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‘Albania’s Vocal Performance Was Spot On’: Malta’s Eurovision Jury Defends Controversial Top Vote

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Malta is still reacting in a major way to the island’s beloved Destiny being awarded 7th place during the Eurovision Song Contest this year – but many people have also asked questions about the island’s own voting habits.

Malta’s professional jury – made up of former Eurovision representatives Ira Losco and Michela, as well as Sigmund Mifsud, Annaliz Azzopardi and Kevin Abela – awarded Romania 12 points during the semi finals, and Albania 12 points during the finals.

Romania went on to be knocked out of the contest while Albania performed poorly overall, coming in 21st position. 

While it has not been confirmed, it is rumoured that Malta’s five judges handed these five countries their top points: France, Greece, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland, with Albania getting the top points on aggregate.

Lovin Malta spoke to two jury members, Ira Losco and Michela, to find out the reasoning behind their voting choices. 

While the five jurors were allowed to discuss their general feedback to performances during the show, they were not allowed to influence each other’s voting preferences, Losco told Lovin Malta. The jurors had to sign a number of documents to be part of the panel, and an official notary was present at all times to ensure nothing untoward happened.

That said, Losco made it clear that the jury voted for who they thought deserved it the most, and were not influenced to vote strategically in a particular manner.

“We are definitely not influenced in our votes – all five of us have different tastes and our voting preferences were based on different individuals’ taste in music,” Losco told Lovin Malta.

“You are asked to vote on the song itself, the audio performance and visual performance,” she continued. “The votes are then given in by each juror and it’s an aggregate vote, an average is taken – and it just happens to be that Albania got the top jury vote this year.”

“People may not have liked the presentation but their vocal performance was spot on, so it’s well-deserved.”

As far as voting as part of a “strategy” goes, Losco said that wasn’t part of the thought process.

“No one told us anything of the sort,” she said. And as far as questionable voting strategies went, Losco noted that it was the Maltese public that ended up giving 12 points to Italy, who eventually went on to win the competition. 

Similarly, 2019 representative Michela said that all five judges had different opinions when it came to what made up a good vocal performance.

“We weren’t on our own as judges, and we aren’t always going to agree on who the winner should be, but after all our points were tallied together Albania got the vote,” Michela said.“I don’t think I can reveal who I voted for, but I can say that Albania was very good vocally, I liked her presentation a lot.”

“It was definitely my own decision, that’s why they appoint people like myself and Ira Losco, who have experience in Eurovison, and the other judges all understand it as well, they all work in the music industry,” she continued.

Michela noted how she was left surprised by the way Malta and UK interacted during this event – the UK awarded Malta just six points via televoting.

“I was devastated that after all the hype the UK had for Destiny they ended up giving us next to nothing, and I was quite shocked Malta only received 47 points… following the betting odds, Malta was in first place for a long time, so deep down I did have that feeling like, we do have a serious chance this year… I just hope this ‘conspiracy theory’ that Malta can never win isn’t true though,” she said.

Even though Malta’s jury gave 12 points to Albania, the Maltese televote went to Italy (12 points), Norway (10 points), Sweden (eight points), Finland (seven points), Lithuania (six points), Iceland (five points), Serbia (four points), France (three points), Cyprus (two points) and Ukraine (one point).

Since last night, Destiny has taken to social media to thank her team and the public for the constant support before her arrival back in Malta.

What do you make of the jury’s reasoning?

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Johnathan is interested in the weird, wonderful, and sometimes dark realities late capitalist society forces upon us all. He also likes food and music. Follow him at @supreofficialmt on Instagram, and send him news, food and music stories at [email protected]

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