Better late than never, ey! It’s National Final preview time *cheer*, and thanks in part to Rory’s birthday at the beginning of the week, and other ESC news stories inconveniently taking precedence (I’m looking at you Georgia…) we’re posting this on a Thursday, not the usual Monday. Please accept our apologies! Nevertheless, we still have two days left before this Saturday’s NF action, so hopefully plenty of time to get yourselves clued up on what to expect this week!
As you should hopefully know by now, we are previewing the national finals in weekly instalments, offering our opinions on some of the songs wherever possible, and predicting the entries we think are most likely to win the ticket to Denmark. Following the results of each National Final, we’ll get a review article up for you, giving you our opinions of the show and the selected entry, and assessing its chances at Eurovision this year. And, as always, your opinions are most welcome throughout, we would love to know what you think!
This week’s calendar:
8th February 2014: Malta Eurovision Song Contest
Ahhhh Malta Malta Malta. The land of Chiara. The land of perpetual power ballads and never-ending national finals; the land of that screeching child with the Whitney-pastiche song who won JESC last year; the land where all the participants in every NF seem to be somehow related to one another. There really isn’t another Eurovision nation like them, is there!
Their selection process for 2014 differs little from the one they’ve used in previous years, which means that – as well as the guarantee of what feels like three whole days of non-stop national final – we’ve been treated to those priceless preview vids showing the artists awkwardly performing the songs alone on a stage that’s way too big for them. And, as always, 90% look like receptionists taking the day off, and about 50% have taken part before, which gives them the air of dogged perseverance usually reserved for golden retrievers. Bless them!
Have a watch/listen and see if any of them stand out to you!
Reviews and Predictions:
James – Twenty songs to fly through here, thanks to those woeful yet oddly entertaining videos. The majority of the songs are still rough around the edges, which if anything, only makes them seem more cute and endearing. I’d say there are five or six I’d be happy to see representing Malta in May, and they will become obvious as you read on; however, I felt like I wanted to give almost all the entries a brief appraisal, if you’ll indulge me.
Let’s start where everyone else does, shall we: the JESC alumni. Daniel Testa, who finished fourth in the 2008 Junior contest, has morphed into something resembling the lovechild of Ross from Friends in the intervening years. His song “One Last Ride” is actually one of the best in the field, but it includes the line “we were strong, we were long”… Hang on a minute… where have I heard that before… oh yeah, HE’S SINGING A TOILET PAPER ADVERT, GUYS. The Andrex puppy ain’t got nothing on our Dan. It’s just too epic for words.
(that might just be a British thing, I don’t know…)
Among the more comical highlights of the upcoming show, we have Andreana Debattista, who just sounds horrendously out of tune – although to be fair, she is attempting to sing a song which doesn’t appear to have an actual melody. Must be difficult. She is just one of MANY – TOO MANY – lame lady ballads on offer on Saturday night *unenthusiastic woop*. Let’s hope they all, cancel each other out in the end, ey?
On top of that, we have both Raquel and Franklin sporting the ‘iced-gem’ haircut made famous by Joey Essex; the former sounding a lot like a Poundland version of Emmelie de Forest, and both with unfortunately forgettable songs. Other lookalikes include Davinia, who both looks and sounds like Eliza Doolittle and young Christabelle, who could easily have been Rebecca Black in a previous life.
Speaking of Christabelle, however, she does actually have one of my favourite entries from the twenty, an admittedly amateurish yet unquestionably modern and catchy number titled “Lovetricity” (Deborah C has officially lost her crown as queen of the cheesy love puns, guys…) Another one I really enjoy is “Addictive“, performed by Romina Mamo, despite it’s cringeworthy line “My god I’m so predictive, you’re so addictive”. Aha. “Predictive”. As in “predictive text”. Cute. But wrong. I’m a grammar Nazi, deal with it Romina. If you win, sort that shit out before Denmark, alright?
Lovely as these two songs are, however, they’re not a patch on Sophie DeBattista’s “Let The Sunshine In”, in my personal opinion. And I’m not even quite sure why I love it so much; it’s a charismatic, breezy singalong number – if anything, one could coin it as the female answer to Gianluca’s “Tomorrow”, a song which never really struck a chord with me, but undoubtedly left an impression on the wider European audience last year. Will lightning strike twice? Who knows. I’m on Team Sophie for this one, although I’d be happy to see “Addictive”, “Lovetricity”, “Hypnotica“, “One Last Ride” or “Ten” take the ticket to Copenhagen too.
Rory – Okay, so this is the four-hour-long mammoth that is the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. I’m sure that we will have a show that runs smoothly this year, compared to last year when the whole Amber thing went out, but anyway here’s what I think of the possibilities:
There are a few of the songs which do stand out from the lot – both for good and bad reasons. Since Junior Eurovision 2008, Daniel Testa really has changed and he’s a good singer to be fair, but the song, I’m just not sure of. To me, the song is very… it has a bit of an anti-climax, and judging it against some of the other songs we have at the minute, it just won’t stand out in the group. Another one that I feel is like this about is Jessika – yes, shoot me now, give me hate. I’m up for it. To me, I just don’t get what all the hype is about. Yeah she’s a good singer, but it’s not like she’s the next Loreen or anything. If she was to go, she’d probably do really well, but I think I’ll be part of the one percent who won’t vote for her.
However, someone who I actually like is Corazon. Yeah it’s a little on the underdeveloped side, but it’s what I like and I actually think she’d be great for Eurovision! As for who I think will win; well, it all depends on the night, doesn’t it?
But if my predictions are correct, I think Jessika is gonna walk it on Saturday. The song is made for Eurovision and although I’m not a fan of it, I figure everyone in Malta will be. If she doesn’t win though, I’d love Corazon to win too… but compared to the others, what are the chances of that happening? Good luck Malta! We look forward to spending our entire Saturday watching you try to pick an act…
Having such a small population pool to draw from, Malta’s music industry is unique in that its stars pursue quotidian careers alongside their singing – the prime example of course being Gianluca Bezzina, who as we all know is in fact a doctor by day. This was one of the main reasons that we weren’t able to put together a selection of possible artists for Malta – this, and the fact that the majority of Maltese singers have taken part in the national selection at least once before, and our Possible Artists series was aiming to steer clear of singers with previous exposure to the Eurovision fan world.
That being said, the selection of artists and genres on offer does lead to a great deal of optimism surrounding the Maltese participation in 2014: there is a lot of potential here for a complete unknown to creep up and steal the show like Dr. Bezzina did last year! After a somewhat patchy semi-final record in the mid to late 2000s, Malta have seemed to be getting their act together in the last couple of years, and this, in conjunction with their allocation to the second semi-final means they look like they’re in with a good shot at a third successive qualification, provided they choose one of the many credible entries in this national final. Who knows; 2013 proved that Malta is by no means an underdog, and after riding high in both ESC and JESC, surely they must be looking to build on their success this year? Good luck to them!!
Svana Lístí Agnarsdóttir from Iceland: I really love Jessika and I think if she goes to Eurovision, she will have a top 5 position!
Nick van Lith from the Netherlands: My runaway favourite is Davinia’s ‘Brand New Day’. That song is the best song I have ever heard from Malta, it puts a smile on my face, brightens the day and her voice is great. Romina Mamo is good as well, a very catchy chorus there. Deborah C is fun, but I have the temptation to classify that as a Christmas song gone wrong. The last song I really like is De Bee’s Pin The Middle, it’s just so alternative!
Svetlana Andriyenko from Ukraine: Hypnotica is best song for me, but I am also liking Coming Home, is like Wake Me Up and I like the sound!
Judging by the general fan opinion circulating on the various social networks, the lion’s share of attention seems to be focused on Jessika’s uptempo Eurovision-by-numbers song “Hypnotica”, which, if selected, could either crash and burn (see our previous articles on modern songs becoming fanwank flops) or, as Svana predicts, bring Malta its best showing in YEARS. Will Jessika indeed be the one to take the Maltese ticket to Denmark? Or will one of our previously mentioned favourites pip her to the post? Only thing to do is tune in on Saturday and find out!
What are your thoughts on this year’s Maltese selection? Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment below and tell us what you think!