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You Only Live Twice

This morning my old friend Paul Giordimaina (who composed Malta’s 2011 Eurovision entry) wrote the following note on Facebook:
“Irrelevant to certain comments made by some ‘armchair critics’ or self proclaimed music experts i want to congratulate Glen for an amazing performance filled with great positive energy.Also well done the backing vocalists and dancers for their total commitment. Thks to the numerous backstage proffesioanl people who worked endlessly around the team. A special thks to PBS for their dedication and support from day 1 and last but not least thks to the big majority to the maltese people who beleived in the project ‘ONE LIFE'”

I commented by saying that Glen Vella gave a great show. He was in tune, hit the mark and the act looked very polished on stage. He (and the song) deserved a better placing but there’s clearly more to the Eurovision Song Contest than that.
Veteran Maltese pop singer Jon Lukas Woodenman wrote his own note on Facebook after Malta failed yet again to yield a decent placing at the Eurovison Song Contest. Here’s an essential excerpt :

[… ] “i will today ‘n tmrrw put on my artiste & production  hat and review the Maltese entry as projected last night and try to decide WHY this happened and find out where did we go wrong AGAIN cos’ i REFUSE to accept the usual moan that of voting of next door neighbours as the Maltese normal losing excuse. There probably is something intrinsically wrong in how Malta writes, produces, chooses and then projects the actual songs that needs to be seriously adhered to …. EMOTIONS ASIDE please .. there is ALWAYS something missing on the night. 50 years on we HAVE NOT HACKED it yet … do u seriously think it’s ONLY because they gang up on us ? The bookies ONLY want to make money (no patriotism there) the odds they offered fr the song was one to eleven …..bookmakers news 9 May 2011 … QUOTE ‘ Eurovision: Odds stacked against Glen, according to bookmakers’ …… are we gonna’ face this and TRY to PUT it RIGHT ? … are we gonna’ eliminate what we thought would work on the night that ACTUALLY did NOT … or are we to settle fr ‘THEY GOT IT IN FR US’ sad bull shit and go through the same rigmarole ‘n blunders next year.” […]

I’m not sure the Maltese Eurovision structure is set up in such a way to get to the bottom of what’s going wrong year after year. The main reason is that the producers for Malta’s entry are removed almost completely from the music industry across Europe and involvement in this has now become a crucial ingredient for a decent placing at the ESC. And to be clear, it’s not enough to have a strong affiliation with a record company. It takes an up-to-date knowledge of trans-European PR for pop music: an expertise in how the music world operates online, or at least tries to.

Also, to be fair, the old essential ingredient (i.e. the song and its performance) is the other element that needs more attention. There has been a (slight) improvement in the way the song is picked – or rather which song is picked – but there’s still a long way to go in determining what makes a memorable and/or impactful song for this show.

There’s no point in over-analyzing Glen Vella and One Life in this context. The situation is not that radically different from what it’s been since about 2006, when weeks ahead of the contest I predicted that Lordi would win that year. The “armchair critics” or “self-proclaimed music experts” from Malta didn’t take me seriously then and the people who can really make a difference in Malta haven’t heard what I’ve been saying all these years now. Apparently that can’t really do much about what I’m saying either.

Anyway, good thing I didn’t come to Düsseldorf just to follow the Maltese act, otherwise I’d be stuck in what is not a particularly interesting part of Germany until the weekend. The events we lined up from the Eurovision Research Network for this year start tomorrow and I hope to blog a little about that in the coming days too.

Meanwhile if you’re only interested in Malta’s entry at the Eurovision Song Contest, perhaps you’d rather hear the comments I gave to Marlene Galea at the Maltese service of SBS Radio in Australia after Malta once again failed to qualify for the ESC final.

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