Michela’s vocals took the island by storm six months ago, which is also roughly how long it’s been since we’ve heard her sing live. Ever since dropping the reptilian redemption that is Chameleon (second time’s the charm for Eurovision songs it seems) Michela’s been more active on billboards than on stage.
As bookies across the continent continue to stubbornly deny her the top spot, they thankfully still retain some decency by keeping her comfortably in the Top 10. But as her music video explodes past the five million view mark, audiences clearly think there’s winning potential in the young Gozitan.
Knowing she has the vocal talent to justify the online viewership might have made Michela confident enough to keep her on-stage gimmicks and tricks safely tucked under her sleeve till the first big night in May’s Semi-Final.
It might also be a plot by team Chameleon to buy more time to build up enough load-bearing stunts to stop a stage big enough for Madonna from swallowing her whole.
The strategy to build hype around a future performance by literally not performing at all is clearly working (there’s now a whole opinion piece dedicated to it). Still, as more time continues to fly by, if you don’t give your hardcore fans something to talk (or edit into a niché compilation in the dark alleys of YouTube), the growing pool of new fans may start to stagnante.
The bookies’ ratings might change overnight following the dress rehearsal (see Belgium 2017) at the end of the day, international televoting still plays a big part in deciding the winner… and a significant chunk of those call-ins are won before the show even airs its first uncomfortable-hosts-shout-Good-Evening-Europe straight into the camera.
While still holding on to the hope that she’s carried on stage holding a five-foot long hairgrip, the most-likely result of weeks worth of secret rehearsals is a smooth dance number that’s well-integrated into her song, with Michela occasionally channeling Mariah Carey in more than just vocal ability.
If not force-fed one by a clever social media team, people will always create their own narratives about celebrities (even more so in the catty world of Eurovision). A clear example of this happened just last week, when Malta’s young starlet made the rounds on Facebook as an example of the over-use of Photoshop when not necessary.
While it’s true Michela is a beautiful young woman who doesn’t need any retouching, what she could really use (apart from less shady people as the individuals responsible for selecting which photos of her end up on billboards across the island) is a performance that takes the heat off whoever took the decision to doctor her photos. Take advantage of those beautiful vocals and give the people something to really talk about.
As things stand, my gut tells me Joseph Muscat had better start saving up for a potential influx of tourists next May (and Michela should probably clear a trophy-sized space on her komodina), you know – just in case.
But despite the nation’s high hopes and the song’s incredible potential, it’s hard for Malta to be excited about a possible win when we all feel more out of the loop than Joseph Calleja during the X Factor Malta’s duets.