© Tobias von der Haar
Freelance journalist Waylon Johnston from Malta remembers how exciting the Eurovision Song Contest is for everyone living on Malta. He says it is such a storm of joy and anticipation that it is hard to escape the wave.
In the run up to the Eurovision Song Contest the nation becomes enthralled by the Eurovision event – from the day they select the song to the actual contest.
“It is a time of year where the nation goes Eurovision-nuts.”
Every single bar that has a television will show the Eurovision Song Contest. There are endless Eurovision parties thrown at people’s homes and the most popular weekly talk show produces a dedicated show on the Eurovision Song Contest.
The country basically gets taken over by Eurovision fever.
Waylon laughs and tells me there are two major events happening in Malta: Politics and the elections – which split the nation- and the Eurovision Song Contest – that reunites the nation.
He admits that it is a patriotic type of thing to go so crazy about a song contest but then again, it is part of being Maltese.
A few years back the former Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi invited the media to his official summer residence following a general election. Large screen televisions were installed into the garden so everyone could watch the Eurovision Song Contest.
“That’s how crazy we are. We are a small country trying to make a big impact.”
When I ask Walyon about his favorite act at a past Eurovision Song Contest, Chiara Siracusa is mentioned in a burst of pride. Born in Malta in 1976, she represented her country in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1998, 2005, and 2009. Her best successes were one year when she scored second and another time when she came in third. He says that although she did not win in the end, the atmosphere in Malta was electric when she returned back home. The country was filled with exhilaration and joy.
Today, Waylon is not a huge Eurovision Song Contest fan anymore. He says he has lost his passion for the contest. However, he can still tell me that Amber will be representing Malta this year with her song “Warrior”. In his opinion none of the songs this year are special and most certainly neither Malta nor Australia – with its first entrance – will win. When I ask him why he believes this, he points towards the problem with voting.
“Countries next to each other always vote for one another. Malta, this tiny island, regularly gives many points to UK but doesn’t receive any points back. Because Australia has no direct neighboring countries their chance of winning is also very small.”
Waylon hopes the Eurovision Song Contest rules can be changed so that competition is fair for those countries which are not on mainland Europe.
Until then Malta will keep on trying to win the ESC with the same passion as it cherishes its trophy from the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2013.