Why this story matters:
The Eurovision song contest is interesting not as a musical event, but rather for its political underpinnings. Direct voting on songs creates an illusion of democracy -- people can choose not only who rules them, but also what will be the next summer hit.
For small countries, this is a heartfelt attempt to be seen, and show that they matter. Malta is no exception. When Christabelle, its representative -- who went to Lisbon with an attempt to blend a socially sensitive topic with a eurodance rhythm -- did not qualify for the finals, a debate began over whether "democracy" is to blame for the final results. (But in this debate, everyone seems to be ignoring the fact that when the candidate was selected at Malta Eurovision, she was also not only chosen by the audience, but was also the pick of a non-democratic jury.)
Christabelle is a strong character who speaks openly about mental health issues and has become an ambassador for this topic (see my interview with her in March). However, considering that this year's winner, Netta, sang about female empowerment, voters cannot be accused of boycotting controversial topics. Perhaps it was the song's eurodance rhythym that turned off Malta and the international audience?
Details from the story:
- Christabelle Borg is the Mental Health Ambassador of the President's Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society.
- The song placed last in Eurovision's public vote.
- Meanwhile, Malta has won Junior Eurovision twice, where the contestant is selected by public vote.