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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.  

Sunday, 06 January 2013 23:00

MESC 2013: Reviewing the track 'Betrayed'

The 2013 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest is less than a month away and the Public Broadcasting Services is promoting each of the respective competing entries on Television Malta, Radju Malta and Magic Malta whilst our web portal escflashmalta.com will officially start tackling each of the tracks as of today, noting that a number of high profile critics as introduced late last year have had the opportunity to listen to the full versions of the tracks and thus comment on an individual basis on each whilst their compiled score will also be listed as a percentage out of the total maximum points which could have been awarded, fifty. Kicking off the proceedings with our annual feature which will see someone winning the Critics Choice Award on Sas-Sitta on the 9th February will be none other than festival newcomer Davinia Pace who will be performing the song Betrayed composed by Elton Zarb and penned by Matthew Mercieca, more commonly known as Muxu as the final track in the semi-final slated to take place on the 1st February at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre.

Davinia Pace is not only a completely newcomer to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest but is relatively new in the local music scene noting that she moved to Hertfordshire at the tender age of thirteen in order to follow her craft and learn the art of performance. As a matter of fact, music started becoming one of the main elements in her life and as she grew, she decided that becoming a singer would be possible with the right training and indeed, she enrolled into the musical college known as Vocal Tech, where she learned how to control her voice better and ultimately showing that blues and jazz had a predominant role in her outlook. In recent months, she has been quite busy recording brand new material with her good friend, Muxu and as a matter of fact came about the duet Feel Good Song as well as her number #1 hit single Bottled My Teardrops. These two songs reflected well upon Davinia garnering a nomination for Best Newcomer at the Bay Music Awards. She decided to continue working on the genre itself and thus came about another track entitled Sail Away which was released onto 89.7 Bay Radio very recently.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YD2nWSRgXgc

Betrayed is the focus of this review of course, and the focus seems to be with regards to the fact that it is somewhat similar in genre to a bond tune and more specifically Skyfall which was released by singer/songwriter Adele in recent weeks. It is coming across well on screen and Davinia seems to be very camera friendly noting that she manages to get the attention of the viewer instantly. Songwriting credit in music goes to Elton Zarb who despite having solo projects in this manner has become renowned for his work on the hit musical drama series D.R.E.A.M.S. amongst others. This will not be his first time competing with his most recent tracks in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest  being Whoop It Up! for Annalise Ellul and While My Eyes Still Glow for Janice Mangion in 2012. On the other hand, the lyrics by Matthew Mercieca known as Muxu come as a surprise for this particular competition noting that the singer/songwriter has never been keen into entering himself despite a number of hits including his recent single Pour Down On Me but his work with Davinia Pace is consistent and she clearly let him shine through from a lyrical point of view.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 56%

Sharon Vaughn: I really believe in Davinia as a performer and on this particular song, there seems to be that something special.

Martin Isherwood: Chorus melodically strong but lyric setting feels a little awkward. In fact, it becomes a very confusing lyric. Nice voice but derivative. Amy Winehouse seemingly meets Bond.

Stano Simor: Tina Turner’s Golden Eye or the Belgian group Hooverphonic? Yes I love this style of music. Anyways, I don't think is the right way to reach fans or to get enough points. Second Lena will not return anymore. There is nothing to disapprove off, at least with the song but it does fit with the other tracks. Davinia has a specifically nasal voice that sits in this style of music.

Roberto Meloni: Davinia has a very special vocal “material”, she is like a raw jewel. I like her attitude, not sure about her dress. About the song: what about more improvisation in the last part? It’s not a winning song, but I like the way she delivers it. 

Lina Eriksson: For me, this does not work at all. I’m really sorry Davinia but this a sleeping-pill from beginning to end.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm9AMUD3oW8

Published in Editorials

The 2013 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest is set to be quite the scintillating scene noting that there is a lot of interest due to the fact that the competing artists are not only coming from the typical festival background but also from the other sector of the music scene which was coined within the radio spectrum. There are twenty four competing entries in the competition and they represent a variety of styles and the escflashmalta.com editorial board thought it best to see which one seems to be garnering the most support from the public at large whilst having certain limitations noting that it will accept only one vote per IP Address. Early indications show that this will be a two horse race, with a possibility that it could turn out to be a three way battle though, so this will be interesting to see unfold. The Award will then be given out on the programme 'Sas-Sitta' produced by Spiteri Lucas Entertainment on the 9th February 2013.

The Public Poll was initiated on Boxing Day, meaning the 26th December and the response has been remarkable noting that in less than three days, it has already wracked up more than 2,000 votes seemingly looking to eclipse the number of votes achieved at the end of the voting earlier this year, which saw Kaya and her entry First Time triumph in a close battle with Claudia Faniello and the track Pure. At this point in time, the leader is none other than the returning Kevin Borg whose entry Needing You co-written with Danne Attlerud, Simon Gribbe, Thomas Thornholm, and Michael Clauss is receiving around 23 to 25% of the full votes. In a very contentious second place with around 20% to 22% of the full vote comes none other than Chris Grech with the song Never Walk Away co-written with Matthew James Borg, Peter Borg and David Cassar Torreggiani and this is due to the fact that it is being touted as a commercial hit, pointing out that it has garnered the most views on viral website, YouTube. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as2sMXXlXBk

The closest entry to them seems to be Loverdose performed by Melanie Zammit and written by Maria & Niclas Lundin as well as Gerard James Borg with 12% to 15% of the votes. The amount of people who have tuned in to see the entry has also been in the same range finishing in third place overall and therefore our poll is seemingly very much in tune with the views pointing out that in fourth place comes Jessika with her entry Ultraviolet co-written between Philip Vella, Gerard James Borg and Thomas G:Son achieving between 8% and 10% of the total amount of votes and standing just slightly ahead of the fifth place finisher Davinia Pace whose song Betrayed has managed to turn the tables around in the past couple of hours and achieve between 4% and 6% of the vote. One could easily note who is garnering the most votes and this will be a locked poll most likely whose winner will be decided more near the end. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for regular updates and if you are yet to vote, make sure to do so by clicking here!

Source: escflashmalta.com

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

Published in Local Music News
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