Fans may have been excited by news that Maltese broadcaster TVM will use The X Factor Malta to help select its act for Eurovision 2019 — but not everyone has been as enthusiastic. Veteran songwriters have recently spoken out against TVM ditching the national final, with one saying the new system was a “guarantee for failure” at Eurovision.
News site Lovin Malta reports that veteran Maltese songwriter Philip Vella had some strong words on the subject of The X Factor Malta. Vella is behind six Maltese Eurovision entries, including Ira Losco’s “7th Wonder”, and most recently Claudia Faniello’s “Breathlessly”.
Vella said that while he supports The X Factor Malta, he has “a problem with the winner going to the Eurovision”.
He says it’s not enough to just select a good singer. “You cannot just rely on the singer’s voice though; after all they’ll be competing against 42 other good singers at the Eurovision.”
Vella also hit out at international songwriters who shop their songs around each national final season — and blamed that system for the lack of success of Ira Losco’s 2016 song “Walk on Water”. He explained, “composers from all over the world send singers readymade songs in the belief that the singer’s voice is all that matters in the festival. As fantastic as their voices may be, I’ve heard amazing songs in studios that just didn’t work out on stage – Ira’s “Walk on Water” a case in point.”
The veteran songwriter was also cautious of sending new talent from The X Factor to compete against the more experienced performers that other countries send to Eurovision. He warned, “Plonking up-and-coming singers on the Eurovision stage is a recipe for disaster.”
Fellow songwriter Gerard James Borg — who has co-written seven Eurovision entries, including “Shine” by the Tolmachevy Sisters — also had something to say.
While he was generally supportive of The X Factor, he noted that MESC was “a big launching pad for up-and-coming and established songwriters”. He says that using The X Factor as the national final “will limit songwriters, unless there is an open call for songwriters to write songs for the winning artist.”
Other songwriters also shared their concerns with Lovin Malta. Paul Giordimaina (ESC 1991) said that ditching the national final ‘has essentially put established composers and singers on hold’. While MESC regulars Elton Zarb and Cyprian Cassar said the move would limit the market for Maltese songwriters.
It has still not been confirmed exactly how the Maltese act for Eurovision 2019 will be chosen using the debut series of The X Factor Malta. However, it is expected that the series winner will also win the ticket to Eurovision but their song will later be internally selected by the broadcaster.
What do you think? Should the Maltese broadcaster return to MESC? Should local songwriters get more involved with The X Factor Malta? Have your say below!