Updated: Disappointment as Glen Vella fails to qualify for Eurovision final

Updated: Disappointment as Glen Vella fails to qualify for Eurovision final

 Adds reaction by PBS CEO, other details - Malta, represented by Glen Vella has failed to qualify for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, to be held on Saturday.

Glen gave a strong performance of his song One Life in the first semi-final of the contest this evening but hope fizzled out when the 10 qualifiers from the 19 participants were announced.

The qualifiers were: Serbia, Lithuania, Greece, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Switzerland, Hungary, Finland, Russia and Iceland

Glen appeared calm and confident on stage and his song was well received by the audience, including a crowd of flag-waving Maltese.

Half of the vote was by televoting. The remaining half of the vote was by an international jury.

Speaking to The Times at the end of the contest, Anton Attard, Public Broadcasting Services CEO and head of the Maltese delegation, said he was happy with Glen's performance: " Glen and his team had put in their utmost and they deserved all the praise," he said.

"The voting is what it is" and the results always have to be taken with a pinch of salt.

"However, this year a lot of work has gone into rebuilding Malta's credibility," he added.

Glen sported an outfit put together by Maltese designers Charles and Ron: jeans, grey jacket and a white T-shirt. Commenting on the word ' saint' embossed on the front, prior to the show, Glen joked that " That's because I'm a saint".

Online, Glen's performance was well received, with viewers commenting on Facebook and Twitter, that he was " on key", that " the backing vocalists were brilliant" and " the choreography perfect." Tweets went from " this is the closest thing to a winner I heard" to " Malta is trying too hard".

As usual the show had its fair share of flamboyant costumes, ridiculous lyrics and excessive gimmicks ranging from a singer wearing a Father Christmas outfit, to another featuring a prop of what looked like a headless girl in a cage. The lame jokes of the three German presenters, Judith Rakers, a newscaster, Anke Engelke a comedian and Stefan Raab an entertainer, were also typical of the Eurovision contest.

The semi-final show was broadcast live on TVM, with Eurovision observer, Elieen Montesin, as commentator. Several commented on her not-so-subtle attempts to nudge the Maltese audience into voting for certain countries and not others.

Before the San Marino song, Ms Montesin informed the audience that " we get along well with this country".

She declared the Croatian singer to be " very humble" but the Polish ones as " unsociable". When it came to Albania she said that Malta " is trying to build a good relationship". While Hungary, Russia and Finland were clearly not her favourites, the Azerbaijan singers were described as " very, very sweet."

Most people took her script in good spirit: " Well, we're playing their game," said one online commentator: " Finally we're being a bit cunning about all this voting business."

The second semi-final will be broadcast live tomorrow, from the Düsseldorf Arena at 9 p. m. For Malta the drama of Eurovision 2011 ends here, and Glen will have to celebrate his 28th birthday in Malta and not on stage.

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