18 December 2017

er the past week, the Maltese team in Tbilisi have been on a full schedule of rehearsals, excursions and media activity before the live show on Sunday. As is the case with all of the sixteen participating countries at Junior Eurovision, Malta's participant Gianluca Cilia took to the stage for two rehearsals earlier in the week, followed by two dress rehearsals - one of which was watched by the juries across Europe, counting for 50% of the final vote.

10 year old Gianluca is accompanied on stage by dancers Daya, Desmea, Yana, Jasmin and Annika - who are a prominent feature during his energetic performance, choreographed by Annalise Ellul. The number is heavily inspired by the song's music video, which is featured within TV-screens on the LED wall at the back of the stage. On screen, the beginning of the song starts with an effective monochome filter to give the performance a retro feel, which returns to full colour as the chorus kicks in. 

During the first rehearsal, the Maltese team used the time wisely to get used to the stage and to test out different ideas in terms of camera angles and lights - which were reviewed in the "viewing room" (where each delegation can give feedback on the direction of their performance) after the rehearsal. By the time the second rehearsal came around a few days later, Gianluca's performance was looking slick and professional.  

Judging by the reactions within the press areas, the Maltese song was impressing almost everyone. Some press members noted that Gianluca is oozing charm on stage, whilst others said that the performance is eye-catching and that it is performed with great ease. During the dress rehearsal which the juries will watch, the performance also received the best reaction from the press area. 

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This year's Junior Eurovision Song Contest takes place on Sunday, November 26 at 16:00 local time. The show can be followed live at this time on TVM or junioreurovision.tv. This year, 50% of the final result will be determined by the result of an online vote at www.jesc.tv - you can cast your vote from 18:00 on Friday right up until 15:59 on Sunday, as well as during the live show after all countries have performed. 

Source: ESCFlashmalta.com Team

Image Credit: Luke Borg (PBS / Fade In Media)

Despite a late start to the day due to unforeseeable technical problems causing everyone to move their watches and schedules back by an hour and a half, there were no other major issues during the day with the rehearsals keeping their respective forty minutes which were allocated to them initially to rehearse on the stage in Baku, Azerbaijan where the Eurovision Song Contest is being held for the very first time following the victory of Ell & Nikki last year with the song Running Scared written by Swedish songwriters. Nine countries took to the stage today and there have already been talks of changes in some performances but one which was perfect in terms of setup, visual presentation and vocals was surely Iceland who are being represented by Greta Salome & Jonsi with the dramatic ballad Never Forget written by the female counterpart.

Following Montenegro, many songs will look strong but Iceland has always been one of those songs which people have been talking about. Despite the fact that it received a lot of positive acclaim when it was in Icelandic, leaving the people wanting more when in English, they managed to turn that around and received warm applause from the people in the arena and also those in the press centre. The song which is entitled Never Forget as mentioned above has been set in a dark blue setting with beautiful mountains in the backdrop. What also makes it impressive is the spotlights which shine around the stage and also the foggy mist effect that is being emitted. The staging is just superb and the addition of the backing vocalists is just an aid to the already powerful vocal range emitted. It is a stunning presentation and it should go down well with the rest of Europe. I do not want to give the song the kiss of death of course but I must say that this is now officially a contender having even rise to seventh place to win with the bookmakers whilst placed third in the semi-final just behind Russia and Denmark who will both be taking to the stage tomorrow.

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Iceland have not yet managed to win the Eurovision Song Contest and actually host an extremely similar record to Malta noting that this will be their twenty-fifth participation in total with their best results thus far being runner-up finishes in 1999 thanks to Selma and her track All Out of Luck and also in 2009 when Yohanna took to the stage with the incredible Is It True. One was a ballad whilst the other was an uptempo pop song. It is important to note that following years of disappointment with the introduction of the semi-final system, Iceland managed to turn the tables around with the song This Is My Life sung by Regina Osk and Fridrik Omar, the latter of which just happens to be the head of press for this years' Icelandic delegation. Last year, they also managed to reach the final with Sjonni's Friends and the song Coming Home. This years' duo spark interest because apart from their incredible vocal capabilities they have strong people skills noting that their press conference was a huge success. Our team present in Baku, Azerbaijan also managed to get an exclusive interview which you can see below. Good Luck Iceland, keep the good performances coming along!

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