Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016

Malta participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 with the song "Walk on Water" written by Lisa Desmond, Tim Larsson, Tobias Lundgren, Molly Pettersson Hammar and Ira Losco. The song was performed by Losco, who had previously represented Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest in the 2002 edition where she achieved second place with the song "7th Wonder".

Eurovision Song Contest 2016
Country Malta
National selection
Selection processArtist:
Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2016
Song:
Internal Selection
Selection date(s)Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2016:
Semi-final
22 January 2016
Final
23 January 2016
Song Selection:
14 March 2016
Selected entrantIra Losco
Selected song"Walk on Water"
Selected songwriter(s)
Finals performance
Semi-final resultQualified (3rd, 209 points)
Final result12th, 153 points
Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest
◄2015 2016 2017►

The Maltese entry for the 2016 contest in Stockholm, Sweden was initially selected through the national final Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2016, organised by the Maltese broadcaster Public Broadcasting Services (PBS). The competition consisted of a semi-final round and a final, held on 22 and 23 January 2016, respectively, where "Chameleon" performed by Losco eventually emerged as the winning entry after scoring the most points from a five-member jury and a public televote. The rules of the Maltese national selection allowed for the winning artist to change the winning song either partially or entirely with the consent of the winning composers. In February 2016, PBS announced that a jury panel consisting of international and local experts would determine the song Losco would ultimately perform at the Eurovision Song Contest from a selection of ten songs, including a revamped version of "Chameleon". On 14 March 2016, PBS announced that Losco would perform "Walk on Water" in Stockholm; the song was released to the public on 17 March.

Malta was drawn to compete in the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest which took place on 10 May 2016. Performing as the closing entry during the show in position 18, "Walk on Water" was announced among the top 10 entries of the first semi-final and therefore qualified to compete in the final on 14 May. It was later revealed that Malta placed third out of the 18 participating countries in the semi-final with 209 points. In the final, Malta performed in position 22 and placed twelfth out of the 26 participating countries, scoring 153 points.

BackgroundEdit

Prior to the 2016 Contest, Malta had participated in the Eurovision Song Contest twenty-eight times since its first entry in 1971. Malta briefly competed in the Eurovision Song Contest in the 1970s before withdrawing for sixteen years. The country had, to this point, competed in every contest since returning in 1991. Malta's best placing in the contest thus far was second, which it achieved on two occasions: in 2002 with the song "7th Wonder" performed by Ira Losco and in the 2005 contest with the song "Angel" performed by Chiara.[1] In the 2015 edition, Malta failed to qualify to the final with the song "Warrior" performed by Amber.[2]

For the 2016 Contest, the Maltese national broadcaster, Public Broadcasting Services (PBS), broadcast the event within Malta and organised the selection process for the nation's entry. PBS confirmed their intentions to participate at it on 30 September 2015.[3] Malta selected their entry consistently through a national final procedure, a method that was continued for their 2016 participation.[3]

Before EurovisionEdit

Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2016Edit

Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2016 was the national final format developed by PBS to select the Maltese entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2016. The competition consisted of a semi-final and final held on 22 and 23 January 2016, respectively, at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in the nation's capital city of Valletta. Both shows were hosted by actor Ben Camille and broadcast on Television Malta (TVM) as well on the broadcaster's website tvm.com.mt, while the final was also broadcast on the official Eurovision Song Contest website eurovision.tv.[4]

FormatEdit

The competition consisted of twenty songs competing in the semi-final on 22 January 2016 where the top fourteen entries qualified to compete in the final on 23 January 2016. Five judges evaluated the songs during the shows and each judge had an equal stake in the final result.[5] The sixth set of votes were the results of the public televote, which had a weighting equal to the votes of a single judge. Ties in the final results were broken based on the entry which received the higher score from the judges.[5] The five members of the jury that evaluated the entries during both the semi-final and final consisted of:[6]

  • Nick Clark-Lowes (United Kingdom) – Video editor/designer having worked in international shows with well-known artists
  • Vyara Ankova (Bulgaria) – General manager of the Bulgarian National Television (BNT)
  • Sabrija Vulić (Montenegro) – Head of Delegation for Montenegro at the Eurovision Song Contest
  • Luke Fisher (United Kingdom) – Journalist specializing in the Eurovision Song Contest
  • Quinton Scerri (Malta) – Television producer and presenter

The rules and regulations for the competition allowed for the artist, author and composer of the winning entry to change parts of the winning song or the entire song for the Eurovision Song Contest.[5]

Competing entriesEdit

Artists and composers were able to submit their entries between 29 and 30 October 2015 to the PBS Creativity Hub in Gwardamanġa. Artists were also required to submit a cover version of another song along with their entry application.[5] Songwriters from any nationality were able to submit songs as long as the artist were Maltese or possessed Maltese citizenship. Artists were able to submit as many songs as they wished, however, they could only compete with a maximum of two in the semi-final and one in the final.[5] 2015 national final winner Amber was unable to compete due to a rule that prevented the previous winner from competing in the following competition. 153 entries were received by the broadcaster.[7] On 3 December 2015, PBS announced a shortlist of 49 entries that had progressed through the selection process.[7] The twenty songs selected to compete in the semi-final were announced on the TVM programme Xarabank on 11 December 2015.[8]

Among the selected competing artists was former Maltese Eurovision entrant Ira Losco who represented Malta in the 2002 contest. Daniel Testa represented Malta in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2008. Among the songwriters, Elton Zarb, Muxu, Paul Abela, Gerard James Borg and Philip Vella were all past writers of Maltese Eurovision entries. Paul Giordimaina represented Malta in the 1991 edition and together with Fleur Balzan co-wrote the Maltese entry in 2011; Dimitri Stassos co-wrote the Spanish entry in 2009 and the Greek entry in 2012; Jonas Gladnikoff co-wrote the Irish entries in 2009, 2010 and 2014.[9]

Semi-finalEdit

The semi-final took place on 22 January 2016. Twenty songs competed for fourteen qualifying spots in the final.[10] The running order for the semi-final was announced on 13 January 2016.[11] The show was opened with a guest performance by the 2015 Maltese Eurovision entrant Amber performing "Warrior", while the interval act featured performances by the local bands the Crowns and the New Victorians.[12]

Draw Artist Song Songwriter(s) Result
1 Ira Losco "Chameleon" Ira Losco, Talkback Finalist
2 Corazon "Falling Glass" Sara Ljunggren, Georgios Kalpakidis, Jonas Gladnikoff Finalist
3 Stefan Galea "Light Up My Life" Ylva Persson, Linda Persson Eliminated
4 Domenique "Empty Hearted" Dimitri Stassos, Ylva Persson, Linda Persson Eliminated
5 Dario "I Love You" Henric Pierroff, Sandra Nordstrom Eliminated
6 Daniel Testa "Under the Sun" Daniel Testa, Elton Zarb, Matthew Mercieca Finalist
7 Jessika "The Flame" Philip Vella, Gerard James Borg Finalist
8 Jasmine "Alive" Paul Abela, Michael James Down, Marie Pettersson, Filip Lindfors Finalist
9 Raquel "Flashing Lights" Elton Zarb, Matthew Mercieca Finalist
10 Brooke "Golden" Christian Schneider, Aidan O'Connor, Sara Biglert, Brooke Borg Finalist
11 Kim "Lighthouse" Cyprian Cassar, Matthew Mercieca Finalist
12 Sarah Crystal "Right Here with You" Toby Farrugia, Pamela Bezzina, Sarah Crystal Eliminated
13 Danica "Frontline" Philip Vella, Emil Calleja Bayliss Eliminated
14 Christabelle "Kingdom" Elton Zarb, Matthew Mercieca Finalist
15 Franklin "Little Love" Cyprian Cassar, Matthew Mercieca Finalist
16 Dominic "Fire Burn" Will Taylor, Jonas Gladnikoff, Natasha Turner Finalist
17 Ira Losco "That's Why I Love You" Ira Losco, Howard Keith Debono, Matthias Strasser, Stefan Moessle Eliminated
18 Lawrence Gray "You're Beautiful" Paul Giordimaina, Fleur Balzan Finalist
19 Maxine "Young Love" Elton Zarb, Matthew Mercieca Finalist
20 Deborah C "All Around the World" Matthew Ker, Jonas Gladnikoff, Michael James Down, Primož Poglajen, Angie Laus Finalist

FinalEdit

The final took place on 23 January 2016. The fourteen entries that qualified from the semi-final were performed again and the votes of a six-member jury panel (5/6) and the results of public televoting (1/6) determined the winner. The show was opened with a guest performance of "Not My Soul" performed by Malta's Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2015 winner Destiny Chukunyere, while the interval act featured further performances by Chukunyere as well as performances by Amber and the Southville Dancers dance troupe.[12] After the votes from the jury panel and televote were combined, "Chameleon" performed by Ira Losco was the winner.[13] "Chameleon" won the public televote with 40% of the votes.[14]

Draw Artist Song Jury Televote Total Place
1 Deborah C "All Around the World" 8 0 8 11
2 Franklin "Little Love" 38 6 44 3
3 Daniel Testa "Under the Sun" 2 0 2 14
4 Brooke "Golden" 48 10 58 2
5 Raquel "Flashing Lights" 11 1 12 9
6 Christabelle "Kingdom" 30 8 38 4
7 Corazon "Falling Glass" 10 5 15 8
8 Dominic "Fire Burn" 5 0 5 13
9 Jessika "The Flame" 15 4 19 7
10 Jasmine "Alive" 23 3 26 6
11 Lawrence Gray "You're Beautiful" 5 2 7 12
12 Maxine "Young Love" 29 7 36 5
13 Ira Losco "Chameleon" 56 12 68 1
14 Kim "Lighthouse" 10 0 10 10

Song selectionEdit

Following Losco's win at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2016, the singer stated that she was open to the idea of performing a song other than "Chameleon" at the Eurovision Song Contest should it improve Malta's chances of winning. The national final rules set by PBS allowed for the winning song to be partially modified or completely changed.[15] On 19 February 2016, PBS announced that an international jury consisting of representatives from ten countries along with local experts from Malta would be presented with ten songs, including a revamped version of "Chameleon", and would determine which song Ira Losco would ultimately perform at the Eurovision Song Contest.[16][17]

On 14 March 2016, PBS announced that Losco would perform the song "Walk on Water" at the Eurovision Song Contest 2016, which officially replaced "Chameleon" as the Maltese entry through the decision of thirteen international and local judges.[18][19] "Walk on Water" was written by Lisa Desmond, Tim Larsson, Tobias Lundgren, Molly Pettersson Hammar and Ira Losco herself.[20] The release of the song and official music video was announced on 17 March 2016 during the TVM news bulletin and made available online on the broadcaster's website tvm.com.mt and the official Eurovision Song Contest website eurovision.tv.[21][22] Losco appeared as a guest during a special edition of the TVM programme Xarabank on 18 March to discuss and present the song.[18] The music video for the song was filmed earlier in March in Gozo and at the Malta National Aquarium.[18]

PromotionEdit

Ira Losco made several appearances across Europe to specifically promote "Walk on Water" as the Maltese Eurovision entry. On 2 April, Losco performed during the Eurovision PreParty Riga, which was organised by OGAE Latvia and held at the Spikeri Concert Hall in Riga, Latvia.[23] On 3 April, she performed during the Eurovision Pre-Party, which was held at the Izvestia Hall in Moscow, Russia and hosted by Dmitry Guberniev.[24] Losco also completed promotional activities in Armenia following her performances in Riga and Moscow.[25] On 9 April, Ira Losco performed during the Eurovision in Concert event which was held at the Melkweg venue in Amsterdam, Netherlands and hosted by Cornald Maas and Hera Björk.[26] On 16 April, Losco performed "Walk on Water" live during the ČT1 televised broadcast of the charity show Pomozte dětem, which was held at the La Fabrika theatre in Prague, Czech Republic.[27] The following day, Losco performed during the London Eurovision Party, which was held at the Café de Paris venue in London, United Kingdom and hosted by Nicki French and Paddy O'Connell.[28] In addition to her international appearances, Ira Losco also completed promotional activities in Malta where she appeared during the TVM talk show programme Xarabank on 22 April and performed during the Malta Eurovision Party at the Aria Complex in San Ġwann on 23 April.[29]

At EurovisionEdit

 
Ira Losco during a press meet and greet

The Eurovision Song Contest 2016 took place at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden and consisted of two semi-finals on 10 and 12 May, and the final of 14 May 2016.[30] According to Eurovision rules, all nations with the exceptions of the host country and the "Big 5" (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) are required to qualify from one of two semi-finals in order to compete for the final; the top ten countries from each semi-final progress to the final. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) split up the competing countries into six different pots based on voting patterns from previous contests, with countries with favourable voting histories put into the same pot.[31] On 25 January 2016, a special allocation draw was held which placed each country into one of the two semi-finals, as well as which half of the show they would perform in. Malta was placed into the first semi-final, to be held on 10 May 2016, and was scheduled to perform in the second half of the show.[32]

Once all the competing songs for the 2016 contest had been released, the running order for the semi-finals was decided by the shows' producers rather than through another draw, so that similar songs were not placed next to each other. Malta was set to perform last in position 18, following the entry from Bosnia and Herzegovina.[33]

The two semi-finals and the final were broadcast in Malta on TVM with commentary by disc jockey Arthur Caruana.[34][35] The Maltese spokesperson, who announced the top 12 Points awarded by the Maltese jury during the final, was actor Ben Camille.[36]

Semi-finalEdit

 
Ira Losco during a rehearsal before the first semi-final

Ira Losco took part in technical rehearsals on 3 and 6 May, followed by dress rehearsals on 9 and 10 May.[37] This included the jury show on 9 May where the professional juries of each country watched and voted on the competing entries.[38] On the day of the first semi-final, Malta was considered by bookmakers to be the second most likely country to advance into the final.[39]

The Maltese performance featured Ira Losco wearing a black and gold rhinestone dress, designed by Australian designer Alex Zabotto-Bentley, and performing together with one dancer.[40][41][42][43] The performance began with the LED screen floor projecting Ira Losco's face followed by Losco emerging on stage with the dancer performing choreographed movements. The performance was originally to have featured full 360 degree projection mapping on Losco's dress accomplished by real-time tracking technology; however, during the rehearsals, the Maltese delegation opted not to use the technology in the broadcast performance. The creative director for the Maltese performance was Stephane Boko.[44] Ira Losco was joined by four off-stage backing vocalists: Pamela Bezzina, Anna Azzopardi, Lars Säfsund and Molly Pettersson Hammar.[40] The dancer featured during the performance was Skorpion, who also appeared in the music video for "Walk on Water".[40]

At the end of the show, Malta was announced as having finished in the top 10 and consequently qualifying for the grand final.[45] It was later revealed that Malta placed third in the semi-final, receiving a total of 209 points: 54 points from the televoting and 155 points from the juries.[46][47]

FinalEdit

Shortly after the first semi-final, a winners' press conference was held for the ten qualifying countries. As part of this press conference, the qualifying artists took part in a draw to determine which half of the grand final they would subsequently participate in. This draw was done in the order the countries appeared in the semi-final running order. Malta was drawn to compete in the second half.[48] Following this draw, the shows' producers decided upon the running order of the final, as they had done for the semi-finals. Malta was subsequently placed to perform in position 22, following the entry from Ukraine and before the entry from Georgia.[49] On the day of the grand final, bookmakers considered Malta the seventh most likely country to win the competition.[50]

Ira Losco once again took part in dress rehearsals on 13 and 14 May before the final, including the jury final where the professional juries cast their final votes before the live show.[51] Ira Losco performed a repeat of her semi-final performance during the final on 14 May. Malta placed twelfth in the final, scoring 153 points: 16 points from the televoting and 137 points from the juries.[52][53]

VotingEdit

Voting during the three shows was conducted under a new system that involved each country now awarding two sets of points from 1–8, 10 and 12: one from their professional jury and the other from televoting. Each nation's jury consisted of five music industry professionals who are citizens of the country they represent, with their names published before the contest to ensure transparency. This jury judged each entry based on: vocal capacity; the stage performance; the song's composition and originality; and the overall impression by the act.[54] In addition, no member of a national jury was permitted to be related in any way to any of the competing acts in such a way that they cannot vote impartially and independently. The individual rankings of each jury member as well as the nation's televoting results were released shortly after the grand final.[55]

Below is a breakdown of points awarded to Malta and awarded by Malta in the first semi-final and grand final of the contest, and the breakdown of the jury voting and televoting conducted during the two shows:[46][52]

Points awarded to MaltaEdit

Points awarded by MaltaEdit

Detailed voting resultsEdit

The following members comprised the Maltese jury:[54]

  • Matthew Merceica (Muxu; jury chairperson) – songwriter, vocal coach
  • Maria Abdilla – vocal coach, music teacher
  • Peter Borg – guitarist, songwriter, producer, musician
  • Angie Laus – TV presenter, TV producer
  • Ismael Portelli – director, creative director
Detailed voting results from Malta (Semi-final 1)[56]
Draw Country Jury Televote
Muxu M. Abdilla P. Borg A. Laus I. Portelli Average Rank Points Rank Points
01   Finland 11 8 9 4 7 6 5 13
02   Greece 5 7 16 17 8 11 16
03   Moldova 10 13 6 8 5 7 4 11
04   Hungary 13 9 13 10 13 13 3 8
05   Croatia 15 17 14 14 9 17 12
06   Netherlands 16 12 4 13 14 14 4 7
07   Armenia 2 1 1 2 1 1 12 7 4
08   San Marino 9 3 7 5 12 5 6 6 5
09   Russia 1 2 3 1 3 2 10 1 12
10   Czech Republic 12 6 11 6 11 8 3 9 2
11   Cyprus 8 14 2 3 2 3 8 5 6
12   Austria 7 11 10 7 17 10 1 10 1
13   Estonia 6 16 8 9 10 9 2 14
14   Azerbaijan 14 15 12 16 6 15 2 10
15   Montenegro 4 5 5 12 4 4 7 17
16   Iceland 3 10 15 15 15 12 8 3
17   Bosnia and Herzegovina 17 4 17 11 16 16 15
18   Malta
Detailed voting results from Malta (Final)[57]
Draw Country Jury Televote
Muxu M. Abdilla P. Borg A. Laus I. Portelli Average Rank Points Rank Points
01   Belgium 16 13 17 24 21 20 17
02   Czech Republic 18 16 20 10 17 16 24
03   Netherlands 13 11 15 25 20 17 8 3
04   Azerbaijan 20 9 21 19 8 11 5 6
05   Hungary 19 15 12 16 19 14 6 5
06   Italy 5 4 4 3 5 3 8 4 7
07   Israel 10 14 8 12 11 10 1 18
08   Bulgaria 1 5 6 1 7 2 10 3 8
09   Sweden 11 12 22 22 18 18 11
10   Germany 24 17 16 17 25 22 22
11   France 4 7 1 8 4 5 6 9 2
12   Poland 25 21 24 18 24 25 13
13   Australia 6 10 9 7 6 8 3 1 12
14   Cyprus 12 3 7 2 2 6 5 12
15   Serbia 15 19 23 15 16 19 21
16   Lithuania 14 22 14 20 9 13 16
17   Croatia 21 18 25 21 15 23 25
18   Russia 3 8 5 5 13 7 4 2 10
19   Spain 9 6 10 9 10 9 2 20
20   Latvia 22 20 13 14 12 15 19
21   Ukraine 23 25 18 23 14 24 7 4
22   Malta
23   Georgia 17 24 19 11 22 21 23
24   Austria 7 23 11 13 23 12 15
25   United Kingdom 2 1 2 4 1 1 12 10 1
26   Armenia 8 2 3 6 3 4 7 14

After EurovisionEdit

Losco and the Maltese delegation flew to Malta International Airport on 15 May and was greeted by fans upon her arrival at 5:00 pm CEST.[58] She recognised the competitiveness of the contest in recent years, "It is always nice to be given such a warm welcome. During my journey at the Eurovision, the fans’ constant support instilled in me greater confidence and serenity."[58] She received praise from her manager Howard Keith Debono, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and the Leader of the Opposition Simon Busuttil.[59] Two days later, Losco urged fellow Maltese musicians not to be pretentious over the contest, citing its relevance to competition within the music industry and its growing quality. However, she stated she would not commit to representing Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest for a third time, "The industry is cut-throat, as every artist knows. It’s great to go and busk and try your luck in another country but this is an experience that should also be one to aspire to, for artists in any country."[60]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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