It’s been one week since Malta had to face the reality that it would not be winning its first Eurovision Song Contest this year.
With the country still reeling from yet another upset and the annual national debate about whether or not we should continue participating in the competition well underway, Lovin Malta has looked at Malta’s performance over the past two decades, to understand if we’re getting any closer to a win.
Malta has participated in the competition 33 times since its first appearance in 1971. In those appearances, Malta has placed second twice, third twice and last three times.
Noticed by everyone preferred by a few
Destiny’s Je Me Casse obtained a total of 255 points in this year’s final – the highest number of points ever obtained by a Maltese act in the contest.
Malta’s entry was also that which received votes from the highest number of juries, with the young Maltese star receiving points from 35 out of the 38 countries participating in the 2021 contest (excluding Malta). This means that the song caught the attention of 89.7% of the expert panels judging the competition.
Switzerland received votes from 34 out of the 38 juries, while France received votes from 33 countries. Competition winners Italy were awarded points by the juries of 28 countries.
While the song appears to have caught the attention of more juries than any other at this year’s competition, it is clear that few thought it good enough to win.
In fact, Malta obtained 12 points from only three countries, with roughly half the scores it was awarded equaling five or less.
If you were to average all of Je Me Casse’s jury votes you get an overall jury score of 5.9 – nowhere close to Switzerland’s 7.9, France’s 7.5 and Italy’s 7.4.
More points than any other Maltese act
Though it wasn’t enough for Malta to win, Destiny’s performance on Saturday was Malta’s first top 10 finish since Gialnuca Bezzina in 2013.
Another positive is that the 255 points awarded to Destiny in the final is the highest to have ever been obtained by a Maltese singer.
The second-highest points tally was Chiara’s whose 2005 rendition of Angel earned 192 points. Chiara’s ‘The One That I Love’ (1998) was the third-highest scoring Maltese entry with 165 points, followed by Ira Losco’s ‘Seventh Wonder’ (2002) with 164 points and ‘Walk On Water’ (2016) with 137.
Mary Spiteri’s ‘Little Child’ which competed in the 1992 contest ranks sixth with 123 points.
Destiny however falls to 11th position when considering average jury scores. Her 5.94 is far behind Mary Spiteri’s ‘Little Child’ which obtained a jury average of 8.2 points – the best ever registered by Malta.
Miriam Christine’s ‘In A Woman’s Heart’ (1996) boasts the second-highest average score (7.55), while Chiara’s 1998 entry has the third highest at 7.5.
Malta not a favourite with the European public
Since 2016, jury and televoting results have been awarded separately. On the night, after each country awards its jury votes, the televoting score is added to make up the final score.
In previous years, televoting results would be added to the jury vote and given as one score.
Being able to see how much of a country’s vote comes from the jury and the public give a much clearer indication of which songs were actually liked by viewers, beyond the hype and targeted ads.
Since this new system was introduced, Malta has made it to the final three times and each time, it hasn’t done very well.
In fact, Destiny’s 47 points represented a more than doubling of Malta’s previous best televoting score of 20 – earned by Michaela in the 2019 edition. Ira Losco had been awarded 16 points from the European public for her performance in 2016.
Malta closest to win in 1998
Malta came closest to winning the competition in 1998 with Chiara’s first entry. The performance racked up 165 points, just seven points fewer than the winning entry’s 172 points. This means that Chiara had 4% less votes than the winner did that year.
Ira Losco’s Seventh Wonder also came very close, finishing just 12 points (7%) away from the winning entry. Chiara’s 2005 entry finished 38 points (17%) away from the winner, with Mary Spiteri 32 points (20.7%) and Paul Giordimaina and Georgine, with their rendition of ‘Could It Be’, were fifth closest to winning it, finishing 40 points (27.4%) from the ultimate winner.
Malta’s best Eurovision years are behind it
The Eurovision Song Contest has changed considerably over the years making it difficult to read too much into statistics comparing one year to the next.
The data does however suggest that Malta’s best Eurovision years are behind it.
While Destiny did receive the highest number of points any Maltese act has in the competition, it is also true that more countries participate in the competition today than they did in the past and there are therefore a lot more points to go around.
In fact, winning songs in the 90s would in fact finish the night with somewhere in the region of 170 points, compared to the average of 568 from the last five years. With this in mind
It feels as though Malta pulls out all the stops each year, investing more and more money in the competition, and while Malta’s offering has become more polished and technically sophisticated, it still does not resonate with European audiences.
Rather than focusing on creating a song that resembles a past international hit maybe Malta needs to focus more on artists who write their own music and who might be able to give the country an entry with some character.
Share this with someone who needs to read it