Throughout recent weeks, Monday mornings have become oversaturated with posts, memes, and rants taking the piss out of Malta’s Got Talent (MGT). Whilst that’s to be expected with pretty much any new Maltese TV show out there – these MGT piss-takes seem to carry quite a bit of weight.
Though it’s only been going on for a couple of weeks, viewers already seem to have grown tired of the show’s antics. So as criticism aimed towards MGT grows exponentially, we’ve decided to look into the roots of this show’s problems. Here goes nothing.
1. Judges know the contestants
Picture this; you’ve got an island with a population of 500,000. A fraction of that number practices the arts. A fraction of that number teaches the arts. Point is, the number of Maltese people who practice and / or teach the arts is incredibly small, so it’s extremely likely for an MGT judge and contestant (both of whom, more often than not, appertain to the local arts sphere) to have already crossed paths.
Occasionally, some of MGT’s judges have been blatantly honest about having some sort of relationship with the contestants performing right in front of them. So when you take that into account, can you really rely on the judges’ impartiality?
Having said that, despite being judge Maxine Aquilina’s good friend, there’s no denying that contemporary dancer Warren Bonello still did a damn good job.
2. Arts education in Malta is extremely limited
Formal arts education in Malta is practically non-existent. Sure, there are a couple of drama, arts, and dance schools out there that can train students in their respective disciplines – but almost none of them are full-time. Consequently, budding Maltese artists either seek formal training overseas or remain stuck here with almost no hope of fully developing their talents.
It’s easy to point and laugh at so-called ‘untalented’ Malta’s Got Talent contestants – but when they’ve got pretty much no opportunities to train their skills, MGT might seem like one of the only ways they can get their names out there. So can you really blame them for trying?
In spite of that, let’s give credit where it’s due. Hula-hoop sensation Clare Brincat and pole-dancer Marissa Bose are two extremely talented artists who took advantage of two previously untapped areas of Malta’s performing arts scene.
3. Malta’s talent pool is tiny
This one’s a culmination of a number of underlying issues plaguing the Maltese arts scene. For starters, you cannot really expect such a small country to produce a huge amount of fully-trained professionals in the artistic sphere. Put sub-par training and a facetious attitude towards the arts into the equation, and even the most talented of individuals will be mediocre.
Thanks to all this, Malta’s pool of artistic talent is ridiculously small, and only a tiny portion of that pool chooses to showcase its talent on prime-time live TV. Having said that, one cannot help but mention the fact that MGT auditions were held during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – an issue which might have deterred some great Maltese artists from showcasing their talents.
With this in mind, it’s safe to say that a small talent pool doesn’t mean there’s no talent. Local dance group ‘Concept of Movement’, for example, was surely worthy of notoriously tough Howard Keith’s golden buzzer.
4. We’re too damn nice
For a country that gets off of talking smack about other people, we sure are scared of confrontation. What’s been particularly frustrating with Malta’s Got Talent is seeing below-average performers get through to the next round with flying colours. What’s worse is when it’s blatantly obvious that the judges’ decision was fuelled by a desire to be liked by the general public – or at the very least, to not look like an asshole.
And whilst this makes for an insanely boring show, it’s also telling budding artists that you don’t really need to work hard to be successful – settling for mediocrity is more than enough.
At the same time, positive feedback encouraged Joseph Mangion, Malta’s very own one-man fireworks factory, to participate – so maybe it’s not all bad.
5. We’ve got very low standards
As we were growing up, Maltese TV showed us some very sub-par content, to say the least, and it’s only in recent years that production value has been kicked up a notch. Because of this, most Maltese people have a pretty skewed standard for what is actually worthy of artistic merit and thus, settle for what’s blatantly mediocre.
Because of this, we get a flurry of budding artists falsely perceiving their second-rate performances as top-notch work – and we can’t really blame them, for they don’t know any better. But as a result of that, this reality TV show with great potential has been diluted to a plethora of snooze-fests and forgettable performances with very little essence.
Once in a while, however, you get prodigies like Il-Lapes who help set the bar for other aspiring artists and work their way up against all odds.