Malta ESC 2022 Reviews: Norbert and Francesca

Norbert — “How Special You Are”
I’m sure there’s an audience for this kind of sappy ballad, as I guess there is for any song that ends up at the contest, or even in a national selection. I don’t think there’s a particularly big one for this though. I’ll give Norbert credit — his vocal performance is exactly as emotional as it needs to be, and the instruments accompany him at the correct distance in terms of enhancing his message rather than distracting from it. The lyrics are pretty basic and at least they don’t contain awkward phrases like too many others I’ve reviewed so far. Beyond that, I don’t think there’s much here to make it stand out from the pack.

Francesca — “Rise”
Thanks to comments section, I now know that Francesca represented Malta at Junior Eurovision in 2009. This certainly explains her vocal skills and confidence in delivering a song which requires a lot of singing: there’s barely an instrumental break for the whole three minutes. The straightforward lyrics, about working through hardship, are fairly apt given the events of the last couple of years. I can see people relating to this. Musically there’s enough to keep the song from being too one-dimensional, even if the beat is fairly plodding: the backing vocals feel more momentous than the instruments. Given Francesca’s experience in the contest and the potential for a jury-pleasing song, this could be a contender even if it’s not really something I’d return to that much.