Ira Losco takes Malta to the Eurovision Song Contest finals

Ira Losco faces off the rest of the undeserving EU and former Soviet satellites to bring back to Malta what is by rights ours! We'll be back with this live blog on Saturday

Just give us the trophy and we can call it a day... Go  Ira!
Just give us the trophy and we can call it a day... Go Ira!

Ira Losco has gone through to the final of the Eurovision after getting through the first semi-final in Stockholm this evening.

It appeared like Losco, now in her third Eurovision outing, would not scrape through to the final when Malta's entry Walk On Water was finally announced, the last of the 10 qualifying songs from this first semi-final.

Losco delivered a trademark convincing performance, her strong and confident voice the focal point of Malta's performance, which is less visually inspiring than other performances like those of the odds-on favourite Russia.

Loscal will be joined on Saturday by Netherlands, Hungary, Croatia, Austria, Czech Republic, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Austria.

The second semi-final will take place on Thursday.

Losco announced last Sunday that she was expecting a child.

Tuesday semi-final live blog by Wayne Flask

23:08: Goodnite to all and please refrain from walking on water at home. Especially if you've got parquet flooring.

23:08: After that close shave with a stroke, we conclude our liveblog here. We're back on Saturday but I won't be here because MT don't really afford to pay someone who has never had lunch with Saviour Balzan.

23:02: Could have spared us the tension, you rather unfunny people at the EBU.

23:02: Malta is through.



23:02: This is surreal.

23:01: Cyprus? Cyprus!?!?

23:01: The Czechs. Two seats left.

23:00: 3 to go. C'mon Malta.

23:00: Armenian singer and her catsuit are through as well.

23:00: Austria join forces with Hungary.

22:59: Croatia are finalists too.

22:59: Hungary are through too, past Orban's wall. Oops...

22:59: The Dutch have made it too! Holy smoke!

22:58: Russia, because they are nice peoples.

22:58: Azeris to the final. Otherwise the pipeline is shut.

22:57: Okay, votey votes now. Anybody giving low points to Malta should be rewarded by bad reviews on Tripadvisor.

22:57: If this year's Maltese entry is Walk on Water, next year it must be Feeding the 5000.

22:54: I've no idea what's going on right now. Must be the great lull where everyone is either at the bathroom or speculating about what Ira's gonna call her firstborn.

22:53: Low pay, a few beers, and one croissant. Life inside the MaltaToday newsroom.

22:51: Once a classic always a classic, like an AC/DC song you're fed up of listening to wherever you go.

22:49: Tomorrow is your first day of retirement, and yet today you're fishing, clearly skiving work.

22:49: Thank God for Maltese adverts. They make me feel part of a really beautiful semi-Aryan race.

22:46: Matthew and I thank you for putting up with our machine-gunning down of the semi-final. We'll be back again tomorrow. Mopping up the floor.

22:44: A shout out goes to David who almost died reading something I was surely coerced into writing.

22:41: Germany is rooting for Greece: a Eurovision win would see the Acropolis transferred to Dusseldorf. Forever.

22:40: Come off it, ABBA weren't Swedish. They were from Mġarr.

22:39: Oh-ho Swedish jokeys hohohoho. Laughing me laughing you A-ha

22:38: Some Swedish Alan Partridgsson which none of us can comprehend.

22:36: Time for some existential crises: why oh why have I sat through all this?

22:34: Interminably long runthrough of all songs so far, I'm officially in love with Estii Robota.

22:32: Minor snafu with previous post: "I am totally disappointed these lads didn't make it to the EV."

22:29: Ok Malta, you may now vote. You can't vote for Ira, so please be a sport and don't vote for anyone.

22:28: That was great.

22:28: Anton Attard must be smiling. There's an ambulance outside waiting to stitch him up.

22:28: Not the first time Ira's having someone totally useless whizzing to and fro in front of her. Usually it's Peter Carbonaro.

22:26: Personal pension plan advert, great timing TVM.

22:25: Good luck lassie, bring it home.


22:25: Dik in-naqra ftira tkun tridha.

22:24: I also forgot to say that in the penthouse of this illegally built block overlooking Beirut, two lawyers are monitoring every single keystroke, occasionally nodding "yes" or "no chance". No stress Wayne.

22:23: Ira's turn is fast approaching, there's a knock at the door and the RIU is here armed with batons.

22:23: Actually glad to hear something not sung in English or French for once. But I guess it won't last long.

22:21: Bosnia up next. I have a soft spot for BiH. But not because of these guys with unpronounciable names.

22:20: Nobody's calling you, get off the stage. I have to be up at 6 for work tomorrow.

22:20: Lovely Greta, that looked like a heat map of the toxins emerging from a belch during a Bulgarian beer binge.

22:19: You'd half expect Robert Smith from the Cure to emerge from the shadows, but no, not tonight no.

22:18: And now it's the turn of the very extroverted Icelandics. From Bjork and Sigur Ros to Eurovision.

22:16: The Montenegro dancer reminds me of hazy nights at the old Rock Cafè.

22:14: Malta's up soon. Do you feel the tension rising? In here, the only thing rising is a nauseous smell that's been wafting in mid-air for the last 5 minutes.

22:13: Montenegro, song 15, oh time how you fly and the pizza isn't here yet.

22:13: Finally some appreciation...

22:12: Epilepsy warnings are definitely passè for the EBU.

22:11: Samra from Azerbaijan. What's in a name.

22:09: Samra from Azerbaijan: “In 2012 the 16-year-old singer took part in the Azerbaijani national selection. This year Smara’s dream came true; the singer will represent her country in Sweden with her song Miracle.”

22:07: Advert break, as more insipid ads ruin my eyesight, it's time to investigate whether the flushing at MT still leaks.

22:06: I wonder why he isn't in the running for the new James Bond. 007: From Estonia with Love, turned back at the border.

22:05: This guy must be the central attraction of the afterparty.

22:04: Jüri Pootsmann from Estonia: the first robot to participate in the Eurovision. Soviet-made of course, but with faulty software.

22:03: Estonian blurb: The last twelve months have been a magical whirlwind for 21-year old Jüri Pootsmann. After singing solo for only three years, Jüri won the Estonia edition of Idol in 2015 which landed him a record deal with Universal Music. His status as Estonia’s new brilliant superstar was then cemented by being voted Best Male Act at the 2015 Estonian Music Awards.

22:03: Succulent salmon mmmmm.

22:00: A shout out to Gabriele who has just wished me the unthinkable - become the EV's official commentator in ten years' time. Now, kindly let me know where I can buy a Montesin-spec waist-high jeans please.

21:59: It beats me how an Austrian can sing in French unless s/he's just invaded Alsace-Lorraine.

21:59: Austria up next as Hamilton wants to take us on a cruise to... snap I lost that.

21:58: Austria up next... ""For me, representing Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest is not only the greatest honour of all, but also a chance to reach all of Europe with my music", ZOË explains. The young singer took part in the Austrian pre-selection show for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016 for the second time - and on 12 February, she was chosen to represent her country out of ten acts with her song Loin d'ici by a combined jury and televoting procedure."

21:56: FZD is secretly voting for Panama in the MercosurVision Festival.

21:56: You can vote up to 20 times, but anybody voting for this bunch will have their phone confiscated by the STASI and carted off to a secret chamber in southwestern Marsa.

21:56: Nationalist MP Francis Zammit Dimech keeps us up to date with some EBU legal news on the Russian imbroglio...

21:55: Cyprus with a hideously kitted band who spend their summers as tour guides for ROCS.

21:54: It's Cyprus: "The band Minus One was chosen internally by the Cypriot broadcaster CyBC to represent the island in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Alter Ego. The group members are Francois Micheletto, Constantinos Amerikanos, Harrys Pari, Antonis Loizides and Chris J."

21:53: Gabriela from the Czech Republic takes us back to those ugly, ugly memories of Celine Dion hitting an iceberg and contributing to the rise in sea levels.

21:52: West Ham 1-0 Man United. Normality, I miss you so.

21:51: "Gabriela Gunčíková was internally selected by a jury of experts to represent the Czech Republic in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest among a field of more than 40 entries. She is a singer who has great experience from abroad behind her and who, above all, possesses an amazing vocal range. Her song for Stockholm, I Stand, was written by an international team: Christian Schneider, Aidan O'Connor, and Sara Biglert."

21:51: Arthur Caruana: diġà ninsabu eċitati. That really can't beat my excitement here in this broom cupboard in San Ġwann.

21:50: I half expected the Dance of the Steppes and got this.

21:49: Where's he gone?

21:49: Russia goes all Gagarin.

21:48: Sergey Lazarev, former midfielder for CSKA Mockba, is the favourite according to the bookies. Problem is, someone from the Maltese delegation took aim at the winged bird and almost pulled the trigger.

21:47: Arthur Caruana details a rather complicated SNAFU with someone in the jury drunkenly claiming they'll vote for Armenia.

21:46: More copy-paste...
"Sergey Lazarev will represent Russia in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. He is famous for being a singer, actor, and TV presenter. Starting his music career at an early age and becoming more and more popular, he was followed by the whole country during whilst growing-up as an artist. In 2015 he won all possible Russian music awards. The music of You Are The Only One, his song for Stockholm, was composed by true Eurovision legends, Dimitris Kontopoulos and Philip Kirkorov."

21:46: A SHOT OF THE MALTESE FLAG! We stand up in patriotic fervour. Agħmillu lager.

21:45: My lawyer has just SMS'd a couple of notes of caution.

21:43: Serhat, the Leonard Cohen of Izmir, is now representing San Marino, the Binġemma of Italy.

21:43: "The Sammarinese entry appears likely to be the most multinational participant of this year's contest, with several countries involved in the project, showing the real image of Europe: different cultures, traditions and histories under the same flag for the smallest country taking part in the contest."

21:43: Screens at MT are way too small to read what's on the numerous ads popping up every few minutes.

21:41: It's not Eastern Europe without that irritating, badly tuned violin in the background.

21:40: I'm pretty sure right now somebody in a bar somewhere in Europe is speculating something unsavoury about Iveta.

21:39: Matthew as usual is pretty sharpish with the CTRL+C, CTRL+V combo, like a pro.

21:39: "Iveta Mukuchyan was one of the first artists chosen for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest - the internal decision by the Public Television Company of Armenia was announced in October last year. After that an open call for submissions was launched to find the best possible song for Stockholm, and in the end, LoveWave was chosen, with music written by Lilith Navasardyan and Levon Navasardyan, and lyrics by Iveta Mukuchyan herself and Stephanie Crutchfield."

21:37: The Dutch embassy in Malta is the first to call in and threaten me with my life.

21:36: Douwe Bob (Dopey Robert) and his band seem to have copied everything they could copy from grassroots Americana. Especially the grass.

21:35: Offialese from Eurovision website: "Douwe Bob, 23, was chosen to represent The Netherlands in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. "I write songs and now I have the chance to showcase my music on the largest stage in Europe. I am taking part to win and am happy that I can do so in my own unique way", he said. Douwe will perform Slow Down in the first Semi-Final of the Eurovision Song Contest."

21:35: The Dutch are on. Bets are on as to whether they actually remember the lyrics.

21:32: MT are being pretty strict: no racist jokes, no gay jokes, no f words, no c words, which pretty much debilitates my honest assessment of this show.

21:31: People waving a Swiss flag and a credit card to a bank that doesn't exist and cannot be found.

21:30: This song is actually decent. She sounds a lot better after the barbed wire has come off her upper body.

21:28: Nina is dressed up like a traffic accident in the parking at Homemate.

21:28: Nina Kraljić from Hrvatska is up next. Emo-rock nerd with more horrible hair.

21:27: Gotta ask Freddie what hairspray he uses.

21:25: This guy is called Freddie.

"About Freddie Freddie became famous in his home country Hungary in 2014 after participating in the talent show Rising Star. In February this year, he won the Hungarian national final A Dal with his song Pioneer, with top marks from both the public and the professional jury. Despite his recent successes, he still is the same modest and humble man who only cares about singing his heart out to the audience. After the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, Freddie is going to work on his first album."

21:24: Freddie from Hungary – was a sportsman who turned singer and now works in tourism. Sounds a bit like Willie Mangion and has a similar CV.

21:23: Anton Attard reportedly practising a smile for the post-performance gala. C'mon lad, you can do it.

21:21: Thankyou Matthew for being so factual. Fact you, Matthew.

21:21: Moldova, which we have nothing to say about apart from the fact that it’s the third song already and maybe I’ll be home before a heart attack does me in this newsroom.

21:20: I'm going to be chipping in with the factual part of the blog. For example, here's some very important about the Moldovan singer... "Lidia Isac will represent Moldova in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. The singer has already tried her luck as a solo artist and as a part of the duo Glam Girls in national selections in previous years. In Stockholm Lidia will sing Falling Stars, written and composed by Gabriel Alares, Sebastian Lestapier, Ellen Berg and Leonid Gutkin."

21:18: Greece's entry actually delves into Brazilian hiphop before a death squad walks gracefully into the favela.

21:17: This song is called Utopian Land...

21:17: Greece is up next. Everything you’re seeing up onstage now is the property of Germany.

21:15: A lovely dress from a boutique in Ħamrunsfjord.

21:14: Finland go first with Sandhja, whose hairstyle looks like she’s been targeted by flying diarrhoeic cows.

21:12: Ira will be performing last, which makes this night even longer.

21:11: Hans is one of the main reasons I stopped following Eurovision a long time ago: I don’t get their jokey jokes.

21:09: Thankfully Arthur Caruana is making sure none of us misses Eileen Montesin. At least for now.

21:08: The hosts are Petra Mede and Mans Zemerlow (again?), known in Stockholm as the closest thing to Benny and Tonia.

21:05: Some sort of convoluted anti-histamine advert is on. Still no lighter.

21:03: Mans Zermelow and a work experience kid are now onstage with the Kindergardten IIB introducing the spectacle.

21:01: The prime ministerial tweet has been despatched:

21:01: As the Eurovision music fills the air around me I am snooping furiously in the journalists’ drawers looking for a lighter. I mean, c’mon. Third world conditions.

20:56: Morale in the Maltese camp is rather high despite a brawl with the Macedonian delegation who were allegedly caught stealing our sandwiches.

20:52: The show starts in roughly ten minutes, during which time I will be looking closely at the list of participants for cockroaches to insult.

20:51: Yeah... something's not working with that URL. The twitter handle for our live blog is @derheckler...

20:50: Any complaints, tweet all insults to

20:45: As it happens the Maltese press contingent in Stockholm is rather numerous, but MaltaToday isn’t part of the merry corps: here I am bringing you this account from San Ġwann-Sur-Mer, in the company of a morose, noncommunicative MT goon holding a baseball bat.

20:44: MaltaToday have asked to offer my services because... well because the newsroom is down with a mysterious bout of a rather mysterious tropical disease, Apatia Vulgaris. In addition to this, cultural editor Teodor Reljic is far from this otherwise barren newsroom, ostensibly reviewing a 16th century Czech costume drama.

20:42: Tonight I will be bringing you a blow by blow account of one of the most important events in Malta’s cultural calendar, the only night (two if we pass the semis) that will bring together Maltese of all colours, sizes and creeds.

20:41: Ladies and laddies welcome all to this live blog of the Eurovision Song Contest semifinal. With you in the commentary box tonight is... it’s only me.