Hello Malta! The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — has travelled to the archipelago of Malta. While looking for a good deal on a Mediterranean cruise, we took time out to discuss Malta’s act for Eurovision 2017 — Claudia Faniello with “Breathlessly”. Did the song leave us breathless? Read on to find out!
Claudia Faniello with “Breathlessly”
About Claudia Faniello
Claudia Faniello, 29, took part in the Maltese selection for the first time in 2006, the same year her brother Fabrizio was selected to represent the country. It took Claudia 11 attempts before she finally won the national selection, though in 2008 and 2012 she finished in a very close second place. Claudia finally won this year, with the Maltese public selecting her as their winner in a 100% televote final. Seconds after she won she could barely speak. “It was like a little movie inside my head of all the years participating and even remembering the time when I said ‘I’m going to stop going in because I need a break,'” she told us in April. “All of those experiences came into one on the night. It was an overwhelming experience.”
Deban: 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 lyrical expression remains hauntingly captivating.
Chris: A lovely woman, singing a lovely song, and she’s singing it in a lovely way. Great. Now what else? Malta inexplicably managed to send one of the worst songs from a sub-par selection, perhaps solely based on the idea that at least it’ll stop Claudia from trying again any time soon. There’s no such sympathy or story at Eurovision, however, which should rightfully see this dated ballad sent back home, perhaps via Hamilton Travel. There are far more superior songs like this with equally talented singers in the field.
Antranig: I forget the melody of “Breathlessly” before it even finishes playing. The positives for Malta are a talented vocalist and one of the more interesting songs lyrically. But when you can’t remember the tune, it might just be best to save those lyrics for a poem instead. Claudia deserves a better composition than what we have here. Are strong vocals enough to get Malta through? I wouldn’t rule it out.
William: Don’t deny: Claudia Faniello can sing! She feels every note and pours herself into every verse. And while I love her, the song leaves me wanting. From the heavy cymbals to the sappy melody to the feeling of Trisha Yearwood in slow motion, it comes from another era. Sadly it doesn’t leave me breathless, just frustrated that Claudia doesn’t have a song worthy of her talent. However, having re-watched it with the music video, it really grew in my estimation. The trick here is to deliver arresting visuals so the song becomes an afterthought. It’s the only way to the final.
Forrest: Claudia Faniello has a voice fitting of a power ballad, but unfortunately “Breathlessly” comes up powerless. The song continuously teases a great crescendo, but fails to deliver. Even Claudia’s vocals, stunning as they are, seem underused and constrained by the simplicity of the track. This feels like it belongs to another era; perhaps eleven years ago when Claudia first started competing for a Maltese ticket to Eurovision. In a year particularly heavy on ballads, it seems likely Malta will be overshadowed by more impressive and contemporary options.
Jason: “Breathlessly” is like a sweet summer bloom wilting in the heat. Tired and old, it struggles along desperately for three minutes. Claudia delivers emotion but at times it seems forced. The lacklustre composition really holds her back, and it is quite a shame. Unfortunately for Malta, there are many stronger ballads in the contest this year.
Padraig: I’m always left in a state of indifference after listening to the charmlessly bland “Breathlessly”. The song has dramatic aspirations but never delivers. All good dramas have a start, a middle and an end. However, we’re offered three minutes of sameness. There’s no dynamism. Claudia sings with all the passion she can muster, but there’s only so much one woman can do with such poor material. She may as well be reading off a take-away menu.
Robyn: Claudia Faniello, yes, but with this song? “Breathlessly” is so tired and so old. It’s only going to work if its place in the running order strikes the right chord in the “divorced auntie” demographic. But a good Eurovision song shouldn’t have to rely on running order voodoo. It should work on its own and “Breathlessly” doesn’t.
In our Wiwi Jury, we have 38 jurors but only room for eight reviews. The rest of our scores can be found below:
Before calculating the average score, the highest and lowest scores are dropped. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 1.5 and a high of 7.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 4.25/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!