On Thursday evening at 20:00 CET, Ira Losco will finally reveal “Walk on Water” — Malta’s much-anticipated song for Eurovision 2016.
The big reveal marks the end of a very long journey for Ira. It started with a hard-fought win at the national selection in February, which was followed by several weeks of uncertainty, which in turn led to a hastily-organised internal selection to choose a new song.
We’re pleased to say that all the twists and turns were worth it as she has emerged with an even stronger song — and perhaps Malta’s best entry ever.
On Wednesday afternoon PBS kindly invited wiwibloggs to attend an exclusive first viewing of the music video. wiwiblogger Patrick, who is living and studying in Malta, booked it to PBS headquarters, and I joined in via Skype from London.
We were both floored. “Walk On Water” is a contemporary pop song with strong drum and bass undertones. Its radio-friendly sound is bigger than Malta and the Mediterranean — you could hear it getting airplay across Europe and beyond.
Those who complained that “Chameleon” lacked a hook and climax will appreciate what they find here. A quiet but confident opening leads to a memorable and powerful chorus. The production is slick and gives the song major shape and direction. And it uses backing vocalists to great effect. At times there is a wall of sound that channels a church choir, which makes sense given the religious themes associated with walking on water.
Fans have made much of the fact Melodifestivalen star Molly Petterson Hammar co-wrote the song, and some have asked us whether it sounds more like MPH’s “I’ll Be Fine” or “Hunger”. The answer is neither. It may carry the soul element that fans associate with MPH, but through drum and bass and gospel this becomes decidedly Ira.
Half an hour after leaving PBS, Patrick was still humming the tune. I asked him what his lingering impression was.
I didn’t expect this from a tiny island like Malta. Darkness meets drums meets upbeat meets gospel. I was hungry to hear this and it’s completely satisfied me with its energy and power. There’s winning potential here. Europe is ready to visit Malta — and in 2017 it just might!
The accompanying music video, which you can watch this evening, is gorgeous. We see Ira working a series of high-fashion looks while on the beautiful island of Gozo. We don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say she is a real contender to challenge in our annual search for Eurovision’s Next Top Model! She is comfortable in the sun and knows how to work it beneath those rays.
The bookies share our enthusiasm. Malta’s odds to win Eurovision have been slowly narrowing all week — there is confidence Ira will do well with the new tune. And on Wednesday afternoon Malta’s odds dropped sharply from between 25/1 and 33/1 at a number of agencies to between 6/1 and 10/1 at the same ones.
Malta’s video will be presented tonight on their news bulletin and uploaded to the official Eurovision.tv YouTube channel.