Last night the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — caught a ferry to Malta and experienced the atmosphere of the Manoel Theatre, the third-oldest working theatre in Europe. Backstage we gathered in a dressing room to review Malta’s Eurovision 2015 act Amber. Did her song “Warrior” leave us in awe of her power? Or was she more like a foot soldier? Read on to find out…
Malta’s Eurovision 2015 song
Reviews: Amber with “Warrior”
William: She placed her faith in ho-oh-ope, and I’m placing my faith in her to take Malta to the final. Amber’s vocals are sexy yet soft and, when she gets past her nerves, they are pure power. The symphonic re-mastering turned a potentially heavy song into one a bit more lively and filled with light, but it still preserves the mystery that I loved in the original. My favourite Maltese entry in years!
Padraig: Move over Boadicea and Joan of Arc, we have a new warrior queen… or at least we used to. Because before Christmas Amber oozed ferocity and passion. Wrong her at your peril. But that intensity has been missing since the revamp. I wouldn’t say “Warrior” has been Disney-fied per se, after all, Elsa and Merida are no pushovers. More like it has undergone a Zlata-fication – I still hear her singing about how fierce she is, but now I expect some butterflies to appear and start fluttering around her sword.
Patrick: Here it is: My favourite song from this year’s Eurovision! Amber is probably one of my favourite Maltese singers and beauties ever aaaaand she can sing so amazingly well! Her voice, the darkness, the instruments, the shattered glass, the PASSION — it’s all here. The first version was good and a bit more pop, but after hearing the new version, I seriously don’t understand how people can prefer the original. Amber is truly a Warrior (and one with the best vocal coach in Malta — Hey, Gillian!). Mark my words: Malta will slay and rise to the top. Go Malta, go Amber, the one and only Warrior!
Mike: The first time I saw Amber in MESC I thought she was the little sister of Helena Paparizou, but when she started singing it seemed less likely. Where Helena has a beautiful strong voice, Amber sounds like she has difficulties reaching the high notes, which makes her singing more like shouting. “Warrior” is an okay song, but Malta will neither win a war with it, nor a song contest.
Angus: Something about the first version of “Warrior” felt wounded. The song lacked a certain strength and Amber’s vocal sounded disconnected from the melody. Severe symphonic overhaul has given this the punch it was lacking but Malta have made this all about the voice. If Amber drops any of the big notes she’s going to lose out big time to the other screaming women in her semi-final.
Bogdan: I may be in minority, but I did prefer the song before the revamp. The instrumental had a Hooverphonic feel to it, which is completely lost with the new version. The focus shifted from the singer’s voice and delivery to the many instruments that have been added, and the song now sounds inoffensive. Amber will thus get lost in the army of female ‘warriors’ that will populate this year’s contest. Instead of sounding more like a conqueror, she will be a foot soldier. Which is a pity, because I was so happy when she won the national selection!
Chris: A tough draw has me slightly worried for Amber in her semi final, but I think “Warrior” has enough strength to see her make it to the final again after her cameo in 2012. There are, of course, the worries about her vocals but you’d be mad to assume that Malta won’t beef her up with some off-camera backing vocalists for good measure. The symphonic notes added in since the revamp have really helped too and I find the chorus particularly memorable – especially that dramatic “break” at the start. I’ve got a good feeling here.
Robyn: I can’t find much to like about this song. It’s yet another singer shouting about how strong she is (oh really?) with vague evidence to back it up. It’s the least enjoyable of all the strength anthems this year, not helped by the shrieky chorus. This is one of the few songs in the competition that I just don’t enjoy listening to.
Deban: Amber brings sex appeal and versatility to her performance of “warrior”. I like the message in her song, and the power of her range. Malta is clearly behind her, as demonstrated by the impressive social media campaign rooting for her. Still, the battle here goes beyond her national waters. The Maltese in Malta can’t vote for the Maltese entry, but they’ve listened and fixed the flaws in the earlier versions of this song. With clever staging, this could emerge as finalist in Vienna.
Ramadan: I’m very disappointed with the revamped version of “Warrior”. It has seriously lost its power. Amber cannot seem to nail those high notes. I preferred the original version, but I feel like this song may be forgotten. Hopefully she’ll improve before the semi-final. After all: Malta has a tendency to surprise!
Our jury consists of 29 people, but we only have room for 10 written reviews. Here are the remaining 19 scores.
William C: 6.5/10
To reduce potential bias, we drop the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. We removed a low of 1 and a high of 10.