Wiwibloggs nears the end of our series looking at the countries currently competing in the Eurovision Song Contest and the reasons why we love them. Next up, we set sail to the historic city of Valletta, where we look at Malta while being kissed by the sun!
Malta’s Eurovision history started back in 1971 and it was a rollercoaster ride for the tiny Mediterranean country. They have served us 31 songs, 24 of which were in the grand final, with both excellent and disappointing results. From offering a sip of “Vodka”, to a smiling doctor, there are many reasons to love this country. Here are 10 reasons why we love Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest.
1. Their early attempts
The sunny island of Malta made their debut in 1971 by portraying the Maltese language that year and the following year. Even though both songs talk about heart-throbbing love and romance, Europe did not feel the love and in both years Malta ended up dead last. Still, the entries are still beloved classics in Malta. After just moderate success in 1975, Malta withdrew from the contest and was not to be seen until 1991. The ’90s brought better luck to the island, as proven by their top-10 finishes year after year. They might have been served sour grapes before, but we still appreciate Malta for giving us their only two songs entirely sung in Maltese and showing that giving up completely is not an option.
2. Dazzling gowns and cray-cray costumes
When it comes to fashion, Malta is both classy and adventurous. While Renato wore azure blue tassles on his bright-blue top in 1975 his backing vocalists were only left with skirts that looked like grandma’s curtains. But Malta also showed pure class and lots of rhinestone couture with both Ira Losco in 2016 and Claudia Faniello the following year. But the crown for most memorable and also the most cray-cray dress for Malta goes to none other than 1997 — Debbie Scerri and the gown that made her win the Barbara Dex Award that year!
3. The Maltese national selection
Everyone loves to watch the tense national selections for Eurovision, and Malta is one of the favourites! Their national final started with their first participation back in 1971 and until was used every single year until 2018. From just one show broadcast from a ballroom in 1971 to eight loud and proud semi-finals in 2009 to high-quality produced shows in recent years, Malta Eurovision has seen it all. And just like the show, the music is absolutely priceless. Yes, you have it all: amazing vocals, cringy lyrics and memorable melodies. And even though we won’t have the classic Maltese national final in the coming year, we can’t wait for the first X Factor Malta!
4. Props and gimmicks – tiny but mighty
What would Eurovision be without props? Malta’s efforts might be cute and cliché or just absolutely hilarious but they are definitely unforgettable. We all loved it when sweet 20-year-old Ira Losco brought Malta their best result in 2002, but we loved it more when she blew her glitter in our face. And who would forget Lynn Chircop the year after, who danced with a pink rose for two and a half minutes, only to throw it into the audience afterwards. And when things got hot on stage, Olivia Lewis cooled us all down with huge Asian-inspired fans. Oh, the memories!
5. Props and Gimmicks – small island, big props
We are here for the BIG props too. Besides using loads of fire in recent years, Malta also uses the whole stage, just like showing selfies as a backdrop in 2014 or using the chandelier in 2017. But Thea Garrett in 2010 really showed what a real prop is: a man in a big silver seagull costume! Yes exactly, who thinks of those things. But as technology evolved and Lisbon decided not to care about LED screens, Malta decided to bring their own, giving one of the most memorable stagings of the year!
6. Familiar faces a.k.a “Please sir, I want some more!”
We don’t blame you for thinking that Malta only had a few singers, as they tend to send the same acts over and over again. Look at powerhouse Chiara, for example. After securing Malta’s best result back in 1998, the country sent her again in 2005, where she did better and place second. Chiara was back for a third time in 2009 but sadly only placed 22nd. While Fabrizio Faniello and Malta’s biggest singer Ira Losco participated twice, the record for most attempts before being selected goes to Claudia Faniello. She made a total of nine attempts before actually representing the country.
7. Their love for advertisements
A true Eurovision fan knows the struggle of having commercial breaks while watching their favourite national selections, but in Malta, it just is part of it all. Let it be the famous Mediterranean Bank commercials or just an ad about a kitchen utensil, Malta brings those Twitter moments. They use adverts so much, that they even blocked out the sweetest moment in Malta’s Eurovision history: Ira Losco’s baby-belly rub! Tragic and lovable at the same time!
8. Really good lyrics… and rather cringy ones
A good Eurovision edition is nothing without amazing but also cringy lyrics — and Malta can deliver. In 31 attempts of Malta in the contest, we have seen a lot. From serious lyrics about mental health in 2018 to a party girl that just craves that glass of vodka in 2008. Here are some examples of the really good:
- “Glistening on a star, of promises and dreams” – Chris and Moira in 1994
- “I’ll be your destiny waiting by your side” – Chiara in 2005
- “If your sky will fall, I’ll shelter you from the rain” – Firelight in 2014
And some rather cringy ones:
- “Vodka, and they want it so bad – (Na zdorov’ye!)” – Morena in 2008
- “I do, I do, I do” – 33 times – Fabrizio Faniello in 2006
- “How… Oh, how do I reach inside you?” – Julie + Ludwig in 2004
9. The effort (and budget) for their music videos
All Eurovision entries need an official music video — and Malta really takes this seriously. In 2014, they commemorated the the 100th anniversary of WWI. In 2016, they put Ira Losco into beautiful Maltese coastal landscapes, making her actually walk on water. And in 2018 Christabelle brought nearly the whole island together to create the epic “Taboo” video about mental health issues. If there was an award for the best music video, Malta would win it every single time!
10. Their passion for Eurovision
Everyone would love to say that their own country is gaga for Eurovision, but nobody can top Malta’s love for the contest. Not only do they follow their national final religiously, but they embrace the whole contest by throwing parties, discussing Eurovision casually on the bus, or playing their favourite Eurovision song in the car. And given that Malta’s luck vanished for the past two years, they still keep on trying hard to make Malta wear that crown they want so badly! Their passion makes us go all Kurt Calleja.
BONUS: Malta’s JESC success story
Malta won the Junior Eurovision twice. When Gaia Gauci won in 2013, it was the first time for Malta winning a Eurovision event. When Destiny Chukunyere won in 2015 again, Malta was well on the path to success.Well done, little Malta!
What do you love about Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest and what do you want to see from them? Share your favourite moments below!