can you make a Eurovision crowd go crazy!? Get six grannies from an old people's home and they will all go mad. The song is catchy and somehow their vocal performance tonight is much better in comparison to their performances throughout the week. The song is catchy and I can't believe I'm saying this but they have a STRONG chance to win this. Never thought I would end up loving this but I kind of do. It's my guilty pleasure.

Claudia: The melody is very catchy and it gets you going but it wouldn't be a song I'd vote for. Pero if I was there I'd dance to it and I would definitely wave my flag. This could do well ...

15. Hungary

Raquela: Strong melody line. The modulations are excellent.Love it love it love it. Rhythm is strong, catchy. Wish it never ends........Finally a tune to look forward to.. This is my favourite so far. Very very good feedback from the audience.

Emil: I guess this is going to get lost tonight. It's a radio friendly song and Eurovision isn't the place for such a song. It seems something was missing but I cannot figure out what it is. Pleasant but that's it.

Claudia: What a beautiful instrumental beginning. I like the music but it does not really go anywhere special. It's modern, I wouldn't mind listening to it on the radio while driving my beloved smart.

16. Austria

Raquela:  Not liking the dance...party anthem. Too repetitive for my liking...

Emil: HAHAHAHA - Call me weird but I like this song. It's very tongue in cheek and different to what we've seen before. Don't know on its chances tonight. Perhaps some of the viewers are going to find the booty shaking a bit too much but it's cool, fun and the crowd seem to be dancing to this tune. It was very well presented and probably a number of people would be shaking their booty in Paceville to this song.

Claudia: I just cannot believe this song. I am sorry but I prefer to mute and not comment on it.

17. Moldova

Raquela: Ahh love the costumes and contemporary dance!! In fact, I love the movement in the song. My favourite overall stage performance and setting!! Vocals are spot on, especially backing vocals!!!

Emil: Love Love Love it! Love the music, the crazy choreography and all that makes this song. It's very entertaining. Different and FUN! We need more songs like these. Fresh and funny yet not over the top. The backing dancers/singers look crazy in a fun way and I really feel like getting up to sing and dance along with them. I seriously hope they MAKE IT! Fingers crossed. GO MOLDOVA!

Claudia: I can't understand a word this guys is saying. It's a cute song but didn't impress me much.

18. Ireland

Raquela: Seems like they followed the concept of the song..... but nothing more to add. That's all folks.

Emil: Saving the best for the last. Such a catchy song. I felt myself singing a long and doing their fist pump. The performance was strong and it looked great on screen. JEDWARD's energy is unbelievable and this transmits well. Not a fan of the outfits though - they look like they came out of a Star Wars movie but I guess that's the only down point to an overall strong performance.

Claudia: It is quite a pity that Ireland sent them to Eurovision this year noting the many classics that they have sent over the years.

The Show (Part 2)

The hosts are back on stage to say that the songs have come to an end and to open up the tele-voting noting that a person can phone up to twenty votes from a land-line. In the meantime, the recap of the tracks is currently being shown on screens. Not too much time in order to vote, some fifteen minutes but remember, Malta does not vote in this semi-final.

Prediction

Claudia's Qualifiers:  Albania, Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Romania, Russia, Switzerland

Emil's Qualifiers: Albania, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Moldova, Romania, Russia

Raquela's Qualifiers: Albania, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Moldova, Romania, Switzerland

Qualifiers

01. Romania

02. Moldova

03. Iceland

04. Hungary

05. Denmark

06. Albania

07. Cyprus

08. Greece

09. Russia

10. Ireland

their respective preview videos and therefore, it is the time to commence our annual feature in which a set of professional individuals come together to comment on the songs competing in each round, marking them on an individual basis and then also choosing which songs they believe will ultimately qualify to the final night. The Critics Choice was initiated last year under a different name but has progressed slowly thanks to an undeniably stunning amount of professionals who have continuously supported our work.

 

The first semi-final seems to be quite open according to our set of critics who will be revealed momentarily. There seems to be a general consensus that the winner will not be coming out of this round of eighteen competitors yet nevertheless, there is some great work which can surely reach a high placing in the final. For the first semi-final, escflashmalta has decided to call upon three males, the first of which is Jan Van Dijck, the second being Knut-Oyvind Hagen and last but not least Max Persson. They come from The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden featuring a mixture of diverse backgrounds as will be seen.

Jan Van Dijck

Many Maltese might remember this name quite profusely noting that he has been in the finals of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest for the past two years as a songwriter to the songs performed by Richard Edwards who was given third place by the public on two consecutive years. His name is now written in stone having been the one to write Finally, the song which remains in the hearts of the Maltese public as the one which should have represented Malta. Nevertheless, the Dutch born composer has worked with other countries having been the person behind the Portuguese entry back in 1990 entitled Há sempre alguém. He also tried to represent Portugal once more in 2008 but his entry was pipped to second place thanks to Vania Fernandez who would go onto suceed in qualifying on behalf of Portugal for the very first time since the qualification system was put into place. At the moment, he is continuously working with Richard Edwards, with the hope of continuing to write tracks together, so that an album becomes somewhat possible.

Knut-Oyvind Hagen

In the past couple of years, the profile of Knut-Oyvind Hagen in the world of the Eurovision Song Contest has risen due to the fact that his entries have been garnering attention all over the continent. The one which the fans will surely remember is Rocket Ride from Norway performed by Jannicke Abrahamsen which reached the runner-up position back in 2007 when Guri Schanke and her song Ven a Bailar Conmingo' won the ticket. Nevertheless, another song which people will surely remember being written by him is the song Superhero performed by Sandra Oxenyrd in the finals of the Polish national selection the following year. The track was very popular with the fans yet did not manage to garner the ticket. This year, he submitted a song with local singer Kaya in the national final entitled Touched by an Angel and got through to the second phase before elimination. He is currently working with the Norwegian broadcaster, NRK within their music side and their participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Max Persson &  Salar Gorgees (Pitchtunes)

The final name is a collaboration between Max Persson and Salar Gorgees, one of the upcoming team of music producers in the Scandinavian country of Sweden at the moment. They are together, the co-owners of the company; Pitchtunes based in Stockholm and has most recently worked with the local music sensation and now of course, Swedish Idol winner; Kevin Borg. The track that they worked upon is known as Unstoppable and served as somewhat of a comeback track for the artist who is currently working on yet another album which should be released in due course. The most tentalisizing project that Max and Salar have worked on though in recent months apart from this is surely the track Hungover released on the album Original Me by Cascada who knows for a number of hits including What Hurts the Most, Everytime We Touch, Evacuate The Dancefloor and Truly Madly Deeply. Working with some of the stars in the business gives more of a coherent idea of what the industry is shaping up to be.

The first review will appear as of tomorrow, Monday 9th April and will be featuring Montenegro. It is quite interesting the way that the points went for the acts in the first semi-final. Stay tuned to www.escflashmalta.com as we bring you these comments, biographies, pictures and of course the official preview videos as presented to the European Broadcasting Union. We would like to personally thanks Jarmo Siim and the rest of the team behind the Eurovision Song Contest who have been so kind to aid us in this project for yet another year. Be ready to read some scintillating comments and then on the night of the first semi-final, a live review by one of our editors and local singer Raquela. Stay tuned!

Published in Editorials

Our coverage of the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is currently being planned out noting that a number of our editorial board members will be making their way to Baku, Azerbaijan with another batch of individuals working from their respective home base, tending to the needs of the website wherever possible especially with an extensive brand new design which also provides a new identity to escflashmalta in general. As has been the case since our inception, there is the idea of promoting the local artist and thus, two of the leading ladies in the local music scene have been appointed to be special guests during the respective commentaries of the first semi-final and the final of this years' musical event. The first of the two is none other than Raquela.

Raquela is quite a household name to the fans of the Eurovision Song Contest in Malta having taken part in the finals on two occasions, the first coming in 2009 when she performed the song 'Crossroads' composed by Philip Vella and penned by Gerard James Borg and the second being 'If I Could Do It All Again' composed by Marc Paelinck and penned by Matthias Strasser. Apart from this achievements, the talented artist has also been to Italy to perform with the legend that is Gigi D'Alessio during one of his concerts whilst in recent weeks, she also got the opportunity to perform with Critically Acclaimed Dance Music Duo; Tenishia who despite being Maltese are well known in a number of countries. Raquela is looking to break the barriers of the local music scene by working on a number of new songs which can break into the radio scene hence her last single 'Entertain Me' which succeeded in her aim by virtue of making it into the top ten at Bay Radio. It is an honour to have an artist of grand stature with us and we will sure try to be critical and on point as much as possible. Stay tuned to www.escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCNb8tDp8R4