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Sunday, May 16, 2004

No excuses, please!

It's Sunday evening after the Eurovision Song Contest final, and a great time to share some thoughts on this year's show. I must say that I am not surprised that Malta did not do exceedingly well. And I've already really heard enough comments about why Malta did not get a better placing at this year's contest.

Julie and Ludwig did their best. They're cute and they have excellent singing voices. I sincerely believe that they would have done much better with a stronger overall package. Philip Vella and Gerard James Borg have written better songs (they wrote 7th Wonder for Ira Losco), and this year was the first experience for business entrepreneur Grace Borg as leader of the Maltese delegation at the Eurovision Song Contest. Still, they should be congratulated for undoing last year's curse of having to go through the ordeal of a qualifier semi-final round.

I really have no interest in hearing any more comments about how Malta can never do well because other countries vote for their neighbours. This is nonsense! Especially now that all the votes come from the public rather than an elite panel of so-called experts. The back-room lobby games of past years (which I witnessed first hand as a member of the Maltese Eurovision delegation in 1991!) have been displaced by a need for excellent marketing among the voting public in the respective countries.

A great song sung by good singers is a good start, but it is not enough. If Malta ever hopes to make it to the top 3 again, the ideal package should place great emphasis on making an impression on the voting public before the song contest. This takes a great promotional and marketing effort.

Essentially I think we're back on track, but let's learn from the experience of these past two years on what works and what doesn't. Then again we should never forget that the best thing about the Eurovision Song Contest is the awareness it creates among potential tourists for Malta. Other than that, it's just a game!

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