Photo Credit: MATT BLXCK, X Factor Malta, DENISE, TVM
The 2024 national final season is finally underway! MESC will be the first national final that eurofans will get chance to hear songs for! This year 36 entrants will be hoping to win the ticket to Malmö and hope to follow in the footsteps of The Busker. In this article, I explain the format of MESC this year and we’ll meet all 36 of the artists competing, including some familiar faces, so let’s take a look!
This year the format of MESC is different to last year. There will be 36 semi-finalists and starting on Friday 27th October, the first 9 songs will be premiered during a show on TVM called ‘XOW’. These songs will be revealed weekly and then a jury and the public will decide which 12 songs will make it to the MESC final. These qualifiers will be revealed in a show on the 24th November.
The MESC Final will take place in January 2024 and each of the 12 finalists will be given a grant of 5,000 euros to film a music video. In addition to this, each finalist will perform a live-on-tape performance in December 2023. They will have 60 minutes and three takes and the best performance will get selected. This live final will see broadcasts of each performer’s live-on-tape performance and music video. Like the semi-final, the final will be decided by juries and televote.
Image Credit: TVM
If you’d like to read more about my thoughts on what went well and what went wrong for Malta in 2023, check out this article below!
Christian Arding: First up is Christian Arding. Christian is a singer who mainly sings in the Maltese language, something which we haven’t heard at Eurovision since 2000. He won the very first edition of Mużika Mużika which is one of Malta’s biggest music competitions where all songs are sung in the Maltese language, and finished 2nd in 2021. He’s also competed in the Maltese national selection before – he finished 5th in 2006 and last year he sang ‘Eku Ċar’ which finished in 10th place in the MESC Final. He’ll be hoping to replicate his success in Mużika Mużika with his song ‘Bellus’.
Cosette Baldacchino: Cosette is a singer taking part in her first MESC, she released her first single ‘Next to You‘ in 2022 and she’ll be singing ‘Free Fall’ hoping to wow the juries and the public.
Dan: Dan otherwise known as Daniel Muscat Caruana is a singer and full time-dad. He’s taken part in other singing contests before entering MESC. He took part in the Maltese song festival ‘L-Għanja tal-Poplu’ (People’s Ode Song Contest) in 2021 singing ‘L-Għeneb il-Qares’. His first MESC was last year where he sang the jolly song ‘It’ll Be Ok’ where he did better than okay. He managed to advance to the final and finish in 12th place. His staging was also unique as he sang his song while cycling featuring a background of the road behind him. This year he’ll be singing ‘Baraxx‘ hoping to further his MESC success.
DENISE: Denise Mercieca is a nurse and a rising Maltese pop star. She took part on the first series of The X Factor Malta where she received four yesses from the judges and made it to bootcamp. Eurofans will best remember her as a fan favourite from MESC 2022 with her catchy song ‘BOY’. She impressed the public and the juries and finished in 5th position. As well as that, she achieved a Top 10 hit in Malta and has amassed over 65,000 streams on Spotify! She released her follow-up song this year called ‘Forget Me (Not)’ to positive reviews from critics and fans alike. It’s since gone on to become her second Top 10 single in the country. This time she’s back with her song ‘Mara’ which means ‘Woman’ in English. Could she be one to watch?
Deserei Grech: Deserei Grech will be singing ‘Watch Me’ hoping to impress the eyes and ears of Malta which will be her first single. She has put out a cover of ‘Lost On You’ by LP which has had nearly 1,000 views.
Dominic Cini: Dominic Cini is a singer and composer who has been involved in the music scene since he was 6 years old. He’s taken part in MESC before as a solo artist in 2016 and also in a duet with his friend Anna Azzopardi last year where they sang the song ‘Whatever Wind May Blow’ together which successfully made it to the semi-finals. This time, he’s entering a song solo singing ‘Bewsa’.
Eliana Gomez Blanco: Eliana started singing when she was 6 years old and when she was 14 years old, she represented Malta in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2019 singing ‘We Are More‘ finishing in 19th place. As well as JESC, she’s had previous experience in multiple international festivals, even winning the Għanja Tal-Poplu Żgħażagħ 2018 festival in a duet. She entered her first MESC last year and made a strong debut where she sang the upbeat song ‘Guess What’ where she finished in 9th place. This year, she’ll be singing ‘There’s Only Flowers’ hoping she’ll be one of the select few people to compete in both Junior Eurovision and Adult Eurovision.
ERBA: ERBA are a newly formed girlgroup who will be making their debut in MESC. ERBA are made up of Kelsey, Maria, Anthea and Demi. They’ll be singing the song ‘Sirena’ which means ‘Mermaid’ in English hoping to make a big impression on the juries and the public. According to their Instagram @erba.gruppmalti, they have said that; “They promise Sirena is a bop, you’ll end up singing and dancing along!” Some Eurofans will also recognise one of the composers as Tom Hugo from KEiiNO has co-composed ‘Sirena’.
Franklin Calleja: Like many other contestants, Franklin is no stranger to competition. He took part in the 2016 edition of MESC where he sang ‘Little Love’ finishing in 3rd place. However, he’s not just tried to represent Malta in the past, but also San Marino! He took part in their selection process in 2018 finishing in 5th place. The following year, he was a contestant on the first series of X Factor Malta where he made it to the live shows in the over 25s category and finished in 11th place. Hoping his experience will help him in this edition of MESC, he’ll sing ‘Puppet’.
Gail Atard: Gail is a young singer who took part on the first and second series of X Factor Malta. Despite her talent, she didn’t make it to Judges’s Houses in Series 1, but she returned the following year wowing the judges with her powerful vocal range as she sang a cover of ‘Call Out My Name’ by The Weeknd. This time she did make it all the way to Judges’s Houses where she was mentored by Maltese superstar Ira Losco but she was not one of the three lucky finalists in her category to make the live shows. Gail will be taking part in her first MESC singing the song ‘Wild Card’.
Greta Tude: Click Clack, Greta Tude is back! Greta is a drag queen who’s performed in Malta as well as in the UK, such . She made a solid debut in MESC last year advancing to the live semi-finals with her song ‘Sound Of My Stilettos’. She also made history by being the first drag queen to get the chance to perform on the MESC stage. This year she’s back singing ‘Topic’ (Bla Bla) hoping to make it into her first MESC final.
Haley Azzopardi: Haley may only be 19 years of age but she’s achieved a lot in her music career. She was first in the public eye when she took part in Junior MESC 2015 as well as being a finalist in Sanremo Junior Malta three years in a row. The next music festival she took part in was the prestigious Maltese festival Mużika Mużika where in 2022, she finished within the top 20. She then focused her attention on MESC, and took part in her first edition last year with her song ‘Tik Tok‘, but unfortunately she failed to make it past the Quarter-Final stage. Hoping to do much better this time, she’ll be singing ‘Tell Me That It’s Over‘.
Janvil: Otherwise known as Ian, Janvil is a singer and TV presenter who’s tried to represent Malta at Eurovision various times throughout the 2000s and 2010s. He most recently competed in last year’s contest under his name Ian where he sang ‘On My Own’ and finished in a respectable 7th place in the final. Hoping to go all the way this time, he’ll be singing ‘Man’. A fun fact is that some Eurofans will also be familiar with his daughter Giada who is also a singer and took part in MESC 2022 and 2023 and she qualified for the final on both occasions.
Jessica Micallief: Jessica is a singer, model and mum. She competed in Miss Universe Malta in 2022 and 2023. She released her first single called ‘Who We Are‘ in 2021 and will be competing in her first MESC with the song ‘Tagħna Tnejn’.
Karen Duff: Karen Duff took part in Series 1 and 2 of X Factor Malta where she made it to Judges’ Houses on both occasions performing a mixture of covers and original material. She was mentored by Ira Losco. After X Factor, she released the singles ‘Silly Little Game’ and ‘Confidence’. She’ll be making her debut in MESC with the song ‘Breaking Bad‘.
Kurt Calleja: Eurofans will recognise the name Kurt Calleja as he represented Malta in 2012, however this is an entirely different Kurt! This Kurt Calleja was born in 2005 and will be taking part in his first MESC singing ‘Misunderstood’. The song has been composed and written by Richard Micalief who was in Firelight who represented Malta in 2014. Will he be able to replicate the success of his namesake and represent Malta at Eurovision? Only time will tell!
Kyle George: Kyle George is an upcoming artist who has taken part in various competitions across Malta. He took part in the second series of X Factor Malta impressing the judges and was mentored by Ray Mercieca. He competed in the boys’s category alongside the frontman of The Busker, Dav.Jr that year. Kyle made it all the way to the final finishing in 4th place. As well as X Factor, he also appeared at Mużika Mużika 2022 with the song ‘Tgħidlix Għalfejn’ where he finished in the final 12. In his first MESC, he’ll be hoping to also make the final performing his song ‘Arrows’.
Lisa Gauci: Lisa Gauci auditioned for The X Factor Malta in 2021 when she was only 15. She received a standing ovation from all four of the judges performing an emotional rendition of ‘Zombie’ by The Cranberries which was described as “mature beyond her years” by judge Ira Losco. As the competition went on, she continued to wow the judges with her incredible voice, especially her mentor Ivan Grech. During her six chair challenge she received a standing ovation from thousands of people in the audience. She managed to make it all the way to the X Factor Final finishing in 2nd place, losing only to Ryan Hili, who will also be competing in this year’s MESC. After X Factor, she joined her fellow X Factor finalist Aidan Drakard and competed in Mużika Mużika 2023 performing ‘Jekk Mhux Int’ which finished in 2nd place. Hoping to go one further than 2nd place in her first MESC, she’ll be singing ‘Breathe’.
Lyndsay Pace: Lyndsay is another contestant who’s tried multiple times to represent Malta at Eurovision. She first took part in 2015 singing ‘Home’ but she was unable to make the final. She also took part last year with her song ‘Haunted’ but she didn’t advance past the Quarter-Finals. Hoping to make her first MESC final, she’ll be performing ‘Fire Proof’.
Maria Christina: Maria is not only a singer but also a great piano player. She’s performed on TV Shows and major events before. She sang at the Miss Universe Malta event back in 2021. She is also an MESC returnee as she tried to represent the nation in Eurovision with her song ‘Our Flame’, but ultimately it didn’t ignite a spark in the juries and televote’s hearts as she failed to make the semi-finals. This year she’s back and singing ‘Moving On’ hoping to do a lot better.
Marie Claire: The next contestant is singer and musician Marie Claire. She also took part in MESC last year where she performed the ballad ‘Thankful’ but unfortunately she was not one of the 24 semi-finalists who advanced. Hoping to make her first final, she’ll be performing ‘Fading’.
Mark Anthony Bartolo: Mark had his breakthrough on X Factor Malta where he made it to Judges’ Houses and Ira Losco was his mentor. Over recent years, he’s also been an MESC regular first taking part in 2022 where he sang ‘Serenity’ finishing in 11th place. The following year, he sang ‘Tears’ but he didn’t advance to the grand final. In his 3rd contest, he’ll be singing ‘Condition or Friction’ hoping to make it to the final 12.
Mark Portelli: Despite this being his first MESC, this isn’t Mark’s first time in a singing compeition. He was a finalist in the Carpathia Festival in Poland featuring singers from Ukraine, Slovakia and Lithuania. He also finished in 2nd place at the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza contest in 2021. Mark will be performing ‘Just Be’ at MESC 2024.
Martina Cutajar: Martina is a singer and has performed at various singing festivals such as KKI in 2020. She also releases covers on her YouTube channel with her most popular video having nearly 140,000 views on YouTube! Martina will be singing ‘Miles Away’ for her MESC debut.
MATT BLXCK: IT’S MATT BLXCK HAHAHA. Yes, the Maltese rapper and singer is back in his 3rd MESC in a row hoping to go all the way. He first took part in MESC 2018 under the name Matthew Anthony and finished in 7th place. He also made waves on X Factor Malta in 2020 where he made it to Judges Houses but didn’t make it to the final 12. His first two MESC entries in 2022 and 2023 were successful, ‘Come Around’ and ‘UP’ made the final finishing 7th and 3rd respectively, with ‘UP’ being the surprise jury winner last year and amassing over 150,000 streams on Spotify to date. He also collaborated with frontman of last years entrants The Busker, Dav.Jr on their song ‘Maria’. He’s already got form in MESC and his recent hit ‘OneTwoThree‘ made it into the Top 10 in Malta so he’s definitely one to watch. He recently performed at EuroPride in Valetta in 2023 to a crowd of thousands of people. Can he make it third time lucky this time with his song ‘Banana’?
Michela Galea: Michela Galea is a singer, actress and model, winning the 1st Runner-Up and People’s Choice Award in Miss Universe Malta in 2021. She competed in Mużika Mużika2023 with ‘Ġawhra’ making it to the final 12. She’ll be making her debut in MESC hoping to make a big impression singing ‘Let’s Talk About Love’.
Miguel Bonello: Miguel Bonello has had a passion for music and singing from a young age and had taken part in various international singing festivals as a child. He won the Sanremo Junior Malta edition in 2017 as well as being a finalist in the Malta’s Junior Eurovision selection. When he was only 15, he auditioned for the first series of The X Factor Malta receiving four yesses from the judges and eventually made it to the six chair challenge. He also made the final 12 in the Muzika Muzika 2021 festival. He’ll be entering his first MESC competition with ‘Better Off Alone’.
Miriana Conte: Miriana Conte is a Maltese/Italian singer who will be taking part in her 4th MESC. As well as being a finalist on X Factor Malta, she has successfully made it to the MESC final on all of her attempts so far in 2017, 2018 and most recently 2022 where she finished in 6th place with her song ‘Look What You’ve Done Now‘. She also performed at the opening concert of EuroPride in Valletta in 2023. This time, she’ll be singing ‘Venom’.
Moira Stafrace: Moira has had a long and successful career as a singer, she started her singing career when she was 12. She was part of the famous duo Chris and Moira for 28 years. They are most famous for representing Malta in Eurovision 1994 with the song ‘More Than Love’ and did very well finishing in 5th place scoring 97 points which was one of Malta’s best results at the time. This wasn’t their only song writing effort for Eurovision as Chris and Moira co-wrote the 1999 Maltese entry ‘Believe In Peace’ performed by Times Three which finished 15th. Sadly her partner Chris passed away in 2022 from cancer. Moira has recently made a comeback to the music industry as a solo artist and she’ll be singing ‘Feather Flight’ hoping to represent Malta 30 years after her Eurovision appearance.
Nathan: Nathan like many others is a returnee singer to MESC. He had previous MESC experience as a backing singer in 2022, but despite him only being 18, this will be his 2nd attempt in the contest as a solo artist after doing very well on his debut with his song ‘Creeping Walls’ advancing to the final and finishing in 11th place. Nathan will be singing ‘Ghost’ this time around hoping to do even better. He also took part in X Factor Malta and advanced to the Judges Houses stage in 2021 where his mentor was Keith Howard Debono.
OXYGYN: OXYGYN are an indie pop duo composed of siblings Kurt and Katia Abela. They also have Zack on guitar and their music is produced by Funky Monkey. OXYGYN have been releasing music for a number of years and have achieved success on the Maltese Charts with their debut single ‘CORRODE’ reaching Number 2 and later in 2018, their single ‘BUBBLEWRAP’ reached Number 1. They made it into the final 12 of Muzika Muzika 2022 with their song ‘Purgatorju’. Hoping their unique sound will give them a great result in their first MESC, they’ll be performing ‘Cloudmaker’.
Ryan Hili: Another favourite from last year’s MESC is returning in 2024. Ryan is a teacher and he won the 3rd series of X Factor Malta back in 2022 amazing the judges and the Maltese public with his strong voice. He took part in his first MESC in 2023 with his debut single ‘In The Silence’. Despite a strong showing, he finished in 2nd place. He’ll be hoping to go one better in 2024 with his song ‘Karma’. After MESC 2023, he has since gone onto release more of his own material and was even a support act for Sam Ryder’s headline show in Malta. As well as singing, he was the Maltese Jury Spokesperson at Eurovision 2023.
Sarah Bonnici: Sarah is from Gozo and she’s competed in a multitude of competitions such as winning KKI (Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza) in 2018. She took part in the first series of X Factor Malta receiving four yesses at her audition and making it to bootcamp. Sarah first took part in MESC in 2022 with her song ‘Heaven’ finishing in 12th place. MESC 2024 will be her next challenge where she’ll sing ‘Loop’.
Sopranique: Sopranique are an all-female trio who will be singing ‘Empire’ in their first time competing in MESC hoping to go all the way.
Stefan Galea: Another MESC regular, Stefan Galea is returning with ‘Numb’ in this year’s MESC. he previously entered Junior MESC in 2009 as well as supporting Maltese Pop star and Eurovision 2002 and 2016 contestant Ira Losco at her concert in 2011. His first MESC in 2016 ended in heartbreak as he didn’t make it to the final, but ironically his song ‘Heartbreaker’ did make the final in 2023 where he finished in 16th place. He’ll be hoping to make the final 12 and beyond this time.
Thea Aquilina: And last but not least we have Thea Aquilina! Thea is a singer and pianist, and in her spare time she runs a food blog on Instagram called Served_Mt where she takes pictures of her favourite foods across restaurants in Malta. She took part in the MJESC (Maltese Junior Eurovision Song Contest) in 2018 where she made the final 10 with her song ‘Back To My Freedom’. Thea will be making her MESC debut singing the song ‘Blood Stream’.
That’s all 36 artists! We can’t wait to hear all of the songs and we wish all of the contestants the best of luck in MESC 2024! Who will represent Malta at Eurovision 2024? We’ll find out in January!
Which song are you most looking forward to hearing and who would you like to see represent Malta in 2024? Let us know in the comments!