The Vine reviews ‘I Am What I Am’ for Malta- LIVE SHOW REVIEW

Song # 40- I Am What I Am- Emma Muscat

  • This song’s biggest problem is how predictable and bland it is, and how empty the message feels, and unfortunately, the staging compounded every one of these issues. On the bright side, Emma, for the most part, sang absolutely beautifully, with some gorgeous riffs and generally strong vocals. 

  • Unfortunately, however, the first intro to the first chorus was completely flat, and this meant that throughout the song I was fixating on every vocal to see if she got it right or made another mistake. It’s cruel to say, but making mistakes like this so early on really do set the tone for the rest of the song, and are hard to recover from (this affected other performers this year too). But to her credit, Emma did recover and from that point on delivered a beautiful vocal performance, which is absolutely a mark of her singing ability. I’ve screwed up solos before and just continuing feels impossible, so I have to give credit because it’s due here.

  • The rest of the staging failed to impress, sadly. There was nothing to add to the song’s message or tell a story- had Malta done what Bilal Hassani did in 2019, it could have really heightened the song’s emotional impact and got through to people. My girlfriend absolutely loved the song after watching the music video, but the staging did nothing to convey the inclusive message. The stage was just too empty for the bulk of the performance, and Emma just couldn’t fill it on her own- she had nothing to work with. The song has a gospel feel- give her a choir to back her up and interact with! Don’t just leave her on her own doing very stilted dance moves (she can’t dance energetically or she won’t be able to support her voice). There’s no change in the lighting, no pyro, nothing to add to the song at all- it just adds to how bland the song feels. It feels like they’re not even trying. 

  • And then halfway through we get the introduction of the dancers. They’re just…waiting and then they start dancing. It’s not an impactful moment at all, and Emma’s been carrying the song alone for so long that to suddenly add dancers feels unnecessary. They don’t do anything particularly impressive or memorable, and add very little to the song.

  • We also have to talk about the costumes- Emma’s dress may be a cliched sparkly silver dress (hello 2021) but it’s lovely and reflects the light nicely, but she’s wearing trainers. I don’t know why so many people did the lovely dress and trainers combination this year- I understand if you’re performing all night and need to be comfortable, but it’s three minutes. You can wear some nice shoes that match your outfit! They don’t even have to be high heels, just some nice matching pumps would be less distracting. And the dancers’ costumes just seemed really cheap- the boys were in hoodies next to the lovely sparkly Emma, and don’t get me started on the beige skintight leotards. It’s not a sexy song- why would you wear those? 

  • And one more thing, and this is a purely personal pet-peeve. The video hinted at representation- there was diversity of race, age, gender expression, and it felt a little performative but it was lovely to see nonetheless. All of this was gone in the staging, which was a little disappointing- not only would it have added to the song’s message and given it some depth, but it makes the song itself even shallower in my view. 

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