Artists come together at Malta preview party26 April 2016 at 13:40 CEST
The weekend events in Malta started on Friday the 22nd of April, when this year's Maltese entrant, Ira Losco, welcomed Samra who is representing Azerbaijan, to the Mediterranean island.
Ira took her guest to the ancient city of Mdina, where Samra enjoyed traditional Maltese cakes from the top of the old town. Ira also gave Samra a special book about Malta to take home with her, while the Azeri singer presented Ira with a bottle of champagne.
Afterwards, Ira Losco and Samra joined the other 2016 artists on the Xarabank television show.
Malta Preview Party
At the Aria Complex on the Saturday evening the three overseas guest acts performed their 2016 Eurovision entries to the 2.000 strong audience. On stage were;
- Czech Republic - Gabriela Gunčíková
- Israel - Hovi Star
- Serbia - Sanja Vučić ZAA
whilst Ira Losco performed a 20 minute unplugged set with her band before treating the home crowd to the Maltese entry for this year, Walk On Water.
In addition to the 2016 entrants, there were also performances from;
- Amber (Malta 2015 entrant)
- Destiny Chukunyere (Malta Junior Eurovision Song Contest winner 2015)
Then all acts came back to the stage, including Amber and Destiny Chukunyere, to sing Come Together by the Beatles, as a nod to this year's official theme song.
Ira Losco prepares for Stockholm
Ira Losco yesterday began her intensive week of rehearsals before heading to Stockholm this weekend.
Creative Director Stephane Boko is leading the rehearsals of the on-stage performance with Ira and her dancer, Skorpion. Boko has worked on music projects with Celine Dion, choreographed the new version of the Starmania opera (Luc Plamondon & Michel Berger) in Canada, and has worked with Cirque du Soleil as well as on opening ceremonies for major sporting events.
Ira's backing singers are also in Malta for the rehearsals, although for Pamela Bezzina & Anna Azzopardi the journey wasn't so long. Swedes Lars Safsund and Molly Peterson-Hammer however flew in to Malta on Sunday evening for the week's schedule.
Australian stylist Alex Zabotto-Bentley, who is designing Ira's dress for Eurovision, arrives in Malta later this week. The dress for the stage performance has been the subject of many Skype conversations over the past couple of months since Alex returned home after being in Malta for the shooting of the preview video. The costume itself however is currently in Stockholm, with SVT using it for the stand-in rehearsals currently taking place at the Globe Arena. Zabotto is a style expert for Australia's Next Top Model, and has also worked with Prince, Kylie Minogue, and Lady Gaga.
"I'm really happy and excited now that everything is coming together," says Ira. "I did the preview events alone on stage so it's great now to finally be together with everyone else who will be part of the performance in Stockholm. Obviously you plan how everything will work and look, but now finally seeing things for real gets you focussed on making sure the three-minute performance is as good as it can be".
The Maltese delegation will leave the Mediterranean island on Sunday afternoon ahead of the first rehearsal in Stockholm on the 3rd of May.
The parties are over - now it is time for the hard work ahead in Stockholm.
Did you go to any of the Eurovision parties this year? Tell us about your experience.