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Saturday, 04 February 2012 11:59

The Aftermath of the Malta Eurovision Semi-Final

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The long awaited show for all the fans, media and the general public finally arrived. It was a night viewed by thousands on the island and also by foreigners whose patience was tested more than once with the weak live stream on DI-VE and the long show itself. It was a night that included a couple of surprises as some songs which were seen as favourites beforehand didn't make it to the final that will be held tonight.

The show itself was good and production wise everything looked very professional, something which should be expected when one is organizing such an event. It was stated more than once in the lead up to the competition that this year the focus is that this is a television show and therefore certain things had to be taken into consideration. Viewers who watched the show from home thought that visually it looked really strong but for another year the sound on television left much be desired. This is something one can also notice from videos people have already uploaded on YouTube. It seems that year after year it is almost next to impossible to create the same atmosphere one finds in the hall itself.

One of the few negatives of the whole show was that the audience in comparison to previous years was a bit muted and did not really seem to be enjoying themselves that much, although announcements before the actual show started did not help matters either as the audience were told not to stand up, blow horns and neither to wave flags or banners. So most people sat there and occasionally clapped or shouted to their favourite artists; something which is far from what people who go to the actual Eurovision Song Contest usually experience.

The presenters of the show did a good job although Elaine did most of the work with Ron standing there adding some side humour from time to time. Elaine’s attire caused a bit of a stir, especially those pink gloves but one expects her to be in a better outfit for the finals tonight. The postcards of the show were simple yet worked in the environment; they aren’t the best postcards we’ve seen in recent years but nice. It would be interesting to see whether tonight the show will feature the same postcards or whether the organizers have something new in store for us all.

Coming to surely the most important part of the show yesterday; the songs themselves. All the artists did a brilliant job on presenting a professional performance yesterday and all of them looked slick with a polished performance. Vocally most of the artists yet again did a job well done and even the outfits for this year’s contest were kept simple and there were only a few misses but still worked in the environment and did not look entirely out of place. The actual surprises started at the very end when the results started to be announced.

With a strong line up and twenty-four polished performances, it was inevitable that the eight artists who were not going to make the cut are going to be left disappointed and so would their fans. The shocks of the night were surely the elimination of fan favourites Eleanor Cassar and Annalise Ellul. The latter was seen as one of the favourites with the Eurovision fans but its Greek influenced sounds which made it so popular was probably its undoing as a number of people compared the entry to different songs hailing from Greece, Turkey and Ukraine.

Eleanor Cassar’s power vocals always got her through to the finals with the exception of 2007 and one would have assumed this would not be such a biggie for her to make the cut but somehow she was left astounded when the last envelope revealed another entry. Eleanor gave a powerful performance but her entry reminded people too much of last year’s winner and although the performance was powerful and slick, one could not help but notice that she is trying a bit too much. Eleanor’s forte are surely ballads and hopefully we’ll see her back in the competition with a strong ballad that will leave the audience spellbound.

A big surprise was that most of the up-tempo songs got eliminated last night; Jessica Muscat’s ‘Dance Romance’’ and Romina Mamo’s ‘DNA’ surely lit up the atmosphere and created a nice mix to the contest and although none of them were seen as front runners they provided a nice break from all the ballads in the competition. Apart from that both songs had a powerful choreography that fitted perfectly with both songs and performances. So did Nadine Bartolo’s ‘Can’t Get Away’ but something was missing and possibly the song needed more movement in it.

With all the ballads in the mix it was much of surprise that some of them will get the chop after the first night. Whether this was a deserved thing or not is another matter. Isabelle’s ‘Walk On Water’ had a gospel feel to it but its early draw did not help her. Whilst Janice’s ‘While Her Eyes Still Glow’ had a slow start but had a beautiful climax, the interpretation was impeccable but it seems that the judges felt it won’t do well at the Eurovision – someone remarked that it would be a brilliant concert show but won’t leave an impact in a competition.  Anna’s ‘Still Waiting’ had an R&B feel to it and she performed it to perfection but I guess there were 16 other songs that the judges felt were stronger.

At the end the show itself proved to be a bit too long for a number of viewers and although the interval acts flawless, the show in general seemed to be a bit stretched out with a number of viewers taking the social media and foreign fan websites by storm expressing their frustration. For those in the hall, the show did not feel to be that long but with eight less songs tonight this should be resolved and by late tonight we would know the 25th participant for Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest. Break a leg to all the performers and teams behind the songs this year. May the best one win.

Source: ESCflashmalta

Last modified on Saturday, 04 February 2012 15:24