Experiments can be fun. Just ask your younger self who used to push things through the heater’s grill just to watch them burn, or every girl who told her boyfriend it’s not cheating if it’s with another woman. The X Factor Malta was one expensive experiment. But despite all the naysayers, it was the Maltese-TV-version of the potato that actually manages to light a bulb.
Let’s preface this by saying the X Factor Malta was an overall success. Bar some issues I’ve been vocal about in the past, the production was great and the talent was unmistakable. After watching last night’s episode, you know winner Michela’s talent will be annoying neighbours across the island through many a shower-karaoke session by her ever-growing fanbase.
But like the ex you tried to make jealous by dating the captain of the football team (even though it’s been 10 years since secondary school and/or X Factor was relevant), one year on and I’m already poised to forgive and forget all the faults of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest… and welcome it back on TV.
Just like my recommendation to keep Owen as a part of the Maltese Eurovision act in 2019, this article doesn’t deal in absolutes. We don’t need to axe the X Factor to bring back our kitsch corner.
With record-high viewership (that’s only gonna get better), TVM can work their sales team’s magic and scrounge enough coins for the X Factor to stand alone, and give the MESC back its budget. Lord knows they’ve allocated enough advertising space throughout the show.
Once this happens, the first people to ‘win’ from the new division, even before the general public who knows every word to Claudia Fanniello’s Caravaggio, are the singers themselves.
Owen was a formidable force on the stage last night, but no part of me could see him represent us well at the Eurovision as a stand-alone act. He was an X Factor winner, but not a Eurovision one. Similarly, the world needs to see people like Destiny and Brooke Borg on the international stage, but there’s no way they’re stepping into a tiny room to sing At Last to people who are basically their colleagues.
Now look, we have eyes. We know the X Factor’s lighting budget alone could probably buy three of Ira Losco’s discarded-projection-jackets, but don’t forget that Chiara got by with just a bunch of candlesticks, and the 2008 MESC had no lighting budget whatsoever because they used it all up on Mary Spiteri’s LED chandeliers.
The X Factor can keep its sad storylines and non-belted final notes (why?!), but not at the cost of a show that’s come to be a yearly tradition with thousands of Maltese families. X Factor, you can elevate the quality of Maltese television (and please continue doing so), but you can’t manufacture iconic moments.
All I’m saying is, would Ira have performed One Step Away in a leopard-print catsuit at the X Factor Malta? Probably.
But Olivia Lewis wouldn’t have risen 500 feet into the air belting about flashbacks, singing (sort of) nuns would never have been a thing and Eleanor Cassar wouldn’t have theatrically powered through a song about being in love with god wearing 500 swans all sewn together at once.
And if non-qualifiers aren’t enough to convince you, imagine the tragedy of living in a world with no concept of Believe ‘n Peace – because there’s no way Times Three’s weak harmonies would earn them a spot on the X Factor beyond Bootcamp.
Once we’re in the realm of wishful thinking, let’s push the clock back even further on this one and drop the whole pretentious ‘Malta Eurovision Song Contest‘. Everything started to go downhill when we stopped calling it the Maltasong.
With Rokna closing, Titti the incredible jumping dog dying and us losing our cultural and environmental heritage by the second, can we please be left with something simple and fun we all loved to love (and hate)?
Miss World and Miss Universe work in parallel, so why can’t it happen for Maltasong and X Factor Malta?