Eurovision 2017 Entry: Malta — Claudia Faniello — Breathlessly

"Breathlessly" by Malta's Claudia Faniello is a lovely entry for Eurovision, but is that enough?

Claudia Faniello will represent Malta at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv, Ukraine (Photo: Kris Micallef) Claudia Faniello will represent Malta at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv, Ukraine (Photo: Kris Micallef)

Country: Malta
Song Title: “Breathlessly”
Artist: Claudia Faniello
Second Semi-Final: Position 5
Last year’s entry: “Walk on Water” – Ira Losco (12th Place)

Malta is repping for the powerful ladysinger ballads at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with “Breathlessly” by Claudia Faniello. How is the execution of this track?

This song hasn’t made much of an impression on me, and I’ve been trying to figure out why. There’s nothing to dislike about the track: the lyrics are fine, the pace could be a little faster but it certainly isn’t plodding, and Faniello’s voice is perfectly pleasant to listen to. It’s taken a few listens in preparation for this piece to finally figure out what isn’t working for me: this should be a country song.

Imagine if the strings in the orchestration were replaced with a guitar. This could easily be a hit song on this side of the Atlantic and an instant karaoke staple with even a slight hint of a twang. I fully understand why “Breathlessly” isn’t a country song:

  1. Country isn’t Claudia Faniello’s lane. Granted, I don’t think she would have to change much vocally with a slightly different arrangement, but the style could be outside of her comfort zone.
  2. Country very rarely works at Eurovision.1

So, how could Malta fare in Kyiv? “Breathlessly” is positioned between the poptronic “Dance Alone” (FYR Macedonia) and Romania’s yodel/rap.2 I don’t think the song will have trouble standing out between those two entries, but Claudia Faniello performs rather early in the lineup. There’s a lot of energy and crowd favorites filling out the second half of the second semi-final, which will be a tough challenge to overcome. For Malta’s sake I hope the performance is more than Faniello standing center stage in a lovely gown as sparklers rain down at the key change, because that is not going to be memorable.

Unless Claudia Faniello can give the performance of her life with epic precision, I wouldn’t hold my breath for “Breathlessly” to take Malta to the Grand Final.

Eurovision Song Contest Second Semi-Final
May 11, 2017

AustriaBelarusBulgariaCroatiaDenmark • Estonia
FYR Macedonia • Hungary • IrelandIsraelLithuaniaMalta • Netherlands
NorwayRomaniaRussia • San Marino •  Serbia • Switzerland

  1. See Slovenia 2016 for similar heartbreak.  
  2. Yap?  

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