The third judges’ auditions episode of the X Factor Malta screened last night. It delivered the usual blend of familiar faces and fresh talent, and it shows that the judges won’t be struggling to pick the 12 acts who will eventually make it to live shows. But amid all the stellar auditions, tonight’s show featured a segment that left some viewers with a bitter taste in their mouth.
The show producers surprised viewers by including an auditioning act who praised so-called “gay conversion therapy”.
Matthew Grech came to audition, but before he sang, he talked about how he’d undergone”gay conversion therapy” and that he felt that sexual love should only exist between a man and a woman. “Gay conversion therapy” is a scientifically unproven and highly criticised practice that has been formally condemned by the European Union.
The practice is also banned in Malta, which made the X Factor Malta‘s decision to screen Matthew’s speech surprising to viewers. The clip attracted many critical comments on social media, especially from people in Malta’s LGBT community. The controversial clip has since been removed from the official X Factor Malta YouTube channel.
What’s left is the second part of Matthew’s audition. He was asked to re-audition as a group with two of his friends. The hastily formed trio sang “Where is the Love?” Look, we have to be honest here. It was terrible. The trio was pitchy, their harmonies were all over the place and they had surprisingly no chemistry as performers. But somehow the judges very generously saw potential and put them through to Bootcamp.
That segment was a little bleak, but fortunately Franklin Calleja was there to show us how it’s done. Back in July, the MESC veteran revealed to his Facebook fans that he had auditioned for the X Factor. Franklin was a regular competitor in Malta’s national final from 2013 to 2017 and showed up in San Marino’s 1IN360 this year. His best result was at MESC 2016, where “Little Love” placed third, while Ira Losco won. Would it be weird for Franklin auditioning in front of the woman who snatched his Eurovision dream?
There was no drama. Franklin — described as a “call centre agent” — blew the judges away with his perfect performance of A Great Big World’s emotional ballad “Say Something”. The fragile boy of MESC had grown into a strong young man. And as judge Ray Mercieca remarked, “Don’t need to say anything — his voice said it all”. Franklin got four yeses and will head to Bootcamp.
Another stand-out audition came from Rachel Tedesco Triccas. She talked to the judges about having overcome bullying and discovering her “grrrrrr!”. Rachel wowed the panel with a seductive performance of the classic “I Just Want to Make Love to You”.
Her vocals were on point and she especially impressed Ira Losco. The judges gave Rachel four yeses and she’s off to Bootcamp.
As the show continues, competition for the upcoming Bootcamp round is just getting tougher. Earlier this week, the dates for the X Factor Malta‘s four weekly live shows were confirmed. They will take place in January, with the grand final on Saturday, January 26.
And the grand final won’t just give us the winner of the first series of the X Factor Malta — we will also know who will represent Malta at Eurovision 2019.
What do you think? Who would you like to see audition for the X Factor Malta? Share your thoughts below!