Maltese people may give up sweets, meat and coffee for lent, but they're definitely not letting up when it comes to online negativity. While a lot of Michela Pace's young fans seem content with her newly-released Eurovision entry, Chameleon pulled a real colour swap and made their mood (and their balls), blue.
The most common response to the clip (barring any iteration of 'god bless you') from the general public was that the chorus was a super "let-down", particularly when considering the insane build up in the verses. The international community didn't seem to agree with this point as the video pushes 300,000 views at the time of writing and boasts 11,000 likes and less than 1,000 dislikes.
While the 'anti-chorus' featured on this tune is a new staple (...ish - we're talking 2016 here, but for Malta in the Eurovision, that's basically the future) which was popularised by songs like Jason Derulo's Swalla, it's not surprising that Malta wasn't thrilled by the final product.
As a general rule of thumb, we like fuss and we like things to be direct. If there's a clap and a beat on the pre-chorus, we need a drop that's gonna shake the earth so heavily, a new plot of land for MIDI to exploit is created.
As a nation if we were any more on-the-nose about, well everything, we'd be one of the freckles I get endless comments about.
"Malta likes things to be direct. If there's a beat, we need a drop that's gonna shake the earth so heavily, a new plot of land for MIDI to exploit is created."
Choosing the right vibe for a Eurovision song is always a bit of a gamble; this year taking a Maltese-version-of-a-risk by not sending the girl with the incredible voice up with a ballad has paid off. Watching one of those "Every Song In The Eurovision Ranked" videos on YouTube (who keeps making so many of these?) feels like an hour-long tribute to the global climate disaster or Brexit. It's only Cyprus' Replay that brings a little joy and could put up a fight against Michela's song dominating as the Eurovision club banger of 2019.
The biggest mistake the public can make when hearing the new song is assume the missing traditional beat is down to a lack of effort on the part of the producers. You don't have to love it, but you can't deny that it is memorable. Plus, if we're going to discuss lazy cop-outs, then the music isn't the issue here - #HairpinGate however, is.
Normally, I'd be the first to call myself pedantic for pointing out the black grip in just one, short shot. But when the styling is so near to perfect (if you can ever catch a glimpse of it behind the fit-inducing lyrics that are relentlessly pushed on-screen) it's frustrating we managed to "uwijja mhux xorta" something.
The future staging for the performance should probably feature some exotic plants, and if we can get Michela soaked on stage by the end of the song, we're looking at a stream of douze points - but honestly for once the nation shouldn't be too worried about how everything is going to look. The team behind her really know what they're doing and most importantly they seem aware that the devil was in the details (barring hair accouterments).
It's why the video looks so beautiful and the song sounds so crisp. If you listen for small gems like the pop at the start of the second chorus, or the dual-toned 'oooh' on the pre-chorus, you'll understand why Ira is just gonna pretend she never had a song called Chameleon she also sent up for Eurovision.
Michela Pace is one of those rare singers who will probably sound better live than on the track, so it's with cautious optimism that we can say we're looking forward to enjoying the Eurovision on Saturday night too, as Malta's new Chameleon looks forward to a qualifying position in the semi-finals. But what is it going to take to snatch a top spot?
The breakdown is simple: the song has sass, but our singer needs it too.
In 2017 Belgium sent Blanche with a song that was destined to win, but on-stage the singer's performance (and unfortunately vocal) fell a little flat and the rehearsal alone knocked her back at least five spots. With Michela, we can rest easy knowing her technique will be a consistent, but the stage presence portion may be a little daunting. When belting out the big notes to Shallow (at least 15 times on the X Factor Finale alone) she's got more attitude than Carina at a Local Council beauty pagent... she just needs it to be there from the first second of the song.
And if we really wanted to guarantee a top five position, and you've got a budget to hire over ten dancers for the music video, why did we not walk away with an iconic dance? Did we forget that an awkward chicken took the title home last year?
If you think the person who left a hairpin showing is feeling bad because of all the online comments, just wait till the video director remembers chameleons have the most iconic walk on the planet.