The next stop on our preview tour is the land of falcons, dogs but sadly not Maltesers. It’s Malta!!!
Malta first took part in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1971. They will make their thirtieth appearance in the contest. After three appearances, two of which were last places, they withdrew in 1971 and did not return until 1991. From then, they started a very successful run of top 10 results between 1991 and 1998. They are the most successful country that has never won the contest, with two third places (Mary Spiteri in 1992 with “Little Child” and Chiara in 1998 with “The One That I Love”) and two second places (Ira Losco in 2002 with “7th Wonder” and Chiara in 2005 with “Angel”). Last year, Ira Losco tried to improve on her second place in 2002 but could only manage joint 11th in the final with “Walking On Water”.
The Maltese broadcaster, Public Broadcasting Services (PBS), organised the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2017 to select this year’s entry. 16 songs competed in the final. For the first time ever, there was no jury vote and televoting alone decided the winner. After eleven attempts, Claudia Faniello finally won the Maltese selection and will represent her country in Kyiv.
Claudia Faniello was born on February 25th 1988 in Qawra in the north of Malta to an Italian father and a Maltese mother. Her brother Fabrizio is also a singer and represented Malta in 2001 and 2006. Outside of singing, she works as a learning support assistant. In 2005, she came fourth in the talent show Hotspot and in 2006, she made her first attempt to represent Malta with the song “High Alert!”. She also won the Festival Kanzunetta Indipendenza in the same year with “Ma Nafx” (Don’t Know). She tried to represent Malta every year until 2013 but without success. Her best result was second, which she achieved with “Caravaggio” in 2008 and “Pure” in 2012. On her eleventh attempt, she finally won the Maltese ticket to Eurovision. Her entry for Kyiv, “Breathlessly”, was written and composed by Phillip Vella, Sean Vella and Gerald James Borg. The trio have written many Eurovision entries for both Malta and other European countries.
I’m happy that Claudia finally made it to Eurovision but I feel like the Maltese public voted for the artist rather than the song itself, so that she wouldn’t have to try anymore. Claudia brings a lot of elegance and grace to the song but some of her previous attempts, like “Pure”, were better than this. It sounds dated to me and it’s nothing that I haven’t heard before. I think Claudia’s Eurovision dream will be cut a bit short.
What Could Have Been
A little over 400 votes separated Claudia and the runner-up, Janice Mangion. In my opinion though, Janice was head and shoulders above the rest. Her song “Kewkba” (Star) was the first song completely in Maltese to be entered into the selection for a number of years and had it won, it would have been the first Maltese-language song in the Eurovision since 1972. Janice delivered powerful, emotional and sincere live vocals. Coming from a country where your language rarely grabs international limelight, I think Malta missed out on a perfect opportunity to showcase their language to a wider audience.
Xorti tajba Malta! Good luck Malta!
Will Claudia leave you breathless or will she be gasping for air? Leave your comments below. Stay tuned tomorrow for another Eurovision preview!
(Sources: eurovision.tv, PBS, YouTube)