Although the history of National song contests organized in the Maltese islands dates back to 1960 when the first Malta Song Festival was organized, it was only in 1971 that Malta started to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. Malta took part 27 times since its debut in 1971 but has never won the contest, although it has twice finished second and twice finished third.
At first, the island state sent songs in its native language, Maltese, but it failed to rank highly, finishing last in its first two attempts in the contest in 1971 and 1972 and withdrew after the 1975 contest.
Malta's return to the contest in 1991, after a sixteen-year absence, proved to be more successful, with eight consecutive top ten placings (1991-1998) and finishing in the top ten in 12 out of 15 contests from 1991-2005. These results included third place in 1992 for Mary Spiteri, second place finishes in 1998 for Chiara and 2002 for Ira Losco and third in 2005, again with Chiara, who in 2009, became the first performer to represent Malta at three contests, finishing 22nd. Malta's two seconds and two thirds, make it the most successful country not to win the contest.
Since 2006, Malta has struggled to make an impact in the contest, finishing last in 2006 with Fabrizio Faniello, who had previously finished ninth in 2001, and failing to qualify from the semi-final round four times, in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011. Malta has failed to reach the top ten in eight of the last nine contests (2006-2014), the exception being Gianluca Bezzina, who finished eighth in 2013.
Together with France, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, Malta is one of the few countries that has not missed a contest since 1991. All of Malta's entries since 1991 have been sung in its other official language English. The only use of the Maltese language being three lines in the 2000 entry "Desire", performed by Claudette Pace. The Maltese broadcasters of the show are the Public Broadcasting Services (PBS). All shows are transmitted live on TVM (Malta) and Radio Malta.
NOTE: If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. In addition, back in 2004-2007, the top ten countries who were not members of the big four did not have to compete in the semi finals the following year. If, for example, Germany and France placed inside the top ten, the countries who placed 11th and 12th were advanced to the following year's grand final along with the rest of the top ten countries.