Last night the X Factor Malta made its debut. But it’s not just another version of the internationally popular talent show franchise. The X Factor Malta will also be used to select Malta’s representative for Eurovision 2019.

And as the first auditioning acts appeared before the judges’ panel, viewers wondered if the small nation would have any fresh talent not already seen competing on the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. The answer: iva! (That’s ‘yes’ in Maltese – something heard often on this bilingual show.)

But before we get onto the new talent, first let’s look at a few familiar faces. The series starts with the Judges Auditions, where hopeful singers faced the panel of four judges. Sitting behind the desk is music manager Howard Keith Debono, rock legend Ray Mercieca, singer-songwriter Alexandra Alden and Malta’s Eurovision queen, Ira Losco.

Among the auditioning acts, the four judges saw a couple of singers who have previously competed in the Maltese Eurovision Song Contest.

Danica Muscat has competed in the Maltese national selection five times and had her best result in 2012 when she placed ninth with “7 Days”. Earlier this year she competed in MESC 2018 with “One Step at a Time”, which sadly placed last with only three points.

But could she have better luck at the X Factor? Danica impressed the judges with a jazzy rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life”. The panel was mostly impressed with Danica, though judge Alexandra said it was “nothing I haven’t heard before” and gave a ‘no’. But three yeses is all it takes to get through to Bootcamp, and that’s where Danica is heading.

Another familiar face from MESC was Aidan Cassar. He appeared twice in MESC 2018 — in the boyband Avenue Sky, and as a solo performer with the controversial “Dai Laga”, which went on to place fourth.

Aidan auditioned with his own song, an R&B slow jam called “Mine”. Look, we’re going to be honest — it wasn’t the best. But while his vocals were all over the place, the judges recognised Aidan’s potential and gave him four yeses. He’s another act we’ll see at Bootcamp in coming weeks.

But what about the fresh talent? There was plenty!

Michela Pace is a 17-year-old who had a very ambitious audition song. She tackled Bonnie Tyler’s epic “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.

The song demands a big voice and Michela delivered. She impressed the entire panel and Ira Losco was especially moved by the young singer’s vocal prowess. The panel was quick to praise Michela and gave her four yeses — she’s off to Bootcamp!

Another stand-out auditioning act was Norbert Bondin. Norbert has a stammer which gets worse when he’s anxious. But while the stammer affected his speech, it didn’t affect his vocals. Norbert performed Sia’s “Helium” and wowed the judges with his smooth, clear, rich vocals. He earned four yeses and is off to Bootcamp.

Other successful auditioning acts were Claudio Zammit, Karin DuffMark Anthony Bartolo, and Anna Azzopardi. We’ll also see them at the Bootcamp stage in coming weeks.

The X Factor Malta auditions continue next Sunday. On weekdays, TVM will also screen a nightly five-minute show called X Factor Daily.

What do you think? Who should make it to the X Factor Malta live shows? Would any of these singers be a good pick for Malta at Tel Aviv? Tell us your thoughts below!

Read more X Factor Malta news

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Nikko
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Nikko

Can someone send a link to watch the 1st show online. I missed it

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

Mess. If Aidan got four yeses I don’t want to know how bad the others were…

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

I was just going to say how shockingly interchangeable any given X-Factor show of any country is with any other. But in what other show would Aidan have advanced? Also, I imagine it would be weird if someone like Brooke auditioned in front of Ira, wouldn’t it? Personally, I hope Janice Mangion comes and saves the day BUT if they don’t give her the right song, even she would be doomed to stay in the semi final. Someone better be thinking about the SONG.

Luke Hewitt
Guest
Luke Hewitt

Why wouldn’t he? good looks and best voice we heard yesterday. I find Janice quite boring to have the X Factor. She only wowed once. And this is not a song contest :/

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

It will partly be a song contest for whoever goes to Eurovision and I thought finding the one who goes is the purpose of this show.

James
Guest
James

X Factor could do what American Idol did back in Season 1, have the final 2 perform versions of the same song on finale night. 🙂

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Let’s just hope it won’t be anything like Germany 2017 then.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

I didn’t see your comment when I typed mine. I assume you think that, if the Maltese X-Factor show produces a result absolutely no one from the Maltese broadcaster is comfrtable with, let alone all of Malta, they will be forced to withdraw their entry and consider someone else, preferably someone who DIDN’T audition at the X-Factor show. A real trainwreck of a winner will force them to consider that rather quickly.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

I don’t think Brooke Borg would participate… it’s clear that she wants full control over her art, and this show wouldn’t give her justice. I guess we’ll see her again in 2020 when MESC inevitably comes back.

GUEST
Guest
GUEST

already complaining? easy just don’t watch 😉

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

Where’s the complaining lmao

GUEST
Guest
GUEST

“we’ll see her again in 2020 when MESC inevitably comes back.”

Rick
Guest

she said she wont be participating on her instagram

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

That’s exactly what I said in the last Malta X-Factor thread, regarding Brooke being judged by Ira.

Crap. 🙁 I forgot how this X-Factor thing works; the mentor gives their contender the songs to sing. I’ve seen a clueless mentor cause a contender to get eliminated once, with a poorly-thought-out choice of a song. If that happens to Janice, and she gets eliminated from the X-Factor, and a trainwreck wins, they might have to seriously consider replacing the contender. Or withdraw from the ESC.

Eastman
Guest
Eastman

How is it that Aidan gave one of the worst auditions, the judges were cringing as he sang, but yet they all gave him yesses? Oh that’s right – it’s Malta.

Luke Hewitt
Guest
Luke Hewitt

What was so wrong about it? He was actually one of my favezzzzz

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

I actually have an idea, but let me not.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

By all means, say it.

Kris
Guest
Kris

Is it because Ira knew him beforehand?

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

You’re pure and innocent, Kris.

Idan Cohen
Guest
Idan Cohen

MY only concern with the X-Factor as a national final is that it’s too much vocals-oriented. Eurovision is less about the vocals and more about the song + show.

Eastman
Guest
Eastman

Countries that send famous singers without a good song end up flopping. Spain and Finland learned that the hard way this year – Europe doesn’t know or care about the backstories of the acts. It is SONG contest!

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

Spain didn’t send ‘famous’ singers this year wyd

Qwe
Guest
Qwe

Monsters was and still is a good song. The staging was a mess, though.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

Domino was more Eurovision friendly

Esc1234
Guest
Esc1234

Drinking game: drink every time a former mesc contestant participates in the x factor. Good luck staying sober

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

Aye! I’m expecting Brooke Borg (for her 4th-straight attempt to qualify for ESC), Deborah C (for her 8th attempt in a row) and Lawrence Gray (for his 12th attempt, going as far back as 1998!) to appear on this show.

If Janice Mangion appears with another Maltese-language tear-jerker, it’s game over for everyone else!

Rose
Guest
Rose

I want Janice for Eurovision. She has to go.