I have been following the Maltese selection closely for years now and generally liked it quite a lot but this year seems to be the weakest effort so far. I mean, the songs aren't bad but they are very even, bland. No particular highlights - except a couple that stood out with the first snippet hearing - nor lows. It feels like these are mostly songs that didn't make the selection this spring considering these exceptional circumstances this time. I may be wrong but that's my impression. At this point every song could make the final and any song can drop out. Propably it all comes to the staging, live performance and shining on stage when it matters come semifinal time.
And talking about nuns. Sister Cristina in Italy is from another planet compared to these Maltese sisters. The whole affair is lacking the heavenly inspiration of any kind. If the song was sung by anyone else it would have never made the cut, I think. I wasn't a fan of Bezzina's last effort and nor this new one makes me feel nothing but irritation. Previous entrant Glen Vella is also rather forgettable and Rybak's penned song for Franklin is so anonymous I can't remember a thing. But the boy can sing, that's for sure! Amber seems to be the front runner by fans but isn't it just a better version of Moldova's entry this year? And we all know how that ended.... could it do any better?
So, when listening the songs in the end my favorites ended up being mostly ballads with good voices instead of cheap bubble gum pop, that is almost missing this year anyways. And ballads burn or shine with the live performance.... We will see.
So, my top favorites are:
Lawrence Gray - The one that you love. Piano driven ballad with so much emotion and pain, Less is more. And it would be time Lawrence win after his zillion attempts with this one that is his best effort so far. This would stick out in Vienna in the line up for sure, I doubt there will be many simple and powerful effective ballads like this. Remember Kuula?
Christabelle Borg - Rush. I liked he last time, now I like her even more. The only uptempo with a lot of possibilities for great remixes and stage choreography. She's pretty, fits the song and clearly enjoys performing it. Sunny and summery, would fit nicely to a late may night in Vienna....
Trilogy - Chasing a dream. Beautiful melody, well sung. Once they get Ludwig not over acting and their act polished and together this could be an elegant entry fishing out Il Divo fans' votes all over Europe.
Raquel - Stop haunting me. Another ballad with pretty face and great voice. Her voice totally carries this song, without it woudn't just be the same I guess. But is this a bit fishing from the same pool as Undo?
Bubbling under for me are in no particular order Amber, Danica Muscat, Lyndsay, Corazon, Karen DeBattista, Deborah C, Jessika, Chris Grech and Domenique. But I always get it all wrong in Malta so let's wait and see.....
Listen to all songs for example here.