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Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I've keep relatively quiet about the 2008 Malta Song for Europe so far. I've given a couple of comments through the MaltaMedia News Service, but not much else on my blog. So before the fans start rolling I thought I'd empty my pockets of all the loose change that's gathered there since last May's Helsinki debacle.

I must confess that if it weren't for my academic interest in the performance of Maltese cultural identities I'd have seriously lost interest in the Malta Song for Europe this year. There's absolutely nothing new or exciting about it. I'd even dare say that there are are couple of abysmal elements among the 17 semifinalist, but I suppose I'm still fuming from the disgusting snub Jo Zette (i.e. Ray Calleja) was given in the previous selection round.

Pamela sings what is undoubtedly the most beautiful song on the 2008 semifinal list. Whispers is one of Paul Giordimaina's best compositions. Pamela has a great voice and she has sung Paul's songs to perfection in recent years. Unfortunately, the SMS-happy audience that votes for each year's Malta Eurovision entry will only pick her as the sacrificial lamb once all other obvious contenders have been exhausted. Never forget what happened to Olivia Lewis.

If Malta wants to get a chance at qualifying for the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest final, the Malta Song for Europe winner must be Mary Spiteri. It doesn't really matter which of her two songs gets through to this Saturday's final. Mary is the one performer who can get the sort of buzz going on the international Eurovision circuits needed to cut through the jungle of mixed messages and garner enough points for Malta to get through to this year's Eurovision final. Anything less and any solid chances in Serbia this May will be thrown to the wind.
And just because simple minds like simple things, here's my personal pick for the 8 songs that should make it to Saturday's final, in order of appearance on the semifinal. The actual selection will undoubtedly be marginally or greatly different.

  • Elinor Cassar: Give Me a Chance (Paul Giordimaina/Fleur Balzan)
  • Mary Spiteri: My Last Encore (Ray Agius - Godwin Sant)
  • Morena: Vodka (Philip Vella - Gerard James Borg)
  • Pamela: Whispers (Paul Giordimaina/Fleur Balzan)
  • Klinsmann: GO (Dominic Galea - Claudette Pace)
  • Jean Claude Vancell: Contradiction (Jean Claude Vancell)
  • Chris & Moira: All Right (Chris Scicluna - Moira Stafrace)
  • Mary Spiteri: If You Believe (Paul Abela - Raymond Mahoney)

  • As you can see, Mary Spiteri's pulling power is so strong that it's next to impossible not to include both of her songs on Saturday's final 8 list.

    Continuing a little tradition I started two years ago, my Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast this Saturday will feature my personal selections from the Malta Song for Europe without much thought for the actual contest.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Quick note added on Friday morning:
    I'm disgusted by the whole thing. Whispers didn't make it to the final. Unbelievable! Mary Spiteri is not in the final. Understandable...but still a great shame. If I warm up to the idea of watching the final on Saturday, I guess I'll be horribly disappointed if any song other than Give Me A Chance (it's so not the best Giordimaina/Balzan song) is the winner. Still, the winner will probably be Klinsmann with his homage to Busted's Air Hostess or Morena with a moronic song. Anything else and you can get ready for another national disappointment in May.

    Labels: , ,

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Let's face it Toni - Mary Spiteri is going to win but not because of her 'puller power'. Her chimpmunk 'voice' is going to be the laughing stock of Europe and btw she takes herself too seriously. No - she is going to win because MLP fanatics will want to send a political message of change. That's all. 

    7:58 PM, January 23, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    ma jixirqiliex tirbah jew?
    u iva sewwa jamlu ta mlp jivvutawla .kif ser namel jien . u anonimu jekk lehnek huwa chimpmunk voice ta mary spiteri muwiex.
    u jekk ghandek l ghali kompli zidu ax hi ser tirbah zgur. if you believe.......... 

    4:23 PM, January 24, 2008
    Anonymous DAV said...

    Jien mandi xej kontra mary spiteri.Imma jamlu hazin n nies jivvutaw bis-simpatija. Irridu nazlu l-aqwa kanzunetta hux, Jien ghalija Pamela b whispers ghandha tirbah. Mitt bniedem mitt fehma imma, Nisperaw ghax xbajt li malta taqa' ghac-cajt. 

    5:18 PM, January 24, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Malta qeghda taqa' ghac-cajt ghax qed tiehu l-festival wisq bis-serjeta', u mhux ghax tigi l-ahhar. L-inglizi dejjem minn tal-ahhar jigu imma qatt ma rajt ingliz jinkwieta fuq iz-zobb ta' festival. Il-Maltin bla bajd imma u rridu nirbhu l-eurovision biex nuru li kapaci f'xi haga. Jien ghalija jirbah min irid imma dan kaz klassiku ta' 'storm in a teacup' kif jghidu... qisek qed tilghab loghba tal-world cup fuq il-computer minn ghalik li qed tilghab fil-world cup ta' vera biex ingib ezempju. 

    5:58 PM, January 24, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hey Toni, all your hopes about Mary faded away.... I'm sorry for your.... Malta needs a fresher singer to represent her. Well done jury... 

    11:54 PM, January 24, 2008
    Anonymous Mario said...

    the results are in, mary spiteri is not one of the finalists, and ironically and unacceptably WHISPERS was left out too. what is happening? is this corruption again? WHISPERS was the best song ever its amazing it gives me shivers and even when Pamela gave the performance she was so emotional that at tear drizzled down her beautiful face. unbeleivable and unacceptable. god forbid us going to eurovision with GO lol its BS . the song to win that is left is carravagio i guess
    god this is so sad WHISPERS i love that song 

    12:02 AM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous manda said...

    come on mary spiteri...are we jockin???is that the music we maltese can give???nahh nahhh...heh btw tonight's result is an answer;) 

    12:17 AM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Mary Who??? Ha Haj 

    12:49 AM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    unbeleivably sad. I agree with you Toni. Whispers was the best song from all. I absolutly cannot understand who are these expert jury that would not qualify this song. Shame on you Malta Song Board. All the support to Eleonor Cassar for the Finals next Saturday. 

    9:35 AM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous Elton Borg said...

    It's very sad. I agree with you Toni, Whispers was the best song of the semifinalists. I cannot beleive how an expert jury did not qualify this song for the final. All the support to Eleonor Cassar give me a chance for next Saturday. 

    9:41 AM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Haha.. i guess some ppl wont be able to vote for mary spiteri now!! Im happy coz she wud hv only gone up coz d close minded mlp voters wud hv simply voted for her for who she is.. not for her song.. typical eh.I didnt mind her songs but its quite sad rly! We need to vote for best song not for d person.. I think 'sunrise' sounded good actually.. now we'll see 

    10:07 AM, January 25, 2008
    Blogger JW! said...

    I expect you are as dismayed as I am that Pamela didn't even make the finals of Malta Song For Europe last night, with the most beautiful song of the selection and, arguably, Malta's best chance for qualification in Belgrade. And if she hadn't qualified, at least Malta would have tried something classy that they could be proud of. What a shame.

    And you were right about Mary too, and she didn't qualify either. To be honest I feel that Malta's best hopes now rest with Eleanor Cassar who, like Pamela, is one of the best singers that Malta has to offer. Some people say that her song is rather ordinary but I really like it.


    10:46 AM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous P said...

    With all due respect, Toni - I don't find the adjective 'moronic' suitable to Morena's Vodka. It's not moronic. Or it's as moronic as a lot of ESC top songs i recent years. Also, you did not upload my comment saying that Vodka is perhaps Malta's best chance to garner votes from Eastern European people who might be partying on saturday. 

    2:24 PM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous That's what i go to school for said...

    Why did you put GO in the final in the first place if you knew it was so similar to the Busted song? I preferred Superheroes and something tells me so did you. Or not to disappoint Claudette? 

    2:29 PM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    dan huwa festival disgustanti biex mary ma dahlitx fil-finals b'dik il-vuci! il-livell qed jitbaxxa b'rata mghaggla u nahseb din is-sena telfa ohra. bilfors li gurija skrapp kien hemm jew ma jifhmux!!!! mela id-diska ta' klinsmann li ntazlet sura!!! 

    2:54 PM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I think it's all about money!!! min jiflah jhallas jimxi. Jien kull diska li laqtitni ftit m'ghaddietx. Bir-rispett kollu lejn Josmar diska medjokri ghal ahhar, Klinsman Diska kkupjata, forsi ta morena vodka, ftit allegra u tigbed ftit nies min jaf!!!! 

    3:03 PM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    whispers kinet lisbah song u dik messa addit..gurija bla sens 

    3:07 PM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Morena with vodka made an excellent show and i think it deserve to win . the song it self can make a hit in the eastern block so vote for her. the klinsmann song is nearly copied so and claudia was like a statue lol haha.

    vote for morena 

    3:57 PM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...


    I agree such a shame Whispers did not get through! such an amazing song. However, i would like to point out to anonymous that its people like him that keep us backwards we should not use politics to divide we are all Maltese one nation so please grow up and mature!!!!!!! 

    5:22 PM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    mr.anonymous, chipmunk who?? are you on drugs?? do u have any clue about what a professional singer like mary spiteri is all about??do you know that mary is 60 years old and still a glooming queen of the night??are you forgetting how many honors this lady got through her career?? she has always made Malta proud of us. If you travel, name her anywhere in Europe and professional music critics will remember all honesty I really do not know why people including me are replying to such an ignorant.if and when you have credentials to judge voices and a-class performers like mary spiteri, you will have the right to throw such a comment.Until then, shut your gob and watch TV in May where you will see nothing but MALTA making a fool of herself again.. 

    5:59 PM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Jien ghalija l-isbah diska li hemm ta Claudia Faniello - Caravaggio!! Jien personalment id-diski ta Mary Spiteri ma ghogbuniex ax muwiex diski tal-eurovision imma dik opinjoni!! 

    7:23 PM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous jess said...

    it's a shame that whispers did not pass for the finals, it was the most beautiful and emotional song, the judges were on the moon i think, camon how can we make it to the finals of the eurovision. mary spiteri is one of the most best singers but eventually i think that her songs are not adapted for the eurovision, people nowadays like modern music with beat, so i go for morena which have a song with beat.and also claudia faniello . vote for these two !!!! 

    7:38 PM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous Mike said...

    I'm totally disgusted at some of the songs that the judges snubbed. They clearly don't wish Malta any luck at winning the eurovision. Mary Spiteri's weren't eurovision songs, but that's precisly what we need. Something you won't expect at the eurovision. Something that will stand out! How do you think Lordi had won. and why has Chiara always done well with her slow songs? Because they weren't what is normally considred as a eurovison song. 

    8:14 PM, January 25, 2008
    Blogger Geoffrey the Drummer said...

    prosit toni ta lanqas hawn post fejn tista ssemma ftit lehnek.
    1. tal misthija taqra kummenti li jdahlu il-politika f'argument fuq il-muzika.
    2. biex tikritika mhemmx ghalfejn tkun personali fuq l-individwu
    3. ma tistax tipretendi li tghid lil hadd iehor li mhux awtorita biex jghaddi kummenti fuq liema kantant hu tajjeb jew le meta int stess anonimu
    4. u ghala qbadtu largument fuq 3 mis songs biss meta thares lejn is 17 kollha ma stajtx nazel 8 sibtom bit tqanzih u xorta bqajt bil fatt li ma ghaddewx l-magguranza ta dawk lihsibt jien izda intazel l-imbarazz.
    il-problema ma nafx fejn hi jew gurati muzikalment gdur jew biex intella lil min irrid jien nazel lghar songs li jkun hemm plus dik tal kantant/a li rrid nibghat 

    8:55 PM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous Chipmonk said...

    Since Pamela and Mary Spiteri were not chosen by the jury I conclude one thing... the jury is corrupt.

    My suggestion is two have to separate juries. A voting by foreign judges and a televoting. The Board would then decide who is to represent Malta at the Eurovision. Alternatively have a monkey choose the best song. 

    11:14 PM, January 25, 2008
    Anonymous Pierre said...

    I think you were very kind calling "Go" an homage to "Air Hostess". Have you seen this...?...

    crap, crap, crap, all of them!! 

    9:14 AM, January 26, 2008
    Anonymous malteser said...

    I agree that the fact that Whispers failed to pass is a shame!

    Caravaggio or Vodka are the best now.

    Eleanor...she surely has the best voice but not the best song sry! That song makes me really sad no matter how fabulous her voice is! 

    12:03 PM, January 26, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hello jien il-Hamis kont qed nara l festival mid dar il presentaturi veru kienu jidru li ma jafux x qed jaghmlu jidhku fil vojt, ma nafx kemm il proverbju semmew u jaqraw l istess rigali. Ghalmenu chiara u Casingena kantaw kanzunetta li ghogbuni il bqija zero. il-palk imzejjen sabieh proset. Rigward il gurija ma nafx min ghazilhom imma vera ghazla bazwija. U dan kif min estrem ghall iehor filli 100% televoting filli bumm gurija barranija? Il kantanti kollha ghamli l almu taghhom imma jien ma naqbilx ma dawn il kanzunetti finalisti kollha. GO ma jmessa qatt inghazlet superhero ahjar. Whispers kienet s song li ghandha tirbah ghalija imma ma ntazlitx ovvja inkella kienet tkun ahjar minn tal pajjizi minn fejn huma l gurija! Street cars of desire il kanzunetta helwa imma l kantanta veru dehret kiesha u provokattiva fuq il palk kienet too much, dejqitni. Ta morena it tnejn ma laqtunix. Illejla ghandha tohodha jew Eleonor allavolja fil passat kellha diski isbah jew Claudia b Sunrise jew caravaggio. Good Luck u nispera li il lejla mid dar il presentaturi ma jraqqduniex u is show ikun sabieh. u please taghmlux hafna riklami ahjar juru spot kultant milli chunk f'salt. NaRAW ILLEJLA. 

    12:19 PM, January 26, 2008
    Anonymous Frank Mifsud said...

    I am Maltese Canadain living in Canada. Sorry but,I can't help myself making a comment. I don't know Mary spiteri, never heard her sing until I heard her sing on YOUR TUBE. But I must say that if Mary Spiteri competes in our "Canadian Idol" contest she'll win hands down without hesitation. To bad she is over qualifying age. You are describing her voice as "chipmunky". Lest we forget that Eartha Kitt became well known for her (chipmunky)and sultry voice and became very popular singer throughout the world of music. I agree with Toni Sant Malta need the calibre of Mary Spiteri. That is not saying that our young performers aren't just as good. I am simply saying that Mary spiteri made my hair stand up and made me feel good with her song "If you beleive" Thank you for giving me this opportunity. 

    5:30 PM, January 26, 2008
    Blogger Schlagerboys said...

    Vote Vodka Malta!!!

    We need to get some more use out of our Maltese flags in Belgrade!!! 

    5:35 PM, January 26, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'm the infamous anonymous who left the first comment. I didn't mix politics - I just said that others were going to do it to prove a futile point. It's such a shame that they can't do it now - haha - I would have loved Mary Spiteri to win this shitty festival to see everyone hyped up for the election singing 'My Last Encore'. It would certainly suit certain politicians lol (from both sides before you start arguing about which leader I am referring to). Anyway - have fun watching playback plastic songs, idiotic presenters making fool of themselves and huge interruption intervals. It's people like you that keep cultural events from 'growing up and mature' (sic). And one last thing - yes politics and music do mix, but not in this partisan low-IQ way - just listen to a Bob Dylan or a Pink Floyd song to see how they should blend and send a message. You wouldn't know though - Mary Spiteri is a professional glooming queen of the night famous around Europe (but still with a chipmunk voice haha) and I'm on drugs. And I'm speechless with all this evidence against me. 

    8:01 PM, January 26, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Jien nahseb li l-ahjar diska hi ta' Morena, Vodka ghax jekk illum hi kultura ta zaghzagh li nhbbu l-vodka diga qed tghin u barra minn hekk, hi diska mghaggla u sabiha. Jien dik nixtieq u lil Mary Spiteri ma rridha bl-ebda mod titla ghax ma nahsibx li ghandna ntellghu pensjonanta ghal Eurovision ghax minn meta kantat l-ahhar sa llum lahqu spiccaw il-beatles, Queen u Tina Turner u hi ghanda "tkanta"... 

    10:29 PM, January 26, 2008
    Anonymous mulu said...

    Well Vodka was Super, even of Elenore Pace was very beautiful, but who on earth did their make up, I know next week is carnival but it started on the Malta Song for Europe. They never watch any foreign shows. Such make up is only used for circus. 

    12:49 AM, January 27, 2008
    Anonymous Ghal gol-hajt! said...

    Morena Rebhet! issa next year nohorgu diska Red Bull jew Bajtra Liqure ta' Zeppi!
    Morena, irrudu narwak taghmel photo session bhal ma jaghmlu il-veline ta' Stricia La Notizia.

    U Fuq Mary Spiter: Il-Eurovision ma ghadux l-istess ghax xjuh, We need Youths u fuq ruhom ta' mux bla bajd Dejjem naqaw ghan nejk u nies mhux kapaci ahna l-maltin
    Il-maltin kapaci biss ghal grafiato u gypsum

    Tuwwhom l-insara!!! 

    7:50 AM, January 27, 2008
    Anonymous Elton Borg said...

    well done to Morena and Vodka however I still beleive we are not sending the best song in Serbia. Yesterday was a boring night without Whispers. I hope Paul, Fleur and Pamela enter Whispers in some other festival so we could hear the song again. Please radio djs inlude this song in one of your shows. 

    11:33 AM, January 27, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I can't believe it! How can a song like Vodka win? The singer's voice may sound nice, but has anyone tried to understand what she says? I got five words out of the whole song - and one of them is obviously vodka! Ridiculous! 

    12:13 PM, January 27, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    How is it that the Caravagio Packet was not chosen to represent Malta coming May? I hate to hear year after year that it's the song that we should vote for! We should reflect on the whole packet at the front being the singer's performance. When a singer can sing infront of large audiences without going out of tune, than the chances are that the song could be a winner song. I wish that Vodka will be raised up at least by a tone so that Morena's voice would not sound so shallow. 

    1:08 PM, January 27, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Jien ghalija Claudia Faniello kellha tirbah CARAVAGGIO ghax dik kienet diska vera sabiha u anke ta' Morena VODKA sabiha kienet ukoll imma ta' Claudia iktar kienet tifthiem il-kliem. Imsomma taqtax qalbkek Claudia ghat ikun tieghek ic-cans li titla int ahna dejjem warajk. GooD Luck Morena J'Alla ingibu rizultat tajjeb. 

    1:28 PM, January 27, 2008
    Blogger Oswald said...

    Ma kien hemm xejn sura.Hahaha!!!!!!!!!!. Mil hazin ghal l-ghar immorru kull sena. 

    2:56 PM, January 27, 2008
    Anonymous artyfarty said...

    ah tony.....the moronic duo wins once again...with a song that is a load of plastic crap....morena looks good, but frankly that's about it....let's face it, this a festival where mediocrity reigns supreme and our famous duo are experts at dishing out inane bilge....sadly I suppose it reflects the country's mediocrity in aesthetic that off my chest....:) 

    6:19 PM, January 27, 2008
    Anonymous il-Bugi ta Bormla said...

    In my opinion, the best song for the Eurovision won. Mary's songs were very good but I feel they were both outdated. Morena got the looks, she has confidence, a good voice and a good song with some Russian words in it - which might go well the Eastern Countries. I feel that this song will make it to the semifinals. Good Luck Morena. Malta and Gozo are proud of you. 

    7:37 PM, January 27, 2008
    Anonymous karl said...

    pamela she give 100% of her the song whispers was perfect to represent malta . all we know that the eurovision have different style's of music .i thing that pamela is a great singer . mary spiteri is a wonderfull person and a wonderfull singer . my favorite songs 0f 2008 was vodka , casanova , sunrise , give ma a chance , if you belive, tangeld . 

    9:20 AM, January 29, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    mulu mhux ahjar tara int l-ewwel jekk tafx tamel make up, nahseb dak li ghandek li tifhem hafna, nahseb kont qed tara xi film tal-clowns u baqaw go mohhok, il-make up kien professjonali u vera adatat ghal kantanti kolla u skond l-ilbis ukoll igifiri proset lil kulhadd.

    ghir ghir mulu 

    10:35 PM, January 30, 2008
    Anonymous awrata said...

    Am I the only one thinking that the "Morena package" (song, dress, looks, dance routines...) are strikingly similar to Ruslana's? If so we're sending a song that is 4 years late... 

    10:02 PM, January 31, 2008
    Anonymous Il-vot kolox said...

    Mhux ovvja li l-ghazlu mhux issir sew!!!

    Il-pubbliku mhux qed jivvota. Qed jivvutaw biss hbieb tal-hbieb (peers).

    Il-Eurovision imhallas mill-Maltin imma l-ghazla mhiex f'idejhom. Hadd ma jinnota li l-prezz biex tivvota huwa esorbitanti u hafna ma jivvutax ghalhekk. Il-vot ghandu jkun bla hlas jew veru rridu l-ahjar diska tmur Eurovision.

    Kieku kelna inhallsu biex nivvutaw ghal-elezjoni generali HADD ma jintghazel lol!

    X'tahseb Tony fuq dan l-argument? Jien ghaliha l-voti ma jurux l-ghazla tal-Maltin ghar-raguni fuq imsemmija. 

    6:45 AM, February 02, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    jiena ogbitni hafna sun rise kienet vera biss sens u claudia kienet libsa hafna sabiha u kollox perfett ghalija kellha tigi hi l-ewwel 

    1:01 PM, February 09, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    isma bl ikbar rispett imma morena was the WORST one for winning u eja men. naf nies .. u mux wahda jew tnejn li qalu "ax morena min ta sannat bhali allura mux bilfors nivutala". morena rebhet ax awcija u l awcin ivutawla kollha. ax ma rajtux x kien hemm meta git ghawdex wara l eurovision. caravaggio jew sunrise kellhom jirbhu u qed nid hekk ax jn mux bhal hafna niraguna ax tigi minni jew ax toqod fejni. anke wispers kinet sabiha. ima sory ta mary spiteri m ogbunix ghal ahhar. ghawdxija.. 

    3:09 PM, March 02, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Isma bl-ikbar rispett imma mhux Morena biss kien hemm Ghawdxija imma kien hemm Pamela ukoll ghawdxija minn Victoria Ghawdex allura x'argument hu li l'ghawdxin kolla ivvutawlha lil Morena. 

    6:50 PM, March 24, 2008

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