Over the weekend Malta completed its national selection for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.1 Let’s take a listen to the winning entry, “Warrior” by Amber:
I have some concerns. By coincidence, just before listening to this track for the first time I listened to last year’s winner “Rise Like a Phoenix” by Conchita Wurst. It is not uncommon for there to be clones of the previous year’s winning song at the following year’s contest2, and I would argue this song has perhaps one too many similarities to Phoenix.
My other major concern deals with Malta’s approach to the Contest. From at least 2011 onward, Malta has not done much tinkering with any of their entries. Given when they typically select (February), this is an okay strategy, in that a country that uses a public selection process should send something that closely resembles what the public selected. I like that Malta expects the competitors in the national selection to submit completed works rather than works in progress. However, in this case I would like Malta to make an exception.
I think “Warrior” could be greatly improved if the tone of the song was lightened a smidge. The lyrics might benefit from a few more passes, just to avoid the sense of forced gravitas that tends to plague Eurovision entries. Given how early this entry was selected, releasing a heavily revised version in February or March could be to Malta’s benefit—it would give Amber a second chance to be the topic of conversation closer to the Contest and demonstrate how serious Malta is at being a competitor this year. Ukraine did this to great effect last year.
Malta is a country I always root for and I hope we didn’t already see the final draft of their entry. Take advantage of the six months you’ve given yourself to make your entry a warrior at Eurovision.