She’s raising awareness about mental health issues through an electronic dance number. And today Malta’s Christabelle was every bit as stirring and striking as her song as she delivered a series of spirited, vocally-sound rehearsals.

The “Taboo” singer wears all black and at the start of the performance we see an on-screen graphic of a heart beating on her chest. This isn’t a cute emoji. It’s an anatomical heart with arteries and vessels, laying the scene for a song that flows from your ears into your soul. Rather than encasing a series of dancers inside a box, the Maltese team have set up a series of LED panels that feature red and black imagery. Inside that space a dancer performs ballet and interpretive dance, conveying a strong sense of pain and agony that convey part of the song’s theme. At times the cameras show the dancer solo; at other times with a liberated Christabelle before her. That contrast — of imprisonment and freedom — tells the story in a seamless way.

Pace and drive are critical here. Christabelle keeps the dynamism alive by adding impressive bursts of fire around the vast stage, illuminating the darkness and sometimes shooting out diagonally across the stage. I often complain about acts that pan out too much to show off the stage. But when Malta pans out we see the lights flashing in time with the electro-trap beat, and it actually enhances the overall effect. The show ends with Christabelle’s now famous jaguars appearing on two LEDs. It’s a proper finish to a lovely performance: Malta’s girl is roaring to life.

Christabelle — “Taboo”: Reviews and Reactions

Malta: First rehearsal at Eurovision 2018

Keep checking back for more reviews of Malta’s first rehearsal

Malta: First press conference 2018

Read all of our Eurovision rehearsal reviews

Read all of our Malta Eurovision news here

Photo: Thomas Hanses (EBU)

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AngieP
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AngieP

Not many changes since MESC. I really like the concept. Good job, Malta!

Jo.
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Jo.

The juries might save her.

Euphoric
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Euphoric

It clearly is an adventure of a lifetime for her and…
Probably the only chance to be seen by millions…
There are some contestans that treat this contest like just another chance to perform…
But there are some (like Malta) who totally enjoy every second of it and that’s far more than just a performance.
And it’s not that obvious weak act like Russia or Sweden… It’s not the best song, but Malta has one of the best heart-input and respect to this contest…

Starmine45
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Starmine45

Spot on!

Miguel
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Miguel

It’s difficult to judge based on the snippet… I don’t know what happened with those LED panels and I don’t know the camera angles either. This can be very interesting or a big flop.
I like her dress and makeup. It’s very dramatic. But I would skip that dancer…

This is another song I wouldn’t miss if it doesn’t qualify for the final, but the staging may give it that extra bump to become a borderline qualifier.

Sabrina
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Sabrina

I keep thinking this one of the worst songs of the year, but the staging was already sort of effective on the national final and now it look more professional (though on the snippet the dancer seems out of context). It somehow tells the message that the lyrics fail to deliver. Since it’s a weak semi, Malta still can qualify. But I can see this fastly vanishing from our minds after Hungary’s explosive performance.

Ally
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Ally

Toilet break

Kyna
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Kyna

She broke the taboo by bringing the LEDs

Roy Moreno
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Roy Moreno

I admire you for writing this comment!

Kyna
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Kyna

haha thanks <3

jim
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jim

this needed more dancers

Héctor
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Héctor

I still think “Taboo” couldn’t be more generic and the lyrics are unispired, bland and a copy&paste of other songs. However, the staging and her live performance lift it up. Given the dissapointing rehearsals of almost everyone yesterday, I can see Malta qualifyng (from 7th to 10th, maybe). I’m not a big fan though.

MarK
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MarK

I hope it finally manages to qualify

Lukas
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Lukas

This will slay! The projections and LEDs will surely be visually interesting! go Christabelle!

Anita
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Anita

Good buy Malta, I know 10 entries that will get my votes.

ccc
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ccc

Maybe goodbye is the word you are looking for – however trust me live and on TV especially this will sound and look amazing!

Denis
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Denis

Bit boring. Both staging and song. No final again for Malta

Lukas
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Lukas

That is your opinion though!

Paul
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Paul

Good staging may increase their chances of qualifying but it will be lost in the finals in my opinion. Not my cup of tea.

Rasmus
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Rasmus

Thats kind of my opinion to. Right know its a maybe.