Tonight the 12 acts heading to the live shows of the X Factor Malta were confirmed. The Boys and Groups categories had their time at Judges Houses, with category mentors Ira Losco and Alexandra Alden each selecting the three who’ll be heading to live shows next week.

The Boys category was first to face their final hurdle. Judge Ira Losco was joined by the acclaimed Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja. The two of the had to decide which three of the six boys would make it to live shows. Let’s take a look at the winners… and losers.

Rapper Owen Leuellen was the first to face the judges. He delivered another of his autobiographical raps, titled “My Time”. While Owen’s lyrics are honest and emotional, his performance style feels quite dated, like Eminem from a decade ago. It didn’t help that Owen’s segment was intro’d with Kendrick Lamar’s 2018 hit “All the Stars”. But Owen still offers a point of difference that none of the others have. Ira wisely picked him for the live shows, where he will bring fresh contrast.

In his first audition, Norbert Bondin spoke about the struggles he has with a verbal stammer but how it doesn’t affect his singing. And indeed he delivered another flawless performance at Judges Houses. He sang Callum Scott’s “You Are the Reason”. The judges were impressed and Norbert was on his way to the live shows.

Luke Chappell made an impact at his first audition, when he sang a moving self-written song. At Judges Houses he sang Kodaline’s ballad “All I Want” and gave a stripped-back, emotional rendition. Judge Ira looked moved by his performance and it was so surprised that she selected him to go to the live shows.

But with those three through, it meant that the X Factor journey had ended for three other boys. Claudio ZammitMark Anthony Bartolo and MESC 2018 finalist Aidan Cassar said goodbye to the X Factor and their chance of representing Malta in Tel Aviv.

Finally it was time for the Groups category to find their fate. Judge Alexandra Alden was joined by Maltese broadcasting legend Carlo Borg Bonaci.

Girl group Xtreme tackled Ariana Grande’s “Greedy”, serving lush vocal harmonies. They showed that for a group that was only put together a few weeks ago, they’ve worked hard and have clicked as a group. The group includes X Factor Australia‘s Elishia Semaan and former MESC act Lyndsey Pace. Judge Alex put the four through to the live shows.

Sisterly duo Kayati are the only group who existed prior to the X Factor. They performed a sultry, harmony-laden Western-style version of Britney Spears’ iconic pop tune “Toxic”. Alex was impressed by what they’d brought with their performance and selected them for the live shows.

Girl group 4th Line was the third group to be selected for the live shows, making it an all-girl roster. They performed En Vogue’s dramatic “Don’t Let Go”. Judge Alex felt the group needed a makeover, but she was otherwise happy to select them for the next round.

And of course, this meant that the three other groups missed out. Boy band trio Systm 12, male duo Horizon and girl group Prism all had their X Factor Malta journey come to an end. But there’s always next year — whatever Malta decides to do for 2020.

So now we have the 12 acts who will be battling it out in the live shows, which start next Sunday, 6 January:

  • Boys: Luke Chappell, Norbert Bondin, Owen Leuellen
  • Girls: Kelsey Bellante, Michela Pace and Nicole Frendo
  • Overs: Ben Purplle, Franklin Calleja, Petra
  • Groups: 4th Line, Kayati, Xtreme

The X Factor Malta will involve four live shows, including the grand final on Saturday 26 January. The exact format of the shows has not been confirmed, but with 12 acts and just four weeks, it is most likely to involve multiple eliminations each week.

The winner of the show will also become Malta’s act for Eurovision 2019. It has also not been confirmed how their Eurovision song will be chosen. The broadcaster earlier put out a call for songwriters, however it is not clear if any original songs written will also be potential Eurovision entries.

What do you think? Which X Factor Malta act are you most excited for? Who would you like to see represent Malta in Tel Aviv? Share your thoughts below!

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Mandy Silva Micallef
Mandy Silva Micallef

Nicole Frendo has the ‘X Factor’ her phenomenal vocals especially the deep notes for a 16 year old WOW, her charisma, stage presence, her passion, very easy to warm to, her determination to give her all, her humble character, great smile, and is genuinely a loving soul, therefore I feel she deserves to win. MY wishful Winner 🙂


Michaela pace, kelsey bellante or luke chapelll ftw!


Michela Pace should win, but I hope she goes with a pop song


Franklin for the gold!


Thank you, but no thank you