Is it really almost a month since we first went Bushpepa? Blimey. The end is sneaking upon us. Just another fortnight and-a-bit and we’re there. We’re still stuck in the first half of the alphabet for another few days, however. It’s time for Malta.
Perhaps nobody has ever tried so hard to win Eurovision as the Maltese. It’s arguably their national sport. How frustrating for them then that just as their uniquely sweet and sugary take on pop fell out of favour with the voters just when it looked they were about to crack it after all those years.
So you’ve got to admire a nation which retrains itself from the ground up in all things Contest. Ballads about lovely things are not the currency on the streets of Valletta these days. Instead it’s a grittier sort of pop which your teenage niece would still up her nose at but in the musically skewiff world if Eurovision, is cool enough to earn itself a spot behind the canteen bins at lunchtime for a sly bifter.
Which brings us to Christabelle’s Taboo, arguably something she could also sneak over to the canteen bins from her mum’s drinks cabinet and share round before the end of break.
Lordie, it’s trying so hard. There’s even a minute’s worth of extra promo video before the song starts which shows us what the Handmaid’s Tale/Hunger Games crossover absolutely nobody is talking about would look like. There’s been a bit of budget thrown at this, probably from the emergency pot Maltese telly keeps behind the canteen bins in case they have to host Junior Eurovision again in a hurry.
But even those 35mm trappings can’t detract from the generic nature of the track. This is ordinary stuff that has far fancier competition going in to bat before it.
Five years ago, perhaps even three, Christabelle’s wah-wah-ish riffs and downbeat hooks would have got people sitting up but she’s already in competition with the likes of Azerbaijan, Croatia, Slovenia and perhaps even Latvia in that particular clique in Lisbon. And there are few winners in a clique.
This could feasibly scrape through to Saturday night but if it gets there, having its ordinariness on show to a wider audience could almost be described as cruel.