Eurovision 2018 Review: Malta – Christabelle – Taboo

christabelle taboo

Christabelle chosen to bring Malta back to the Eurovision final
Malta might be one of the smallest countries participating in Eurovision, but they are certainly not irrelevant when it comes to the results in the contest. Their best placing in the show so far is 2nd (both in 2002 and 2005) and they have managed to make it into the final in most of the recent editions. Last year they missed out when they sent Claudia Faniello with the old fashioned, but well performed ballad ‘Breathlessly’. This year they try something different. Christabelle won the national final with her uptempo pop tune ‘Taboo’.

Now Malta does have a little history of being a bit extra in Eurovision with dramatic songs and eye catching performances. We had the face of Ira Losco projected on the stage (2016), a disney ballad on steroids (2004), an ode to vodka (2008) and fans, sheets and shirtless violinists (2007). Needless to say we love being extra as we love Eurovision, but Malta’s 2018 performance is missing the mark slightly. Christabelle is dressed in black latex and walks around a glass cage with dancers in it mostly in the dark with smoke around her. The idea is there, but the execution did come across rather messy. They still have enough time to work on that before May, but what about the song?

The composition suffers the same faith. You can hear what the writers (including Thomas G:son who also co-wrote Loreen’s ‘Euphoria’) were aiming at, but again the execution is messy. The verses don’t flow nicely into the chorus and the chorus itself isn’t as powerful and effortless as it tries and needs to be. Although intriguing on first listen, ‘Taboo’ is neither catchy nor out of the box enough to really stick. Some changes in the arrangement to give it a bit more oomph could still help. Christabelle is a talented performer with a good voice and a strong personality so with a lot of improvements in both the production of the song and the staging this might go somewhere. As it stands now though, I don’t think the odds of Malta qualifying for the final are in their favour.

UPDATE: Christabelle premiered a seemingly Hunger Games and Divergent inspired music video with a lot going on. The song also had an upgrade in which the chorus now sounds more powerful which does seem to make the track a bit catchier as well. If the Maltese team manage to successfully translate some of the video ideas to the big stage, they might have a shot at a place in the final. You got to love Malta for always putting in effort when it comes to Eurovision!

Review of Semi Final Performance:
Malta might be one of the smallest nations competing, but they always try their absolute best to make an impression on the Eurovision stage. This year they sent young singer Christabelle with the unusual track ‘Taboo’ and she brought big video screens, a dancer and fireworks with her. Unfortunately it all looked more impressive than the way the song sounded. ‘Taboo’ is not necessarily a bad song, but it suffers from an awkward transition from verse to chorus and some nonsensical lyrics, while taking itself a bit too seriously. She is a talented performer though and her enthusiasm was easily visible on screen. Malta, please bring her back soon with the pop banger she deserves! Malta’s split result is probably one of the most bizarre of the whole festival. She finished last in televote, while the juries had her in fifth place. Overall she ended up in 13th position.


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