It’s fair to say that last night’s Malta Eurovision song contest had its moments. There were colourful costumes, fancy lighting, a couple of missed notes and even a digital pigeon, but these things were all overshadowed by the eventual winner of the competition. With the likes of Brooke Borg and Janice Mangion touted to be the favourites, it came as a shock to all of us when Claudia Faniello was announced to be the victor. For Claudia, it’s the culmination of an 11 year journey to reach the final stage of the Eurovision.
It’s a journey that began in 2006 when, at the age of 18 she entered the Malta Song for Europe with the song High Alert! She finished 12th out of 18 entries as her brother, Fabrizio, won the contest with I Do and represented Malta in Greece. She also won the award for best newcomer to the scene in the same competition. The year after, she entered with a Maltese language entry called L-Imhabba Ghamja but it would be the first of many almosts for her as she finished 7th; missing out on the Final phase by just 2% of the vote.
She would come closest the year after however, in 2008. Her two songs, Caravaggio and Sunrise finished 2nd and 3rd respectively and were beaten by Morena’s song about Vodka. Claudia would not give up however and she was back in 2009 with Blue Sonata and Midas Touch. The latter song did not make it past the heats, however the former did. Claudia missed out once again however as she finished in 4th place, only 16 points behind eventual winner Chiara.
She was back in 2010 and 2011 with another two strong ballads but these placed in 8th and 9th respectively. 2012 was a different story however as her entry Pure won the jury vote but could only finish 4th in the televoting. This meant that she once again finished in 2nd place and missed out on the final spot.
She tried her luck again the year after, but When It’s Time could only place 7th as the much loved Gianluca Bezzina took home the top spot. It was now that she decided to take a break from the Eurovision.
This year she was back however with a song called Breathlessly. Despite her experience however, she went somewhat under the radar; with people seeming to favour Brooke Borg and, even more so, Janice Mangion’s Maltese number. However, she had the advantage of singing in the coveted last spot and her performance brought the house (or tent) down. And sure enough, that all paid off for her as she was announced as the winner with almost 5,000 votes at the end of the night.
Speaking after the competition, Claudia said “I had a break after four years because I wanted to focus on my career and because I wanted to be back with the right song… and I really believed in Breathlessly.” Indeed her belief has paid off, and Claudia will be representing Malta in Ukraine next May!
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