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Richard Edwards, first runner-up at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in 2011 with the track Finally which he co-wrote with Jan Van Dijck is the latest vocalist to confirm his intentions to return to the pre-selection process. It does not really come as a surprise denoting that the male artist has been ever so present in the competition since his success, being a finalist in 2012 and 2013 with the tracks Look At Me Now co-written with Jan Van Dijck, Fall Like Rome composed by Philip Vella and Magnus Kaxe to the lyrics of Gerard James Borg and a duet with Petra entitled Wonderful Today a co-write with Wayne Micallef.

Richard Micallef took to his personal account through Social Networking website, Facebook stating 'Just finished two new songs that I will submit for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. Something different from what I normally write ... I feel like I need to change it up a bit...' This is actually good news, and somewhat bodes well especially following the disappointing announcements made by Nadine Axisa and Klinsmann who will not be submitting any entries for the upcoming edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. Submissions will be received by the Public Broadcasting Services at the Creativity Hub between the 30th and the 31st October 2013. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source: escflashmalta.com

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

Published in Local Music News
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 17:49

Radio International: More Interviews Tonight!

It has been quite an intriguing time with all of the selections going round in the continent and with even more additions to the list today. Many comment on the element that this edition of the Eurovision Song Contest might need some sprucing up but let's wait for the final versions before commenting. We would like to invite you to the weekly Ultimate Eurovision Experience. Apart from the means of FM Radio in the Netherlands on FM 106.8 and the audio stream from the studio via www.radiointernational.tv and on Digital Cable 781 & cable 88.1Mhz in the Netherlands, the show will also be web-televised via the Radio International TV Channel from the studio and linking up the many international Eurovision fans and friends and play your requests and read your messages out on air. The simulcast will be from 2000 – 2300 hours CET when Eurovision fans can join in and chat amongst each other via the Chat Room and request their favourite Eurovision entry.

The Eurovision Song Contest is somewhat keeping the attention on Sweden as the Melodifestivalen heads into the final gears in the next two weeks, culminating in the choice of who will represent the home country. The Team of Radio International tries to cover as much boundaries as possible and as a matter of fact, four artists have been interviewed from the fourth semi-final, two of which have managed to pass through to the final and another two which despite having received rave reviews have been eliminated. The nineties group Army of Lovers as well as the icon Sylvia Vrethammar feature in the latter category but Ulrik Munther and Ralf Gyllenhammar are the two mentioned in the former. Ulrik was one of the finalists last year, achieving a second runner-up finish and his entry Tell The World I'm Here is actually written by Thomas G:Son and Peter Bostrom who also co-wrote last years' winning entry Euphoria.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK4Pzpk643g

Despite the fact that the Malta Eurovision Song Contest was somewhat held in the beginning of February, we had the extreme pleasure to speak to most of the artists in contention and indeed, this weeks' turn turns to the fan favourite; Klinsmann whose entry The Remedy co-written by Philip Vella, Magnus Kaxe and Gerard James Borg was honoured with the Escflashmalta Media Award as well as Petra & Richard Edwards who performed the song Wonderful Today co-written by Richard and Wayne Micallef. They reached the final for the very first time as a duet, managing to rack up points from the juries and the public alike and finally managing a top ten position. One final interview that will be aired this evening is the one with Jon Ola Sand who assumed the role of Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest a couple of years back and will continue to develop the event into an international spectacle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnFissma0Kc

Radio International is always keen to present songs during the show apart from the weekly features and therefore, collaborating the two ideas together will see the emergence of Eurovision UnverCover whereas tracks performed at the Eurovision Song Contest will be covered by other singers. The actual tracks will be played first followed by the cover and this will make things interesting. Apart from this feature, there will be new material played on the show by a number of former representatives including Loreen and Zeljko Joksimovic. All of the latest news is also covered during the weekly broadcast noting resources from escflashmalta.com and escXtra where Luke Fisher, the Editor makes a weekly round-up. A round up of the national finals thus far is set to be conducted by Alasdair Rendall. Follow the show through the official website and also send your requests through the contact link which is found on the aforementioned website.

Source: Team of Radio International

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dy35AgTBiVE

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.  

The package has always been coined as to being the element which the public and the jury must select to represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest and one cannot deny that this element has not been analysed thouroughly by nations who have achieved success in the past. It has long been said that some nations who have not achieved positive results in recent years, are trying to turn back the time and check what they had done but nevertheless, times are changing and past formulas might not be the way to go and that is something that the Public Broadcasting Services has taken up in recent years, denoting a change of strategy with sheer professionalism becoming the element behind the actual selection process. Each of the competing acts in this years’ Malta Eurovision Song Contest have achieved promotion through both television and radio, whether individualistic or as a group altogether. Our portal in the meantime, has been looking at all of the tracks through a series of professional critiques by people who barely require an introduction within the international music market.  The one with the highest score will be given an award on the popular show Sas-Sitta which airs on NET Television. The final review of the series will be focusing on Wonderful Today, composed by Wayne Micallef to the lyrics of Richard Micallef with the vocalists being Richard and Petra

Introducing this duet, many people will realise that both Richard and Petra are already competing in the competition as soloists and therefore, having an additional track might not help with the overall giving of votes, both with regards to the jury and the tele-voting but the genre does differ in the tracks and this is due to the fact that they bring completely different vocals to the table which when come together form a vocal harmony which is beautiful.  Richard Edwards has become one of the most popular performers in the country having managed to finish third in tele-voting for two consecutive years with Finally and Look At Me Now which were both co-written with Jan Van Dijck, ultimately placing in second and sixth place respectively whilst Petra has been away for the competition in the past year having been a finalist in 2008 with Street Car of Desire composed by Elton Zarb to the lyrics of Rita Pace, in 2010 with the track All I Need composed by Andrew Zammit with lyrics by Keith Zammit and of course in 2011 when she had managed to get through with the song Unintentional, where she had gone back to her songwriting roots working with Elton Zarb and Rita Pace once more. The genres are absolutely different as already noted above but nevertheless, both have built strong reputations in the business. Since coming together as a romantic item in the past couple of months, several people have been wanting a duet and thus came the idea of this entry, Wonderful Today

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

The focus here is definitely on the entry that they are presenting as a duet rather than their solo performances which have already been analysed thouroughly by our professional panel of critics earlier on in the series. Wonderful Today could be best described as a pop/rock track with that little bit of a country twang which definitely suits both vocals equally. What is rather impressive about this entry is that there is a merge of vocals rather than someone trying to sound better and that is why, it is a vocal union.  The presentation is going to be crucial and many have come forward telling the editorial board that Richard has to calm down when it comes to the entrance because in the preview video, it looked as if he was set to start shouting at Petra and thus, it would not look good on screen. Nevertheless, I have no doubts that the professionalism of these artists like most of the other performers in the local music scene will see to it that certain issues will be ironed out. The songwriters of this entry are of course, the Micallef brothers who have written a number of tracks for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in the past including Take Me Back Again in 2003 and It's Up to You in 2005. They will also be competing with two this year. It is quite unfortunate that Wayne could not participate as a solo artist this time round due to personal issues but nevertheless, his contributions are somewhat well noted.  

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 62%

Sharon Vaughn: A Monster chorus. The verses don't match up to the choruses but the singers are amazing and sell this song.

Martin Isherwood: Nice idea for the chorus. Lyrics work ok despite the title. Voices are good. Competent but hardly distinctive in any way.

Stano Simor: Petra and Richard are extremely good singers. But the song did not touch me at all. It belongs to the average song of this competition and I think it will have a hard to enforce. We'll see, fingers crossed.

Roberto Meloni: Good singers! the song sounds a bit “old fashioned” but I like the combination of the voices and their complicity on the stage. 

Lina Eriksson: Maybe this song would have worked better as a solo-artist song? But then again I always have a hard time liking duets. As always I adore Richard but having Fall like Rome still playing in the back of my head….well this just isn’t as good.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnTL6SFCtNA

Published in Editorials