Malta has once again finished dead last in its Eurovision semi-final, with the publication of contest scores on Sunday revealing how points were awarded throughout the shows. 

For the second year in a row, Malta failed to make inroads among Eurovision voters, receiving the least votes possible during Thursday’s semi-final, placing 16th out of 16 contestants. 

After delivering a high-energy rendition of her upbeat dance track Loop on the  Eurovision stage on Thursday, Gozitan songstress Sarah Bonnici said that she nonetheless has no regrets and that she “delivered a performance (she) was proud of”.

Malta in retrospect ended up facing stiff competition during its semi-final, with four of the countries who ranked in the top five during the grand final - namely Croatia, Ukraine, France and Israel, also performing in the same round. 

Only contest winner Nemo, who swept up both jury and audience votes to take the Eurovision crown for Switzerland during Saturday’s final, first performed in Tuesday’s semi-final among the top five. 

During Saturday’s final Malta’s televoters gave their 12 points to Ukraine, 10 points to Croatia and eight points to Italy. The Maltese jury seemed to be of almost exactly the same mind, as it scored Croatia and Italy in the same way, but diverged by giving its 12 points to winner Switzerland instead.

Who voted for Malta? 

Despite the common adage that Malta remains luckless at Eurovision due to its geographical isolation, some of our European neighbours did have some love to share for Loop

Bonnici got the highest amount of points from televoters in Armenia, who gave Malta five points. Conversely, the Armenian entry Jako by Ladaniva also received five points from Maltese televoters. 

Malta went on to secure four points from San Marino, three points from Greece and one point from France. 

Looking at how Maltese televoters split their votes, Malta gave its 12 points to Dutch entry Joost Klein, whose song Europapa was initially among those favoured to win the competition at the outset. 

However, Klein was disqualified from the competition after the EBU said he was involved in an “altercation” with a female member of the production crew but did not elaborate further. 

As rumours swirled that Klein had clashed with members of the Israeli delegation, Dutch broadcaster Avrotros said that Klein had been filmed in the greenroom without his consent and after several verbal indications that he did not want to be filmed, the singer made a “threatening movement” towards the camera.

They maintain that no physical contact between Klein and the woman occurred.

They expressed that they felt Klein’s disqualification was “heavy and disproportionate”. 

Despite the controversy surrounding Israel’s participation in Eurovision this year, in light of the country’s continued bombing of Gaza, Maltese voters seemed to take the repeated but often ignored notion that Eurovision is not political to heart, awarding Israel’s Eden Golan 10 points during Thursday’s semi-final. 

The Maltese jury was also the first to award Israel any points during Saturday’s final. 

Israel’s participation in Eurovision has led to repeat controversial incidents in the run-up to the contest, starting with the song chosen to represent the country itself.

Golan was initially set to take to the stage with the song ‘October Rain’ which had to be changed due to apparent allusions to the October 7 Hamas attack. 

Thousands of pro-Palestine protestors turned out outside the competition venue in Malmo to protest Israel’s presence at the contest. 

Many also accused the EBU of censoring audience reactions to Golan’s performances on official broadcasts, as while those watching at home appeared to hear the sounds of cheering and clapping, videos posted to social media from inside the Eurovision stage showed that the audience was not so charitable and were actively booing her. 

Maltese televoters on Thursday also gave eight points to Switzerland, seven to Latvia, six to Greece, five to Armenia, four to Georgia, three to Austria, two to Czechia and one point to Denmark.

Despite a disappointing outcome for the Maltese delegation, two other countries managed to score even fewer points during the first semi-final, with Azerbaijan receiving 11 points and Iceland only garnering three points from the audience. 

Last year’s entry The Busker similarly placed last during their semifinal with the song Dance (Our Own Party) only garnering three points.

2022’s entrant Emma Muscat placed 16th out of 18 contestants in her semifinal with 47 points. 

This is the third year Malta has failed to qualify for the Eurovision final, with Destiny Chukunyere last making it through in 2021 with Je Me Casse.

She later placed seventh in the competition, with Italy's Mansekin taking the win that year.

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