Photo: TVM

Round two of Malta’s supersized Eurovision 2023 selection has come and gone. The island nation has introduced quarter-finals to Malta Eurovision Song Contest, with the second one taking place on 20 January.

Out of the 40 competing acts, 13 shared their songs during quarter-final 2, which was hosted by Ryan Borg and Josmar.

There weren’t any results. Official voting won’t open until 3 February, after all three quarter-finals are done. All the qualifiers will then be revealed at the same time ahead of the semi-final on 9 February.

But that doesn’t stop us from asking who your favourites of the night were. Head down to our poll below to let us know who stood out to you in quarter-final 2 of MESC 2023.

MESC 2023 quarter-final 2 running order

  1. Francesca Sciberras – “Masquerade”
  2. The Busker – “Dance (Our Own Party)”
  3. Lyndsay – “Haunted”
  4. Maxine Pace – “Alone”
  5. Marie Claire – “Thankful”
  6. Ian – “On My Own”
  7. Kirstie – “Girls Get Down”
  8. Dario Bezzina – “Bridle Road”
  9. Brooke – “Checkmate”
  10. Mark Anthony Bartolo – “Tears”
  11. Dan – “It’ll Be OK”
  12. Dario – “Pawn In A Game”
  13. MATT BLXCK – “Up”

Poll: Who had the best song in quarter-final 2 of Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2023?

You can vote for as many acts as you’d like. However, you’ll only be able to vote once, so choose wisely before submitting.

MESC 2023: Show details

Over three quarter-finals, 40 songs will compete in Malta’s selection for Eurovision 2023. Once the voting has taken place, 24 acts will progress to the semi-final on 9 February.

We then get a second cull of the songs, with 16 set to make it through to the grand final on 11 February. It’s here where Malta’s artist for Eurovision 2023 will be selected (though based on previous years, their song could later be changed).

The semi-final and grand final will be hosted by Glen Vella (Eurovision 2011) and Amber (Eurovision 2015).

Which songs stood out to you from quarter-final 2 of Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2023? Could any of these acts go on to win the whole thing? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Karl
Karl
7 days ago

Wiwibloggs, can you stop promoting such a corrupt delegation? Malta does not deserve to be promoted.

Last year with stacking the deck so that Emma would win, and then changing the song after it was voted by the public. And now this year for disqualifying the fan-favorite because, check this, he was promoting his song too much.

Malta needs to GTFO!

Yuvan
Yuvan
7 days ago
Reply to  Karl

Wiwibloggs isn’t promoting Malta, they just have written articles about the selection. Aiden getting disqualified might be fishy, but a rule is a rule.

Who knows who tipped PBS about Aiden’s posts, maybe a fellow contestant who followed rules? No one knows yet.

Jofty
Jofty
7 days ago
Reply to  Yuvan

Senhit, Serhat or Valentina might be available to take his place

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
7 days ago

Guys, I’ve got some bad news. Aiden from Malta has just been disqualified from MESC for breaching the rules. https://tvmnews.mt/news/aidan-cassar-skwalifikat-mill-malta-eurovision-song-contest-2023/

And Reily from Denmark is at risk of being disqualified because he performed his song live in South Korea last autumn. The matter is under review right now, so it’s not official yet.

If you enjoyed their songs, then these are a pair of bummer news for you.

Alex
Alex
7 days ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

While Aidan should have read the rules, why is that even a rule? The public vote is always a meaningless factor in the Maltese contest given that it’s 1/7 of the score. Everybody knows that. Even if Aidan got 100% of the public vote due to perfect promotion, ultimately it’s always been that jury that selects what seems to be the TV station’s predetermined winner. So every single business in Malta promotes itself on the show with the innumerable commercials, but the artists can’t promote themselves? That’s just ridiculous.

Jofty
Jofty
7 days ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

Well I guess it saves him the bother of finishing second again, when La Borg wins. Perhaps a blessing in disguise as this track is not as good as Ritmu.

Karl
Karl
8 days ago

Who cares? They’re going to change their song anyway.

Mr X
Mr X
8 days ago

Don´t understand the hype about Brooke.

Jonas
Jonas
9 days ago

Does fire drip? Actual question, not sarcastic comment.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
9 days ago

I did listen to the song and I think it’s really good. Of course the live performance can make or break everything. We now have half of the songs for Lithuanian selections out and I already can see it as a stand out to represent Lithuania at the contest. Of course, this will still depend on other competitors if we have other strong songs to call, but it be really cool if lithuania would send something in Lithuanian again.

Jack
Jack
10 days ago

I am not gonna go through a bunch of mediocre songs that non of them will be selected. Wake me up when they announce which melfest reject they bought

Mr X
Mr X
10 days ago

The only one I like ist The Busker. Otherwise the rest is bleeding my ears, too much screaming.

Escfan
10 days ago

I wasnt able to watch the show live but after watching a recap of the songs, I think my favourite was the Busker, very fun, quite vibey (I tend to enjoy that type of music) and the performance was fun, I hope they qualify for the semi. Also, Brooke is clearly a competent performer, I still think her song isn’t the most exciting but she definitely elevates it and her performance seemed to be one of the more professional and polished performances. From what I could see, there seemed to be a lot of duds and uninspiring performances, like some… Read more »

Yuvan
Yuvan
10 days ago

Watching these “performances” was quite awkward and reminds a lot of Idols, X Factor and such.

That out of the way, Brooke was the only one of these that wasn’t bad, but clearly it wasn’t good either. Checkmate is clearly made Eurovision in mind and it just isn’t the formula that would work anymore.

Roger La
Roger La
10 days ago

Now that I listened to the full three minutes of Checkmate I can say that Malta will be crazy if they do not send this song. It’s the singer. It’s the voice. It’s her charisma. It’s her stage presence, but most important it’s a frickin’ amazing, powerful song! She’s miles ahead of any competition. The best song by far, and I want it on repeat day and night, night and day. Finally, a song that truly deserves victory if she had to win

ImpressiveInstants
ImpressiveInstants
10 days ago

Screamfest.

Anyway, Brooke is miles ahead. Maxine and the band with the sax guy follow.

DutchTurkk
DutchTurkk
10 days ago

I’m definitely team Brooke on this one. Her voice is amazing, even tho the song sounds like a melfest reject. I really think she sells the song really well, we all know from the past that her staging and stage presence are gonna be good. She is the full package in my opinion…

Roger La
Roger La
10 days ago
Reply to  DutchTurkk

Don’t be too sure! Last year they chose Emma over Aidan, when Aidan had the winning song. Let’s hope this year they won’t screw up their chances again and send some average song when they can choose Brooke’s Checkmate. I’m obsessed, and I did not expect to be! LOL

Sergio
Sergio
10 days ago
Reply to  Roger La

So true yeah it’s a pop song by excellence so no new formula but with a rewamp this could easily end in the ESC-Final…juries will give her points because of her voice so I think she might have some chances to do well. And we have to wait til the “real” live performance. It will for sure elevate the song.
Everyone saying this is a melfest reject or the song isn’t good does not know what a good pop song is. By the way I really love the Checkmate part in the “2nd” chorus 🙂

DutchTurkk
DutchTurkk
10 days ago
Reply to  Roger La

I really hope Malta learned their lesson from last year. Personally, I think that Emma’s winning song ‘Out of Sight’ was basic but actually not that bad at all, it definitely grew on me: I think that she would’ve placed higher at ESC if she went with that song.
Exactly as what Sergio said below: with a slight revamp Brooke could qualify for the final should she be selected…

Yush
Yush
10 days ago
Reply to  DutchTurkk

What are you talking about? Out Of Sight is my second most streamed song ever. Malta chose wisely last year. It’s not their fault Emma ruined her entry

Colin
Colin
10 days ago

For everyone interested, Checkmate is now uploaded on You Tube. See it while it’s still here. I’m giving it another go.

Nikita Zhukov
Nikita Zhukov
10 days ago

Matt Blxck was actually very fun, probably my favorite of the night
He’s not winning but I’m sure he’ll make it to the final, and he’s gonna blow the roof off the place
I need to hear this song again asap, not even a guilty pleasure, it’s a banger

Colin
Colin
10 days ago

Dan is cute in a low-key way. With a proper production power-up, I could see his song being a catchy feel-good song televoters actually like. I liked him. I forgot about the subsequent entry about pawns. Matt Blxck is such an expressive performer. I find his song even more cringe than Girls Get Down, but I think he’s even better in presenting it to its target audience.

Sergio
Sergio
10 days ago

I really like Brooke’s song a lot. Sadly (because I wanted Aidan to win) I think she has the better overall package for eurovision. The chorus is so catchy and the checkmate part really clever it elevates the whole song…I need to see the whole package tho in the semi/final

Colin
Colin
10 days ago

Checkmate is as slick as the snippet promised, but it does come off as calculated, and I can’t say that it did anything to me emotionally. Brooke looks like a queen, sings like a winner, and has all the stage charisma needed. The song feels like a 5th place in a Melfest semi. At least on the first listening. Ready for minuses…

Jofty
Jofty
10 days ago
Reply to  Colin

As Brooke and Gerard James Borg co-wrote the song, I think it very unlikely it has been sent back from Sweden. Unless you of course have inside knowledge that the rest of us don’t.

Sergio
Sergio
10 days ago
Reply to  Jofty

Yeah just ridiculous that everybody is saying this is a melfest reject ?

Jofty
Jofty
9 days ago
Reply to  Sergio

People trot out the same soundbites and become tiresome. Need to be more respectful, Malta are doing their best. And ask Denmark about “Melfest Rejects”; 2010 and 2018. Funny that the winning song from Melfest did not even qualify in 2010, yet the “reject” did. And breathe.

Doggy Bark
Doggy Bark
10 days ago

Live guitar and decent vocals from Mark Anthony.

Doggy Bark
Doggy Bark
10 days ago

Can’t get the purpose of playing this Arabic tune during presentations of artists. Yes, Maltese people have Arabic ancestry but this musical tradition is not typical of Malta, it has never been.

James
James
10 days ago
Reply to  Doggy Bark

Actually, the original Maltese inhabitants have long been gone due to periods of expulsions, invasions depopulations, resettlements over the centuries. It’s the Maltese language that became the sole remnant of what came before.

Colin
Colin
10 days ago

Girls Get Down is a bop for moms at the party. Not my thing, but has its place, I guess. Bridle Road is an okay country-pop with some storytelling in it. Doesn’t stand out, but it’s fine.

Now… Brooke, and let’s see if she really has a top 2 entry so many lists are putting it as.

Colin
Colin
10 days ago

I’m always wondering if I missed something when someone else really likes a song I did not on first listening. Perhaps my second take makes me warm-up to this entry? Maybe not? In any case, I am glad that someone is a fan. All of these performers seem really nice, and need some support.

Colin
Colin
10 days ago
Reply to  Colin

From first QF, some were available, some weren’t. I guess it depends.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
10 days ago

Okay, who’s performing well in this quarter final and who is flopping? Who do you think will move on?

Colin
Colin
10 days ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

So far, everyone performed well, but Maxine and The Busker are biggest contenders song-wise. Kirstie is next.

Yuvan
Yuvan
10 days ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

To flop we would need to expect something good at first, and I can honestly say that many of these are on the same level.

Jonas
Jonas
10 days ago

I’m out. Hopefully there will something worth catching up on tomorrow.

Safiya
Safiya
10 days ago

I know that the broadcaster needs to earn money but damn, that’s a lot of ads

Colin
Colin
10 days ago

Marie Claire is a very good performer, and I do like the lyrics, but Thankful doesn’t stand out in a field of more solid ballads thus far.

On My Own is a straight-up no from me. Sorry, Ian. The monotonous drumming throughout makes is so stale and barely listenable. Give me *some* variation!

Jonas
Jonas
10 days ago

Ian. I like the lyrics, or at least the story. Self-empowerment! The opposite of Gustaph’s song. We don’t need no man to give us worth.

Jonas
Jonas
10 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

The invisible choir is back again. He wants to be on his own, leave him alone.

Colin
Colin
10 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

We all need someone. Not to give us worth, but someone to share our worth with. Both lyrics are valid in their own right. Some self-empowerment songs are great and much needed. Some modern self-empowerment songs can border on narcissism when the go overboard. Not sure if it’s the case with Ian, though. The lyrics seemed fine, but the music was so bad.

Colin
Colin
10 days ago

Back in 2016, I watched MESC and thought that Maxine is a talented young girl who knows how to sing very well. Flash-forward seven years later, and we see a beautiful and talented young woman with a fantastic voice, and a great ballad ready to represent Malta. This was really good!

Lyndsay’s ballad Haunted is also solid.

So far, this QF is much better than the first one.

Jonas
Jonas
10 days ago
Reply to  Colin

Yeah, she’s good. Song not so much. The emotion she puts into it makes it better than it is. I also didn’t like the choir, it means she’s not “alone” anymore, even if they are invisible.

Colin
Colin
10 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

You are right about the choir part. It got a bit repetitive, maybe. Still, I really liked it on first take. Might be because of just expressive Maxine is. I’ll certainly see how it holds-up on the second. In any case, I am not unhappy with QF 2 so far.

Roger La
Roger La
10 days ago
Reply to  Colin

Colin, Maxine is very pretty but I found the song too bland. Yes, there was emotion, but let’s face it, the song was not too special. But she should be in the semi final. But Haunted, sorry, no way! 🙂 Semi 2 was stronger than semi 1 you are so right there!

Jonas
Jonas
10 days ago

Haunted was written by the same people who gave us Solas and Banshee for the junior contest.

Jonas
Jonas
10 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Also Senorita.

Jonas
Jonas
10 days ago

Some names are suited to dropping the surname. Cher. Madonna. Prince. Beyoncé.

Ian is not one of those names. Dan is not. Brooke and Lyndsay aren’t either, but can just about get away with it if we’re generous.

Colin
Colin
10 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

It does sound different when mononyms are frequently heard names, but in some cases, I understand. Still, the oddest example in MESC 2023 is just *Dario* who is also performing in the same QF as ”Dario Bezzina”. Perhaps not the best idea not to use his last name for this occasion? 😉

Jonas
Jonas
10 days ago
Reply to  Colin

They will need extra star power to make it work, let’s see if they have it.

Jofty
Jofty
10 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

It has not done Adele, Margaret (!) or Sonia any harm

Film4o
Film4o
10 days ago

The Busker – “Dance (Our Own Party)” this is excellent and with so much personality. Hope it has the chance to win.

Colin
Colin
10 days ago

Francesca is very talented, and her song is solid. Perhaps there’s no it factor to it, but it’s classy.

If The Busker gets to represent Malta, and SunStroke project return for Moldova, there’s an opportunity for the former to outshine the actual ”Epic Sax Guy” with a better song in a similar style.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
10 days ago

Loving The Busker bringing the House Funk! 🙂

Colin
Colin
10 days ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

Yeah, and the handsome frontman David is especially engaging as a performer. Wouldn’t mind this group representing Malta.

John
John
10 days ago

My eyes, my eyes! What am I watching?

Sol Stevia
Sol Stevia
10 days ago

I forgot to care my apologies.

Jamie
Jamie
10 days ago

Completely forgot this NF was even a thing lol

Colin
Colin
10 days ago

Since the voting is postponed after everyone has performed, does anyone know will there be 8 qualifiers per semi, or will the use a FiK-type voting, and any top 24 will qualify regardless on which semi they performed in? Could we have a scenario where 8 qualify from one of the semis, 12 from another of the semis, and only 4 from the third one?

MALTESER
MALTESER
9 days ago
Reply to  Colin

24 from any quarter final will advance. One contestant told me this.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
10 days ago

To tell you the truth, I completely forgot about this. I just had a lot going in my life.