If you’ve found yourself falling in love with one very young X Factor Malta finalist’s voice and wondering where she’s been hiding all this time, you might be surprised to know that this is far from the first time the islands got to experience the power that is Justine Shorfid.
A 16-year-old vocal prodigy who instantly won over the judges and is currently one of Ira Losco’s two solid chances of having mentored a winner this season, Shorfid’s magnetic personality and sassy attitude have earned her a spot in Saturday’s Finals.
But while definitely not as much of a recognisable face as Destiny was before X Factor, the young and super expressive singer has been making waves ever since she was a preteen.
Speaking of Destiny, Justine had the opportunity to step into the Junior Eurovision champion’s shoes four whole years ago.
In 2015, the name Destiny Chukunyere ended up on everyone’s lips when the then still 13-year-old singer won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
One year later, with Malta set to host the grand show, an even younger Justine Shorfid tried her luck at representing the white and red with a rendition of I’d Rather Go Blind. Alas, it was not meant to be, with Christina Magrin being chosen to represent Malta with the track Parachutes instead. Magrin went on to place sixth at the 2016 Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
PS, for extra trivia points, placing ahead of Justine Shorfid as the 2016 runners-up were five-piece girl group Fusion… featuring Nicole Frendo, who went on to place third in last year’s X Factor.
But while 13 years old is already impressive enough, Justine has been winning over crowds from an even younger age…
In 2014, at the Malta International Festival, a preteen and barely recognisable Justine Shorfid took the stage in the 10-to-12-year-old category for a powerful rendition of Hallelujah.
And even though the person who participated in that festival was a timid girl who only took up a tiny portion of the stage, her voice was already larger than life, hitting some impressive high notes that would resonate for years to come.
The following half-decade saw Justine appear in a number of programmes and competitions.
Following her Junior Eurovision attempt in 2016, Justine merely ramped up her efforts to make it everywhere, participating in a number of televised competitions.
There was The Entertainers’ Singers Challenge, Ally-El Entertainment’s Singer’s Festival and NET TV’s Jien Għandi X’Nuri… where Justine made it all the way to the finals, no less.
In 2018, for one of her last stints before attempting to take on the X Factor Malta stage, Justine Shorfid took part in the Sanremo Junior Malta festival.
Because Malta is a tiny country with abundant opportunities for paths to cross each other, Shorfid was this time competing to fill the shoes of yet another fellow X Factor contestant; Miguel Bonello.
This time round, Justine looked back at her 2016 Junior Eurovision attempt, singing a more mature and even more powerful rendition of I’d Rather Go Blind.
But alas, for the second time, victory was just not to be, with Haley Azzopardi representing Malta at the 2018 Sanremo Junior instead.
Fast-forward to 2019, and the already seasoned 16-year-old was ready to take over the nation’s screens.
In what already feels like an age ago, a 16-year-old Justine Shorfid showed up in front of X Factor Malta’s judges in the beginning of last summer… and the rest was history.
While she had all but mastered the couple of songs she’d performed over the years, Justine chose instead to perform Kodaline’s All I Want, pouring in a decade and a half’s worth of emotion into the two-minute audition.
By the end, Howard Keith was first on his feet, calling her performance “perfect” and giving her what he said was “the easiest Yes” he had given yet.
“I can just imagine you in the live shows already,” Alex smiled. “You’ve got a gift, you’ve got something special here.”
“Thank God we have this programme, because we discovered you,” Ray added, with her eventual mentor Ira finishing it up with: “I am sure you have the X Factor.”
This Saturday, Justine will face Destiny, Kyle and F.A.I.T.H. in a Grand Final that’s set to take over every conversation.
Judging by her perfect streak – she’s been safe in every single phase that had eliminations – Justine is set to be a formidable foe to the Junior Eurovision veteran, the five-piece vocal powerhouse and the last gent standing with a voice of gold.
But who will take home the coveted top spot?
This is part of an ongoing series shining a light on this year’s X Factor Malta finalists. Tune in tomorrow for the next profile.