Last night on the night of Friday 17th of November, the fourth semifinal of Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2024 (MESC2024) took place in Valetta, where the last 9 acts of the Maltese competition showcased their songs to the public.
As explained in previous posts from us, MESC2024 started earlier than other editions, having its 4 semifinals aired every Friday from last night 27th of October, until the 4th semifinal taking place on 17th of November. In each show, 9 song took the stage to showcase their voices and songs with no props just focusing on the voice. Next Friday 24th of November, on a final show, we will get to know the combined results form both juries and public vote and the names of the 12 finalists will be finally revealed.
The final 9 acts (with their respective song and songwriters) that took the stage last Friday on the fourth semifinal were:
- ERBA’ – “Sirena” – Alexander Olsson, Audun Agnar Guldbrandsen, Erba’, Maria Cachia Abdilla ann Tom Hugo Hamersen
- Mariana Conte – “Venom” – Daniel Borg, Matthew Mercieca and Miriana Conte
- Christian Arding – “Bellus” – Emil Calleja Bayliss and Gilbert Camilleri
- Lisa Gauci – “Breath” – Cyprian Cassar, Emil Calleja Bayliss, Patrik Jean and Petra Zammit
- Matt BLXCK – “Banana” – Douglas Carr, Maria Broberg, Matthew Caruana, Oliver Fernström and Sean Banan
- Martina Cutajar – “Miles Away” – Luca Napolitana and Martina Cutajar
- Greta Tude – “Topic (Blah Blah)” – Antoine Farrugia Cyprian Cassar Matthew Marciera and Patrik Jean
- Ryan Hili – “Karma” – Andreas Lindbergh, Joy Deb and Linnea Deb
- Kyle George – “Arrows” – Andreas Lindbergh, Gerard James Borg, Kyle George and Sebastian Pritchard-James
First act taking the stage was ERBA’, a 4 girl girlband singing “Sirena”, a catchy, upbeat banger with hypnotic sounds and interesting harmonies. Although her vocals weren’t the best of the night, they conveyed power and confidence on stage. This song has huge potential for memorable staging with the right dance routine, and if the vocals are improved and the harmonies are on point, this entry could do a really great job at the big Eurovision stage in Malmo.
Second song of the night “Venom” performed by Mariana Conte. Mariana is not a new face in Malta, as she took part in several contests already in the island. She is knows for her strong and unique voice which reminds to the biggest and most promising star form Malta, Destiny. Her song really suited her voice, as its a dark R&B soul ballad that Mariana nailed live. With the right staging this could be a contender for the win, but for the moment seems that something is missing as the song itself is nothing out of the box, so we will need to see if just her voice and stage presence are enough to push her to the finals so she can prove the song real potential for Eurovision.
This act of the night was a total different one from the two first finalists of this 4th semifinal: Christian Arding with “Bellus“. Christian is known by his lyrical and operatic signing style, and this is proved once again in this beautiful and emotional ballad, just his last year’s entry. Unfortunately, and even if his vocals were among the best of the night, the song itself is just a continuation from his last years’ entry that did not do really well at the finals of MESC2023. Thus, we don’t see this song advancing to the finals, but if juries push him enough, we might will be seeing him amongst the 12 finalists.
From one ballad to another one: Fourth singer taking the XOW stage was Lisa Gauci with the emotional and heartfelt “Breath“. Lisa’s voice is one of the best of the whole competition-that’s indubitable. The song itself is not standing out from the rest of the woman ballads we have heard in the previous semifinals such as Eliana’s or Haley’s, but the fact that Lisa sings it with such emotions and flawlessly, plus the uniqueness of her voice, could be enough for her to go through the finals and have the chance of putting together emotional and unforgettable staging that this special song requires.
Then, we witnessed a total turn of mood with Matt BLXCK. the fan favorite from Malta and abroad, with “Banana”. Following up from last year’s craziness, but taking it a step further, Matt entered the stage showing us the he was born for the Eurovision stage. Maybe musically the song is not the best of the competition, but “Banana” looks like a polished hot mess where Matt really get us entertained for 3 minutes in a row. Written by a Swedish team and some backing vocals even in Swedish still, this song has lots of potential of doing a good job in Malmo for the small Mediterranean insular country. Europe expects something completely new, innovative and crazy for Malta and this might be the answer to that, with a Swedish flavour and the name and topic of the song themselves really remind of Nordic pop songs such the Norwegian entry for ESC2022, “Give that wolf a banana”. We still need to see what Matt has prepared for us for the finals of MESC2024, but knowing him, he will live up for the expectations of his fans and if juries support enough his act, like last year, when he won the whole jury voting, we might have already a winner of MESC2024.
Next up on the XOW stage was Martina Cutajar with “Miles Away”, a catchy upbeat song with Mediterranean party vibes. However, Martina’s vocals weren’t the best, and shaky and out of tune at times, really went on detriment of the song, that itself did not stand out enough from the rest of this semifinal’s songs. Thus, we don’t see this song advancing on the contest, unfortunately.
Seventh act of the night was no other than Greta Tude with “Topic (Blah Blah)”. Greta continued her trend of showing off all her talent with catchy and danceable songs. She is born to perform, and this time, she brought a thoroughly thought performance from the song, to the dance moves, to the outfit and narrative of the performance. This could be elevated at the big MESC stage at the finals if proper staging and props are introduced in the show, at last Friday, everything felt a little bit empty and dull. The song really reminds to “Unicorn” by Noa Kirel, by mixing dance rythym with ethnic sounds and strong bass. She even does a dance break with some speaking bits, really reminding to the Israeli entry of ESC2023. Will the song be enough for her to go through the finals, or the comparisons with other successful ESC entries will play in detriment to her? We will soon find her, but we would like to see her one day at the big Eurovision stage as she can really make Malta proud by bringing a new and fresh image of Malta to the world.
Second-to-last act of the night was the loved Ryan Hili with “Karma”. The Maltese singers who is very loved and followed in the country, possess one the best male voices of the country. Last year coming second he proved that he’s eager to represent Malta at Eurovision Song Contest no matter what. That’s why he’s back at the competition to fight for the 2024 Maltese ticket to Malmo with a current and modern ballad that showcases his amazing voice while keeping an international Nordic pop sound. He is back at MESC with a dream tema behind him, Linnea Deb is one the writers of his song, who is a very well known name of Melodifestivalen, the successful Swedish national final for Eurovision, and she wrote several of the songs of Melodifestvalen 2023 that came on the top5 of the competitive national final. It is clear that Linnea and Ryan’s team know how to write an Eurovision hit. Although this song could not win Melodifestivalen, for MESC standards up to now, is more than superior to the rest of the songs. This, combined with his amazing voice and notoriety in the country, makes him a clear finalist of MESC2024, and he will be fighting for sure for the MESC2024 trophy in January.
Finally, closing the show and the last song of the 36 entries for MESC this year, was Kyle George with “Arrows”, a very well-written, easy to listen pop song with an international appeal that has the potential of doing it well at the international music charts. However, Kyle’s vocals weren’t on point last Friday, as he missed some of the important notes on the beautiful progression of the song. This in combination with how generic and not very Eurovision nature of the song, makes it difficult for Kyle to advance to the finals, although with the right staging the song and performance has the potential to be elevated.
The final XOW episode included Yulan, the Maltese JESC2023 entry in Nice, where she sang her song “Stronger” live a capella before flying out to the French Rivera on Sunday.
As a summary, and taken into account the mixed quality of the songs of this semifinal, for what we have been last Friday, the only three secured passes to the finals of MESC2024 from this semifinal are, in no particular order:
- Matt BLXCK – “Banana”
- Ryan Hili – “Karma”
- ERBA’ – “Sirena”
Now that we finally heard the 36 songs that are competing on the runway to Malmo to represent Malta in Eurovision Song Contest 2024, we can only say one thing: Congratulations to PBS/TVM for putting together a mix of songs of a varied music styles of everybody’s tastes. The competition will be tough, and currently, only choosing 12 acts advancing to the finals seems surreal, as we will lost inevitably some songs on the way to the finals that deserve a spot at MESC2024 finals. Congratulations and well done to all the artists and songwriters for coming up with such great songs of different styles, and the effort of improving the quality of MESC and creating songs that could do well internationally but still keeping the Maltese essence, even if difficult, has been definitely achieved!
Now its on the Maltese audience’s and professional juries’ hands to pick the best 12 songs advancing to the finals! Just be careful and think that the best results in years for your country is about to be achieved if wise choices are made-we already hinted what Europe and international audience thinks!
The first national final of the 2024 season, the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2024 (MESC), began last Friday, October 27, with semi-finals running until November 24 when the finalists will be revealed. The Maltese television will be disclosing the list of artists participating in each semi-final of the Maltese competition every Wednesday, and will be broadcast through the Maltese television program XOW every Friday. In this show, the 9 participants of each semifinal will perform their songs live, without any props or scenography whatsoever, and very interesting names have surged on this first group of names.
Once all the artists in each semifinal have performed their songs, a professional jury and the public will vote for the proposals they want to see continuing further in the national final. What is not know yet is if juries and public will have the same weight when it comes to the final result. Public vote will be open in every semifinal for 30 minutes, and audience will be able to cast their vote via SMS for their favourite acts, so make sure you vote for your favourite once all the songs have been performed on the night. The results won’t be disclosed until November 24th, when all the semi-finalists have taken the stage to sing their songs. Only then, the 12 acts receiving the most points from both the public and jury, will fight for gold in the grand final taking place in a to-be-decided date in late January 2024.
After this, pre-recorded live-on-tape performances of the 12 finalists will filmed in December 2023 at the PBS studios that will be aired at the grand finale. The 12 finalists will have 60 minutes and three takes to achieve the top-notch performance and select their best take for the final in January.
For this grand finale live-on-tape performances, the acts will be able to add any props, choreography and staging they would like to their performance. And as a novelty, PBS is also providing with 5000€ to each of the 12 finalist destined to recording the official video clip of the song by their own means, which will be as well broadcast in the grand finale in January.
The final result of who will be representing Malta in Malmo will be decided at that grand finale, and is not revealed yet how the final result will be calculated, but a mix of national and international professional juries and public Maltese televote will presumably be used to determine the act that will be flying the Maltese flag next May 2024 in the Swedish city of Malmo taking over The Busker.