Eurovision - Baku 2012 ''Light Your Fire''

It’s February, and that means the annual Eurovision Song Contest is starting to take shape. This year’s theme is “Light Your Fire” and the finals will take place in Baku, Azerbaijan, a historic city on the coast of the Caspian Sea, and home to Ell & Nikki, the duo whose song “Running Scared” won Eurovision last year.

Each year around this time, various member countries of the European Broadcasting Union start picking their entries in the song competition which is notable for its spectacle of musical cheddar. This is, after all, the contest that established artists like ABBA and Celine Dion as international stars, and whose very aesthetic has been central to Lady Gaga’s schtick (her 2011 album Born This Way is pretty much a self contained Eurovision competition).

Most of the participating countries have nominating contests to choose their entries, so if you weren’t busy watching the bafflement over Rick Santorum’s surge in the Republican primaries this week, you might have noticed that the tiny island nation of Malta selected their Eurovision representative: audience favorite Kurt Calleja (rocking a Ricky Martin-style 10-day shadow) and the song “This Is the Night,” a catchy if generic chunk of Eurodisco candy. This is the 22-year-old Malta native’s third attempt at winning the chance to represent his home country at Eurovision. “This Is the Night” is a hard song not to like, but it’s good that Mr. Calleja has a few months to polish up his act – which is embarrassingly rough in spots, especially on the ad-libs in the final choruses: