Malta | X Factor Malta gets serious at Six Chair Challenge
Earlier this year it was confirmed that X Factor Malta was commissioned for its debut season and then chosen to be the selection process for Malta's Eurovision 2019 representative. Since the start of the season, here at Eurovoxx we've been following the contestants journey from their first audition. Bootcamp over the past two weeks was brutal and the numbers were culled down to approximately 12-14 per category who will be taking on the dreaded six chair challenge!
The remaining contestants must take on the infamous Six Chair Challenge which see's them all competing to be given one of the six chairs on the side of the stage. The twist? After all six are filled... if their judge wants to put anybody else on a seat then they must swap somebody out!! Nobody is safe until the last person in the category has performed and being memorable is the best option.
First category up is the girls - who I've said time and time again are incredibly strong. Narrowing it down to even a top 12 was incredibly tough so I really have no idea how they're going to manage to cut them down to 6!
The first singer tonight is fiery red-haired Karin Duff who will be singing 'Can't Help Falling In Love With You' by Elvis Presley in an attempt to win the first seat of the night. In the past - with her audition of 'Knockin' On Heavens Door' she showed a really lovely tone which once again returned with this performance. At times it was a little breathy (think Ellie Goulding) however by the end Karin was struggling to fight the tears and it added an incredible layer of emotion in to the song. The judges felt her performance showed courage and she got her seat! Seat One
Up next... Gail Attard with 'You Got The Love' by Florence + the Machine. Last week at the end of Bootcamp I noted that she had a VERY powerful voice with beautiful depth and soul. This showed the best of her voice, she nailed the big notes and commanded the stage. Those big notes at the end are VERY big and very difficult to pull off so fair play to Gail as she definitely hit them! Mixed comments from the judges however in the end she did enough for Seat Two!
Third to perform is Jade Vella who Eurofans may recognise from her appearances at MESC. She showed confidence as she strutted the stage - even adding choreo - to 'Ain't Nobody' by Chaka Khan. Her sassy performance totally won over the judges and she got a great response from the whole panel in addition to the audience who were loving it. After those big notes and the great choreography it wasn't a surprise that Jade took Seat Three! Those seats are rapidly being filled now...
Singer number four is Kelly Moncado who was one of our favourites from the auditions and captured our hearts with her life story that she shared. Singing James Arthur's 'Impossible', it started strongly with her beautiful tone coming through. From her audition one thing I said was that her control was incredible - that's something that is incredibly difficult to learn and she seemed to perform excellently without any effort. I'm a little biased as she's one of my favourites from previous rounds but admittedly this wasn't her strongest - she lost control for the final choruses and the judges picked up on it. That being said - judge Howard Keith wanted to take a risk and gave her Seat Four which I actually think is the right decision but I am now really nervous - why have you done this to me!?
Another favourite up next - Kaylie Magri singing 'When I Was Your Man' by Bruno Mars with some changed lyrics ... we particularly loved 'You should've bought me flowers'. Throughout the competition she's seemed like a frontrunner despite not being shown much during Bootcamp just because her riffs and voice seemed to be a standout however this was not her best performance. It is undeniable that talent and voice from a sixteen year old is incredible but I think this performance lacked the star power that she's had previously. The judges comments started positively but unfortunately it then took a turn - with the crowd starting to get riled. Unfortunately, Kaylie was sent home but for somebody so young ... this is definitely not the end!
I think I may be repeating myself quite a lot now but Shauna Vassallo was another favourite from the earlier rounds (why are you all making this SO difficult on us!?). Her soul and vocal power left us shook and singing one of our favourite songs 'River' by Bishop Briggs had us very excited. Did she disappoint? Absolutely not! It was a touch on the shouty side - however the whole song is an angry shouty song so it was correct to do so. She showed passion, soul and hunger for the competition. Ira Losco and Alexandra Alden likened her to a dark horse and said there was mystery to her as a performer and I think actually agree. She deservedly won Seat Five however my bloody pressure is currently rising.
Speaking of soul ... Michela Galea is up next and her version of Joss Stone's 'Son of a Preacherman' ... wow!! The crowd were ALIVE after this performance - chanting her name and dancing along. It was the best we've seen her and Michela may have made herself a possible frontrunner with that performance. She received a standing ovation from the audience and was accompanied by great comments by the judges ... it's no surprise at all that Michela takes Seat Six! And now all seats are filled and this is where the 'fun' starts...
Nicole Frendo has been a clear favourite of the judges throughout Bootcamp and with good reason - she has beautiful voice. She showed off her vocals once again giving probably the performance of the night so far with Sam Smith's 'Lay Me Down'. The competition is really heating up because whilst Nicole got a standing ovation from the panel and the audience I imagine she probably got a similar reaction from households across Malta! This came out of nowhere but a star has been born! Wow wow wow wow... The other girls in the chairs were looking very nervous and for good reason because that was an easy decision to SWAP! The girl who unfortunately got replaced was Kelly Moncado meaning Seat Four now belongs to Nicole. We're devastated to see Kelly leave the competition and thoroughly hope that we'll see her again.
Raisa Marie Micallef was up next and took on Whitney & Mariah's duet 'When You Believe'. We're not sure this was one of the best of the night - with the song being sung in very theatrically without much raw emotion being conveyed. Vocally Raisa sounded good however the judges criticised her for being 'too rehearsed' and unfortunately it wasn't enough to get a chair - Raisa was sent home. We aren't sure if the X Factor is the competition for her but a future in musical theatre is definitely on the cards!!
Next up is Michela Pace - whose audition of Bonnie Tyler has actually gone viral on the internet - who has once again blown us all away this time with Kesha 'Praying'. She showed great rasp in her voice and her growl held both power and emotion. It was inevitable that Michela would be getting a seat and that performance reminded us all exactly why we love her. Michela's audition was featured as our number one audition for the series so it's great to see that she is keeping up her momentum. My bloody pressure is now reaching ridiculous levels because diamond in the rough Shauna Vassallo was the girl sacrificed for Michela to take her seat. Seat Five.
Victoria Sciberras gave one of the most emotional and hardest to watch moments of the series so far at Bootcamp - courageously performing very soon after her fathers death. She definitely deserved her place at this stage of the competition but following her performance of Celine Dion's (Eurovision winner klaxon!!) 2018 power ballad 'Ashes' the judges felt that it was the end of the line and chose to send her home which sadly was the correct decision.
Nicole Brincat was the next singer to take the stage and sung 'Ain't No Sunshine' by Bill Withers and honestly this was not the best performance despite her strong performances in the past. The faces of the judges and the audience during the performance unfortunately said it all... Nicole was sent home.
Kelsey Bellante next up gave a very inspired performance - mashing up 'I Like It' by Cardi B and 'Havana' by Camila Cabello giving a fantastic show. She owned the stage, confidently strutting the stage and gave a performance of the songs that could easily have been seen at the VMAs or the EMAs. Judge Ira Losco said she was 'current' and 'relevant' and despite Alexandra Alden believing she would need to challenge herself to get any further - her judge Howard chose to SWAP Kelsey for Gail Attard in SEAT TWO - who is another act that ironically we would've kept.
And finally the last to perform is ... Danica Muscat! Singing last - when all seats are filled with the best of the category - is no easy task and taking on Alicia Keys legendary track 'Fallin'' is as well another very difficult thing to do! Her voice showed power and she handled the song well but something just felt a little off. Ray Mercieca mentioned in his comment that it sounded like she was in the wrong key and that may have been it. Undecided on her fate - a sing-off commenced! The girl chosen to sing against Danica was ... Michela Galea which was a very surprising choice as from her earlier performance we were positive she was locked on for Judges Houses... after their songs it was decided that she would be taking Michela's seat meaning she took SEAT SIX sending Michela home in perhaps the shock of the night - Alexandra Alden couldn't believe it!!
And that is a wrap for the week ... we have our final six girls:
Next week we'll be back - reporting on the Boys category!
Do you think Howard made the right decision with the girls category? Are there any girls that got sent home that you would've given a seat to? Let us know in the comments below and via our social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube.