Maltese finalists known, Chiara shortlisted11 January 2009 at 00:19 CET
Initially there were 182 entries submitted in Malta. This number was reduced to 56 semi finalists by a professional jury. Since November 2008 these songs have been presented to the Maltese public in weekly shows, culminating in the final 7 being performed as part of tonight's show. During the interval of the programme a tribute was made to the recently deceased composer Charles Camilleri, and his 1972 Maltese Eurovision Song Contest entry L'Imhabba was played for the audience.
The 56 songs were whittled down to the final 20 tonight, 15 of them chosen by judges and the remaining 5 by televoting. The draw was also made this evening for the running order in the national final.
The qualifiers for the final
01. Ha Hi Hu - The Elements
02. Kamikaze Lover - Baklava
03. Choose Your Number - J.Anvil
04. Where You Belong - Wayne Micallef
05. Tonight at the Opera - Classic Rebels
06. Promises - Vittorio & Dorothy
07. What If We - Chiara
08. One Million Ways - Rosman Pace
09. Before You Walk Away - Q
10. Let It Shine - Kylie Coleiro
11. Where Was I - Jamie Tonna
12. Life Is An Opera - Christine Barbara
13. Someday - Eleanor Cassar
14. Crossroads - Raquela
15. Mama - Miriam Christine
16. Avalon - Georgina & Ruth
17. Typical Me - Alison Ellul
18. The Song in Your Heart - Trilogy
19. Blue Sonata - Claudia Faniello
20. Butterfly Sky - Klinsmann
Amongst the qualifiers is Chiara, who represented Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest twice. In 1998, she finished third with The One That I Love, in 2005 she came second with Angel. Miriam Christine represented Malta in Oslo in the contest in 1996.
Malta will hold their national final on the 7th of February in the Malta Fairs & Convention Centre in Ta Qali, and will be hoping to improve on the disappointing results of the past three years which have seen last place in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest in Athens and non qualification from the Semi-Finals in 2007 and 2008 respectively.