Prior to the 2015 Contest, Malta had participated in the Eurovision Song Contest twenty-seven times since its first entry in 1971. Malta briefly competed in the Eurovision Song Contest in the 1970s before withdrawing for sixteen years. The country had, to this point, competed in every contest since returning in 1991. Malta's best placing in the contest thus far was second, which it achieved on two occasions: in 2002 with the song "7th Wonder" performed by Ira Losco and in 2005 with the song "Angel" performed by Chiara. In 2014, Malta qualified to the final and placed 23rd with the song "Coming Home" performed by Firelight.
PBS confirmed that Malta would compete in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 on 11 July 2014. On 14 July 2014, PBS announced that the Malta Eurovision Song Contest national final would take place one week after their hosting of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2014 on 15 November 2014. The national final made use of the same venue and stage utilised for the junior contest.
Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2015 was the national final format developed by PBS to select the Maltese entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2015. The competition consisted of a semi-final and final held on 21 and 22 November 2014, respectively, at the Malta Shipbuilding in Marsa. Both shows were broadcast on TVM and hosted by Daniel Chircop and Lyona Xuereb Gatt.
The competition consisted of twenty songs competing in the semi-final on 21 November 2014 where the top fourteen entries qualified to compete in the final on 22 November 2014. Five judges evaluated the songs during the shows and each judge had an equal stake in the final result. The sixth set of votes were the results of the public televote, which had a weighing equal to the votes of a single judge. Ties in the final results were broken based on the entry which received the higher score from the judges. The five members of the jury that evaluated the entries during both the semi-final and final consisted of:
New rules and regulations for the competition allowed for the artist, author and composer of the winning entry to change parts of the winning song or the entire song for the Eurovision Song Contest.
Artists and composers were able to submit their entries between 28 and 29 August 2014 to the PBS Creativity Hub in Gwardamanġa. Artists were also required to submit a cover version of another song along with their entry application in order to allow the jury to assess the quality of the voice of the artist. 134 entries were received by the broadcaster. Songwriters from any nationality were able to submit songs as long as the artist(s) were Maltese or possessed Maltese citizenship. Artists were able to submit as many songs as they wished, however, they could only compete with a maximum of two in the semi-final and one in the final. 2014 national final winners Firelight were unable to compete due to a rule that prevented the previous winners from competing in the following competition. On 26 September 2014, PBS announced a shortlist of 48 entries that had progressed through the selection process. The twenty songs selected to compete in the semi-final were announced on the TV program Xarabank on 3 October 2014. In mid-October 2014, the participants filmed promotional videos for their entries which were released on 20 October 2014 in order to present the competing songs to the public.
Among the selected competing artists were former Maltese Eurovision entrants Ludwig Galea (performing as part of the group Trilogy) who represented Malta in 2004, Glen Vella, who represented Malta in 2011, and Gianluca Bezzina (performing as part of the group L-Aħwa), who represented Malta in 2013. Daniel Testa represented Malta in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2008. Among the songwriters, Boris Cezek co-wrote the 2013 Maltese entry; Paul Abela composed the 1991, 1996 and 2001 Maltese entries; Gerard James Borg and Philip Vella co-wrote the 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2008 Maltese entries, while Gerard James Borg also co-wrote the 2014 Russian entry; Alexander Rybak represented Norway and won the Eurovision Song Contest 2009; Jan van Dijk co-composed the 1990 Portuguese entry; Charlie Mason co-wrote the 2012 Italian entry and the winning 2014 Austrian entry.
The semi-final took place on 21 November 2014 where twenty songs competed for fourteen qualifying spots in the final. A draw was held to determine which entries would open and close the show; "Home" performed by Lyndsay Pace was drawn to open the show and "Love and Let Go" performed by Ekklesia Sisters was drawn to close the show. The remaining positions in the running order were determined by the producers of the show. The show was opened with a guest performance by Maltese Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2014 representative Federica Falzon performing the song "Diamonds".
The final took place on 22 November 2014 where the fourteen entries that qualified from the semi-final were performed again and the votes of a five-member jury panel (5/6) and the results of public televoting (1/6) determined the winner. A draw was held at a press conference following the semi-final in order to determine which entries would open and close the show; "Breakaway" performed by Glen Vella was drawn to open the show and "Something In The Way" performed by Daniel Testa was drawn to close the show. The remaining positions in the running order were determined by the producers of the show. The show was opened with a guest performance by Eurovision Song Contest 2014 winner Conchita Wurst performing "Rise Like a Phoenix". The interval act also featured Wurst performing the song "Heroes" and 2014 Maltese Eurovision entrants Firelight performing "Coming Home", "Talk Dirty" and "Backdrop of Life".
After the votes from the jury panel and televote were combined, "Warrior" performed by Amber was the winner with the maximum score of 72 points.
In March 2015, the Maltese broadcaster announced that the Eurovision version of "Warrior" would be released after the song had undergone remastering. The composers of "Warrior", Elton Zarb and Matthew (Muxu) Mercieca, worked with Gordon Bonello and Kevin Abela to produce the new version of the song. A 57-piece orchestra was used for the recording. To present the new version, the official music video for the song was filmed, which was produced by Gordon Bonello, Rodney Gauci, Neville Grech and Charles Ahar. The video was recorded at a 400 year old abandoned house in Rabat, Malta. The video and new version of the song were premiered on 9 March 2015 at the PBS Creativity Hub in Gwardamanġa and then released online.
According to Eurovision rules, all nations with the exceptions of the host country and the "Big 5" (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) are required to qualify from one of two semi-finals in order to compete for the final; the top ten countries from each semi-final progress to the final. In the 2015 contest, Australia also competed directly in the final as an invited guest nation. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) split up the competing countries into five different pots based on voting patterns from previous contests, with countries with favourable voting histories put into the same pot. On 26 January 2015, a special allocation draw was held which placed each country into one of the two semi-finals, as well as which half of the show they would perform in. Malta was placed into the second semi-final, to be held on 21 May 2015, and was scheduled to perform in the first half of the show.
Once all the competing songs for the 2015 contest had been released, the running order for the semi-finals was decided by the shows' producers rather than through another draw, so that similar songs were not placed next to each other. Malta was set to perform in position 5, following the entry from Montenegro and before the entry from Norway.
All three shows were televised in Malta on TVM, with commentary by Corazon Mizzi. The Maltese spokesperson, who announced the Maltese votes during the final, was previous 2004 contest entrant Julie Zahra.
Amber took part in technical rehearsals on 13 and 16 May, followed by dress rehearsals on 20 and 21 May. This included the jury final where professional juries of each country, responsible for 50 percent of each country's vote, watched and voted on the competing entries.
The stage show featured Amber on stage alone in a long black dress with lace sleeves and a black ribbon around her waist. As the song progressed, the background LED screens transitioned between blue flame-like effects exploding outwards from a sphere and orange and red flames. The performance also utilised pyrotechnics in the form of shooting flames.
At the end of the show, Malta failed to qualify to the final and was not announced among the top ten nations. It was later revealed that Malta placed eleventh in the semi-final, receiving a total of 43 points—11 points shy of qualifying to the final.
Voting during the three shows consisted of 50 percent public televoting and 50 percent from a jury deliberation. The jury consisted of five music industry professionals who were citizens of the country they represent, with their names published before the contest to ensure transparency. This jury was asked to judge each contestant based on: vocal capacity; the stage performance; the song's composition and originality; and the overall impression by the act. In addition, no member of a national jury could be related in any way to any of the competing acts in such a way that they cannot vote impartially and independently. The individual rankings of each jury member were released shortly after the grand final.
Following the release of the full split voting by the EBU after the conclusion of the competition, it was revealed that Malta had placed twelfth with the public televote and fifth with the jury vote in the second semi-final. In the public vote, Malta scored 32 points, while with the jury vote, Malta scored 84 points.
Below is a breakdown of points awarded to Malta and awarded by Malta in the second semi-final and grand final of the contest, and the breakdown of the jury voting and televoting conducted during the two shows:
The following five members comprised the Maltese jury:Howard Keith Debono – Chairperson – producer, artist manager, event organizer
Dorothy Anne Bezzina – teacher, singer
Dominic Cini – music producer
Joseph Chetcuti – lawyer, violinist, presenter
Pierre Cordina – radio presenter, club DJ