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!

Read more Malta Eurovision Song Contest news here

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Polegend Godgarina
2 years ago

I disagree. An internal selection will be good for Malta, they’ll focus on the perfect song. They just need the right singer, and hopefully that’s Brooke Borg with the ultimate empowerment anthem–one that will leave Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson shaking, for instance.

dus2011
dus2011
2 years ago

What about Lena? She definitly hadn’t any more experience than somebody from Xfactor in 2010.

RICK
2 years ago

As long as Brooke Borg enters, IDGAF

srulik
srulik
2 years ago

they can try it at least once. if they have songwriters create song only after the singer is selected, and putting a few songs for internal selection(broadcater commitee) they may end up winning just like the case with Israel. i hope malta would win once…they truely deserve it, but they keep on sending songs that lack that uniqeness.

CyxCy
CyxCy
2 years ago

this man really radiates optimism … go do not be depressed like that, take an orange juice, it’s full of good vitamin C. XD

impressiveinstants
impressiveinstants
2 years ago

He’s just mad Malta will buy a song from Sweden instead of choosing his.

Héctor
Héctor
2 years ago

I’m not very sure about X Factor as the NF, but Philip, you can’t blame the TV show when you wrote “Breathlessly” and thought it was good. In fact, I think X Factor is useful to keep away the tacky songwriters.

GUEST
GUEST
2 years ago

The Maltese public was still picking the singer not the song by the MESC selection. Breathlessly would not have won if it was not sung by Claudia who was deemed as “the next one”

Alison
Alison
2 years ago

That’s a pretty meaningless comment as a big part of the x factor is that it’s not just about the person’s voice. It’s about their whole performance, their stage presence etc and those are key things for Eurovision.

Roelof Meesters
Roelof Meesters
2 years ago

Walk On Water was the best song Malta has sent in the last years, and guess what; it was selected INTERNALLY! And what is also selected internally? MALTA JESC ENTRIES. And those are often better than what they send to ESC. I think this might be the way to push Malta into the GF.

Give it a Shot
Give it a Shot
2 years ago

Nadav Guedj was an up and coming artist when he got selected on a similar talent show and got ninth, Hovi was an up and coming artist when he got selected on a similar talent show and got fourteenth, Imri was an up and coming artist when he got selected on a similar talent show and qualified for the final, Netta got selected on a similar talent show and WON the whole contest. So don’t knock it till you try it.. It worked for Israel. Their secret is sending good songs, a larger concern than the artist considering it is… Read more »

Ethan1994
Ethan1994
2 years ago
Reply to  Give it a Shot

Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. TVM probably got the idea from Israel using Rising Star to pick their contestants.

srulik
srulik
2 years ago
Reply to  Give it a Shot

totally right and on point. the secret is creating a song that fits the selected singer.

Idan Cohen
Idan Cohen
2 years ago

As both Israel and Spain showed, selecting a good singer is a good startingpoint, but with a weak, mediocre or generic song – you can’t really go high. “Do it for your lover” , “Made of stars”, “Tu cancion” and “I feel alive” come to mind.

The best advice I can give Malta is to pick a singer who is anyway interesting and refreshing (Like Nadav and Netta) and write songs for them that bring that originality out.

Skiwalko
Skiwalko
2 years ago
Reply to  Idan Cohen

At least Israel qualified in 2016 and 2017. And for Malta 14th place would be quite high.

Joe
Joe
2 years ago

But I mean, at least Walk on Water qualified. Breathlessly didn’t.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
2 years ago
Reply to  Joe

Exactly. In what way did “Walk on Water” not work? If anything, it would have done even better with a better singer. It was a great selection for Malta.
As for “Breathlessly”, the less said, the better. Seems like Vella is just worried that he might actually have to start writing some good songs in order to make a living instead of Malta having to fill up a ridiculously large national final (given their talent pool) with mediocre songs.

KESC
KESC
2 years ago

The selection method of the artist isn’t that much of importance, but rather the choice of the song. Walk on Water was selected internally, and it seemed to work better than Malta’s other entries. The song still got disappointing televote results, though.