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!