December 12, 2019

Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me

Create an account

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.
Name *
Username *
Password *
Verify password *
Email *
Verify email *
Captcha *
Reload Captcha
×

Warning

JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 200

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.  

Friday, 01 February 2013 18:30

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

One of the countries that has proven to be quite successful in recent years has been Iceland having managed to reach the final each and every year since 2008 when they were represented by the duo known as Euroband and their song 'This Is My Life'. Since then, things have gone quite well for the small nation even finishing as the first runner-up thanks to Yohanna and the song 'Is It True?'. Their annual selection process is entitled 'Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins' and tends to feature some impressive tracks, some of which have been left by the wayside in recent years. Therefore, it will be quite interesting to see how things will develop this evening.


The showcase which will ultimately be featuring seven acts, two (2) of which made it from each respective semi-final and another one (1) which was chosen by an internal jury as a second chance type of track. The show can be watched through a number of methods, including a webcast through the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest or through the official website of the broadcaster. It is one of the late starting events actually commencing at 21:30 CET although there will surely be some interesting acts guest starring this evening. Stay tuned with ESCflashmalta which will be bringing you the live report of the show.

The Show (Part 1)

And the show kicks off with Hera Bjork and her stunning voice doing a medley of past entries including 'Molitva' (Serbia 2007) and 'Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi' (Switzerland 1987). After which we have the 2 presenters introducing the whole show - with a rather dull setting. After a moment of severe technical problems, the lady presenter in frills, and her counterpart, announce to us the first performance.

Running Order

Heiða and Guðrún Árný – Aldrei sleppir mér

The two singers dressed a là greek goddess, are not as impressive as they would have been with better attire - with the white stage doing nothing to help them. The voices are very melodic and in harmony with each other. It gives out a rather angelic feel to the whole song. The backing vocalists are also impeccably complementing the leading singers. The overall effect is rather strong and one could say it’s rather flowing, yet it lacks that je ne sais pas!

Magni Ásgeirsson – Hugarró

The singer is clearly underdressed, even for such a laid-back, soft-rock song. The vocals are rather good, and he does his best to deliver. The overall presentation lacks character. The band in the background does its part, yet they should’ve given more prominence. The song is nevertheless quite enjoyable, something you could listen to over and over. Indeed, were it to win, a greater effort must be put in to render the whole performance better.

Rósa Birgítta Ísfeld – Stund með þér

This song opens with a gorgeous retro-feel to it. She has a good voice and very good stage presence. The whole setting is very reminiscent of the 60s Dolce Vita. That see-through top should’ve been avoided for it doesn’t really complement the whole picture. The floral-fascinator on her hair is, on the other hand, is a good add. the dancers and the abstract, for want of a better word, are also very enjoyable. The song is a really good one - it would certainly stand out. There’s work needed, yet the overall performance deserves attention!

Simbi og Hrútspungarnir – Hey

The song opens with one of the four singers sitting on wooden goat. It’s the folklore-kind-of-song, which is further accentuated by the shabby clothing melody. The voices are very melodic and in harmony, yet the rhythm and tones are very boring. The backdrop, with what seem to be pictures of their country, is not helpful at all. On the whole, the song lacks climax and thus takes you nowhere. Nonetheless, it was greatly appreciated by the audience in the theatre.

BREAK

The show is on a little break, and the whole theatre seems extremely dull. Very dark and nothing going on meanwhile. It looks rather cheap when seen like this actually. The break is now over, and Regina is off to take the stage!

Regína Ósk – Hjartað brennur

This beautiful singer, wearing a very flowy dress, has a gorgeous voice. The performance is rather simple and easy-going, which makes you like it even more. The backing vocalists utterly complement the singer and the song. The singer’s vocal are stupendous and the there’s good climax to it. The melody is indeed catchy and you just got to like the whole package. It’s actually a very Eurovision song - and it would be a good contender.

Blár Opal – Stattu upp

This song promptly catches your attention. It’s a fun, moving song, with which you have to move yourself. It’s a rather interesting boy-band, so to speak. Out of the four, only one is decently dressed for the night - the others are quite boring to look at. Moreover, while the song is per se rather catchy, the overall vocals are definitely boring and tedious. It shouldn’t make it to the top 3.

Greta Salóme and Jónsi – Mundu eftir mér

This quite good-looking couple, very elegantly dressed, is a joy to look at. It’s a gorgeous duet. Their vocals are fantastically matched and coordinated. The impeccable setting is also an extra, because it gives the whole performance a very alluring charm. And when she plays the violin, the magic reaches its apex. The backing vocalists do their job magnificently. There’s not much to say, really. It’s clearly a winning song. The whole performance cannot be faulted and flaws are nowhere to be seen. It would be a brilliant act to have at the Eurovision.

The Show (Part 2)

And with that we have just watched all 7 acts. Some have been more stunning than others, and from some others we were expecting a much better performance. Indeed, the biggest downer of tonight’s show was the choice of presenters. They never seemed happy to be on that stage - looked rather gloomy actually. It wasn’t, however, just the presenters that lacked that extra touch. The theatre per se had a dull vibe to it. Nothing fabulous - something which is usually expected of such shows. Finally, one must also comment on the extremely long postcards, which consisted of practically never-ending interviews.

We are now on a break and it’s quite a pitiable, really. Rather than bringing someone else for the entertainment, the presenter himself has just started singing. He may well be a good singer, yet he’s the host of the show and not some jack of all trades of the show. Besides, the performance leaves much to be desired. There have been quite a lot of recaps this evening which is quite astonishing as we have now passed the quarter past eleven mark and are still waiting for the results. The tele-voting period has just come to a close! Last year, Aftur Heim represented Iceland and some moments from winning are shown as well, noting the tragic demise of the original singer. His family are also on stage to relive the memory of a result.

Top Two

  1. Greta Salóme and Jónsi – Mundu eftir mér
  2. Blár Opal – Stattu upp
Saturday, 14 January 2012 18:53

Latvia: Second Set of Finalists Revealed

Last week marked the beginning of a journey for the Baltic nation of Latvia with the very first semi-final featuring ten acts out of which only five (5) remain in the competition. The system for the second semi-final will be exactly the same with yet another ten (10) entries going head to head against each other in the hope of making the final which is set to take place on the 18th February 2012. Many people noted that last week did not include the best songs this year so there is hope that a rough diamond is found.

Tonight the second semi-final is taking place and expectations are definitely higher this time round as some of the most notable names in the industry are going to be competing against each other. Once more the result will be noted down by both the people and the jury. Latvia were once an extremely formidable nation coming into the competition with a runner-up finish back in 2000 thanks to Brainstorm and their song 'My Star'. They would eventually keep on trying and win in 2002 thanks to Marie N and her entry 'I Wanna' pipping Ira Losco and Malta to second position. You can watch the live streaming of this semi-final though this link whilst also following our live report.

The Show

The night has just been declared open. The two presenters are nicely dressed. Especially the elaborate yet one-coloured scheme silk dress of her. The man should have gone for another shade for his tie, as too much black is overpowering. The stage seems to be too dull, unfortunately.

Running Order

01. Niks Dukurs & NBC - Sweet for me (Music - Miks Dukurs, Lyrics - Miks Dukurs, Georgijs Girbu)

The singer is wearing a nice suit, which would have been appropriate had it not been for the pea-soup colour combination. And the overly-big bow-tie. His voice is rather good and he keeps a good standard all through, even though the diction is not the best one could listen to. The dancer (looking like an overly-abused Marie Antoinette figure) and the rappers are a bit too much to see all at one go. There’s mismanagement of the space provided. Would love to see the performance on a bigger stage.

02. Valters Gleske & Liba Ece - Better world (Music - V Gleske, Maris Orehovs, Lyrics - Valters Gleske)

The ballad opens with the guy singing in this alluring voice, reminding me a lot of Malta’s Lawrence Gray vocals. After a while Liba steps in with an amazing voice and strength, which ultimately shadows her male counterpart at times. It’s an OKish song, even though on her own Liba would have made a much bigger impact. Besides, the theme is a bit too much of a cliché.

03. Group 'The 4' - Get it started (Music - BuGaGa Project, Lyrics - Sandris Vestmanis)

This overly-confident singer opens this R ‘n B song... She’s wearing a cool dress, with a powerful yellow; a shade present in some pieces on everyone on the stage. Two other male singers are accompanying the whole song. Unfortunately never stopping. The song is extremely boring and it makes your ears bleed. The vocals are horrendous and it’s totally off-key, with no harmony throughout. The chorus is then appalling, which adds to the lead singer’s irritating voice. Overall: thankfully they’ve good style with clothes, as singing doesn’t seem to be their thing much. It would be a boring add to the Big Night were they to make it.

BREAK

04. Anmary - Beautiful song (Music - Ivars Makstnieks, Lyrics - Rolandins)

It sounds like something traditional. In her long, evening silky dress she sits on a hay-made armchair. (Why?) The song is on the whole boring. The backing vocals don’t help much - especially not with those flags hanging from their dresses. I’m afraid the title is really misleading, for it’s all but a beautiful song. Anmary’s pronunciation is also very poor and the intonation gets a bit monotonous, which puts you off. Not beautiful, no.

05. Paul Swan - Wanna be with you (Music - Kaspars Pudniks, Lyrics - Paul Swan)

Finally. I thought it was going to be somewhat impossible. There’s actually some good English being sung. Paul Swan is very casually dressed, which reflects the relaxed tone of his song. Yet, he’s struggling a real lot with the notes. It gets rather boring at times, because the climax one is expecting never comes.

06. Roberts Petersons - She's a queen (Music - Austris Rietums, Lyrics - Liga Markova)

At the beginning of the song, the singer seems to be shadowed by the instruments playing around him, yet everything is good thereafter. This, what I think could qualify as soft-rock, song is indeed a blessing among the others and I really hope it makes it through. It has nothing special and the vocals are not the best. The English is clear and actually enjoyable to listen to. The attire is also very cool - both the lead singer’s and the group’s. Everything seems to be complementing, which wasn’t much the case with the other acts. It’s a catchy song, which won’t bother or annoy you if you hear it more than once.

07. Samanta Tina - For father (Music - Elmars Orols, Lyrics - Samanta Tina)

I’m hooked. She lured me in with the beginning. Her voice seems to be powerful and she reaches some good high notes easily. Nevertheless, unfortunately, her diction is atrocious. It leaves a lot to be desired. The dancers, I think, are a bit useless because she should be the centre of attention. The dark setting and the shadows are gorgeous, as is her wicked dress. She deserves to make it through, despite the plethora of inaccuracies.

08. Elizabete Zagorska - You are a star (Music - Atis Auzans, Lyrics - Karlis Streips)

The setting for the performance is rather gothic-like. To add to this sensation, the singer decided to dress up as a witch. Yes, you read that right. The fire effects, especially the guitars on fire, give it a vibrant feel. Her voice is forceful, for want of a better word, which also adds to this ethnic aura they wanted to portray. She struggles with diction, but it’s bearable. On the whole, it’s a very Eurovision song, which - good or bad - drags you along. It would be a good asset to break the routine!

09. Group 'Mad Show Boys' - Music thief (Music and lyrics - Garijs Polskis)

A guy has just come in riding a segway and it immediately gives you the feel that it will be a fun song. Then the singer comes in, looking like Batman’s archenemy The Joker, which cracks you up as soon he starts singing. And what cheek - he says their song is “very cool”. Then The guy in a hilarious pink suit gives it a try. A rapper wants to have his turn, so he grabs the mike. The seem to be (actually they are) the jesters to his Excellency the King, who sits on his deckchair right beside them. It’s a fun performance, yes. But that’s all about it. It stops there. You always need that act which you can’t take seriously - well, this is the one!

10. Group 'Trianas Parks' - Stars are my family (Music - Aivars Rakovskis, Lyrics - Agnese Rakovska)

The three-dancing garbage bags open this act. They look like the three witches out of Macbeth. Musicians look like Igor (the cartoon character!) It’s an extremely boring song, which reaches no climax. You can barely understand what they are saying, except for “stars are my family”. The whole setting is fit for a Halloween parade rather than the colourful Eurovision stage. Stars may well be their family, but given their singing, they will never become one.

Results

I must say that it was very disappointing show. The acts were quite poor and of mediocre quality! It will be extremely hard for the judges and the public to pick the qulifiers. Given what we’ve seen tonight and what was there on the 1st night, I seriously doubt Latvia has a chance to stand out.

And those making it through are:

  1. You Are A Star
  2. Beautiful Song
  3. She’s A Queen
  4. Stars Are My Family
  5. Music Thief

Source: LTV