Initial Review: “I Am What I Am” by Emma Muscat (Malta)

As I’ve said several times on this blog, it’s up to each individual country to decide how they’re going to choose their song for Eurovision, and even though I have my preferred formats, I avoid ‘telling’ countries how they should run their selection processes. However, imagine you’re a Maltese Eurovision fan, and you’ve just come out of the national final show, for which you paid a ticket. Emma Muscat has won with “Out of Sight”, and regardless of whether it was your favourite, this is now going to Eurovision and you’ll support it as much as you can. Then, a few weeks later, rumours start spreading that the song is going to be changed in favour of an entirely new song. Wouldn’t you wonder what the point of the national final and all its glitz and glamour (and endless advertisements) was?

But here we are: it’s 2016 all over again as Malta make a last-minute decision to change their song. At Turin, Emma Muscat instead will be singing “I Am What I Am”, the kind of song which really doesn’t need further explanation after you see the title. It’s about self-acceptance and empowerment, full of cheer and hand claps and general brightness. If you’re looking for a feel-good, catchy albeit somewhat dated track, here you go. I guess if Anna Salene’s “Champion” had won selection for Estonia, this might have seemed redundant in semi-final two.

I wasn’t convinced regarding Malta’s qualification chances with “Out of Sight”, but I think they’ve managed to improve their lot with this switch. “Out of Sight” was very wordy, especially for non-English speakers, whereas “I Am What I Am” has more recognisable phrases. Muscat seems to be a natural performer, and if she presents as well as she does in the video, she should be able to win over enough voters with her charisma. This is too middle-of-the-road for my own tastes, but I can see how people might enjoy this as a cheery, uncomplicated song in these uncertain times.