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PBS drops backup singer from Eurovision band

Backing singer Ylenia Vella was unceremoniously cut from Kurt Calleja’s band by the Public Broadcasting Authority last week.

Teodor Reljic
20 March 2012, 12:00am
The song This is the Night, performed by Kurt Calleja (second from right) will be representing Malta at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, Azerbaijan, though the band will not be joined by former backup singer Ylenia Vella (centre).
Despite being made to travel to Azerbaijan and possibly miss her A-Level exams, backing singer Ylenia Vella was unceremoniously cut from Kurt Calleja's band by the Public Broadcasting Authority last week.

Kurt Calleja's song This Is The Night is set to represent Malta at the annual Eurovision Song Contest, which will this year be taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan at the end of May.

No statement was released from PBS regarding Vella's removal, though the singer herself took to social networking website Facebook to announce that she will no longer be participating in the Europe-wide song festival.

'It has now been confirmed: I've been eliminated from Kurt's team by PBS for the simple reason that they want another voice instead of mine.

'Unfortunately, I had to accept this decision because I don't want to be the reason behind any disappointments of the performance,' Vella wrote on the social networking website. 

Contacted by MaltaToday, Vella said that PBS offered up no explanation for her removal save that they wanted a singer with a "stronger voice".

"I was told that they were going to make some changes to the song, and that they wanted a 'stronger' voice. Other than that I didn't really have any other contact with them, even though I tried to ask them to specify," Vella said.

"I posted the announcement on Facebook just to clarify things to my friends, since everyone kept asking me how things were going were going with rehearsals, the competition and so on. I have no hard feelings about it, though I am disappointed. I've always wanted to perform in the Eurovision, and I still think the experience I had was a great opportunity," the singer told MaltaToday, adding that she now intends to focus on her A-Level exams, which she would have had to put on hold if she was to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest.

The semi-finals of this year's Eurovision Song Contest will take place on 22 and 24 May, with the final taking place on 26 May.

This year's edition of the Eurovision Song Contest has been facing controversy over the past few weeks, as humanitarian groups have called a boycott on festival due to Azerbaijan's poor human rights track record. The New York-based Human Rights Watch has criticised the country for the forcible eviction of people from their homes - victims of rapid 'city beautification' ahead of the Song Contest. 

Attempts to contact Kurt Calleja's manager Peter Carbonaro by phone and e-mail regarding Vella's removal proved futile by the time of publication.


Teodor Reljic is MaltaToday's culture editor and film critic. He joined t...
charles philip zammit
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