10 Lessons Malta Needs To Learn From This Year's Eurovision Top Ten
As the dust settles on another year of Eurovision disappointment, the usual conversations about whether or not we should keep participating begin to crop up. But the reality is that Malta isn't overly committed to the competition and wasting money; we're just not very good at reading the writing on the wall.
1. Authenticity works
Portugal's song is the very definition of authenticity and people clearly reacted well to that. But before every Maltese writer rushes to pen the next La Vie En Rose it's not just about copying a winning formula.
Authenticity for the Swedes is sending a flawless package of pristine Avicii-esque dance music. Authenticity for Italy was sending a song entirely in Italian with a fun singer using an iconic accent. It's time for Malta to heavily reassess our try-hard nature.
2. Juries are needed to select winning songs
Three of the top five songs were selected by a combined jury and televoting system. The remaining two were chosen via an internal process.
We can proudly say that here at Lovin Malta we're huge fans of Claudia and her talent, but having a jury on board would have seen a very different result emerge from the Malta Eurovision Song Contest back in February.
3. Native languages can do well
Three of the top ten songs (and of course the winner) sang in their native language. This is not to say that we should suddenly start spewing endless vapid Maltese songs in the hopes of winning (see above point re authenticity) but it's also good to note that the possibility is there, and we should give it proper consideration.
4. But lyrical content is so important
Of the top ten songs, two of the native-language songs had the strongest lyrics. Sure, the Portuguese entry had some moving love-themed poetry (“If one day someone asks about me, Tell them I lived to love you, Before you, I only existed, Tired and with nothing to give”), but it's Italy and Hungary that really stand out.
The Italian song was a tongue-in-cheek jab at this new wave of Westerners desperate to be cooler by stealing Eastern culture. It presented some interesting arguments in a fun, easily- consumed way. Hungary's singer, who is of Romani descent, tackled the important issue of racial discrimination.
5. Standing out from the crowd helps ratings
Every top-ten song had something that helped it stand out. Portugal's song was soft, magical and understated with a quirky singer. Bulgaria sent an actual child with a voice that could blow away a stadium. Moldova's song was catchy and featured a beloved internet meme. Belgium's singer had a unique tone and song that would kill it on the radio. Sweden basically swore on stage. Italy was, well Italy... go and watch the video if you're not sure what we mean. Romania had yodeling. The list goes on and on.
5. Understanding the music scene's zeitgeist can change the game
Portugal recognised and played into the music revolution that is slowly taking over the cheap-pop scene. Sweden, Italy and Norway sent songs you know every party is going to play all summer long. Belgium and Australia's entries were radio hits from the first few notes.
As much as we love a good Eurovision power ballad, at least half the top ten presented an alternative to the cliche big belts and Eurotrash.
7. Staging is important
From background graphics (what was with a giant projected version of Claudia eating the real Claudia Faniello?) to on-stage props, the devil really is in the detail. Not dedicating the necessary time to staging could break the performance; on the flip side, it's not the first time that a projection has seriously upped the song's presence.
8. You don't need to spend millions to be loved
The first most people heard of Portugal's entry was during the semi-final. That didn't seem to hurt its chances of winning (clearly). A lot of people feel Malta is wasting money on the Eurovision. But rather than going to the extreme of never taking part again, why not spend the budget more wisely? A good package with a well thought out PR strategy could slash costs and be even more effective.
9. The emotional journey a song takes you on is important
Listening to Portugal's song with your eyes closed will take you to a magical place that's unique to every listener. You could feel the pain and the anger in Hungary's song. On the flip side of things, Belgium went in as one of the strong favourites to win, and even though she placed fourth in the end, her polls took a nose dive after people saw her stage presence at the semi finals.
10. Give the press (and the people at home) something to talk about
Can Belgium even sing the song live? Is Portugal's singer sick? Is Moldova's sax player really 'Epic Sax Guy'?
If you want to be remembered, then people need to be speaking about you. It doesn't need to be rumours and gossip necessarily, but if you're not being brought up in conversation, you're unlikely to succeed.