Everything That Happened During Tonight's Malta Eurovision Song Contest
White doves, hand gestures, and tears
It all started with about 153 "break a legs" on the red carpet, and countless Maltese viewers all over the islands getting ready for a night jam packed with Euro-judgement. And then like a blast of nostalgia re-constructed as one absolutely jaw-dropping contemporary performance – the opening medley exploded onto our screens.
The contestants looked and sounded amazing. Aside from the dancers – who did an absolutely wonderful job, there were some great outfits, and the shots of former Eurovision stars dancing to their song covers was super fun to watch. A truly stellar opening.
So here's a breakdown of what went down during 2017's most anticipated music event in Malta, including the best Euro-Factor moments (it's like the X'Factor, but for the Eurovision).
This year's hosts – Daniel Azzopardi and Charlene Mercieca – definitely ticked the eye-candy box. Charlene's outfit was chic AF and her hair and make-up looked impeccable as always. She gave a heartfelt explanation about her public battle with cancer at the start of the show, which went down well with the audience. Next, the hosts explained that the winner would be decided 100% through tele-voting, and kicked off the show with the first four acts.
Klinsmann – Laserlight
Klinsmann's performance included a handful of dancers reading newspapers, dressed in urban outfits, mirroring his laid back style. While his outfit was needed some extra jazz to it, his vocals were strong – no hiccups.
There wasn't really any... this was quite a safe performance.
Raquela Dalli Gonzi – Ray of Light
Raquela's staging was simple – she stood solo, wearing a floral floor-length dress which was pretty much the central focus of her paired-back performance. Although nerves seemed to take over at first, she hit those high notes with confidence and gave a solid vocal performance.
Vocal acrobatics and emotional closing of eyes.
Deborah & Josef – Tonight
Something of a "Tomorrow" vibe, with dance moves circa "On Again Off Again". Outfits were modest, and a bit too matchy. Stage design was very cute and bright, supporting the song perfectly. At a point they ran to each other – which was a bit painful.
The bum-bump… which was more forced than cute.
Kevin Borg – Follow
Kevin – who placed third in the contest – gave a confident performance, with an interesting vocal huskiness at the end of his notes. He totally delivered on the dramatic microphone-grabs. High-point had to be his launch into a bird-lift dance move. Pure gold.
A digital dove summoned by Kevin’s dramatic arm call.
The first break saw the hosts reading out some Facebook comments. This is where the hosting seemed to take somewhat of a dive in quality, with social media users questioning whether the right selection was made.
Although they did address a controversial point, brought to light by Shania the Dessert Queen on social media. Shania asked what the point of public voting is if the song can be changed after the decision is made.
Daniel and Charlene put this huge and hot debate to rest and confirmed that this year the song would not be changed after the results came out.
Jade - Seconds Away
A confident performance with fun dance moves, outfits that popped and visually-impactful staging. As usual Jade's hair was killer. Asymmetric sleeve fringing also strong.
Had to be the tattoo reveal of the song's name.
Cross Walk – So Simple
Malta’s country music version of The Corrs. The performance was upbeat in a Dixie Chicks kind of way, but was the song current enough? Also, the dress – did we love or hate? Jury's out.
The folky sound.
Franklin – Follow Me
Visual effects were really on point with this performance – with Franklin being alone on stage save for the sparkling virtual rain. His vocals had us wondering if he'd been replaced by Kurt from Glee... Which is no bad thing. Drama level – super high. Also not a bad thing.
Hand gestures and Celine Dion style grunt-singing. Also the last note which he actually sang though his nose.
Rhiannon – Fearless
Okay the start to this performance was slightly creepy, with a bunch of naked-looking dancers challenging the boundaries of personal space – although the ombre hand-make up was pretty awesome. At points it felt like we were listening to Malta’s Adele. And finally, some drama in the costumery.
Had to be the kick-ass dip-dye dress.
Miriana Conte – Don’t Look Down
Hello Xtina! Probably the most fun dancing to watch in the show, although we weren't sure about the corn-rows. Miriana was as likeable ever with great moves and a charismatic attitude. Also, can we borrow the jacket?
Shauna - Crazy Games
Shauna looked and sounded great, but her energy was on the low side. A sexy and fun performance – and her confidence grew as the song went on.
Janice Mangion – Kewkba
Janice placed second in the contest and was voted one of Lovin Malta reader’s favourites to win. She certainly delivered on her fans' expectations. Her voice sounded absolutely amazing. Janice's styling was wonderful, but nothing could compare to her high notes – which were a dream.
Touching face softly with hand.
Cherton – Fighting to Survive
Doubtful that many people actually listened to the actual song – the star of the performance was Cherton's form-flattering outfit and killer legs. She looked absolutely gorgeous. So much so that the song was less memorable than the outfit.
A tie between the outfit trail flicks and the random guitar solo.
Maxine – Bombshell
The costumes for this performance didn’t really match the upbeat nature of the song. And we kind of kept wishing she would leave her hip alone. But all in all a strong vocal performance from this bombshell.
The girl dancer tableaus.
Richard Edwards – You
Richard sounded like a blend of Josh Groban and most male country music singers we've ever heard. The facial serious-to-smile switching was slightly unnerving, but the song was pleasant, and the performance is consistent. Shout out to the little soft toy on the guitar.
There’s always a guy on a guitar at the Eurovision, right? So, the whole thing.
Brooke Borg – Unstoppable
Brooke was also one of the top three most favoured performers by our readers, but didn't place at all in tonight's show. Her performance was solid with a dramatic outfit, jewellery and headpiece for added glamour. The hand dancing though… did it work or was it really annoying?
Dramatic almost-cry, hand-shaking bit.
Claudia Faneello – Breathlessly
Claudia was pitched as the favourite of the night, and for once proved the polls right. From the get-go the white-sparkled-clad songstress got a huge cheer from the audience. Her outfit was 'Frozen'-chic on steroids, and she looked absolutely great for it. Her voice was without fault.
Three awesome performances were also delivered by the guests stars of tonight's show. The Travellers, who are always musically on point; Junior Eurovision Star Christina Magrin, who was hauntingly good; and of course, Ira Losco the undisputed queen of re-invention. She looked absolutely stunning and gave a rocking performance. #Queen
Finally, once the voting was closed and Charlene made a rather embarrassing round in the green room, the time for the winner-announcement came round, with one overwhelmingly joyous moment – a Mary Spiteri cameo. The crowd went wild for this Eurovision legend, and while we were asking ourselves how come Ira wasn't the one to pass on the crown to the winner, we almost forgot that we were waiting to find out who the winner actually was.
Claudia Faniello. The winner was Claudia, with her song Breathlessly, which was written by classic Maltese Eurovision duo Philip Vella and Gerard James Borg, together with Philip's son Sean Vella
Janice Mangion came in second with Kewkba, and Kevin Borg placed third with Follow. Brooke Borg, who was voted as one of the performers most likely to win by our readers, did not place in the top three.
One thing's for sure, the Maltese public do love an artist who keeps on keeping on. And one other thing is for sure – Lovin Malta readers are totally in tune with the nation's tastes.
What was the ultimate highlight for us tonight? Following the ongoing commentary on the Facebook group Eurobitchin. Social media users gave a blow-by-blow critique on all contestants, and generally weighed in on everything from the red carpet to the final result.
So with the night's festivities and drama coming to a – mostly predictable – close, there's only one Eurovision question still lingering on our minds.