She’s one of Malta’s most successful Eurovision stars — finishing 12th in 2016 and missing out on victory by a mere 12 points in 2002. And now, if rumours are to be believed, it looks like Ira Losco is set to pass on her song contest nous to a new generation as a judge on X Factor Malta.
The reports emanate from the Lovin Malta website. Like the rest of us, they’re eager to work out who the four panellists will be on the Maltese edition of Simon Cowell’s global reality TV juggernaut.
While ruling out local pop acts Joseph Calleja and Emma Muscat, the site declares that Ira Losco is “IN!”.
Like Ira sang in “7th Wonder”, the big question is “Is it fiction or fact?”.
Somewhat frustratingly, the declaration is based purely on loose-tongued “sources close to the show”. Neither Ira Losco nor X Factor Malta have commented on the story.
Update: Just after 18.00 local time, X Factor Malta officially confirmed Howard Keith Debono as the shows first judge. Debono is best known as a music manager, and Ira is perhaps the biggest act on his books. Whether this increases or decreases the likelihood of her joining the judging panel remains to be seen.
The publicity blurb reads:
We are proud to present our first judge – HOWARD KEITH DEBONO. Howard has been in the music industry for over 20 years and has helped various artists with music publishing, import and export platforms as well as licensing and dealing with labels.
Howard is known for his honesty and saying it as it is, but above all for spotting talent and nurturing it to it’s maximum potential
? We are proud to present our first judge -HOWARD KEITH DEBONO ?? Howard has been in the music industry for over 20…
Lovin Malta also reckons that Ray Mercieca from The Rifffs could join the “Walk On Water” songstress on the panel.
Our William and Deban will be wishing they put money on her should the speculation prove true. Immediately after X Factor Malta was announced, they both predicted that Ms. Losco would grace the panel. The pair’s crystal ball also suggested Junior Eurovision winning songwriters Muxu and Elton Zarb.
However, Deban’s second choice of Fabrizio Faniello — Eurovision 2001 and 2006 and brother of 2016’s Claudia — is unlikely to make the cut, given that his mother is among those auditioning.
“Kewkba” kween Janice Mangion also confirmed her intention to audition earlier this week.
X Factor Malta 2018
Malta Eurovision Song Contest is no more — as TVM move on to a new selection process for Eurovision 2019. Instead, the winner of the first season of X Factor Malta will be the country’s representative in Israel.
TVM announced the news in a brief statement in June, simply promoting the fact that the popular global show will finally debut in Malta. Whether it’s a solo act or group that triumphs, that act will represent Malta at the next Eurovision.
The broadcaster has now confirmed that the series will be hosted by Junior Eurovision 2016 co-host Ben Camille.
Model/actor Ben may be best known to Eurovision fans as the co-host of Junior Eurovision 2016. While his background suggested he was a good pick for the role, Ben Camille — along with co-host Valerie Vella — was criticised for wooden delivery and a series of blunders, including revealing the winning country too early.
However, Ben previously had the more successful gig as the host of Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2016, and proved himself capable of presenting the two live shows.
He’s also known for his modelling career, and has established himself as a television actor. He recently starred in the popular Maltese historic drama series Strada stretta.