For a third ranking in a row, it’s a country seeing a big plummet from my 2021 placing to this 2022 placing. Malta gave us a little bit of extra drama/intrigue as well with rumours abound that the song that Emma Muscat had won the national final with was going to replaced – and indeed this turned out to be the case with “I Am What I Am” substituting “Out of Sight“. The garnered quite a negative reaction from many corners, but I should stress the placing of this song in the ranking is based purely on the song, not the history of it becoming the entry.
Emma Muscat is from a wealthy Maltese family and has been involved in music and the music industry for some time. She’s had some minor success in Italy as a singer and featured artist (perhaps why Malta seemed so keen to make sure she was sent). She won both the jury and public vote in the Maltese national final – though the jury/public vote was heavily weighted in favour of juries. I happen to think they were determined to send her (if not the song) and they may as well have just done it as an internal selection.
“I Am What I Am” looks and sounds like a Melfest/Eurovision staple of catchy chorus, simple rhyming lyrics, uplifting backing vocals etc and in truth that’s because it is one of those. I understand it was entered but rejected as a Melfest song this year, and one of the cowriters (along with Emma herself) is the partner of Dotter, who has twice come close to winning Melfest, and there are some definite hints of her songs in there.
I’ll be honest, while Emma does say that this song comes from her own experiences and means a lot to her, for me it’s such a cliché of a song at Eurovision (or Melfest). A bot could predict the next words in each line of lyrics and there is nothing original in this. Yet it may do better than some of us would wish given it is a formula that has proved successful in the past – and a non-Eurovision friend of mine who happened to hear it in the car among a Eurovision 2022 playlist mentioned this one as one he liked compared to the others!
That revelation probably only solidified my low opinion of this – and it’s doubly gutting that the song that came second in the Maltese national final didn’t even have the opportunity to compete with the song actually being sent. That was by Aidan and would have been a male sole ethno dance bop, “Ritmu” (we don’t get many of those sadly) and was sung in Maltese – a language we haven’t had at Eurovision in over 40 years! A real chance missed…
Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 1971
Appearances (excluding this year): 33
Best result: 2nd in 2002 and 2005
Last year’s result: 7th