Photo Credit: MATT BLXCK, Lorella Castillo, ERBA, Albert Camileri
Over the last few weeks, 36 acts have taken part in the MESC Semi-Finals hoping to take their song to Eurovision in May! Now these 36 have been whittled down to 12 acts who have advanced to the final. In this article, we take a look at the 12 acts hoping to make their Eurovision dream come true, the ones to watch, and we’ll also look at how the final works in more detail.
If you’d like to know more about all of the 36 acts who took part in MESC this year, then click below.
MESC Final Format
Unlike previous MESCs, the 2024 format will be slightly different. Normally, like most national finals, it features the acts singing their song live on stage in front of a studio audience. This time, all 12 acts will be given a grant of 5,000 euros to produce a music video for their song. As well as that, like in Eurovision 2021, all artists will be asked to produce a live-on-tape performance of their song which will also be broadcast during the show. These live-on-tape performances were produced in December 2023 at a PBS Studio at Television House and each artist was given just 60 minutes and 3 takes to perform their song. These performances will be seen by the juries and public who will then vote for their favourites (the ratio of the juries and televote is yet to be determined).
Additionally, MESC will also be spread across six days this year, starting on Monday 29th January. Between Monday to Wednesday, there will be three episodes where the 12 finalists will be interviewed. Here, viewers will learn more about each act and how they’re preparing for the final. On Thursday 1st February all 12 music videos will be broadcast for the first time. On Friday 2nd February, all 12 acts will perform in a ‘nostalgia night’, singing past Eurovision songs and showcasing local and international music.
On Saturday 3rd February, the MESC final will take place where the live-on-tape performances will be shown to the public for the first time. It is on this day that the overall winner will be selected to represent Malta in Eurovision. As well as this, there will also be prizes for second and third placed acts, best music videos and best new talent.
The 12 acts that qualified for the MESC final were:
- DENISE – Mara
- ERBA – Sirena
- Gail Atard – Wild Card
- Greta Tude – Topic (Bla Bla)
- Haley Azzopardi – Tell Me That’s It Over
- Janvil – Man
- Lisa Gauci – Breathe
- MATT BLXCK – Banana
- Miriana Conte – Venom
- Nathan – Ghost
- Ryan Hili – Karma
- Sarah Bonnici – Loop
Ones To Watch
Denise Mercieca is a pop star on the rise in Malta! She first found fame on the first series of The X Factor Malta, where she made it to boot camp. She dropped her surname and took part in MESC for the first time in 2022 with her catchy song ‘BOY’ which became a fan favourite and finished in 5th place. She also found success in the Maltese charts as ‘BOY’ and her follow up single ‘Forget Me (Not)’ were both Top 10 singles. Her MESC song this year is called ‘Mara’ (‘Woman’) and is about female empowerment. ‘Mara’ is another earworm of a song and she’ll be hoping that she’ll be crowned the winner of the contest this time around.
ERBA are a newly formed group that have already been making waves in Malta and amongst Eurofans. The group is made up of Kelsey Bellante (who was an X Factor Malta finalist), Maria Ellul, Anthea Gatt (whose solo music was listened to in 104 countries in 2023 alone, according to her Spotify Wrapped) and Demi Galea. Each one of them is a singer but this supergroup are determined to make waves at MESC with the release of their first single ‘Sirena’, which is the only song in the contest where the whole chorus is in Maltese. If they were to win, this would be the first Maltese entry to feature the language since 2000.
Eurofans will also recognise one of the composers: Tom Hugo who’s a member in Norwegian band KEiiNO who finished in 6th place for the country with ‘Spirit In The Sky’. ‘Sirena’ has been a fan favourite thanks to its catchy nature and harmonies. They’re also the only group to have made the final 12 so they already stand out but can they win the MESC title?
Lisa Gauci may only be young but she’s achieved a lot in her career so far. She first appeared on the third series of The X Factor Malta when she was only 15. She auditioned singing ‘Zombie‘ by The Cranberries, receiving a standing ovation from all of the judges. The judges were amazed at her “mature beyond her years” voice. She breezed past the competition and made it to the live shows where she was coached by Ivan Grech. She consistently gave great performances, continuing to amaze the judges and the viewing public, which led to her eventually finishing as the runner up, losing out to Ryan Hili. Her song will be the ballad ‘Breathe’ where she’ll hope to go all the way. Will her stunning vocals impress the juries and public once again on Saturday?
This man needs no introduction, except…IT’S MATT BLXCK HAHAHA! Matt is a rapper and singer who’s becoming a rising star in the country. Eurofans will know his name (and how to spell it) as this isn’t his first rodeo. He’s competed in MESC multiple times, such as in 2022 where he finished in 7th place but the following year his song ‘UP’ became the surprise jury winner. He eventually finished in 3rd place. This time, determined to do even better, he’s sending his fun up-tempo song ‘Banana’. After his previous success and follow-up singles all reaching the Top 10 in Malta, Matt will definitely be one to watch. Will Matt make the juries and Maltese public go bananas? We’ll find out soon enough!
Ryan Hili is another up and coming singer who’s already achieved big things in his career. Although he currently teaches in a high school, his powerful singing voice helped him win thousands of fans across Malta and he won the third series of the X Factor. Eurofans will also remember him as he took part in MESC last year as a favourite with his song ‘In The Silence’, finishing in 2nd place overall. This time he’s back with ‘Karma’ hoping to replicate his X Factor success. Will he be able to go one better this time?
Sarah Bonnici is a singer who found fame during X Factor Malta. When it was first revealed in October, her song ‘Loop’ caused excitement amongst Eurofans who loved her catchy pop song and dance break. This isn’t Sarah’s first MESC either as she took part in MESC 2022 with her song ‘Heaven’ which finished in 12th place overall. Sarah has also has some domestic success in the months leading up to MESC as her single ‘Never Ever’ was in the Top 10. Will we be having her entry on ‘Loop’ in the months to come?
That’s just some of the artists we think are ones to watch in this MESC week! Who do you want to see represent Malta in Malmö? Let us know in the comments!
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