The Malta Independent 23 May 2024, Thursday
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Gianluca avoids national tragedy

Malta Independent Friday, 17 May 2013, 09:03 Last update: about 11 years ago

The qualification of Gianluca Bezzina for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest has avoided a national tragedy the proportions of which would have been catastrophic. For us Maltese, it would have been worse than a tsunami.


Well, given the amount of hype that surrounds this contest in Malta – while others put up with it, ignore it, or simply take it in their stride – it would have been taken as a national insult if Malta would not have made it to the final. We would have, collectively speaking, felt humiliated, cheated and resentful.

Perhaps we would even have had calls for Malta to leave the European Union.

We would have spoken of conspiracies against us, neighbourly voting, even perhaps a lack of knowledge in music by those who vote – when, after all, the Eurovision song contest is anything but good music.

Year after year, countries try to invent new things to distract viewers from the music and gain sympathy votes. It’s not the music that counts, but having a 95-year-old on stage (it didn’t work out, because Switzerland did not make it), a man in a transparent box and a lesbian kiss that make the headlines, not the song.

And yet, year after year, we spend a good part of three months talking about the Eurovision song contest. Six, if you count the preparatory work that starts before Christmas and continues right up to February when we normally have the festival to choose our song. From then onwards, it is then full speed ahead until May – until the contest is held. God knows how much money is spent when it could easily be used for better initiatives elsewhere.

The most popular programme we have on local TV stations, Xarabank, dedicates four or five editions to the contest. It’s the chicken and egg story – is it because the event is popular, or is it a case that it is glorifying an event that, in other countries, takes up one minute on national news, or perhaps nothing at all?

The mind really boggles.

Football was once the national sport. It is no longer so.

Collectively speaking again, the country will be hooked in front of TV Saturday evening to watch the final night of the contest. The peak will be when the votes start coming in. Then, we’ll make new friends (countries who vote for us) and new enemies (those who don’t).  And we’ll not be surprised if the Scandinavian and Baltic countries vote for each other, but we’ll be offended if they don’t give us at least a point.

Our national pride has been saved. So far. Because it can plummet tomorrow.

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