Last night you made me angry. To my eyes and ears Janice Mangion was clearly the best singer, with the best song, and the best reception I have ever heard. It even topped Oro and their local home crowd "back in the day" for intensity and loudness. We may have been in something that looked like an Anderson shelter. And yes, the assembled throng had been well-oiled by the numerous bars that served "lovely Cisk". They also served Martini, something I haven't seen for years. Even the €4 hotdogs were not that ridiculous.
It's a very good place to start
Let's step back a moment. I knew it was going to be a very strange evening when at 7.35pm those in the queue were led round the back of the arena. A totally unnecessary detour, but very Maltese.
The combined forces of OnEurope/Eurovision Ireland found the man who runs the Maltese ticket website. He very nicely showed us to the press centre, where we met Rodianne; a very nice PBS person who had accreditations waiting for us. It's nice to know that we were expected ... genuinely it was. My own broadcaster doesn't make that much of an effort, so when someone who doesn't know me from Adam not only has things ready, but passes on genuine concern (for NickD of this parish who was ill) it makes you feel wanted. People need to take note.
After seeing the compact and bijou press facilities, we entered Ta Q'ali. As you will no doubt know by now, it's a big tent next to the main stadium on the island. It can hold about 4000 when full. Last night, it looked to be set up for an audience of around 2500-3000.
Not to over-egg the pudding but ...
You've all seen the show, so I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that I hear many of you reading this were dismayed by the amount of advertisements. Indeed, NickD intimated that they spoiled his enjoyment. Having checked back on the Tube of You, I can see why.
PBS can get away with 12 minutes an hour of adverts, but it doesn't mean that they should. They are well-known in the Eurovision firmament for "202 Jewelry" and "CrossCraft" and "ROCS TRAVEL". Of course, they have to pay for what is, by their standards, a massive show. But seriously, there must be another way.
A two-horse race
Back to the music. In the end, there were only two songs in it. Janice and eventual winner Claudia. Each had their cheerleaders. Claudia's were about as subtle as a brick. The guys next to us had waited all night for her, and made their presence felt when song number 16 came around!
Janice, however, was the bigger hit with the crowd.
It was, after all, Malta's 30th attempt to win the big contest, and the organisers had invited along all of their biggest previous entrants, so what better chance would you have of having a home language entry on stage in Kiev? It was not to pass, however, and that, as you saw at the beginning, angered me.
Incandescent with rage ...
It angered me not just because "the wrong song won" - a phrase I hate with a passion. The wrong song never wins. The right song for the competition it was entered for wins.
Claudia's victory felt flat. The hall really did have a sense that Janice was going to win the televote. We thought she had won the televote. Even Eurovision International thought she had, and when she was announced as runner-up, the atmosphere turned. The audience seemed to accept that Claudia, at her tenth attempt, had finally got her turn. That summed up neatly what I felt.
It was her "turn".
That's why Malta made her the winner.
I don't believe it was the best song, I don't even think she is the best singer in her family, but none of that matters when the public decide YOU should have a go and pick you over the better song. To be honest, that sticks in my throat.
I sulked out of the massive tent, thinking that this was the worst thing ever. And then I bumped into the writer of Kewkba, who said that there was "only 400 votes in it, and we've got a good entry".
If he couldn't be downcast then I couldn't ether.
Claudia will do the thing she's wanted for years ... represent her county.
92% of the country watched last night, it is said, and so people have seen it. A good proportion of them voted.
Democracy eh? It might not be understood but you always get what you deserve.