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Chief Executive of Public Broadcasting Services Malta, John Bundy, has today revealed the regulations of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest; Malta’s national final for the main Eurovision Song Contest to be hosted in Ukraine next May.

Though most of the rules remain unchanged from those of previous years, the addition of one important rule has been announced. This year, the winning song of the Maltese national final must remain unaltered and will represent the country, as-is, at the contest in May. Though it may seem particularly obvious for the rule to exist, last year’s participant, Ira Losco (who also represented the country in 2002), changed her song to the Molly Pettersson Hammar penned track ‘Walk on Water’ after winning the national final with the song ‘Chameleon’. The rule is particularly important as the public watching the nation’s flagship music festival are urged to vote for the song they like most, rather than the artist, and pay to vote via telephone.

The final of Malta’s Eurovision 2017 selection process takes place on February 18 and for the first time the decision will made by televote alone. This comes after multiple years of the Maltese public having a smaller say in the results than international jurors.

Of the sixteen artists hoping to represent their home nation, only six are debuting in the contest – while the other ten have previously taken part.

Malta debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1971 and was represented by Joe Grech and the song “Marija I-Maltija”, the song finished last. Malta competed again in 1972 and 1975 but withdrew until their return in 1991. During the 1990s Malta only once finished outside of the top.10 and in 1998 they came within just 7 points of victory. It was Chiara who brought the country their 3rd place finish in 1998, that went on to finish 2nd at the 2005 contest in Kyiv. The only other artist to finish 2nd for Malta is Ira Losco, she was 12 points away from victory.

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