It’s been way too long since Malta was one of the Eurovision favourites. We’re finally getting that in 2019 with, Gozo’s most successful musical export since Miriam Christine and The Travellers. But that’s not the only reason why you should be looking forward to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Performing in the second half of the second semi-final on May 16th, 18 year old ballad singer turned pop star Michela Pace will be representing Malta with ‘Chameleon’, a catchy banger that is still festering our brains since we first heard it. Research teams at the University of Malta are still trying to find an explanation as to why no one is able to control their body from moving at least a little once that chorus-beat drops.
And not to mention the very colourful (and definitely expensive) music video accompanying the Maltese entry this year, with a visual festival ranging from parrots and flower petals in a bathtub, to flailing hand movements and a slightly suspicious hairpin. In less than a month and a half, at the time of writing, the video is on its way to reaching 6 million views.
But aside from the fact that Malta has been in the top 10 spots in the betting odds since ‘Chameleon’ was released, there’s a lot more to be hyped about once Eurovision week is in full swing. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t like to admit that they secretly follow Eurovision religiously every year, welcome. You can now relax and read on.
1. Michela has Loreen’s choreographer and Jamala’s stage designers
Unlike most of the other countries competing this year, Team Malta is trying to keep everything under wraps. We still haven’t heard Michela perform her song live, and we still have no idea what she is taking with her on stage in Tel Aviv. Will she be rocking a wet hair look and a red chameleon in front of her face like in the music video? Will she be popping and locking full on choreography? Will she have LEDs projected all over her when the beat drops? We still have many unanswered questions and unsolved conspiracy theories, but what we know for sure is that Michela has a superstar team around her. Swedish choreographer Ambra Succi is on board, who is the mastermind behind Loreen’s captivating moves during her iconic 2012 winning performance with ‘Euphoria’. The staging itself also seems very promising as it will be in the hands of Front Pictures, a creative company based in Ukraine famously known for the stunning stage show they designed for Jamala when she won the 2016 contest with ‘1944’. All in all, we’re just keeping our fingers crossed and touching wood that there won’t be another stage invader who decides to ruin a killer Maltese performance.
2. This year’s favourite from The Netherlands will make you cry
The touching yet powerful ballad ‘Arcade’ by up and coming singer-songwriter Duncan Laurence is the runaway favourite of this year’s contest, and rightly so. Citing his own past trauma of losing a good friend at a young age, Duncan is set to touch the hearts of millions all over the world with very strong lyrics and an even stronger voice. “Small town boy in a big arcade, I get addicted to a losing game” – if that doesn’t scream relatable, I don’t know what does. Personally, I’m already getting myself ready to visit Amsterdam in 2020.
3. Italy’s Mahmood is everything we’ve ever needed
But if The Netherlands don’t take the crown, I would definitely love to see this guy rising triumphant. With the most views on YouTube, the most streams on Spotify and the most fans in Malta because we all suckers for good Italian music, I wouldn’t be a teeny bit surprised if we go to Rome next year. Mahmood is also competing with a song that has deep personal meaning. ‘Soldi’ tells the story of the singer’s childhood; his Egyptian father abandoned the family when Mahmood was still very young, but later tried to keep up appearances once Mahmood started becoming famous and making money. With captivating lyrics, a unique voice and a timed clap you just cannot help but do too, I hope Italy get the amazing end result they truly deserve.
4. Iceland are sending a BDSM industrial band
And then come the weirder entries, but oh boy is this one special. Imagine Lordi, but in a sex dungeon scenario. Hatari are a techno and punk rock band from Reykjavik, who are also very into bondage and making a statement. The band say that by winning Eurovision and taking it to Iceland next year, they hope to destroy capitalism and influence the world to start a-fresh. Creepy yet endearing. What’s not to love, right? Oh wait, the title of their song literally translates to ‘Hate Will Prevail’.
5. Australia are going full out camp, literally
On the complete opposite of the spectrum, but still equally bizarre, is Australia’s choice. Yes, the land down under is still competing in Eurovision and no one is really sure why. After a series of great yet predictable songs that sound like they’ve been extracted straight from the charts, Australia decided to unleash their inner Eurovision demons this year with a pop-opera track which is both confusing and exhilarating. The live performance will probably leave you speechless, and not necessarily for the right reasons. Just check out the video, then you’ll understand exactly what I’m trying to say.
6. Madonna is performing
It’s only going to cost a million Euros. Bargain, right? Not to worry though. Israeli-Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams is apparently set to be paying her himself. The undisputed queen of pop is expected to perform a new song from her upcoming 14th album Madame X, as well as one of her big hits. Rumour has it that it will probably be her 80s classic ‘Like A Prayer’. She will definitely be praying not to suffer another televised stage fall like this one from the 2015 Brit Awards.
7. Former winners like Conchita and Mans Zelmerlow are also performing
Although everyone is psyched to get to see Madonna on the Eurovision stage in May, I’m more intrigued by the ‘Eurovision Stars Mashup’ that the Israeli Broadcaster is claiming will be part of the show at the grand final. It’s been confirmed that 2014 winner Conchita, 2015 winner Mans Zelmerlow, 2007 runner-up Verka Serduchka and last year’s runner-up Eleni Foureira will all be gracing the stage for one exclusive performance. But there’s a twist…they will be singing each other’s songs.
8. Gal Gadot is involved, but we still have no idea how or why
All we know is that the gorgeous Wonder Woman, herself originally from Israel, will be present in some way or other at this year’s contest. It was reported that the Hollywood actress was initially asked to host the show, but she had to refuse due to other commitments. We can only hope that she will be flying into the Tel Aviv Arena in full costume, or else maybe reading out Israel’s points during the voting segment. We’ll just have to wait and see.
9. We will finally see a gender equal foursome of presenters
After an all-male set of presenters in 2017, and a full female ensemble in 2018, this year we will be getting two men and two women hosting the show, which I wholeheartedly applaud. The four Israeli hosts will be international supermodel Bar Refaeli, reality show and game show host Erez Tal, YouTuber Lucy Ayoub and openly gay talent show presenter Assi Azar. Now that’s some awesome diversity!
10. Everyone is hoping Eileen Montesin will make a commentating comeback
If you’re not following Queen Eileen on Instagram, then what are you doing with your life? Most of us remember when Eileen used to commentate the Eurovision annually, and it was always stellar. Many other commentators tried to do the same after her, but it was never the same. So much so, that for the past few years there’s just been no Maltese commentary during the national transmission.
C’mon Eileen! Doris is rooting for you!
Johann Agius is a fourth year law student who is currently the CEO of Insite after fulfilling the roles of Public Relations Officer and External Relations Officer in previous years. He joined Insite as a writer and photographer in 2013 and was elected in the executive for the first time a year later.