He was one of the favourites to win the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2023.
But on Monday afternoon “Regina” singer Aidan Cassar had his journey cut short when the Maltese broadcaster disqualified him from the competition because of unauthorised social media posts.
Speaking to the Times of Malta, the broadcaster did not say which posts were in violation of the rules. The newspaper instead shared the regulation that was broken.
“The publication of any social media post, promotion material, interviews or media presence/exposure from the announcement of the quarter finalists onwards is strictly prohibited. Any breach of this clause will lead to automatic disqualification.”
The newspaper points out that Aidan last posted on January 20.
View this post on Instagram
The video introduced his dancers with a “Regina” instrumental in the background.
Aidan has won over a sizeable fan base since finishing second behind Emma Muscat in last year’s competition. He was a staple of the pre-party circuit — performing in London and Madrid, among other cities. He also recorded an incredible acoustic performance of his song “Ritmu” for the Wiwi Jam at Home Concert.
Following the first quarter final on January 13, we asked our readers who gave the best live performance. Of the 2,001 votes cast, Aidan earned a staggering 790 of them — or nearly 40% of all those cast.
Are you upset by the disqualification? Which post do you think led TVM to make the decision? Let us know down below!
We’ve got a new chapter in this controversy. Aiden has now hired legal representation to ask broadcaster to suspend his disqualification and have a meeting to let him make his case. He states that he had been singled out for punishment when other singers are getting away with posting social media posts about their entries, participation and sponsorships. He also claims PBS never gave him an opportunity to defend himself and have, as yet, not given him an explanation about the specific reasons for which he was disqualified from the competition.
Good for him. #istandwithaidan
I have a feeling BWG that this is a big fat publicity stunt ( ? broadcaster, Cassar or both) and fully expect to see him perform Regina in the final on February 11 (and finish 2nd again).
First off, bear in mind that I have nothing against Aidan. I think he’s a good singer, and I was somewhat disappointed in his disqualification.
Speaking as a moderator at an ESC fan group on Facebook, I thought I’d share an analogy.
When a member receives multiple warnings about violating rules, but still continues to do so anyway, he’s gonna get banned.
Same principle here – there are rules, and there are consequences for breaking them.
We need to hear his side too, though. Let’s not just take what the broadcaster is saying at face value. They have proven to be very shady time and again.
Is there any way that AIDAN could get re-instated? I’m still clinging on to that hope. We are yet to hear the full version of Regina and I feel like he was keeping things up his sleeve with the quarter final performance. I’m positive that the full version of the song will be a stomper!
AussieVision actually does a really good breakdown of the clauses, what they mean and why they are important. It puts a lot of things in context.
It’s funny to claim that an inoffensive Instagram post is a valid reason to disqualify someone
It’s not about offensive/ inoffensive. It’s about you can hate a rule as much as you want, but you still have to stick to it. It may seem too strict but I’m sure they have their reasons. If the article I’m referring to is correct (and they admit its just speculation for now), the social media rules are there because Malta is such a small country and only a couple of hundred votes could tip the scales. If the article is right, the rule may seem fair in that context, that someone who has more media presence can win purely… Read more »
And what was wrong with his posts? They are not rasistic, ableist or homophobic! Every artist I follow which takes part in the Norwegian national final posts pictures of their folks too, and the broadcasters do not have a problem with it!
It’s that it specifically states in Malta’s selection rules that acts cannot post any promotional material from the quarterfinals onwards, it doesn’t apply to all national finals, Malta’s selection does have the rule though. What doesn’t seem to make sense however is that some acts in the Maltese selection have posted promotional material, some more than Aidan and some after the announcement of his disqualification which further begs to question why is he getting disqualified when other artists in the selection haven’t been.
Friends in Malta have told me that Aidan has been warned several times to remove some posts. While other singers obeyed, he apparently ignored what was being told to him. I find this behaviour deplorable. There was a press release by the broadcaster but it’s in Maltese, but The Malta Times has it in English. This attitude I find lacks consideration to both his fellow singers and also the broadcaster. Even if the rule sucks, it is a rule that was known from the start. Aidan deserved to represent Malta with RItmu, but reactions on Regina when we all heard… Read more »
Whilst I certainly dont think he was in the right to dismiss the broadcasters wishes of not posting promotional stuff relating to his song on social media, I’m still perplexed that yesterday MESC artists were still posting stuff, meaning they didnt cease posting promotional items after they were told not to and yet he’s still the only one who got disqualified. Why is that the case? Eliana shared poromtional material relating to an interview about her song on her story yesterday and yet it wasn’t taken down and she hasn’t been disqualified.
That may have been among the things they are allowed to do by the broadcaster.
I am sure that her post was authorised otherwise she would not be stupid to post it. The problem here is not the posting. Everyone can make a mistake. It seems that his disqualification did not come immediately. The real problem seems to be the disobeying after getting several warnings.
Let’s see which plastic “love peace laugh” song will Malta send this year.
Everyone could promote there song but if you see other artists they posted either pictures or clips of the song but they only promote that 30 seconds snippet that’s on the official YouTube page. Aiden on the other hand showed part of his choreography and instrumental of the song that’s the reason he got dismissed and he is not a child he knew the rules and he was warned more than once so this is on him for loosing this opportunity and nobody else.
We still have a few songs entirely in Maltese – Lura qatt, X’allegria, Lehen fic-cpar, Eku car, Tik Tok. The only problem is that we for 99% of probability know that none of these are winning. The winner is almost certainly Brooke Borg, with maybe a tiny, tiny, tiny possibility that Maxine Pace takes it just. I don’t like there’s so many options, and yet all seems rather set in stone when it comes to their selection. At least I hope that Checkmate is actually going to Liverpool, for the sake to taxpayers. If not, let her new song be… Read more »
Oka, there is finally a response. A spokesperson for TVM revealed that Aidan has been warned several times for unauthorized posts on Facebook and Instagram, but that he “persisted in breaking the regulations.”
Well that makes more sense than just posting one post on Instagram. Not personally a fan of the rule but if he continuously posted about the song when asked not to, I can see how they came to their conclusion, furthermore if the broadcaster didnt approve of the posted content,it makes sense that they’d be more strict about it. Still a shame he’s disqualified, certainly was one of the frontrunners.
Maybe he didn’t bring it on himself, but I’ve seen people comment about other competitors Also posting stuff and not getting disqualified. I wonder if the stuff they posted was actually originally posted by the broadcaster and they’re just sharing it which is not a breach of the rules.
It was stated by PBS that if they share what was officially posted by the broadcaster, it is not against the rules.
Yeah, that’s probably the case, but everybody got the impression that they were doing the same thing that Aiden was doing and they were still in the competition. It’s hard to debunk something once it’s out there and believed by many people.
Hmmm will be interesting to hear what Aidan has to say. Reading the article it sounds like they are clutching at very thin straws as to there actions.they say they have reprimanded him many times already, but there’s not even that many posts that are repremandable since they released the quarter finalists. Comparing Aidan’s and Brookes FB pages, Brooke has far more promotional posts about Checkmate and only a couple of them are shared ones from MESC that I can see. If they are disqualifying Aidan on issues of fairness, then his post are far more minimal and less quantity… Read more »
Thay seem to align to what Aussievision have suggested what may have happened when they did some digging for their website.
WHAT ? That’s one of the worst news I could have. I was so excited about Aidan and his song, and maybe him going to ESC this time…
And call me petty, but I won’t be following MESC anymore this year I have no interest in who wins, obviously the winner will be whoever bribed the broadcaster the most.
Ngl, might seem like a lost cause but I think people should try messaging them,seeing as they might address it if enough people call them out on it. It’s one thing disqualifying an artist for not following the rules set out for a selection, it’s another not applying the “punishment” if you’d like to other artists who’ve essentially done the same thing is Aiden. The rule clearly states, “The publication of any social media post,promotional material ,interviews or media presence/exposure from the announcement of the quarter finalists onwards is strictly prohibited and will lead to an automatic disqualification, yet many… Read more »
Clause 5.7. “Announcements, media posts, social media posts and any marketing content related to the submitted songs, artists and contest can only be made by PBS. Artists can only share the official posts by PBS.”
So it’s possible that the other anrtists were just sharing were originally posted by PBS, not created themselves. This is maybe where Aiden got in trouble that he made his own unauthorized posts, and not just shared what was originally posted by PBS.
This is the worst news of the season so far. Clearly someone in the broadcaster or the broadcaster as a whole has a real problem with Aidan representing Malta, how must be devastated, I hope he doesn’t grace their pitiful competition with his presence again. I’m very sure Aidan will make it to eurovision one year, shame it won’t be for his own country. I’m glad he didn’t take Regina as he can do better, but it’s still an abomination how he has been treated, its so obvious he should have won last year.
This rule is nonsense. Well, it won’t change anything for Malta this year. Not a single song in their selection seems good enough to reach the final in May, not even the one from Aidan.
That is a crazy rule tbh. You’re not allowed to post anything??
Send your song to San Marino.
It’s crazy how a country can go from getting somewhere in Eurovision in two years to ending up at the bottom again. This competition is so unexpected every year. I wasn’t a massive fan of Je me Casse, but I recognised it was loved a lot and the top 10 it achieved, then all of my love the year before was a winner song, Chameleon 2019! What happened Malta!?
The bribing stopped.
What do you mean?
Next year… Send a song for the BenidormFest.
Spaniards love him more than Maltese TV and probably he would have a good reception there.
Sure, send another Jessica McWhoever with song Water is wet. This will work out for sure xd
It’s Jessica Muscat
not really and i’ll tell you why. These are his dancers that he works with. And he would obviously perform this song outside of MESC too. And you don’t change a choreography for a a song everytime you are going to perform it.
Also… they could rehearse for a music video for “Regina”.
Him doing his casual work with his team is definitely not wrong. PLUS. You cant put a choreography and performance together in a week. You must be ready to have a plan in advance.
Honestly, I have heard all the songs that have been revealed so far from all the participating countries and in my opinion there is no song that deserves to win Eurovision. I hope that after revealing the rest of the songs there will be a song strong enough to win. And Malta? Say goodbye to the final.
Which is only three out of less than 40 countries.
You even think Finland and Norway are weak? That’s BS. Like James stated, we’ve only got three songs competing out right now. It’s way too early to judge who’s going to be a potential winner yet.
Well we can clarify that Brooke is the new fan favorite, as she should be. Her song is so catchy. The hook is immaculate and gets on your head rent free. I’m obsessed with the “Checkmate Checkmate ooh ooh”
Well at the moment, I doubt even Brooke will be in the final. She TOO posted social media posts promoting her song!
her song is cringe , let’s admit that. There is nothing like immaculate hook there…
I hope he takes this as a blessing in disguise. Let’s be honest, “Regina” would not have had a strong impact at ESC. It could have qualified but nothing more than that. Aidan has talent and should go to ESC in the future, but a stronger song is required.
However after what he’s been through last year and this year I would not be surprised if he chooses not to return.
Let me tell you this, if there was ANYTHING wrong with the song, Aidan would have listened to the fans, unlike some, and fixed it in a revamp. The song was also catchy enough to get to the top 15 I feel and especially with good staging, it could have been super impactful. When you consider what we’ve got so far, it would stand out.
I just looked at the website and saw two articles one disqualifying Aidan and the other not disqualifying Reiley.
Wait what? I don’t understand why he was DQ’ed? Cus he showed a part of Regina’s instrumental?
Brooke also posted social media stuff promoting her song.
something smells fishy. the proof of his disqualification should be made public just to justify and clarify, else it means Maltese broadcaster don’t really wanted him. they did dirty last year, poor man he should better try to compete to other country with open rules if he really dream to be on ESC stage since it seems its impossible for him to represent his own country.
I wouldn’t blame him for not trying again next year or ever. Better to keep your dignity intact than debase yourself for disrespectful broadcaster.
It feels like they plucked it out of the air knowing fully well MANY of the other contestants ALSO promoted their songs on social media…but I strongly feel as if this rule is up to the interpretation of the broadcaster…and we know they’ve been fishy in the past!
The treatment the Maltese delegation has given to Aidan is ludicrous and outrageous
Corrupt a?? delegation. Ban them from Eurovision. Stop giving them coverage.
Or at least ban the broadcaster! Banning them as a whole would send a reminder to them that the Maltese DO NOT SUPPORT THEM.
When trying to look at this objectively, I don’t understand why the “exposure” rule exists in the first place for MESC. I think any artist should ask for an explanation as to why the rule exists before signing it, so they would know why it was there and why they had to follow it. To then sign such a rule and obviously break it looks bad for everyone involved, whether it was an intentional rule-break or not. As for why the rule exists, I could speculate about “competitive fairness” that the broadcaster believes in, or speculate on a possible legal… Read more »
I’d speculate that this rule exists to equalize the field as much as possible. The broadcaster holds all the promotion rights, which stops the differences in promotion between those able to afford big sponsors and those not able to. In theory, However, this one post is such a minute thing, that it’s hard for me to believe that’s the only reason. It’s more likely that there’s more in the background.
In theory, I could understand the rule, but with artist with the biggest hype always winning MESC anyway, it’s kinda pointless.
I mean, I fully disagree with the rules regarding social media posts, but I think that’s the reason, in theory, why it’s there in the first place. To ensure equal exposure. However, I’d argue that posting on social media shouldn’t breach such arrangement as long as no big sponsors on television or You Tube are involved. For example, on the night of the Belarussian selection in 2020, Da vidna was playing in a commercial which aired during the brakes. That’s wrong, IMHO. Aidan’s post seems fine, and I can feel there’s more to it.
The rule itself is easily breakable as well. In fact, if you even mention that you had a song running for MESC, they could interpret that as promoting your song, surely? So it doesn’t seem to be an objective rule but rather one that MESC’s broadcasters can enforce SUBJECTIVELY, meaning they could potential disqualify all entries they don’t like if they dug up something that alluded to promotion on social media or ANYWHERE for that matter!
Yes, I see what you mean. “Any social media post.” Any, even articles on this blog, or any fan promotion? We therefore could have the power to disqualify every artist from MESC, one by one. So the rule needs clarifying, for sure.
Is it bad that my instant reaction to your “We therefore could have the power to disqualify every artist from Mesc” was “As those songs would deserve!”?
That’s sad. Ritmu was my favorite last year. I haven’t heard a single song from MESC23. I was waiting for the full versions to be released. MESC YouTube channel also removed his snippet video.
Like he never existed.
Thank God. His song was horrible — same for all of the cast songs.
36 tasteless and delusional people. Let’s just face it, ‘Regina’ was a terrible and cringy song. PBS did Aidan a great service by disqualifying him. Plus, he got his karma by not listening to the several PBS warnings.
I’m very disappointed in you Malta. Oh well I guess I’m just rooting for Brooke then.
Until she gets disqualified ALSO for having social media posts about her song (which she does apparently!)
No, that won’t happen this time.
Well, another NQ for Malta. Honestly, imo there’s no song from Mesc2023 can qualified for the final except Aidan’s song, even Regina is not that strong but maybe he could end up at 9-10th in the weak semi final. See you next time Aidan…
Either someone in Malta doesn’t want Aidan to go to Eurovision (the second year in a row) or someone wants to win really bad.
I would say more likely someone wants to LOSE
If your songs don’t make the cut, better create some drama to get people talking about your national selection…
Wow its like Malta is purposely trying not to qualify 2 years in a row. Aidan was their best chance to get a good result last year and this year and both times they’ve directly chosen failure over success.
last year no but this year yes
We’ll probably see him at Una Voce Per San Marino next month instead.
But I think the submission window is already closed for San Marino. It’s too late for Aiden this year.
Rules can change. I think there is a chance San Marino would love the attention of having Aidan participate
It’s funny that they didn’t disqualified him last year when his song was clear plagiarism and they disqualify him this year over a social media post. lmao
no his musika musika festival one was the one people thought was plagarized
Plagiarism of what?
Ritmu was a 100% a copy of David Guetta & Bebe Rexha’s Say My Name… and I’m not the only one who thinks that: https://vimeo.com/667458963
With this and Moldova disqualifying two songs today (don’t forget Latvia and Lithuania disqualifying entries too), 2023 is turning out to be the year of disqualifications. Five! Is this the highest number of disqualifications that have ever been done during a Eurovision season. It feels like it to me because I didn’t start following national final seasons closely until 2019.
And most of it is because of artists not following the rules.
Unfortunate because it was the only act I cared about from Malta this year, but rules and rules and all the other participants knew not to break them.
Is that a joke?
To my understanding nobody else uploaded pictures of their rehersals? And that this was against the rules?
No he was disqualified because of rule 5.3
“The publication of any social media post, promotion material, interviews or media presence/exposure from the announcement of the quarter finalists onwards is strictly prohibited. Any breach of this clause will lead to automatic disqualification.”
If rules are rules a lot more artists will have to get disqualified in the upcoming days, the caption of Maxine pace her latest post is literally ‘a glimpse of my qf prep’
Yes. That’s the stated rule and he’s the only one who shared promotional content directly related to his act in a way that’s relevant to the actual competition. Seems pretty clear to me.
It was never stated that that was the rule-breaching post in question.
the op never said that they like those rules
just that they are there for a reason
Not even that. Reason or not these were the rules and that’s what they signed in for when participating in the competition ?
Complaining about the rules in retrospect after breaking them isn’t the best position to do it from imo.
Um…some of the other artists INCLUDING Brooke broke the same ‘rule’ as well! They have all promoted their songs at some point!
Yes, but to the best of my knowledge not the specific act involved in the upcoming competition. To me it seems pretty blatant and clear. If the rules say not to promote it and you’re literally releasing content from the actual upcoming act involved while nobody else does then at least to me any sort of consequence complaint is sort of an excuse.
Not fan of his music,
but this rule is absolutely ABSURD
Will whoever wins MESC be allowed to post on social media or give interviews for Eurovision? /s
This is a shockingly stupid rule for a televised competition
I’ll be honest, the fact that they dont tell him which posts violated their rules, went for disqualification without consulting the artist and didnt disqualify any other contest for promoting their song seems shady af. Aidan’s song was my favourite but I also liked Eliana’s and The busker but if Malta are gonna pull this cr*p after all the stuff they did before, I hope the other artists will voice their disapproval because this is bs.
which others do you believe broke the rules?
Eliana has reposted an interview she did relating to her song which is against the rules. Ive heard others mention Nathan and Jessika also posting promotional material.
Agreed. It would be funny if ALL 40 artists pulled out now!
Devastated and shocked . Malta won’t qualify now 🙁
let’s be honest, they wouldn’t have qualified with Aidan either…
We’ll never know now.
Think so, too. The background music was borderline unlistenable.
He can do much better than that.
Maybe it is a blessing in disguise as while I like Regina, I do acknowledge that ritmu was better, but it still sucks that this happened.
ya exactly i quite liked Ritmu last year. Regina was definitely a step down for him
I sincerly believe he was gonna listen to the fans and do a revamp. The dance break was catchy af and the bridge or middle 8 at the end was actually memorable and interesting.
What a shame, it was my favorite. If not only song I liked in this whole selection. I guess I’ll have to put my support behind Brooke then if she wins, but honestly, now I have no reason to care about Malta. I don’t care what they pick in the end.
They will probably change the song in the end. No one should be watching that show.
If Malta has any sense, Brooke will be gone too because apparently she did some promotion posts too!
The irony of the Malta’s broadcaster, did they forget about the annoying paid promotions from 2021? Clearly, the fact that it didn’t even help destiny to win. but ok Malta slay i guess
Eliana Gomez Blanco is only an example of other artists who posted something on their social media about MESC. Where is her disqualification? Oh yeah, nowhere.
Malta’s taxpayers need to seriously question the people who run the Eurovision project. Their money go to songs that are thrown away for melfest rejects and buying odds to create a hype.
They need to put their faith in another broadcaster at least!
I wish them last place in the semi, with televoting-only system this small country won’t have other treatment, especially when they treat their artists like this.
Malta finishing last will depend on the competitors in the semifinal, but it’s definitely not going to the final, that’s for sure.
2021 already made it very clear that the Maltese broadcaster is a disgrace anyway.