Malta may have qualified to the Eurovision Grand Final but there’s still one more semi-final to go, and it’s kicking off tonight. And while other European countries will be fighting it out, the Maltese will have the luxury of sitting back at ease as we assess the competition ahead of Saturday.
With this in mind, here are five things to look out for from tonight’s semi-final.
1. A look at the original bookies’ favourite
Malta may be riding hiding high in the polls right now, but before Destiny released Je Me Casse, the favourite to triumph was a certain Swiss singer who goes by the stage name of Gjon’s Tears.
He will be the penultimate to perform, singing Tout l’Univers – a tune which has more than a few shades of Arcade, the last Eurovision winner.
2. Flo Rida representing San Marino
If you had said ten years ago that the hip hop singer Flo Rida would be singing at the Eurovision Song Contest, representing San Marino no less, you’d have probably been laughed out of the room.
However, this is exactly how tonight’s semi-final will open, with Flo Rida joining Senhit on stage.
3. A potential dark horse in the wings
Bulgaria was the favourite to win last year’s Eurovision Song Contest before it got abruptly cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like Malta, they’ve sent the same singer back with a different song but unlike Malta they haven’t received so much hype and they’re currently only the seventh favourite to win.
However, we’ve already seen that odds can change overnight so this could be one to watch.
4. Iceland’s impact by COVID-19
One of this year’s favourites, Iceland took a hit after a band member tested positive for COVID-19. Daði og Gagnamagnið will remain in the competition but won’t perform live, using footage recorded from a recent rehearsal instead.
Australia was faced with a similar problem on Tuesday and the fact they had to present a recorded song has been cited as the main reason behind their failure to qualify. Should Iceland fail to qualify too, it will truly show the power the virus still holds on the competition and the risk to singers if they test positive before Saturday.
5. A first look at France’s song
Italy, Malta and France have been ranked as the bookmakers’ favourites to triumph on Saturday, with Malta overtaking France in recent hours.
As a member of the Big Five, France won’t compete tonight but their song Voila will be played at the end, along with the songs of Spain and the United Kingdom. Question is whether this will help or harm Malta’s odds?