Young singer Michela will take the stage in Tel Aviv this evening for the Eurovision Song Contest semi-final in high spirits as one of the favourites to qualify for the Grand Final on Saturday.
The 18-year-old Gozitan, who booked her place at the Eurovision by winning the inaugural edition of X Factor Malta, will be 11th on stage for the second semi-final with her song Chameleon.
Bookmakers have given Michela strong odds of making it through: across 20 major betting companies, Malta has been given an 84 per cent chance of being among the 10 qualifiers, the sixth strongest odds on the night.
Winning the Grand Final, however, seems a far more distant proposition. The same bookies rank Michela’s chances of victory at just three per cent, though they also give her a roughly 50-50 chance of becoming the first Maltese singer to finish in the Top 10 since Gianluca Bezzina managed eighth place in 2013.
Malta has failed to qualify from the semi-final in three of the last four years, with Christabelle, Claudia Faniello, and Amber all falling short, while Ira Losco made it to the Grand Final in 2016 with the song Walk on Water, finishing a middling 12th despite high expectations.
Michela, however, appears well placed to buck the dismal trend.
Chameleon – written and composed by Joacim Persson, Paula Winger, Borislav Milanov and Johan Alkanas – has impressed critics and became the most-viewed YouTube video of any of this year’s Eurovision entries, although it has fared less well on Spotify.
Popular Eurovision review website wiwibloggs wrote: “It feels like it’s the first time in a long while that the Maltese artist has a song both modern and age-appropriate. Combined with Michela’s known great live performances, all I can say is welcome back to the final, Malta.”
84 per cent chance of being among the 10 qualifiers, the sixth strongest odds on the night
Michela will be accompanied on stage by four dancers as well as backing vocalist Destiny Chukunyere, herself a Junior Eurovision winner, and a rapidly-changing series of projected scenes and colours.
According to reports, rehearsals in Tel Aviv have been marred by technical and production errors, even as the singer’s own confidence and stage presence earned commendation.
The qualifying acts in the semi-final will be chosen through a 50/50 voting system by an expert jury – who voted during a dress rehearsal yesterday – and voting by the TV audience this evening.
The favourites for this evening are the Netherlands with Duncan Laurence and the song Arcade, and Sweden with Too Late for Love and John Lundvik. Both countries are also the top picks to win the Eurovision outright.
If Michela gets through the semi-final, she will be joined on Saturday by the Top 10 from Tuesday’s first qualifier, which include front-runners Australia and Iceland, as well as the Big Five of the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
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