Tonight was the first of the two Judges Houses shows of the X Factor Malta. In this stage, the remaining 24 acts will find out which three from each category will make it to the live shows in the new year. Tonight started with the Girls and the Overs, each facing their mentor judge and a guest music expert. Let’s take a look at the winners… and losers.

The episode format was fairly straightforward. The six acts in each category performed once for the two experts, then at the end of the segment their fates were revealed. So first let’s take a look at the three qualifiers of the Girls category, where judge Howard Keith Debono was joined by British music producer Mike Hedges.

Michela Pace was an early standout, when her first audition went viral. At Judges Houses, she kept the quality coming, with an emotional and vocally flawless rendition of Adele’s “Turning Tables”. She seemed like a very obvious qualifier and there would have been outrage if she’d missed out.

Also qualifying was Nicole Frendo. She performed Birdy’s “Strange Birds” and delivered emotional depth in her performance. As judge Mike noted, “She can sing anything”.

The final qualifier was Kelsey Bellante, who had previously demonstrated herself to be a talented vocalist with an edgy image. She performed “What Is Love” from the Empire soundtrack, and nailed both the sung vocals and the lightning-fast rap.

But with these three qualifiers, it meant that three others had to miss out. Sadly Karin Duff and recent MESC contestants Danica Muscat and Jade Vella said goodbye to their X Factor journey and chance of representing Malta in Tel Aviv.

Next it was time for the Overs to discover if they were making it to live shows. Judge Ray Mercieca was joined by Maltese singer-songwriter Matthew James Borg.

The first successful act was Ben Purplle. He gave a gritty, emotion-soaked rendition of Paolo Nutini’s “Iron Sky”. The judges admired his ability to put everything into the performance and his dedication.

Also joining the Overs at the live shows will be Petra. She delivered a gutsy performance of Ed Sheeran’s “Make It Rain”. The emotional intensity Petra’s performance gave the judges shivers and she was an obvious qualifier.

The final qualifier was Franklin Calleja. While he is known for performing ballads, he showed a different side with Queen’s “Somebody to Love”. The judges were impressed not just with his choice of a rock song, but with his overall vocals. So of course Franklin was the third qualifier.

But with those three in, it meant three others were out. Anna Azzopardi, Anna Faniello and Vanessa Sultana were given the bad news. And honestly, we’re really sad to see Anna Faniello go. She proved herself to be more than just the mamma of a couple of Malta Eurovision stars. Anna F was easily one of the best singers of the series and if there’d been room for 13 finalists, surely she would have made it. But regardless of her X Factor journey, we suspect Anna Faniello will now be an in-demand singer.

So, we now know six of the 12 acts who will be competing in the live show of the X Factor Malta. Next Sunday the Boys and Groups categories will learn who has also made it into the live shows and we’ll be that much closer to discovering who will represent Malta at Eurovision 2019.

What do you think? Were you surprised by the qualifiers? Who do you think could win the X Factor Malta? Share your thoughts below!

Read more X Factor Malta news

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Joe
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Joe

Did they get rid of the creepy conversion therapy guy?

Mandy Silva Micallef
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Mandy Silva Micallef

Well done to all participants who made it to Judges Houses. I am supporting in the (Girls catagory) the phenomenal, humble young talented 16 year old Nicole Frendo who i wish to win Maltas 1st ever X Factor. Supporting her in January when i attend the live shows and throughout her singing career. MY wishful winner.

Keicha
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Keicha

Tayanna for vidbir!!

Mr. Vanilla Bean
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Mr. Vanilla Bean

Big mistake. Eliminating the only standout act. I’m not surprised, as I did not expect Maltese television to be bold and interesting and it definitely is the decision of the station’s overlord(s), as the judges are puppets themselves. Was Anna not enough of a puppet and too much of a real person and singer?

fm97
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fm97

Anna Faniello’s niche is too narrow for a show like X-factor – she was singing only songs in Italian of the same genre – and while the Italian music market in Malta is quite modest, no local artist has ever made a career out of singing songs exclusively in Italian. So I can see why she came so far into the competition but was eliminated at this stage. I can still see her succeeding as an artist locally, but not through a show like X-factor where you need to be an all-rounder.

Campbell Grace
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Campbell Grace

Who was the fan favourite?

Evridiki
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Evridiki

Anna Faniello (as far as I know)

Eastman
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Eastman

Is it just me or did Danica look like she was expecting to be selected? She would have better luck waiting a few years and entering in the Overs as she has an Overs kind of vibe.

And why were Ben Purple and Franklin dressed as clowns? I get trying to stand out but dressing like children’s entertainers at a family fun fair is not the way to go.

GUEST
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GUEST

So much options. Well done Malta.

Jeff Messer
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Jeff Messer

Kelsey bellante interests me a lot. I feel like if she were to win she’d give a very unique fresh modern sound.