Earlier this month, the Jean-Baptiste Group introduced Eurovision fans to the four Sweden-based dancers that will accompany Destiny on stage in Rotterdam. But Maltese dancers aren’t happy, saying they are disappointed that Destiny won’t be accompanied by local dancers.

The Jean-Baptise Group — helmed by Eurovision veteran artistic director Sacha Jean-Baptiste — confirmed that Destiny will be joined at Eurovision 2021 by four dancers: Pauline Eddeborn, Milena Jacuniak, Kim Pastor and Jennifer Pacaanas. The dancers are all based in Stockholm but have different backgrounds.

But this caught the attention of Maltese dance creatives, who are disappointed that local talent has been overlooked. Choreographer Daphne Gatt — who co-choreographed Destiny’s “Je me casse” music video wrote on Facebook, “We were good enough to create the music video, choreograph and perform in it but sad to see that foreign dancers were selected to represent Malta.”

She was also clear that she held no ill will towards Destiny herself, acknowledging that the casting of the dancers was out of Destiny’s control.

Professional dancer Kim Elloole told the Times of Malta that support for local talent was needed in the pandemic era. She said, “I think that, in the current situation, this hit home because at a time when we should be supporting the local agenda, it seems as though we are ready to do so only with words and not by providing concrete and paid work”

Destiny’s team responds

Destiny’s team issued a statement, noting that the team behind Destiny’s entry largely consisted of Maltese talent:

“The team for the Eurovision Song Contest is made up of a Maltese team – hair, make-up, costume design, stylist, vocal coach, dance coach, PR, marketing and management, as well as Sacha Jean-Baptiste and Sony Music.”

They also confirmed that using the four dancers were part and parcel of having Sacha Jean-Baptiste behind the staging. They explained, “The selection of Sacha Jean-Baptiste as artistic director and choreographer meant that her team would accompany our artist on stage.”

No outcry in previous years

It’s also not the first time Malta has used Swedish dance talent for their Eurovision performance.

In 2019 Michela’s “Chameleon” performance was created by “Euphoria” choreographer Ambra Succi and also included four Swedish dancers in the performance. In 2016, Ira Losco was joined on stage by the French dancer Skorpion for “Walk on Water”. Both of these castings were met with little negative reaction in Malta.

While Maltese shows such as the former national final and the X Factor Malta often feature extravagant dance performances that highlight Malta’s talented dancers, these type of displays don’t typically make it to Eurovision. Maltese performers are more likely to perform alone on stage at Eurovision, however more recent dance-focused songs have been matched with dancers.

What do you think? Should delegations use local talent? Or is it OK to outsource? Tell us your thoughts below!

Read more Malta Eurovision news here

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
81 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
hope
hope
5 months ago

I am so happy that our Serbian delegation keeps everything local, from language, music style to the whole team. I’ll also give my vote by using this criteria, I hope for this homogenization to stop already. What is ESC about if not promoting local talent and showing their diverse perspectives?

Samuel
Samuel
5 months ago

This is the way Eurovision is going. Before long it’ll just be some Scandinavian-Greek-Russian team representing each country.

Ellen
Ellen
5 months ago

Nothing else to add. It is fair enough for those performers to be disappointed and to express it. But as Robyn explained it well on that article, the Maltese television hired Sacha Jean-Baptiste for the ‘Je Me Casse’ staging, and she has the total control of it. She personally knows dancers — Swedish dancers — with who she knows they would execute perfectly what she will direct. I don’t see her searching for the best dancers in Malta and auditionning all of the ones that would apply for it. So I totally understand her choice. It’s sad for the local… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Ellen
Martin Mitchell
Martin Mitchell
5 months ago

Malta need to understand one thing, they think that foreigners in their team can won them the eurovision, and this is not the case. This is like when they released the news that sony music are the music label for destiny and giving the impression that this is a great deal for her in the future. The reality is that sony signed the song and not the singer and this is very different. Michela is an example, more than 2 years and neither a solo single released. What she released are all collaborations with other singers and she feat on… Read more »

eurofan
eurofan
5 months ago

I think it is fair that they are mad. They should use Maltese talent because the country is Malta in eurovison

Rey
Rey
5 months ago

I can understand the frustration, in these times you should support local dancers since they don’t get much chances on performing, since there’s no events.

American Boy
American Boy
5 months ago

Whoever was in charge of choosing the choreographers must have thought that Maltese choreographers were not as good as the ones selected. Kind of disrespectful imo.

Jack
Jack
5 months ago

A rule that 50% of the people involved must be locals would be VERY interesting to be implemented

GuyGuy
GuyGuy
5 months ago

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; as talented and nice as the singer is, I will NOT vote for a country that outsourced its song and other key roles and that doesn’t uses its local talent. Having your singer as the only local talent on stage is a bad joke!!! And sorry, but with all due respect, make-up, hair artists, etc. just don’t cut it for me, this is not acceptable!! Though Malta took this to another level this year, the above goes to all the other countries that practice this conduct. With all the sympathy to… Read more »

Yannis
Yannis
5 months ago

Sasha Jean Baptiste, Dimitris Kontopoulos, Fokas Evangelinos, Thomas G:sson are the mafia of Eurovision! I’m sure there are thousands of local choreographers and composers out there who can do way much better job with less money! When was the last time an entry of those people won! And the last time that an entry won with a massive Eurovision team behind it was in 2016. All the recent winners are by local artists and local staging directors

Yannis
Yannis
5 months ago

EBU should start getting a bit strict. Dancers, composers, singers from Greece and Sweden work for many other countries

James
James
5 months ago

You can just not go to Wiwibloggs if you’re annoyed with the content they post.

Rob
Rob
5 months ago

It’s not just Malta lol… the same in Moldova, Azerbaijan, CYPRUS…. EBU should have a rule that every country can use its own people! That would be so much better!!!

Helene
Helene
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob

And Switzerland and Bulgaria.

Ellen
Ellen
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob

I don’t think so. Quality is still here if you’re qualified, whether you’re from a specific country or another. Arguments like yours sound like extremist ones.

Boreal
Boreal
5 months ago

Made in Sweden

Deban slays
Deban slays
5 months ago

Meh, Maltese media.

Yannis
Yannis
5 months ago
Reply to  Deban slays

They have the right to express an opinion. It is representatives of the country after all

Deban slays
Deban slays
5 months ago
Reply to  Yannis

If it’s an educated opinion, why not? But this has already been discussed with Michela in 2019 which by the way got the same reaction. But the Maltese never learn, and they have to winge about everything. I am Maltese btw.

Preuss
Preuss
5 months ago

I mean, this has somewhat become a trend in recent years where countries and delegations will look for the best way to elevate their entries, and they won’t care who the dancers, choreographers, backing vocalists, etc. are as long as the end product is great. When you hire Sacha, you give her full creative control (or so she claims) and then you’ll have to wait and see if she gives you utter crap or something good

Iván el Conquistador
Iván el Conquistador
5 months ago

This confirms the fact Sacha Jean Baptiste is a mercenary.
The Maltese should be angry and demanding the rest of Europe to boycott the song: they are working like mules and their taxpayer money ends up in Swedish hands, I’d feel betrayed if I were Maltese.

Alex
Alex
5 months ago

SJB did the same for other entries (Cyprus, Georgia, Armenia, Switzerland). Ofc she wouldn’t waste time finding the right Maltese dancers for her staging.

People should blame it on the broadcadster for choosing Sacha and not a local choreographer.

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
5 months ago

My god boycott this, cancel that, y’all are tiring me..

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
5 months ago

The principal of the complaint is sound, since artists need more opportunities during this difficult time. However, for this entry specifically, it is much ado about nothing. They can probably cut the dancers, because Destiny is the focus of the song and can carry it all by herself if needed. Hence the comedy.

Helene
Helene
5 months ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

It is not only the dances it is the whole concept and the song that is Swedish. So if she wins the whole package is in fact not Maltese.

UGLY MALTA
UGLY MALTA
5 months ago

From a Maltese perspective, I can tell you that we are the worst Eurofans with the lowest amount of brain cells. Hence why this reaction. Half of the Maltese think we will win it, the other half think we won’t because cOUntRiEs vOTe foR thEiR NeiGHbOurS. We are disgusting honestly. I will say however, there was a similar reaction when Michela had Swedish dancers as well.

John
John
5 months ago
Reply to  UGLY MALTA

excuse me…so with your argument you are implying that Malta is a poor nation. Get your facts right before you speak. Rest assured that Malta is prepared to host this contest. You cannot accept the fact that such a small nation like Malta can actually win this time and host such a large scale event. That is the truth.

John
John
5 months ago
Reply to  John

You are totally wrong…That’s an old siege mentality. Just give Malta a chance and you will know. It would be one of the best editions.

eurofan
eurofan
5 months ago
Reply to  John

They’ve hosted jesc I think they would be fine

Steven
Steven
5 months ago

In my opinion, each country should only utilize its domestic talents. Therefore, songwriters, singers, choreographers and dancers should be representing their home country. What’s the point of having a country that’s represented by, say, 6 people on the ESC stage, of which 4 or 5 are foreigners?!

Iván el Conquistador
Iván el Conquistador
5 months ago
Reply to  Steven

We should demand EBU to implement the hiring of domestic talents as a rule.

Kas
Kas
5 months ago
Reply to  Steven

Completely agree !

James
James
5 months ago
Reply to  Steven

Except for San Marino, of course.

Rose
Rose
5 months ago
Reply to  James

And microstates in general. They would be ducked over hard.

Tom
Tom
5 months ago

This whole Malta thing annoys me. This song is not brilliant neither it is original. Top 5 maybe yes but nothing more than that. We all know that Destiny can sing but that’s not every thing. Thumbs down ?

Jang
Jang
5 months ago

Maybe Malta have no talented dancers, if that is the case, i understand.

Una
Una
5 months ago

If memory serves, Malta 2016 was their most expensive entry as well. I remember reading about the higher end of six digits including a big promotional tour.

Una
Una
5 months ago
Reply to  Una

I checked – Malta 2016 semi got 209 points of which 155 jury and 54 televote.
GF: 153 points of which 137 jury and 16 televote.

These jury-televote differences … so transparent. So predictable.

Una
Una
5 months ago
Reply to  Una

Hahaha. Not at all!! Brilliant sarcasm.

Quite underwhelming yet there are still broadcasters with the same m.o. How do they think they could ever have a chance for good results is beyond belief.

Sean
Sean
5 months ago
Reply to  Una

Looking through the stats, Malta came close to last in most televotes. It is hard for an unallied country like Malta to reliably accrue televotes, but it’s not helped by the generally mediocre songs they bring. I think Je Me Casse is definitely a bit more in-your-face, so they shouldn’t do so bad. Anyway, this isn’t hugely relevant haha

Helene
Helene
5 months ago

The whole creative package is Swedish the song, producers and stage director and dancers. They cannot mask this fact. I feel like it is actually Sweden that will win. The same happend with Elena Foureira but worse she isn’t even a Cypriot.

Last edited 5 months ago by Helene
Whisker
Whisker
5 months ago
Reply to  Helene

She’s not even a Greek!

Whoareyou?
Whoareyou?
5 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

Pathetic.

Whisker
Whisker
5 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

Ok.

Kas
Kas
5 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

She is partially from her grandfather

Alex
Alex
5 months ago
Reply to  Helene

Destiny is Maltese though, i haven’t seen a Swedish artist singing like her.

Also, Loreen is not ethnically Swedish and she won in 2012 along with a black dancer 🙂

Helene
Helene
5 months ago
Reply to  Alex

Yes I know she is Maltese and that is why I said it was worse with Cyphrus. But it is not enough to have a Maltese singer who uses a song made in Sweden, with staging and dancers produced in Sweden. I think it is going to far even if the hairdresser is Maltese. The whole concept and the music are made in Sweden.

Helene
Helene
5 months ago
Reply to  Alex

Loreen is Swedish ! It is ridiculous to say not. She is a Swedish citizen and brought up in Sweden. How do you characterize a Swede?

Last edited 5 months ago by Helene
Kas
Kas
5 months ago
Reply to  Helene

Nationality and citizenship are two different thinks.
So…you can have both the same
or only the second

Helene
Helene
5 months ago
Reply to  Kas

Well do many people in Europe have not a parent that comes from one place and another from another. If I have aSwedish parent that was born in Norway and another born in Finland and they moved to Sweden what am I? It is ridiculous. The citizenship is your nationality – end of discussion.

Coco
Coco
5 months ago
Reply to  Helene

You are right, Helene.

eurofan
eurofan
5 months ago
Reply to  Kas

My mother is Thai, I was born and live in Australia. My nationality does not equal my ethnicity.
My nationality is Australian.
My ethnicity is Thai, British and Irish.
I have an Australian citizenship
Nationality and citizenship are basically the same thing

EurovisionBenny_AUT
EurovisionBenny_AUT
5 months ago

Totally understandable! Eurovision should be about showcasing what each individual country is capable of musically, visually and creatively. It should show how diverse the music of Europe and beyond is. It should show that talented people also live in smaller countries.

But unfortunately, more and more broadcasters feel the urge to outsource everything because they don’t want to risk a bad result, even though nothing’s at stake.

Una
Una
5 months ago

I’ve said it before and I am saying again: it’s necessary to “invest in” and “nurture” the music industry. Even if the broadcaster partners up with a label (private), there is no reasons to not use local talent. All countries have talent. Fact. And I am not willing to accept any different. That known names get more points has nothing to do with talent or doing a better job than others. It really blows my mind that Greece 2018 and 2019 were so badly “managed” for lack of a better word as per what we’ve seen on stage and the… Read more »

Kas
Kas
5 months ago
Reply to  Una

Righttt ! But talents should do the job in a professional manner.

Ian
Ian
5 months ago

Whether SJB’s stagings are impressive or not is up to everyone to decide. I personally don’t mind getting a foreign stage director who has experience with big TV shows but surely the fact that SJB requires the delegations to use her dancers should have been a turn off for them. Couldn’t they just find other directors, foreign or not, who are willing to utilise their country’s talent (ie dancers)? I’m not amongst the people who are dead against using any kind of foreign help, including in the song selection process, but Malta’s case takes it a bit too far. If… Read more »

Una
Una
5 months ago
Reply to  Ian

Doesn’t “Cyprus” do the same?

Ian
Ian
5 months ago
Reply to  Una

Pretty much

Leo
Leo
5 months ago

That’s what happens when you just want to win!
Malta, Cyprus should take some lessons from what happened to Bulgaria in 2018

Sot
Sot
5 months ago

Poor Malta, they have stopped sharing even a bit of their culture since 2014…

Sot
Sot
5 months ago
Reply to  Sot

Yep, because the only time was in 1972 and they came last XD

Sean
Sean
5 months ago
Reply to  Sot

Well, both 1971 and 1972 were in Maltese, but you’re right, they both came last. Comfortably. Semitic languages didn’t do well in Eurovision, Morocco only managed second last singing in Arabic.

Kas
Kas
5 months ago
Reply to  Sean

Semitic languages ???????

Escfan
Escfan
5 months ago
Reply to  Sot

Definitely you can’t remember. Most probably you were not even born. The last time Malta had a song in Maltese was way back in 1972 with the title l-imhabba meaning love.

Alex
Alex
5 months ago
Reply to  Sot

Why would Malta send a song in Maltese? They are one of the few countries that English is an official language so they deserve to sing in English more than any other countries (except Ireland and UK)

Una
Una
5 months ago

This defence has not reached the heights of “Cyprus'” – and “Cyprus adjacent” but still. The people that get traction and their names out – emphasized and trouted loudly especially here – are the “white collar” ones. You know who. It would be impossible not to – they are obvious for us the loyal readers and people in the Eurovision milieu.

Claiming you use local people for “blue collar” things so to speak – is unacceptable. Not matter how talented they are. It’s the exposure that gives them more opportunity and success.

FACTS
FACTS
5 months ago

In previous years, when the Maltese delegation used to give priority to local choreographers and their students, other choreographers and dance schools used to get upset that they didn’t get selected and they often go to social media to show their disappointment that it’s always the same people that get selected. Back in 2018, Christabelle had 4 dancers accompanying her on the MESC stage but when it came to the ESC, only one dancer was selected leaving the other 3 at home to make space for backing vocalists. However many people claimed on social media that this dancer was selected… Read more »

James
James
5 months ago
Reply to  FACTS

because she was the fiancée’s son of a particular Maltese Minister. 

Isn’t Christabelle’s dancer a woman? Or I think you mean “the daughter”?

GUEST
GUEST
5 months ago

People always find a way to complain about something. Drama everywhere you look.

As a Maltese I believe it is the right step forward considering Ms Baptise is doing the staging.

Curious
Curious
5 months ago
Reply to  GUEST

You’re right! I know personally these choreographers and because of their participation in the Malta Got Talent, they want to keep getting attention each and everywhere!!

Whisker
Whisker
5 months ago

Maltese choreographers, songwriters, lyricists, stage directors, the people! should all be disappointed. This is PUBLIC broadcaster, isn’t it? Why do they pay foreigner “talent” instead of paying their OWN talent? They betray their own people.

Darren
5 months ago

Destiny deserves better, the culture and people of Malta deserve better. That’s all imma say.

IPA
IPA
5 months ago

Shall start to deduct points based on the following: a) not singing in one’s native language b) engaging non-national composers/lyricists c) trying to cash in on the previous winner (e.g. Switzerland trying to cash in on Arcade of 2019)

Esc fan
Esc fan
5 months ago
Reply to  IPA

No and no. Firstly it’s Switzerland is not “cashing in” on Arcade. To me, that’s like saying She got me 2019 was “cashing in” on Fuego, like people can sing songs of the same genre and have elements like similar instrumentation or a dance brwl and it not be the same entry. Like Duncan didn’t invent a piano ballad and Eleni didn’t invent upbeat dance songs. Also on the native language being used by countries, I think it’s easier to do that for the likes of France, Spain, Italy and even some non automatic qualifiers like Albania and Portugal. However,… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Esc fan
Sean
Sean
5 months ago
Reply to  Esc fan

That’s odd. I would love to see another Irish-language entry, I thought Ceol an Ghra from 1972 was really nice. What someone needs to do is write a song that shows the beauty of the Irish language, not stick any old song in Irish. I do think it would be a major step for ensuring the survival of the language. I would love to see a UK entry in one of our Celtic languages too, though that would never ever happen. Obviously if a song sounds better in English, it should be sung in English. But if a song sounds… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Sean
Escfan
Escfan
5 months ago
Reply to  Sean

I mean that’s fair enough, but so far with our junior eurovision entries, Ive only liked one entry that we sent which was our 2019 entry and tbh I think that was criminally underrated by the juries.

James
James
5 months ago
Reply to  IPA

I don’t see a resemblance with “Arcade” and “Tout l’universe” other than there’s a piano involved.

A much better comparison would have been Neev’s “Dancing in the Stars” from Festival da Canção 2021.

Last edited 5 months ago by James
Jake
Jake
5 months ago
Reply to  James

I don’t understand this being an issue— are countries suppose to be banning performers who remind of past winners?! If Elton John wanted to enter ESC, should he be banned because Duncan was a male that played the piano ballad last year? Also—if you don’t want to see a copy then you should focus on ESC possibly having its second girl with a big voice singing a danceable female empowerment song about how men do them wrong win the whole thing in the span of 2 years. Thematically Arcade has nothing in common with Tout L’universe

James
James
5 months ago
Reply to  Jake

I think some people who hate “Tout l’univers” are just finding reasons to give their dislike of the song some legitimacy.

Helene
Helene
5 months ago
Reply to  IPA

You are right the hire the teams and producers than won last year and try to copy it. They also know that singing in French makes people think it is more genuine than it is. It is so calculated.

James
James
5 months ago
Reply to  Helene

Because creating a song can be a collaborative effort.

“Arcade” is not even the first winning song that featured a man playing a piano onstage.