Last week the toughest part of X Factor Malta kicked off - fourteen girls dared to face the six chair challenge and after some difficult (and some quite frankly preposterous) decisions only six made it out the other side. Karin Duff, Kelsey Bellante, Jade Vella, Nicole Frendo, Michela Pace & Danica Muscat all did enough to advance to the next stage of the competition - Judges Houses - and tonight we find out which six boys will be successful in joining them and getting one step closer to winning the competition and the right to represent Malta at Eurovision 2019 next May. Buckle up because it's going to be another bumpy ride!!
Tonight it's the Boys Category which means that it is Ira Losco's turn to be the judge with all the power!
First up tonight... Norbert Bondin who has been a favourite ever since his first audition. His choice of song... 'Use Somebody' by the Kings of Leon and it's a very passionate and emotional performance. Rightly, the judges had plenty of praise for Norbert - who British readers may recognise from his successful appearance on entertainment show 'All Together Now'. It's an easy decision for Ira - Seat One.
Miguel Bonello who really shocked us with his incredible performance of 'Say Something' at the last stage of Bootcamp is up next. He's ditched his glasses for his performance of 'Feeling Good' by Nina Simone. There is no denying that he has an incredible voice but this wasn't the best we've seen him. The judges seemed to agree - saying that maybe it was the wrong song. Regardless - the young boy with the huge voice has secured Seat Two for now!
We were horrified when Isaac Mercieca didn't make it through originally at Bootcamp after his group performance but the X Factor Malta producers kept us guessing ... fortunately saved by the wildcard we're not surprised to see him here as he is definitely a very talented young man! He chose one of my personal favourite songs at the moment - 'Lovely' by Billie Eilish ft. Khalid. As always, Isaac performed the song brilliantly and his voice really is beautiful. We were shocked when the judges felt he wasn't ready for the competition however can also see where they are coming from. Isaac is very emotional and whilst that creates beautiful performances - in a setting like Eurovision it could spell trouble! Regardless - we are happy to say he got Seat Three.
The fourth to take the stage is Matthew Anthony under his stage name of Matt Blxck who had us shook with his audition of Israel's Eurovision 2018 winner 'Toy'. Throughout the show he's given us artistry and attitude so it was no surprise when took on a sassy song like 'Side to Side' by Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj. Not to sound too cliche but he totally made the song his own. He showed off his beautifully accented voice and hit the notes however the judges were not sold. Unfortunately for Matt it was not enough to secure a seat.
One of the most out there contestants is next - Aleandro Pace Tahir. Singing 'Hey Ya!' by OutKast and he got the whole crowd, the judges AND all the others backstage dancing which was much needed after a run of slow songs/ballads. From the start he's been one of the best entertainers and this was completely no different. However - the question is whether he is too cabaret for the show... Either way, he's gotten Seat Four. The seats are now filling up!! It won't be long before the savagery of swaps start...
Claudio Zammit is up next who hasn't been shown a great deal to date however really intrigued us with the depth and soul in his voice. His brief version of Kaleo in Bootcamp was really moving. That being said, it probably is a fact that his voice will only be suited to certain songs but we are absolutely loving the indie notion of his performances. Another indie song was chosen for his six chair performance - 'No Roots' by Alice Merton (and if you haven't heard it before you DEFINITELY need to check it out - along with some of Alice's other songs). His soulful voice and cool vibe work really well with the song and it sounds pretty good however the judges weren't sure - they felt maybe the song wasn't the right fit. We 100% disagree and thankfully Claudio got Seat Five.
Next up is Owen Leuellen who could basically be an established rapper because his lines are SO good. He's been a pro since day one and this performance is no different. Owen treated us to yet another original rap and we absolutely loved it. This boy has talent! He even threw a few lines that were more sing-y. Owen has a lot of potential and we agree with the judges that he is 100% ready for this. Absolutely no surprise at all but Owen takes Seat Six which means they are all full now! With a number of singers still left to go ... who is going to get a seat and which of our current six are going to get swapped out!?
Fan favourite Aidan Cassar is next! Whether you know him for his original songs such as 'Drums' or from his appearance at MESC 2018 with 'Dai Laga' I don't think you can argue that he is a very talented young guy! His previous performances - including an awesome medley of recent pop hits at Bootcamp - have oozed cool and Aidan is definitely going to go far. This time he's slowed things down with the ballad 'Don't Know Much' by Aaron Neville & Linda Ronstadt. Once again he's showed off his impressive range and bags of potential and it was never going to be a no. He bagged himself a seat ... but who's? Unfortunately serial entertainer Aleandro Pace Tahir lost his seat - which means Aidan took Seat Four.
Luke Chappell is up next - who has really blossomed since his first audition! His Bootcamp performances were great however this did not start out well - Luke has been losing his voice and has had difficult singing so emotions are running high before the song even starts. He's singing Ed Sheeran's 'Photograph' and there are tears all round - the judges are in tears, the audience in tears and the other contestants also look emotional. He has a fantastic rawness to his voice which you don't see very often and that is exactly why it's no surprise that he has done enough to get a seat. Ira announces he will be taking... Seat Three which means Isaac Mercieca's time in the competition has come to an end - which we are sad about but was not totally unexpected.
Another of our favourites James Mifsud is up next. Singing 'Fight Song' by Rachel Platten, it gets off to a rocky start with a mistiming however his voice soon comes back and reminds us of just how talrented he is. However the big notes do get a bit rough and he starts to appear very exposed by the chorus. Perhaps he was thrown by the start - this is not the James we've seen in previous rounds. He receives harsh critique from the judges who believe he is not ready for this competition and needs to work on his voice and singing technique... Unfortunately James does not recieve a seat.
Last up is ... Mark Anthony Bartolo! He's back with his trusted guitar and here to sing 'Writings On The Wall' by Sam Smith. This is probably the best we've seen him - he had amazing resonance in his voice and was really pulling off the long and high notes which was getting a very encouraging response from the judges and audience. The emotion is clear as he tears up during the last minute of his performance however it's enough to secure a standing ovation from not only the crowd but also all six of the guys currently in a chair!! This was a MOMENT. Wow! Dramatic times as there is a sing-off between Miguel Bonello and Claudio Zammit ... unfortunately it's Miguel that loses out meaning that both Mark and Claudio are heading to Judges Houses!
Which maens we have our top 6 boys...
Mark Anthony Bartolo
See you back next week for the Overs category!
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