Would you accept a co-founder
Interview with Eurovision fans Malta co-founder
The Maltese are music enthusiasts and big Eurovision Song Contest fans. 8,700 fans alone cavort in the specially created Facebook fan group. We interviewed the co-founder of the #EFM Eurovision Fans Malta and would like to share his enthusiasm for the contest with you. Read for yourself:
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your interest in the Eurovision Song Contest?
First of all, thank you very much for this interview. My name is Deo Grech, I am 45 years old, a headmaster by profession and an enthusiastic Eurovision fan. I saw the first show in 1991 when Malta returned to competition after a very long absence since joining in 1975. I immediately fell in love with the show. On this occasion, our whole family gathered around the television to support our favorite artists in competition against the giants of the international music scene. Where else would a singer from a tiny island like ours and with a population smaller than a typical European city share the same stage as artists who we consider megastars?
Our national pride increased with every point that our diva Mary Spiteri scored a year later at the ESC. The ESC became a fixed date in my calendar.
Ultimately, the rise of the internet made this passion even more alive. I still remember the words I used for my first Yahoo! Search typed. Google didn't exist back then. Those were the ‘Eurovision Song Contest’ and suddenly I realized that this passion was shared by thousands of other internet users around the world. Eventually I was named President of the Maltese branch of the International Fan Club of the Eurovision Song Contest, a position I have held for over 20 years. In 2005 I bought my first Eurovision ticket and had the experience firsthand in the arena. I then attended every issue as a fan, journalist or member of the Maltese delegation. I am currently co-admin of #EFM - Eurovision Fans Malta, a popular Facebook group with over 8,700 followers.
What role does the Eurovision Song Contest play for the Maltese?
The contest is loved by most of the fans of the local music scene. It is estimated that over 98% of households watch the final show each year. In the 90s the hype was even bigger considering the amazing results we as a country got in this competition. We all remember with great pride how close we were to victory in 1992, 1998 and 2002. However, with the introduction of audience voting, Malta has suffered some bad results in a row in recent years. This created a sense of disappointment in a large part of the fan community, and some began to view it with suspicious eyes. The infamous phrase “... and twelve points for our neighbors” only made things worse. However, the recent successful results of Gianluca Bezzina in 2013, Ira Losco in 2016, Michela Pace in 2019 and the wave of support for our Destiny in 2020-21 have rekindled the fire and excitement.
What are your top 3 Malta entries for the Eurovision Song Contest?
Oh, that's a tough question! I like most of our posts. However, if I had to sort them out, I would call “Little Child” (1992) by Mary Spiteri the song that sparked my passion as a young fan. "Angel" (2005) by Chiara as the contribution that brings back the best memories, as it was my first competition that I actually saw live from the arena; and “Let‘ me fly ”(1997) by Debbie Scerri for its instrumentation with a mixture of Celtic and Mediterranean sounds.
What do you think of Malta's 2021 contribution - Destiny Chukunyere with “Je Me Casse”?
I think it's a good choice. I really like the song. It brings out the cheekiness and charm of the 18-year-old singer and leaves room for her great voice. I can already imagine how her massive voice will fill the arena in Rotterdam and what great applause she will receive from the crew and journalists after each rehearsal round. Betting providers consider her one of the hottest favorites to win. Critics write positive reviews of them for a long time. There seems to be nothing wrong with this year's contribution. But of course it all depends on the performance and the mood of the jury and television viewers at night.
After the Covid-19 cancellation of the competition in 2020, Destiny's song “All of My Love” could not be used for this year's ESC. Do you prefer “Je Me Casse” or “All of My Love”?
Yes, I think it was a wise decision to move away from “All of My Love” and go for something completely different this year. Fans, journalists and critics expected a soul-pop melody that strikes the same notes as the previous songs “All of My Love” and “Not my soul”, with which she won the 2015 Junior Eurovision. The Maltese delegation then kept Destiny's contribution under lock and key until the last day of the notice period set by the EBU, the organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest. When they finally found out the secret, everyone waits, speechless. In ‘Je Me Casse’ everything revolves around woman power. But it's also about having fun, being in control of your own happiness, having a positive outlook on life and, above all, adapting to the circumstances. Aren't these the issues we're all looking forward to after this global pandemic is over? So yes, Je Me Casse is my favorite choice.
Do you think Malta has a chance to win the ESC for the first time?
Yeah, I really think so. However, it all depends on three factors: the performance of our song, the mood of the jury and callers, and luck. However, the staging is the most important factor. It has to be unique and memorable, artistic and fun. This includes the camera recordings, Destiny's vocal and visual impact on the screen, which the TV viewer and jury alike must inspire. If Malta gets this right and gets the perfect place to broadcast, Valletta 2022 is definitely possible!
How would you and the rest of the Maltese population react if Malta won this year's ESC?
That would be another reason for us to celebrate ... of course taking into account all Covid19 measures! We are seen as a party nation. We celebrate a national or public festival almost every month and are considered one of the European nations with a very high level of satisfaction. When Destiny finally brings the trophy home after a long era of over 30 failed attempts, the island would surely turn into a party mode with car parades on the streets of the islands all night long. She would be treated like queen when she returned to the country!
Thank you Deo Grech!We keep our fingers crossed for Malta and Destiny!
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