Malta makes Kurt Calleja’s night.

To be perfectly honest, I passed over Kurt Calleja’s entry This Is The Night in the weeks leading up to the Maltese national final, dismissing it as catchy but mediocre, more demo than actual song. So imagine my surprise when last night, Kurt took to the stage performing This Is The Night as a refreshed pop-rock number with boatloads of enthusiasm that really lifted the song beyond what it originally was. I was quite taken back but pleased that some of the song’s potential has been realised.

And I say ‘some’ because I think there is quite a long way to go before This Is The Night can be properly presented in Baku come May. For one thing, the song definitely needs to be polished in the studio, as it still sounds a bit like a demo. I quite like this new pop-rock direction as I feel that this sound suits Kurt’s voice way better. The song’s producers should take this route and go all out and make it sound whole and well-rounded. A bit of choreography and stage presentation would help loads too. It’s all very well to perform like you’re performing at a birthday party to friends: it is the national final after all so I suppose thats what the vibe is like. But for the international audience, we’ll need something a bit more slick and professional. A few pointers from Melodifestivalen or Melodi Grand Prix would not be remiss.

But for now, I’m glad that Kurt won and it was the spirit of the performance that really gave This Is The Night that little bit extra. Also, big props to Claudia Faniello for coming in a close second with Pure. I’ve always maintained that she should ditch the cheesy up tempos (even though I love them) and get serious with big, powerful ballads that will suit her voice. This is her best placing at the MESC, so there you go. Next year, she ought to come back singing a classic chanson with a Mediterranean flavour. Now that ought to be interesting.

But that’s next year. For now, congratulations to Kurt. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what they will do with This Is The Night to amp it up for the Eurovision Song Contest.

Malta catches Eurovision fever!

Tonight sees Malta kick off its Eurovision selection with the first semi-final of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. There’s been a lot of hype around the contest, with TVM reportedly pulling out all the stops to ensure a spectacular show. 16 of the 24 songs will qualify to tomorrow’s Final. Below you can see all the entries vying to fly the Maltese flag in Baku, along with my favorites in bold:

01. Danica Muscat – Seven Days
02. J. Anvil – You Are My Life
03. Isabelle Zammit – Walk On Water
04. Francesca Borg – Take Me Far
05. Klinsmann – No Way Back 
06. Richard Edwards – Look At Me Now
07. Annalise Ellul – Whoop It Up 
08. Kurt Calleja – This Is The Night
09. Romina Mamo – DNA
10. Nadine Bartolo – Can’t Get Away
11. Lawrence Gray – In Your Eyes
12. Kaya – First Time
13. Claudia Faniello – Pure
14. Jessica Muscat – Dance Romance
15. Wayne Micallef – Time
16. Dorothy Bezzina – Autobiography 
17. Gianni Zammit – Petals On A Rose
18. Fabrizio Faniello – I Will Fight For You (Papa’s Song)
19. Janice Mangion – While Her Eyes Still Glow
20. Eleanor Cassar – I Want To Run Away 
21. Corazon – Mystifying Eyes 
22. Deborah C feat. Leila James – You Make Me Go Uh Uh
23. Anna Azzopardi – Still Waiting
24. Amber – Anwser With Your Eyes

No doubt I shall acquire some new favorites after watching the live performances, but for now, these are the ones I’m supporting. The show starts at 20:30CET (in just a scant 5 minutes) and you can watch the live webcast here.