Wiwi Jury results: Brooke Borg is our favourite to win the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2017

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Over the past few weeks, the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — have been rating all of the songs participating in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2017 to determine our favourite entry. Tea was spilled. Wigs were snatched. But from it a favourite emerged. And her name is Brooke with a capital B.

Our jury for this edition consisted of 14 jurors who hail from Australia, Greece, Morocco, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. We are truly international, hunty! Each juror assessed each song independently and awarded each song a score from 0 to 10. Before calculating the Wiwi Jury verdict, we dropped the highest and lowest scores to reduce potential bias and remove outliers.

You can scroll down to see the final rankings along with the average score and some of our comments. Click on the song title to read our review and watch our video reactions. You can also watch our interviews with all 16 finalists in the playlist at the end of this post.

WIWI JURY: OUR TOP 16 FOR MALTA

1. Brooke Borg – “Unstoppable”

The best: (William, 9.5/10) “Headlight, spotlight, hold tight? No, Brooke — jump into the LIMELIGHT because it is YOURS. Living up to the “Unstoppable” in her song title, Brooke soars with this electro-ballad. Clearly engineered to show off the many qualities of her voice, it moves from sexy and mysterious opening to powerful and thrusting chorus.”

The worst: (Robyn, 6.5/10) “‘Unstoppable’ seems to have been written to showcase Brooke’s vocal talents. And that’s fair enough, but it feels like Brooke’s voice has taken priority over song quality. Everything leading to the chorus is amazing, then: ‘We’re unstoppable! We are! We are!’. It’s like a watered-down version of Amber’s ‘Warrior’ that’s substituted shouting for a proper chorus.”

Score: 7.79/10

2. Janice Mangion – “Kewkba”

The best: (Deban, 10/10) “‘Kewbka’ unfolds with magical moments one after the next. Janice’s voice is the perfect vehicle for this. It packs in a wide range of emotions, and serves it musical theatre style. I salute her bravery for singing in Maltese.”

The worst: (Chris, 6/10) “Oh look, it’s another soaring ballad that would probably fit in better on a film soundtrack than at Eurovision. Perhaps that’s overly harsh, though. Janice’s vocals are crazy and the decision to sing in Maltese elevates this amongst many mish-mash songs in this selection.”

Score: 7.13/10

3. Maxine Pace – “Bombshell”

The best: (Antranig, 10/10) “‘Bombshell’ is a lyrical masterpiece — so much attitude! Maxine Pace is not serving up sickly sweet ‘Young Love’ — she’s all grown up and serving major sass. The only potential problem is that she is still only 17 years old and such saucy lyrics would be more appropriate for her in a year or two.”

The worst: (Robyn, 5/10) “I’m conflicted. ‘Bombshell’ is such a cute song and Maxine puts so much sass and personality into it. But it has awful lyrics. The song is not content with one or two bomb-related metaphors, but instead packs the lyrics with explosive devices.”

Score: 6.67/10

4. Jade Vella – “Seconds Away”

The best: (Deban, 9/10) “I love the power and urgency embedded in this entry. When it plays, I feel the rush, the passion and the fire in equal measure. ‘Seconds Away’ is fresh, modern and insanely danceable.”

The worst: (Luis, 3.5/10) “What’s happening with the choruses this year? ‘Seconds Away’ suffers the 2016 ‘pop drop’ syndrome: great verses, poor chorus. The first 15 seconds of this are fantastic, they get you into the song, and then the chorus is a hot mess.”

Score: 6.17/10

5. Franklin Calleja – “Follow Me”

The best: (Josh, 7.5/10) “When I first learned of Franklin entering MESC again this year, I said to myself, ‘Here we go, another screechy ballad.’ At the first note I cringed, but luckily I was hungry because I had to eat my words. Franklin exudes power and confidence in ‘Follow’ in a way that I’ve not heard from him before.”

The worst: (Forrest, 4/10) “Franklin continues to showcase his impressive vocals, which drip with emotion for the entire three minutes.  My concern, however, is that this track may be pushing the boundaries of his range.  The studio version has a fair bit of auto tune in places, potentially indicating problems when this is performed live.”

Score: 6.08/10

6. Richard Edwards – “You”

The best: (William, 8.5/10) “This voice is everything. Deep, gritty, sexy, soulful — it carries so many qualities, yet somehow remains pure. The song showcases Richard’s vocals extremely well and you can tell he is feeling every single note.”

The worst: (Chris, 5.5/10) “Have we not got past the stereotypical ‘one man and a guitar’ phase by now? When the likes of Ed Sheeran are changing that game, Richard drags us back to an older time. I’m left thinking of 90s love films, which isn’t really a subject anyone should want to revisit.”

Score: 6.04/10

7. Miriana Conte – “Don’t Look Down”

The best: (Antranig, 7/10) “The opening of ‘Don’t Look Down’ is very weak but then comes the pre-chorus, which is full of sass and attitude. The chorus does a passable job of building on the pre-chorus. This is not three minutes of gold — the magic comes in patches.”

The worst: (Josh, 4/10) “Miriana has come to MESC as a watered down version of every R&B singer ever, which tells us one thing – unoriginal! Girl, I could hear this song absolutely anywhere. Stop trying to be Ariana. Stop trying to be Zara. Stop trying to be Destiny Chukunyere and find the time to create your own sound!”

Score: 5.79/10

8. Cherton Caruana – “Fighting To Survive”

The best: (Antranig, 8.5/10) “‘Fighting To Survive’ starts off like a typical ballad but the chorus is explosive and Cherton’s vocals complement the song perfectly. I don’t think the guitar solo fits in well but the big beats in the chorus help the song stand out from the other MESC ballads. Overall, one of the better entries in Malta.”

The worst: (Robyn, 3.5/10) “‘Fighting to Survive’ is plodding along, when suddenly at 1:50 the song throws in a guitar solo, making it sound like a lost entry for Festivali i Këngës. Sadly the guitar doesn’t add much to the song. Cherton is a good singer, but her song needs so much remedial work.”

Score: 5.71/10

9. Rhiannon – “Fearless”

The best: (Robyn, 6.5/10) “There are two trends wrapped up in this song: a Sia-style ‘overcoming adversity’ ballad, and the Dami Im ‘Sound of Silence’ influence in the form of huge diva notes. But beneath all that, the song itself isn’t strong enough. Rhiannon is sure to give a good performance, though, and the song could have more life at the grand final.”

The worst: (Luis, 4.5/10) “Sia met Sara Bareilles, and the result is not really convincing. The beginning of the song is quite dramatic and then it gradually loses power until the end — a slow death if you will. The 90s sound isn’t really engaging.”

Score: 5.63/10

10. Deborah C & Josef Tabone – “Tonight”

The best: (William, 8/10) “Put away the Prozac and tell the therapist you’ll call her in a few months — ‘Tonight’ banishes any and all bad feelings instantly! Unlike the competition — which includes plenty of divas riding the EDM wave — Deborah C & Josef give a finger to trends, instead going for something deliberately hokey, throwback and cheesy.”

The worst: (Josh, 5/10) “This song is bloody adorable, and wiwibloggs loves some Deborah C. But all I’m hearing in the instrumental is a royalty-free background song for a Tyler Oakley vlog. Or perhaps a song used in the background of a TV advert for toilet paper.”

Score: 5.46/10

11. Kevin Borg – “Follow”

The best: (Robyn, 7/10) “Kevin has such a good voice, so it’s a little heartbreaking that the song isn’t of similar quality. It’s not a bad song — and the dramatic structure brings a lot — but there’s just nothing amazing about it. Still, Kevin brings a lot to the performance and no doubt elevates the song beyond just an ordinary ballad.”

The worst: (William, 4/10) “From Swedish Idol to Maltese bore, Kevin really underwhelms with this one. The first minute is promising and I thought he was setting us up for something huge and moving. But instead it’s just more clichés — lyrically and musically.”

Score: 5.13/10

12. Claudia Faniello – “Breathlessly”

The best: (Deban, 8/10) “There’s a timeless quality to ‘Breathlessly’. A ballad that straddles many decades whilst committing to the merits of mellow rock. Claudia Faniello’s voice draws me in, and her delivery of the lyrics is hauntingly captivating.”

The worst: (Robyn, 3/10) “This is such a dreary, old-fashioned ballad. Fans of the genre will love it, but I can’t connect with it. I’ve tried listening to this song three times, and every time my mind wanders and I find myself doing something more interesting. It’s so forgettable.”

Score: 5/10

13. Crosswalk – “So Simple”

The best: (Forrest, 7/10) “This is by far the most authentic, contemporary country song I have heard come out of the Eurovision world in several years. It is reminiscent of Kasey Musgraves’ ‘Follow Your Arrow‘, which won Song of the Year at the Country Music Awards in 2014.”

The worst: (Antranig, 3/10) “‘So Simple’ but not effective — I appreciate the laid back vibe this song has. The chorus picks up and lyrically, the song is on point. However, this would get swallowed alive on the Eurovision stage. After listening to all 16 songs, this is not something I remember and that’s not going to help it get votes. ”

Score: 4.83/10

14. Raquela Dalli Gonzi – “Ray of Light”

The best: (Zakaria, 7/10) “Before listening to the song, I was unconsciously waiting for something similar to Madonna’s “Ray of Light”. But after hearing it I was pleasantly surprised to find a very subtle composition accompanied by Raquela’s sweet voice.”

The worst: (William, 3/10) “She’s a beautiful woman with an inviting and enchanting voice, but the song is pure filler. It has a patchwork quality that mixes sleepy folk song and over-the-top ballad with little connective tissue. I could live with that if the composition was consistently strong, but ultimately this just feels bland.”

Score: 4.79/10

15. Klinsmann Coleiro – “Laserlight”

The best: (Robyn, 7/10) “‘Laserlight’ sounds like the sort of track that would have turned up on an FM radio station in the late ’90s. When the song is playing, its breezy, jazzy style makes everything feel ok. But as soon as it’s over, it evaporates into the ether.”

The worst: (Josh, 2.5/10) “‘Laserlight’ is giving me some unpleasant flashbacks to Denmark’s Anti Social Media from 2015. There’s a reason why they didn’t make the final in Vienna and that’s because it’s not a genre well-suited for Eurovision”

Score: 4.71/10

16. Shauna Vassallo – “Crazy Games”

The best: (Robyn, 6/10) “‘Crazy Games’ has contemporary production, but the song itself sounds much older, like it was dusted off from 15 years prior. It also feels like it was written for a singer with a bigger R&B voice.”

The worst: (Chris, 2.5/10) “The song bores me right until the awful, early 00’s True Steppers B-side chorus comes in. ‘Out Of Your Mind’ this ain’t, but you must be out of your mind to think this is relevant to Eurovision 2017. The lyrics show a complete lack of originality and it just feels out of place.”

Score: 4.54/10

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