Malta: MESC 2022 semi-final results and Grand Final preview
Malta Eurovision Song Contest, the Maltese national selection format for Eurovision 2022, is back! The show kicked off yesterday morning in Ta'Qali with a spectacular semi-final, and continued tonight with a special tribute show which saw past Maltese Eurovision representatives returning to perform their songs.
Hosted by Stephanie Spiteri, Quinton Scerri, Ron Briffa, Josmar and Ryan Borg, the semi-final saw all 22 songs performed live for the first time. Viewers were treated to a showcase of all Malta has to offer, from the powerful vocals of Emma Muscat to Aidan Cassar's dancing cowboys, with a healthy side helping of Matt BLXCK.
The results were determined by a mix of televoting and jury, and were revealed in this morning's tribute show after an anxious wait for the artists involved!
The 16 entries qualified for Sunday's Grand Final are:
Aidan Cassar – 'Ritmu'
Baklava ft. Nicole – 'Electric Indigo'
Denise – 'Boy'
Emma Muscat – 'Out of Sight'
Enya Magri – 'Shame'
Giada – 'REVELACIÓN'
Janice Mangion – 'Army'
Mark Anthony Bartolo – 'Serenity'
Matt BLXCK – 'Come Around'
Miriana Conte – 'Look What You’ve Done Now'
Nicole Azzopardi – 'Into the Fire'
Nicole Hammett – 'A Lover’s Heart'
Norbert Bondin – 'How Special You Are'
Raquel Galdes Briffa – 'Over You'
Richard Edwards – 'Hey Little'
Sarah Bonnici – 'Heaven'
This means that, for the following 6 entries, the Eurovision journey ends here:
Derrick Schembri – 'II'
Francesca Sciberras – 'Rise'
Jessica Grech - 'Aphrodisiac'
Jessika Muscat – 'Kaleidoscope'
Malcolm Pisani – 'We Came For Love'
Rachell Lowell – 'White Doves'
Grand Final Preview
The Grand Final of MESC 2022 will take place Sunday morning here in Australia. The 16 qualified acts will perform again, before a combination of jury voting and televote is used to determine Malta's 2022 representative for the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin.
With so many acts participating this year, we only have space to highlight some of our favourites.
Aidan – ‘Ritmu’
One of the big favourites to win the ticket for Malta this year is Aidan Cassar, back for a second go after winning fourth place in MESC 2018 with his song ‘Dai Laga’. Aidan is on a one-man mission to bring us Maltese-language pop music, having released several singles including the hit ‘Nahseb Fik’, which won Song of the Year with two of Malta’s biggest radio stations. He’s also a prolific composer, being credited on no less than five (that’s 5) of the entries in MESC 2022. His song this year, ‘Ritmu’ is a groovy bop that gives Aidan plenty of space to show his personality – and the live performance in the semis was serving more than a hint of Brokeback Mountain. Expect this one to do well on the night.
Baklava ft. Nicole – ‘Electric Indigo’
Baklava are long-time participants in MESC, having most recently brought their brand of folky dance-pop to the stage with ‘Euphoria’ in 2011 and ‘Moondance’ in 2012. The duo consists of violinist Joseph Chetcuti, who has played the violin all over the world since the age of five, and singer Lyann Iles, who was first runner up in the Miss Universe Malta pageant. They are here joined by singer Nicole Vella, who made the top 5 in Miss World Talent and has loved to sing and play the piano since the age of 6. ‘Electric Indigo’ is an uptempo folk-pop number with an infectious chorus, which opens with a striking visual of Joseph playing his violin alone in the middle of the stage. The song was popular with the Aussievision team when we did our rankings – hopefully they can recreate that success onstage on Sunday!
Denise – ‘Boy’
Nurse by day, star by night – Denise Mercieca brings a fresh face to MESC this year and delivered one of the most confident performances of the semifinal. A lover of musical theatre and performance from an early age, Denise made her debut on Maltese television by auditioning for X Factor Malta Season 1, where she made it through to boot camp. Her song, ‘Boy’, is an EDM track with a slight synth edge, which was penned specifically for her by the aforementioned Aidan Cassar. Perhaps flying under the radar prior to the semifinal, Denise really brought her song to life on Friday morning with a much more intimate performance than many of her fellow contestants. This could be a dark horse – don’t count her out.
Emma Muscat – ‘Out of Sight’
If YouTube videos and social media reaction is anything to go back, Emma Muscat is the one to beat in Sunday morning’s final. A singer, songwriter and model originating from Malta, Emma has spent the last few years in Italy, where she came to prominence on the popular talent show Amici di Maria de Filippi. After coming fourth on that program, she began to release a steady stream of EPs and singles, including ‘Avec Moi’, ‘Vicolo cieco’ and ‘Sangria’ – the last of which has been certified gold. She is currently signed to Warner Music Italy. Emma’s song for MESC 2022, ‘Out of Sight’, is a ballad with electro influences that really grows over the course of its three minutes. In the semifinal, Emma had one of the more unusual stagings, including a section where she was joined onstage by a small child. This could very well be Malta’s entry for Eurovision 2022!
Matt BLXCK – ‘Come Around’
Matt BLXCK is the stage persona of Matthew Anthony, who previously appeared in MESC 2018 with the song ‘Call 2morrow’, where he came seventh. In an interview with ESCBubble, Matt says that the name change was an idea developed in collaboration with Eurovision icon Ira Losco during his appearance on X Factor Malta. By transforming from Matthew Anthony into Matt BLXCK, Matt created a sassy new character who brings “a feel-good, booty-shaking vibe”. His song for MESC, ‘Come Around’, has prompted a lot of discussion online, but was easily one of the most colourful and memorable packages in the semifinal. And if you’re still unsure how to spell his name? Don’t worry – you’re about to learn.
Nicole Azzopardi – ‘Into the Fire’
Nicole Azzopardi is no stranger to the Eurovision stage, having made her debut at Junior Eurovision 2010 with the song “Knock Knock!....Boom! Boom!” In the intervening 12 years, she has participated in numerous international singing contests, as well as joining a girl group for the live rounds of X Factor Malta. Nicole’s song is written by two Eurovision songwriting alumni – Peter Boström (‘Euphoria’, ‘Popular’, ‘Amanecer’) and Dmitri Stassos (‘Aphrodisiac’). With such pedigree behind her, it’s no surprise that her song recalls the peak of Swedish dance-pop around 2011-2012. Nicole was the landslide winner of Aussievision’s ranking of MESC 2022 – will she be able to match that result on the night?
This is just a taste of what MESC 2022 has to offer in its grand final tomorrow morning, and we don’t mean to suggest that the other acts aren’t worth your time or attention. Janice Mangion, who narrowly missed out on going to Eurovision 2017 with her song ‘Kewkba’ after being pipped to second place in MESC by that year, returns with the uplifting ballad ‘Army’. Similarly, Nicole Hammett’s opera-infused electro track rates a mention, both because the song is very memorable and also because she brings one of the most eye-catching costume changes of the night.
If you're looking to follow along with all the excitement, MESC 2022 will kick off at the following times in each Australian state:
4.00 am (WA)
5.30 am (NT)
6.00 am (QLD)
6.30 am (SA)
7.00 am (VIC/NSW/ACT/TAS)
For more updates about MESC 2022 and Malta's performance at Eurovision 2022, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where you can find us at @aussievisionnet.