XTRA Throwback Thursday: Marvellously Maltese

It’s Thursday, so that can only mean one thing: XTRA Throwback Thursday! In the upcoming weeks and months, we’ll take you on a journey through Europe and beyond, a journey through the history of the contest. This week, we’ll focus on Malta who is today celebrating its Independence Day!

This week’s theme: Marvellously Maltese

Malta made its Eurovision debut in 1971 when Joe Grech performed his entry in Maltese. Only two further Maltese entries would include the Maltese language in its entry: in 1972 and 2000. In the 1990s and early 2000s, following a 16-year break from the contest between 1975 and 1991, Malta racked up an extremely impressive 11 top ten finishes in the space of 12 contests, topped off by Ira Losco’s second-place finish in 2002 with 7th Wonder. However, it is Malta’s other second-place finisher that we are focusing on today…


It was very difficult for me to choose my favourite Maltese entry. 7th Wonder, Vodka, Coming Home and Walk On Water were all very much in contention. Indeed, Angel may not necessarily be my favourite Maltese entry. Nevertheless, it is Chiara’s birthday on Monday, so it feels right to relive her performance of Angel today, which is a very special day for the Maltese: Independence Day.

My favourite entry in 2005 was Vanilla Ninja’s Cool Vibes. I enjoyed Angel at the time but was team Greece in the battle between Chiara and Helena Paparizou. Nevertheless, I was too young to realise the context of the scenario. Little did I know just how much Malta adored the Eurovision Song Contest and little did I know how close Chiara had come to taking victory once before, losing victory on the very last vote in 1998 to Dana International. Indeed, if the 2005 contest took place now there is no doubt I’d have been desperate for Malta and Chiara to take that first victory.

The song itself surely benefited from its simplicity, as Alesia says below. In a contest that was reaching its peak in terms of novelty and gimmicks, Chiara stood out from the pack with her beautiful voice and uplifting, simple song. It’s notable that simply staged ballads from Israel’s Shiri Maimon and Latvia’s Walters and Kazha also made the top 5 in 2005. While the song does feel dated in today’s music climate, it is still one of the ultimate Eurovision ballads that I go to joining the likes of Yohanna’s Is It True? and Polina Gagarina’s A Million Voices.

It is the strongest of Chiara’s three entries, all of which I like. Indeed, when Eurovision fans think Malta, I think Chiara would be the first artist to jump to the front of their minds… closely followed by Ira Losco. Perhaps she will give Eurovision one more attempt in the future?

What the others had to say…


Chiara’s voice always gives me chills. Her vocal control and level of restraint are envious. The song itself was dated, even for 2005. It has no place in the contest today, but a song with that simplicity and true sentiment do and I believe that that is a big reason why Portugal was the clear winner in this year’s competition.


“Angel” is a timeless ballad which still amazes me. Back in 2005, I was probably too young to realise how amazing the song is. Some years after the contest, I finally got it and I’m still in love with it. Even though it came second in 2005, I think it was underrated. It should’ve been the year for Malta to shine. I’m usually more into up-tempo songs, which makes it harder for me to really fall for a ballad, but “Angel” was truly a song of a career and I sadly think that Chiara won’t be able to top that. Moreover, everybody will compare other songs from her with “Angel”.


I really love Angel… it was the first entry from Chiara that I have heard. Out of all of the three entries that she has entered with for Malta, Angel, in my opinion, is her strongest and the best ballad Malta has sent! (sorry Claudia!) If she ever comes back to Eurovision, I definitely want her to come back for the win!


Chiara is a very good singer and brought three very good songs to Eurovision. Unfortunately, “Angel” is my least favourite from her. Not that it’s a bad song, I just prefer the other two. Angel’s lyrics are the cheesiest of the three. As far as the music is concerned, it is beautiful. Yet, when the energy starts to kick in at the end, I’m expecting a powerful conclusion. Instead, the song goes back into the more quiet and calm melody, leaving me with a feeling of incompleteness: it never really takes off.

Next week

Next week we will look back at some of Eurovision’s best entries from the genre of country. Therefore, our Nick will take you back to a country highlight of his.

But for now, let’s remember Malta’s ‘Angel’. What is your favourite Maltese entry? Let us know below!

Ryan Cobb

My first memory of watching the Eurovision Song Contest was back in 2001 and, over the years, my passion and enthusiasm for the contest has very much turned into an obsession. I adore music and I love geography, so this contest is a natural fit for me. If la la loving Eurovision was a crime, I'd certainly be a criminal!

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