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Wednesday, 23 January 2013 12:57

MESC 2013: The Running Order is Revealed

The Public Broadcasting Services is currently busy putting together the showcase for the 2013 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest which is set to take place on the 1st and the 2nd February at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre in Ta’ Qali. The twenty-four entries competing in the semi-final had not yet been told their position within the running order although in an escflashmalta.com exclusive, it was revealed that whilst Fall Like Rome by Richard Edwards would be opening the show, Betrayed by Davinia would be closing the spectacle. The rest of the running order was decided by the producers of the show in order not have recurrent song genres after each other.

The results of the semi-final will be decided in the same manner of the final noting that there will be a panel of seven local and foreign judges followed by tele-voting which will have the weight of just one judge. The first evening will be pivotal denoting that eight songs have to be eliminated and considering the outcomes of the past two years, there might be a couple of surprises. Last year, many were shocked to see I Want to Runaway sung by Eleanor Cassar and Whoop it Up! performed by Annalise Ellul failing to make it through to the final stage but indeed, this is a competition and surprises can occur. The full running order was released by the Public Broadcasting Services this morning and will be as follows;

01. Fall Like Rome – Richard Edwards (Kaxe / Philip Vella / Gerard J Borg)

02. Tides of Illusion – Ylenia (Jason Cassar / Mario Farrugia)

03. Perfect Day – Janice DeBattista (Boris Cezek / Dean Muscat)

04. Never Walk Away – Chris Grech (M Borg / P Borg / D Cassar Torreggianni / C Grech)

05. Overrated – Marilena (Philip Vella / Gerard J Borg)

06. No One’s Home – Petra (Wayne Micallef / Richard Micallef)

07. Starting from the End – Dorothy Bezzina (Kaxe / Gerard J Borg)

08. Too Little Too Late – Domenique (M Paelnick / M Strasser)

09. Ultraviolet – Jessika (T G:Son / Philip Vella / Gerard J Borg)

10. Let Your Heart Talk – Franklin (Ray Agius / Alfred C Sant)

11. When It’s Time – Claudia Faniello (Errol Sammut / C Faniello)

12. My Stranger Love – Corazon (Paul Giordimaina / Fleur Balzan)

13. Needing You – Kevin Borg (Borg / Gribbe / Thornholm / Attlerud / Clauss)

14. Superstar – Scar (Konrad Pule)

15. Loverdose – Melanie Zammit (N Lundin, M Lundin, Gerard J Borg)

16. Fantasy – Danica Muscat (Paul Abela / Joe J Farrugia)

17. Wonderful Today – Petra & Richard (Wayne Micallef / Richard Micallef)

18. Love-O-Holic – Deborah C (Bejerholm / Gerard J Borg)

19. Us Against the World – Gianni (Boris Cezek / Dean Muscat)

20. Keep Believing – Raquela (Raquela)

21. Tomorrow – Gianluca Bezzina (Boris Cezek / Dean Muscat)

22. In Control – Amber (Paul Giordimaina / Fleur Balzan)

23. The Remedy – Klinsmann (Kaxe / Philip Vella / Gerard J Borg)

24. Betrayed – Davinia (E Zarb / Muxu)

The dynamics of how the show will proceed are yet unknown when it comes to interval acts and so forth but the Public Broadcasting Services selected Elaine Saliba and Gordon Cauchi as the main hosts of this years’ competition with Rodney Gauci doing the backstage interviews. Kurt Calleja, last years’ representative is not expected to perform in the semi-final stage of the competition but is preparing a medley of some of the best songs in 2012 for the final night according to his Facebook Page. This years’ Malta Eurovision Song Contest might be an extremely close affair for the third year running with the people denoting two artists; Kevin Borg and Chris Grech as their front runners. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com in the coming days for more news about the 2013 Malta Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjhBsCop3Ys
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 03:37

MESC 2013: Reviewing the track 'The Remedy'

Music is a universal language through which communication can take place between people of all nations and as a matter of fact, the original idea of the European Broadcasting Union was to unite the continent through the medium of song. The competition which began in Lugano, Switzerland back in 1956 was proudly built on the confines of the still existent Sanremo festival and both have thrived and undergone progress despite the latter somewhat keeping in line with more original traditions. The Malta Eurovision Song Contest on the other hand has also been evolving in the past couple of years and it has truly become a stunning showcase of local talent with performers from both leading circuits of the country. The Public Broadcasting Services is promoting all of the twenty-four entries through radio and television but escflashmalta.com are also conducting their own form of promotion with international critics having a listen to each of the tracks and letting the people know their opinion. The eventual winner as per a vote in Eurovision format will be given an award during Sas-Sitta on NET Television during the telecast taking place on the 9th February. The next entry to be reviewed is entitled The Remedy, composed by Magnus Kaxe and Philip Vella to the lyrics of Gerard James Borg with vocals provided by Klinsmann

Klinsmann is one of the veteran performers in the competition despite being relatively young in terms of age and this is due to the fact that he has managed to make the finals of every edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest since 2007 with the results varying and the genre developing and maturing. In the beginning, it was all about pop/rock with the tracks presented in the vein of McFly and Busted but suddenly, there was a change, a positive one indeed when he came out on stage with his best friend, Benjamin Darmanin and performed an acoustic type of song with complete basis on guitars and vocals. His best result still came during his inaugural performance with his entry She Gives Me Wings composed by Mark Spiteri Lucas and penned by Rita Pace finishing in third place but nevertheless, the song presented in 2010 entitled This Love composed by Klinsmann himself to the lyrics of Jonathan C Spiteri was the second best result in seventh place. In recent months, Klinsmann joined as the lead vocalist of the band, Planet Seed who have been nominated for Best Newcomers at the Bay Music Awards and the Malta Music Awards respectively. Their debut material has done incredibly well on radio and therefore, it goes to show that success comes in small ounces and at different stages of life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcBaHlYm4mQ

Entering the 2013 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, following a disappointing result achieved last year, Klinsmann needed to be different and fresh to the audience once more and it seems that this is somewhat the case according to the international audience who has been keeping an eye on the proceedings. The track that he is presenting entitled The Remedy is predominantly pop/rock but nevertheless, the thumping elements throughout give it that arena feel and with the right lighting and setting could definitely work in a large venue. Klinsmann on the other hand is going for a very relaxing look and this very much suits him. Three songwriters are contributing to this track including composers; Philip Vella and Magnus Kaxe who are working together for the very first time and have managed to qualify with two entries. It is worth noting that their pedigree is strong noting that Philip has produced and co-written some for some of the most notable names in the local industry including Ira Losco, Lawrence Gray, Annabelle Debono and Claudia Faniello whilst Magnus Kaxe has been involved in some stunning productions including those of Aqua, Westlife and Celine Dion. The lyrics are penned by Gerard James Borg, the most successful lyricist in Malta who has worked with songwriters from all over Europe and has hit tracks in Iceland, Norway, Sweden and The Netherlands.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 70%

Sharon Vaughn: Despite the fact that the vocals are strong, Klinsmann seems insincere performing this entry.

Martin Isherwood: Good chorus. Not sure about the title, a bit too literally medical. Good voice and performance. One of the better entries with good energy but without a real spark of originality.

Stano Simor: A true singer who knows how to sell a song. Klinsmann has power in this entry which also has a chorus that is extremely easy to remember. This style of music is popular currently in the Czech Republic by national singers.

Roberto Meloni: A charismatic performer and a very good song. I am quite intriguing to see how he will be performing this interesting composition live because it is not an easy track. Nevertheless, a definite contender for me.

Lina Eriksson: This song also immediately sticks in my head. And I must admit that I do like the arena oh-oh’s in the chorus. Like some of the others this song will probably do well on the radio. Good, positive lyrics. Remains to see what Malta think about this one, hard to say… 

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk4JMVi6nwI

Published in Editorials
Tuesday, 22 January 2013 01:03

MESC 2013: Reviewing the track 'Superstar'

At some point in time, the Eurovision Song Contest had lost some of that magic sparkle with which it was created but nevertheless, with high viewing figures and an amazing run of success for artists who have represented their country; it has regained its fame. Time Magazine has listed the event as one of the top five to look forward to during the year. On the other hand, the Public Broadcasting Services is currently preparing to host this years’ edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest set to take place at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre as was the case last year in an event which was surprisingly won by Kurt Calleja with the entry This Is The Night. Promotion is the key for an artist whether upcoming or relatively established and with the local music scene somewhat extremely limited, the role it plays is pivotal. Through radio and television appearances, people are getting to know the artists better and escflashmalta.com is also helping out by virtue of a series of professional reviews carried out by foreign critics from the music industry. The sixteenth entry bears the title Superstar, and is performed by the group, Scar whose lead vocalist, being Konrad Pule just happens to be the songwriter. 

Scar came to existence during the time of the millennium and therefore, could be noted to being veterans in the local music scene whose contribution has always been very well respected. Looking at the humble beginnings, one would realise that their very first tracks including Time to Know and Calling Out had received massive airplay in Malta, Italy and the United States, spending weeks in the charts, giving the public a yearning for more. In 2003, everyone was taken by surprise as the eponymous debut album was released with a live performance which unplanned. The first effort was definitely well placed though because an acknowledgement was given by the Malta Music Awards for the Best Album Production. This was only the beginning of an astonishing career which has already lasted more than ten years, with original music, performances across the world and a significant fan base which keeps them going strong. The audience of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest will remember their entry As Long As You Know back in 2007 which had finished in a credible sixth place. They continues recording new material and indeed, their sophomore album release entitled Breaking Radio Silence was also a major hit and spawned several singles including their recent track White Lie which was nominated for Best Song at the Bay Music Awards. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noeVTUH7u58

Their preview video suggests intriguing elements of red and green lighting which very much complement the ambience that the track tries to create. The genre is significantly noticeable to be a mellow form of pop/rock with a chorus that quickly sticks to mind and gets the listener tapping his foot to the guitar strings. The high pitch vocals from Konrad at the end of the track are somewhat necessary to get that extra oomph and this is the typical track that one would expect from Scar considering the material that they have released in the past. Comparing the track to their entry back in 2007, there seems to be a maturing process and this entry does indeed sound stronger. The song-writing credit for Superstar is given to Konrad Pule, the lead vocalist who had also written the song for their first experience in the competition. When the songwriter ultimately performs the track, there is a certain calmness and pride that comes along, giving credibility to the overall outcome of the performance which will be simplistic and most likely affective. One of the members of the group, David Cassar Torreggianni is also involved in the songwriting of another track entitled Never Walk Away which will be performed by Chris Grech.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 62%

Sharon Vaughn: A really good performance of an extremely mediocre song.

Martin Isherwood: Chorus fairly instant if derivative. Good pop rock track - with all the right ingredients although lacking a freshness or sense of originality.

Stano Simor: Catchy song. Gimmick and Chorus bring happiness. Modern pop that I need to listen a few times in the car. Very good fancy lyrics that fits to the concept of the Eurovision Song Contest. Guitar  lines and overall production is excellent. It baffles me why this group hasn't gone Eurovision yet!

Roberto Meloni: Average song. Pop rock composition with too little heart and soul inside. Sorry, to me it looks like a band singing in a wedding…

Lina Eriksson: I really like the Superman-pimping of the lead guitar. I’m not super impressed by the song it self but still I must admit that it sticks in my head. A rock-pop-cheer-me-up-song.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

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

Published in Editorials

Formality is extremely important in several key areas of the local music industry but the term has adapted to the period rather than sticking to the old mentality that came with events such as the Eurovision Song Contest where the audience used to wear dresses and tuxedos. The competition itself has changed and this is surely seen with respect to the success achieved by those who eventually compete noting that record labels gobble them up and get to release an album because of massive appeal. This year, the Malta Eurovision Song Contest will be selecting the twenty-sixth representative of the country and it could a man, a woman, a duet or even a group but whoever it will be, the result will be the same, they will all do the country proud. Promotion is being done on several key programmes on both television and radio with the aim that the audience gets to know the artists competing especially due to the larger percentage being somewhat newcomers to the typical festival audience. In the meantime, our promotion continues as well, calling on international critics to divulge their opinion on the tracks with the winner set to get an award during the programme Sas-Sitta on NET Television on the 9th February. Dorothy Bezzina is the fifteenth artist to be presented with her song Starting from the End composed by Magnus Kaxe and penned by Gerard James Borg. 

Dorothy Bezzina will be making her fourth appearance at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest noting that she had first managed to make it through to the finals in a duet with Victorio Gauci entitled Promises composed by Chan Vella and penned by Alexia Schembri, followed by a second participation with the song Moments, also co-written between Chan Vella and Alexia Schembri, last year with the song Autobiography composed by Magnus Kaxe and penned by Gerard James Borg and of course this year. The female artist has a predominantly positive track record in the world of musical theatre where she has consistently trained throughout the years. Amongst her achievements, she denotes her roles in musicals such as; The Sound of Music, Jekyll & Hyde, Fiddler on the Roof and The Rocky Horror Show amongst others. She has also had the opportunity to perform in a multitude of national charity events including Voices and Rockestra on more than one occasion. Her love to musical theatre has always well been encompassed and this did indeed show during her stunning renditions at the Simply Webber concert held in 2011 by Masquerade Theatre. Dorothy has seemingly done a lot in her career, and indeed, when one does perform at the Royal Albert Hall in London, the aims have to be considerably higher.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17RJx6hBuNg

Achieving success with her entry last year, Dorothy Bezzina was most likely eager to work with the songwriters for a second consecutive year and the track Starting from the End was born and follows its predecessor somewhat nicely. The genre of the track is not explained in just a couple of words really, noting a fusion of a pulsing beat into what seems to be a pop track with a clear Scandinavian standing. The focus on the vocals is rather pivotal to the outcome of the song and the vocals indeed shine through the track which will definitely need an extra boost with some live backing vocalists which was the same case last year bringing the song to a whole new level. This is one of the many mixed song-writing teams that have managed to qualify to this years’ semi-final of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. The composer is Magnus Kaxe, a man whose background does indeed do him justice noting that he has worked as a songwriter, sound engineer and a producer with the likes of Celine Dion, Backstreet Boys, Clay Aiken, Jessica Folker, Aqua, Westlife, Gareth Gates, Amy Diamond and Britney Spears whilst Gerard James Borg, the co-writer of five Maltese Eurovision entries is most notably collaborating with a number of foreign songwriters with his songs entering the Swedish and Icelandic charts amongst others. 

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 72%

Sharon Vaughn: A very strong chorus… but the verses are seemingly trying to be more clever than they are heartfelt. She sings great and soars on the choruses when she knows what they mean.

Martin Isherwood: Good strong chorus, but I'm not sure it's the right title - 'against the odds'? Some good lyrics but not sure what the song is trying to say overall. Very strong vocal and musical hooks. Great track. The synth and drum sounds make the track feel 'noisy' . Very good track overall.

Stano Simor: Excellent energy coming from this song which includes a great link to the chorus. Typical example if you combine the correct voice with the right team of songwriters. I can imagine a show on stage that would raise the whole atmosphere of the song.  Strong chorus, which perfectly supports Dorothy's voice. 

Roberto Meloni: Girl with strong vocals is unfortunately not supported by a the best possible composition … I don’t think she will finish higher than her brother although she is extremely talented and beautiful. 

Lina Eriksson: Good composition, good lyrics, good voice. This is one of the better ones for sure but it doesn’t make it all the way. It doesn’t take my breath away. Depends on how Malta will vote. 

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xn5_jVV_4AA

Published in Editorials

In foreign territories, achieving success is somewhat more challenging due to the size of the country and there is a different estimation and relevance to the term but nevertheless, one of the means of doing so when it comes to the local music scene is surely through the Malta Eurovision Song Contest which sees to an act heading to represent the country abroad. Some of the former representatives have made a number of contacts and thus could ultimately work within the industry in a predominant manner. Promotion is key for any of the competing artists in the competition and therefore, the Public Broadcasting Services led by Chief Executive Officer, Anton Attard has seen to it that each of the twenty-four semi-finalists has a schedule of appearances on a number of radio and television shows. In the meantime, escflashmalta.com is also proudly promoting each act and entry through a series of reviews conducted by professional critics, of which the eventual winner will get an award through Sas-Sitta on the 9th February. More than half-way through, the fourteenth entry to be presented bears the name Perfect Day, composed by Boris Cezek with lyrics by Dean Muscat and sung by Janice DeBattista.

Janice DeBattista is a relative newcomer as a soloist within the local music scene but nevertheless, she brings about experience having been the lead singer alongside Louise Ann Tate who also just happens to be a former finalist of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest of the band known as Salt. The musical group is renowned for their Christian Pop/Rock type of genre and predominantly feature seven people in total, some of which might be expected to join Janice during her performance at this years’ edition of the competition. Salt reached their respective heights in 2007 by virtue of winning the Best Newcomer at the Bay Music Awards, something that was indeed followed by the Best Band Award in 2008 respectively. A high degree of confidence surrounds Janice surely noting that the group have performed extensively in Australia, Germany, Gibraltar and Spain. As far as albums go, the group has already recorded a couple including Hello Truth in 2006 and Less Noise More Love in 2009. Janice DeBattista is bringing about a totally different sound to the one which she has grown to perform with the band as she tries to take up the solo route, something which seemingly encompasses the vocals which she provides.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQAyTO93a_I

Janice DeBattista is a complete newcomer to the world of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest but nevertheless, she is going to take up this experience with positivism and strength, hopefully bringing about a totally different type of artist to the competition, something which the Public Broadcasting Services has been working on for the past couple of years. The entry is entitled Perfect Day and is a piano based ballad with particular focus on the vocals. It does build up relatively slowly but does get going with the aid of the backing vocalists, which give it the required edge which the judges might have enjoyed. The track on itself wouldn’t stand out but with the right running order, would definitely stand on its own. The composer is notable producer Boris Cezek, who has worked with some of the nations’ top artists including Kristina Casolani, Ivan Filletti, Salt, Eve Ransom, Robert Galea and Thomas Hedley as well as lyricist Dean Muscat who has worked with Raquela, former Eurovision Song Contest representative, Thea Garrett and Corazon amongst others. This is the first of their entries which is being presented on escflashmalta.com noting that they have also co-written together the tracks Us Against the World performed by Gianni as well as Tomorrow performed by Gianluca Bezzina. 

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 42%

Sharon Vaughn: This is well sung and the song itself is very well constructed. She is performing the story well and there is a lot of meaning behind the lyrics.

Martin Isherwood: Hard to know what the song is about despite the obvious title. Hard to engage with lyrically. Good voice although a little thin / nasal. Interesting change into chorus. The arrangement doesn’t really build or develop as the song progresses. Despite being well put together. Very unlikely to do well in Eurovision. Could work for Will Young. 

Stano Simor: Very nice song. Considering the audience of the competition, this will fit in quite nicely using the 70s pop atmosphere that would appeal to a wider range of listeners. The vocals along with the arrangement are well aligned and performed. Pleasant voice. Production is  not among the best in this competition. An oomph of some sort is needed to make this stand out.

Roberto Meloni: Quite intriguing, she does remind me of one of Malta's former representatives, already seen and somewhat forgotten, next please!

Lina Eriksson: The singer has a clean and beautiful voice that together with this song gives me a feeling of a Disney soundtrack. Sweet, but not for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. A bit boring I’m afraid. I think this song will have a hard time making it in this crowd.  

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeMzkVI83wU

Published in Editorials

The participants of this years’ edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest have been promoting their entries on a number of television and radio programmes as per the schedule set up for them by the Public Broadcasting Services yet today will mark the very first time that they are coming together on a show. Ħadd Għalik has played a major role in promoting the artists of the competition in recent years through fun filled activities, perfect for the entertainment of families. Amongst the games, there are a number of questions which the artists have to answer about each other and that has always proven to be absolutely hilarious. The show will be aired between 12:10 and 15:30 CET on Television Malta which could be streamed through the official website.

This years’ edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest is proving to be one of the most competitive in recent years noting that there has been a higher standard of quality and the country stands a better chance to do well based on that. Earlier this week, there were doubts with regards to the draw that the country was given at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, but nevertheless, despite performing in the first part of the second semi-final, the editorial board is confident that with the best entry, the odds will be overcome. Our public poll with more than five thousand votes sees Never Walk Away by Chris Grech in first place followed by Needing You by Kevin Borg in second place. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news with regards to this years’ edition of the local showcase.

Source: Television Malta

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq0QxauIyic

Published in Local Music News
Saturday, 19 January 2013 15:00

MESC 2013: Reviewing the track 'Overrated'

The European Broadcasting Union is promising a lot of changes in this years’ edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, some of which have already been detailed accordingly, including the running order which will be decided by the producers rather than by the typical draw which has always managed to garner interest amongst delegations and fans alike. Sweden is always the nation used as a hub to experiment with the event noting that the millennium competition held in Stockholm was not far too different in terms of bringing about innovations. Malta will be sending its twenty-sixth (26th) representative in Malmo and considering the improvements that have been pushed into the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in these past couple of years; a positive result should be expected. Last year, the country overcame the odds and in a tough semi-final managed to come out on top, qualifying in seventh place with This Is The Night performed by Kurt Calleja. All of the respective acts competing in this years’ selection are currently receiving promotion and escflashmalta.com is also aiding by publishing the thoughts of professional critics on each entry. Ultimately, the winner will get an award, as presented on the program Sas-Sitta set for the 9th February. Entry number thirteen (13) is entitled Overrated, composed by Philip Vella to the lyrics of Gerard James Borg with vocals provided by Marilena.

Studies have always taken precedent for Marilena but nevertheless, many will surely recall that she has grown into the scene through her experiences in the past, especially by virtue of representing the country in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest back in 2004 alongside the rest of the group known as The Young Talent Team whose entry Power of a Song did not set the scoreboard alight yet managed a mid-table position at the end of the evening. Nevertheless, the first major competition as a teenager surely came in 2007 when participating in the Ghanja Tal-Poplu competition, she achieved first place with the track B’Fommu Sieket composed by Mark Spiteri Lucas and penned by Paul Ellul. As a matter of fact, this was only the beginning noting that she had managed to gain entry into a number of competitions including the Malta Hit Song Contest in 2008 with One Goal composed by Elton Zarb and penned by Rita Pace, and in 2009 with Unforgettable composed by Philip Vella and penned by Gerard James Borg. The latter ended up being a successful track winning an esteemed competition in Egypt where thirty-seven countries had been competing. In 2011, she entered the finals of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the song He’s A Demon composed by Michael Henry and penned by Anthony Grech whilst she managed to reach the same stage during the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza with Dil-Qalb Kbira and Bl-Ikbar Serjeta composed by Philip Vella and penned by Joe Chircop, of which the latter reached second place.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L96nUCeiKgI

Coming into the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, the timing might not be right considering that exams at the University have just commenced today but nevertheless, she is poised to bring her best cards to the table and with her entry Overrated, many consider her slightly lucky. Marilena entered the competition as the twenty-fourth entry following the withdrawal of Dress Rehearsal performed by Saska Hunt which was also a composition of Philip Vella and Gerard James Borg. The genre of this track is predominantly pop featuring a bit of dance but nevertheless, the sound is very reminiscent to the material being released by Jessie J which is definitely an added positive. Comparing the two entries she has presented in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, this has to be significantly better and would literally beat the other one out of the water. Song-writing credit in this entry is given to Philip Vella and Gerard James Borg who have together worked on five Eurovision entries for the country including the ones presented in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2008 respectively. This is the only entry which they are presenting as a duo noting that despite having a couple of songs, there are other songwriters involved.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 50%

Sharon Vaughn: I do not think this song makes any sense to be truthful, and I just cannot feel what the lyrics are trying to convey.

Martin Isherwood: Well put together pop song with catchy oohs and aahhs – chorus could be stronger hook-wise although the verse is good. Got a Eurythmics feels to it. Dangerous title for a song.

Stano Simor: Marilena act on stage very sympathetic  Colour of her voice is nice, but does not fit into the song she sings. Chorus has that "hand ups" feeling, but is just not strong enough. Uuuh Aaaah is too much cliche. Anyways keeping fingers to get final top 10.

Roberto Meloni: Well, the title is perfect for this song, .Sorry Marilena, you have a really good image but this song is not that good.

Lina Eriksson: This track feels a bit dated and I'm missing a great hook to keep me interested. Though, I've only heard a minute of this song, maybe it gets going later on? A very positive artist with a cute voice...therefore I get a little bit confused listening to the lyrics.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_vqFMGT4Q4

Published in Editorials
Thursday, 17 January 2013 23:55

MESC 2013: Reviewing the track 'No One's Home'

The Public Broadcasting Services has invested in a stunning showcase to present to the audience of the notable Malta Eurovision Song Contest in the past three years noting the improvements made into the presentation as well as song quality, which has not only been noted locally but even in foreign waters from where entries have also been submitted consistently. The improvement in this manner has also been seen through the results at the Eurovision Song Contest noting that Glen had almost qualified from the semi-final whilst Kurt Calleja managed the feat last year. escflashmalta.com is collaborating with the television programme 'Sas-Sitta' in order to present three awards to entries that are competing in this years' Malta Eurovision Song Contest. A panel of critics have voted for their favourite entry, first as a standalone track and secondly within the confines of a competition with the latter garnering important yet the percentage is an indication of the former. The twelfth entry to be reviewed is entitled No One's Home performed by Petra, co-written between the Micallef brothers otherwise known as Richard and Wayne.

Introducing Petra is quite intriguing noting that she stands in-between the newcomers and the veterans by virtue of being in her prime and promoting her music in the best possible way. The first very first time that I had seen her perform was during the Malta Song for Europe back in 2008 when she had managed to make it through to the final eight songs that year with the track Streetcar of Desire composed by Elton Zarb and penned by Rita Pace. It was the beginning of a successful career which would see her make several guest appearances on the local scene and then ultimately returning for another two performances in the leading competition in the country, these being in 2010 with All I Need composed by Andrew Zammit and penned by Keith Zammit and in 2011 with a completely different type of entry entitled Unintentional composed by Elton Zarb and penned by Rita Pace, the same team from which she had gained acclaim. Nevertheless, her debut performance is still the one which the people seem to enjoy the most. In the meantime, she has achieved success in other competitions, finishing in the first runner-up position at the Għanja tal-Poplu with the track Rakkont Ta' Omm composed by Heathcliffe Balzan and penned by Deo Grech as well as the Summer Hit Song Contest with Forget My Name composed by Heathcliffe Balzan and penned by Natasha Turner respectively.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIQwVe6L0Fo

Being honest, I believe that the return of Petra is quite a breathe of fresh air to the competition because she brings about songs which are intriguing and honest, reflecting the mood of the public at times whilst staying true to the sound itself. The entry which she brings forward to this years' competition bears the name No One's Home and it is pop/rock entry with that sort of country tinge, giving it the opportunity to develop within the three minutes whilst reaching more than one demographic of an audience. Songwriting credits are always important and this track brings about the Micallef brothers, Wayne who himself is a former finalist within the Malta Eurovision Song Contest having made the cut in 2009 with Where You Belong, in 2010 with Save A Life, in 2011 with Everybody Sing and last year with Time and Richard who is incidentally competing like Petra with two entries, the solo track entitled Fall Like Rome and the duet with Petra bearing the title Wonderful Today. Whilst Wayne is taking the year off from performing, Richard brings about a runner-up finish in 2011 with him and this is the first track that they wrote together for another artist. It has to be pointed out though that Petra is dating her lyricist although, this has been at the centre of the local media for quite some time especially with the fame that Richard had garnered in the past couple of months.
 
The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 52%

Sharon Vaughn: Love her voice, my favourite singer. The song should have made use of the title.

Martin Isherwood: Can't see why it's called no-one home - as it is not the real focus of the song. Bluesy, rocky, competent but uninspiring. Doesn't feel like a Eurovision song. Hints of Aquilera Genie in a bottle. 

Stano Simor: Old fashioned. Very dull song. Searching for that something special but nothing comes up and it just leaves you cold. This kind of rock music does not work anymore.

Roberto Meloni: The style of this entry is far too old unfortunately and she sounds much better in the duet rather than this entry.

Lina Eriksson: At first I really like the retro feeling in the verse of this song. But then the chorus isn't at all what I expected and I feel they don’t really fit together. I’m left disappointed. Good verse – not such a good chorus.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5CUcRDe7ys

Published in Editorials

The Public Broadcasting Services, a member of the European Broadcasting Union and a participant in the Eurovision Song Contest, has always prepared well for the event, noting the national selection procedure has always managed to secure the interests of songwriters, producers and artists. The prize is somewhat intriguing because one would get the opportunity to perform in front of millions of people, get interviewed by some of the leading media in the continent and also have the distinct possibility of meeting some astonishing names in the music industry due to the high profile that the competition carries. As a matter of fact, 2013 is not set to be any different to be honest, due to the fact that there are a number of acts who are trying to represent their country who are already well known including; Daze in Denmark and Cascada in Germany keeping in mind that Anouk has already been selected for The Netherlands. escflashmalta.com is covering all of the entries competing in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with an award set to be given by a panel of five critics from the foreign industry who have assessed our respective entries. The eleventh entry is Never Walk Away performed by Chris Grech and co-written with Peter Borg, Matthew James Borg and David Cassar Torreggiani.

Chris Grech has always shown that his heart is deep rooted within the sphere of music showing as a child that he wanted to be the one to play the guitar and hopefully headline concerts and one cannot say that this has not been the case in the past couple of years noting that whilst being a newcomer to the local music scene with regards to this competition, he has already become a sensation through his participation in other events. Thinking things through, Chris eventually contacted some friends and finally got his own band going on and together shared a vast amount of experiences, learning the ropes and performing across the country and receiving a positive response. A couple of years later, Chris was performing on his own and was approached by another band known as Twenty-Six Other-Worlds. The offer was simple and sought him to become their lead vocalist. In time, he accepted and thus, the vocal abilities that one could hear nowadays are a result of what he has achieved and what one could hear on their debut album entitled Manipulated released back in 2009. One of the headlining events that Chris has performed in is surely the Rockestra, an annual event held on behalf of the Malta Community Chest Fund in which he sung Gethsemane, The Show Must Go On, and Caruso. The audience were thrilled to hear him perform on each occasion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWxYMk9I1CY

The underdog has a notoriety for coming out on top on certain occasions and considering the people are responding to the track in the way that they are, is quite something and this is well recorded through the views being received on viral website, YouTube as well as being in the lead in the poll which has attracted more than five thousand votes in just over two weeks. This is not the typical entry that has come to define the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and it shows the emergence of one local music scene and not two defined through competition. Whether it is pop, ballad, rock, jazz, metal, dance or r'n'b, it is all music and that has to be prevalent in the event because the people and the jury want a choice, they want to make the distinction and send the best possible entry. Songwriting credit for Never Walk Away is attributed to Peter Borg and Matthew James Borg of Red Electrick, the band which is currently sweeping the nation with regards to music noting that their single Paul has most recently been voted as the best song at the Bay Music Awards as well as David Cassar Torreggiani who is competing in this competition alongside his band, Scar fronted by Konrad Pule who have also been making hits in the industry with their track White Lie which was also nominated for the same award mentioned above. Combining the power of powerhouse songwriters seemingly works and has given this product, one that is strong in actuality.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 59%

Sharon Vaughn: I don't understand what this song is trying to say. The text is very contradictory… a lot of pretty words that don't fit the title or the rest of the song. A nice pure voice, too bad on the song selection.

Martin Isherwood: No idea what the song is about. Very hard to follow any line of meaning in the lyric. Good strong voice with rough edges. Standard rock tune but offering little that's fresh. Not really a Eurovision entry at all. 

Stano Simor: In the beginning, the song had already impressed me. Excellent vocal range and color of voice. Song has good modern sound. Never Walk Away is a typical radio pop rock song. I'm not sure whether it is a song for Eurovision, which would take a Eurovision audience. If the song is already fully launched already after first chorus ,the songs, would be more powerful and impressive.

Roberto Meloni: I like a lot this song, his stunning vocal skills and the arrangement too. A dark horse in the competition. 

Lina Eriksson: I kind of like this melancholic tune but I’m not mad about it. The whole package feels a bit dated and not 2013. 

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

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

Published in Editorials
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 02:20

MESC 2013: Reviewing the track 'Needing You'

The Public Broadcasting Services has always sought to represent the country in the best possible way when it comes to music and therefore the organisation of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest came into existence for this reason, to make sure that the public along with an expert jury make the best possible selection for the prestigious event which is viewed by millions of people all across the world. Despite being small in terms of size, this country has produced some astonishing vocal talent noting the success being achieved on a foreign scale with various genres including: opera, pop, dance and rock amongst others. When the Eurovision Song Contest participation is in question, there were a number of consecutive top ten finishes throughout the nineties and with the growing number of participants, Malta also ranked highly on occasion whilst beating others to make it through to the final stage on three occasions, in 2004, 2009 and 2012 thanks to Julie & Ludwig, Chiara and Kurt Calleja respectively. Promotion is the key for success and as the competition is set to take place in around two weeks time, escflashmalta.com continue to promote each entry with a set of highly acclaimed people in the foreign music industry speaking their mind on each track with the eventual winner given an award on the programme 'Sas-Sitta' which airs on NET Television. The tenth entry to be presented is Needing You performed by Kevin Borg and co-written with Michael Clauss, Simon Gribbe, Dan Attlerud, and Thomas Thornholm. In the reviews below, you'll notice that Knut Oyvind Hagen is commenting instead of Sharon Vaughn who previously worked with Kevin Borg on his debut album.

Kevin Borg is definitely a well known figure in the music industry and not only within the local spectrum but even abroad having moved to Sweden back in 2008 with the hope of making it through to the live stages of the hit reality television show Idol which aired on TV4. He succeeded in passing through to the live phases and with remarkable performances every week, he seemed to be a shoe in for one of the top positions. Competing against the female Alice Svensson in the final, he was praised by the judges and was crowned as the winner with a high percentage of votes, going on sign a recording contract with Sony Music leading to the release of his winners single bearing the name With Every Bit of Me which peaked at number #1 as well as his debut album entitled The Beginning which fared just as well by reaching number #3. Following the release of another track entitled Streetlights, Kevin decided to part ways with the label because of creative control and has been co-writing a number of tracks with artists all over the country including the recent Idol runner-up Robin Stjernberg amongst others. Kevin tried his luck to represent Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest in the past, first trying out in 2006 with the track You're My Dream and then in 2007 with Whenever, both composed by Jason Paul Cassar and penned by Sunny Aquilina. They reached eighth and fourth place respectively but nevertheless, it gave him the courage to go and give it a shot on the foreign music circuit and it worked.

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

Speaking to the local media, Kevin has come clean about his particular noting that he has indeed returned because of the public perception at this current moment stating that he would absolutely love to represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest which will indeed be taking place in Sweden, the same nation in which he is still extremely popular. The entry he is presenting to the competition entitled Needing You has been co-written alongside Simon Gribbe, Michael Clauss, Dan Attlerud, and Thomas Thornholm. The significance of each songwriter has somewhat been recorded in the Scandinavian music industry especially the latter three who have proudly worked with the likes of Kikki Danielsson, Alcazar, Barbados, Afro-Dite, Fame, Pernilla Wahlgren, Jan Johansen, and Magnus Carlsson. It is important to denote that the same team had also co-written the Norwegian entry in the 2004 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest entitled High performed by Knut-Anders Sorum, finishing in a disappointing twenty-fourth place. Kevin Borg and Simon Gribbe are currently producing a number of tracks together as could be heard on soundcloud, some of which would have been suitable for the competition as well. It is yet unknown in which position he will be performing within the running order due to the fact that the producers will be taking care of it, in order to make sure that there will not be any clashes of genres.  

The Critics Speak Out 

Rating: 80%

Martin Isherwood: Good chorus melody - should really be called Unbreakable. 'Needing You' is vague, inverted, contradictory and unspecific. You wouldn't say this to someone so best not to sing it. Lyrics could be more clear. Good voice and good performance. Good strong melodies. Well put together track. Nice tune but lyrics are a bit vague. A big ‘love you forever’ ballad - just say that.

Stano Simor: Kevin can definitely reach the female audience with such a track. He has quite a beautiful colour to his vocal chords which together with the songwriters' production bring this ballad on an extremely professional level. Stunning performance.

Lina Eriksson: Kevin competed and won Swedish Idol a few years ago. There’s no doubt he’s a great singer. This is a beautiful ballad, with beautiful lyrics and the production suits it well. Good work!

Roberto Meloni: This is one of the strongest songs of the National Selection for Malta. Well, I was actually expecting more from Kevin Borg, but of course he is undoubtedly a very good singer and performer and he will do really well. A definite top three.

Knut-Oyvind Hagen: This is actually a really good boy-band ballad. Had Westlife released this 10 years ago, it would have topped the European charts. Slightly old fashioned, but excellent vocals make this a serious contender.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

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

Published in Editorials