This year, Malta dropped their usual national final (MESC) and opted to pick their Eurovision entrant through X Factor Malta. The competition is now well underway and the Six Chair Challenge is now over, with each of the four judges having picked 6 acts to continue.
Two MESC alumni among the Girls category
The first category to battle it out were the Girls, coached by judge Howard Keith Debono. In total, 14 talented singers competed for the 6 spots available. The songs performed ranged from Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” to Mariah Carey’s “When you Believe“. After a tough and heated round, it was Danica Muscat, Jade Vella. Karin Duff, Kelsey Bellante, Michela Pace and Nicole Frendo who successfully proceeded to the next round. Among the names, we see two MESC alumni. In fact, Jade Vella competed once back in 2017 with “Seconds Away” while Danica Muscat appeared a total of 5 times in the contest. Danica sneaked her way to the final 6 after winning an a Capella sing off with Micheale Galea.
Aidan Cassar in the final 6 of the Boys category
The following week, it was the Boy’s category turn to compete. This time, it was Eurovision star Ira Losco who was in charge of picking the best 6 boys among the 11 competing. The singers tackled different songs ranging from Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” to Outcast’s “Hey Ya“. Most singers gave strong performances and Ira eventually picked Aidan Cassar, Claudio Zammit, Luke Chappel, Mark Anthony Bartolo, Norbert Bondin,´and Owen Leuellen proceeded to the next stage of X Factor Malta. Those who followed MESC 2018 will recognize Aidan Cassar as he competed with the song “Dai Laga“. On the other hand, another MESC 2018 alumn, Matthew Anthony Caruana (who now performs with the stage name Matt Blxck) didn’t impress Ira with his version of Ariana Grande’s “Side to Side” and was sent home.
Fabrizio and Claudia Faniello’s mother among Over final 6
On the third episode of the Six Chair Challenge we saw the Over 25 battle it out to win one of judge Ray Mercieca’s 6 chairs. 12 singers competed and eventually, the six singers who successfully earned the chairs were: Anna Azzopardi, Franklin Calleja, Anna Faniello, Pe Tra, Ben Purplle and Vanessa Sultana. Anna Faniello has a strong connection to Eurovision as she is the mother of not one, but 2 Maltese Eurovision entrant, 2001 and 2006 entrant Fabrizio Faniello and 2017 entrant Claudia Faniello. Back in July we had reported that she had auditioned for the show and now she is going far in the competition! Besides, another familiar face among the final 6 is Franklin Calleja, who appeared multiple times at MESC and also competed at 1in360 in an attempt to represent San Marino in 2018.
Alexandra Alden picked her final 6 Groups
The last of the categories to face the dreaded Six Chair Challenge were the Groups, coached by Alexandra Alden. A total of 10 groups competed for the 6 spots. The acts performed a variety of songs, including “Say Something” and mash-up of “Fix You“, “Thinking Out Loud” and “True Colours“. The 6 lucky winners were: 4th Line, Horizon, Kayati, Prism, Systm12 and Xtreme.
Over the next two episodes, the remaining singers will face the Judges Houses round. The top 3 of each category will then proceed to the live shows of X Factor Malta.
Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest
Malta made its Eurovision debut back in 1971 with Joe Grech and his entry ‘Marija-I-Maltija’, placing last. Since then, it participated in the contest a total of 30 times, failing to make it to the grand final on seven attempts. So far, Malta’s best result is second place, achieved twice by Ira Losco in 2002 and by Chiara in 2005. Recently, Malta has struggled to make the Eurovision final, failing to qualify in 3 of the past 4 attempts. In Lisbon, Christabelle Borg represented the island with her song “Taboo”. Despite finishing 5th with the juries she placed last with the televote, ending in 13th place.
Are you happy about the artists who made it through? Who do you hope to see represent Malta in Tel Aviv?
Let us know in the comment section below or on all social media platforms @ESCXTRA.