Malta: The ones to watch from MESC 2024 semi-finals
This year, 36 talented Maltese artists have taken up the challenge to participate in the national final MESC 2024.
The goal of these performers is to follow in the footsteps of Destiny, Emma Muscat and The Busker to represent Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Over the past four weeks, each of the 36 artists has had an opportunity to present their song to the Maltese public in a series of "semi-finals", incorporated into the Maltese evening program Xow.
These performances are intentionally stripped-back so that the public has an opportunity to see each artist sing live without the distraction of backing vocals or elaborate staging.
Following the fourth semi-final, which took place this morning, voting will now open to pick 12 finalists out of the pool of 36 (to be announced in the coming weeks). Early next year, a one-night final will then take place to select the Maltese representative for Eurovision 2024.
With so many participants, it's understandably difficult for the average Eurovision fan to keep up with who is in the running to represent Malta in Malmo. As such, we have prepared this cheat sheet of eight acts that we think are the ones to watch!
This is by no means an exhaustive list - if your favourite isn't on here, don't panic! This is just a list of the songs we think you should listen to in advance of the MESC final early next year. In alphabetical order:
1. Denise Mercieca - 'MARA'
Long-time MESC viewers may remember Denise from her previous attempt to represent Malta, with the sleek electro track 'Boy'. This year, she's back with a punchy ode to the power of women - it's easy to imagine this song translating to the big stage!
2. Dominic Cini - 'Bewsa'
If you loved the Eurovision ethnobops of the 2000s (think anything that Turkey used to send back in the day), then Dominic's performance might just scratch an itch you didn't even know you had. A popular song on social media, this could really be something different for Malta at Eurovision.
3. Karin Duff - 'Breaking Bad'
(Yes, like the TV show).
If you've ever been in the club and thought "this drop could really use some eagle sounds and police sirens layered over the top of it", Karin agrees with you! This song is just slightly unhinged, but it's also high-energy and well-performed - Karin could do well on the night.
4. Matt Blxck - 'Banana'
Matt BLXCK is a MESC staple at this point - when he walks into a room, everyone knows how to spell his name even before he reminds you in the lyrics of his songs. 'Banana' is possibly his most fun and memorable attempt yet - could this be the year he finally wins the coveted Eurovision ticket?
5. Oxygyn - 'Cloudmaker'
Oxygyn is a four-piece indie-folk band led by brother and sister duo Kurt and Katia Abela. They bring a classy, minimalist sound and production to the MESC stage which is frankly unlike anything we've heard in this national final for a long time. After placing in the top 10 at Maltese music festival 'Mużika Mużika' in 2022, they'll be keen to repeat this feat at MESC - can they take out the competition?
6. Ryan Hili - 'Karma'
The winner of Season 3 of X Factor Malta and last year's MESC runner-up Ryan Hili remains a popular performer on the Mediterranean island. This song has more energy than his attempt last year and shows off his incredible voice - will it be second time luck for Ryan at MESC 2024?
7. Sarah Bonnici - 'Loop'
After her gentle performance of 'Heaven' at MESC 2022 (sung at a piano covered in flowers), Sarah Bonnici is back with a brand new attitude and some Chanel-esque dance moves to get the party started. 'Loop' is a bona fide bop and would be a return to the trend of high-energy Maltese pop divas from the 2010s - will Sarah take out the competition?
8. Sopranique - 'Empire'
And finally, we have a trio of classically trained women who have come together to deliver the schlager collapse of the year. 'Empire' is an unusual track and will certainly be polarising, but it's unlikely anything else in this year's MESC lineup and deserves attention for that alone.
You can see recap of all entries below:
Voting for the MESC grand final has now opened following the fourth semi-final, with results to follow in due course. The grand final will take place early next year.
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