Updated - Ira Losco was given a warm welcome by a crowd when she returned to Malta this afternoon after her participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.

She greeted the fans at the airport terminal and signed autographs as some shouted Ira, Ira.

Malta placed joint eleventh with The Netherlands in yesterday's final.

Losco said she had enjoyed the experience and would encourage all artistes having the opportunity to 'go for it' because it was a beautiful and unique experience.

She also expressed her appreciation that the professional juries had appreciated her song.

The head of delegation, PBS CEO Anton Attard when questioned about the funding for Losco's participation said this was a commercial event, the biggest TV event of the year, and funding came from sponsorships and advertising, not taxpayers' money. 

It was also announced earlier today that Malta finished third in the Eurovision semi-final last Tuesday before stumbling to yesterday's disappointing result,

Ira Losco finished behind pre-competition favourites Russia and Armenia in the semi-final, from which 10 countries qualified.

Russia went on to finish third in the final while Armenia finished seventh.  

In the semi-final, the singer obtained 209 points in total. As in the final, Malta was a hit with the jury and managed 155 points, the highest tally in the semi-final. But the song struggled in the tele-vote, managing just 54 points.

Her result in the final came as a slight disappointment to many fans had maintained hopes that Losco could come close to matching, or even bettering, her second place finish with Seventh Wonder in Tallinn in 2002, Malta’s joint-best result in the competition.

Malta had been consistently ranked around seventh place by bookmakers in recent weeks, and saw its odds of victory lengthen further in the last few days.

Full results from first semi-final (Tuesday 10)

Russia – 342 points
Armenia – 243
Malta – 209
Hungary – 197
Netherlands – 197
Azerbaijan – 185
Austria – 170
Cyprus – 164
Czech Republic – 161
Croatia – 133
Bosnia & Herzegovina – 104
San Marino – 68
Montenegro – 60
Iceland – 51
Finland – 51
Greece – 44
Moldova – 33
Estonia – 24