Eurovision 2015 – Day 1 First Rehearsal LIVE ROLLING BLOG – START 12:00 Noon CET- JUST REFRESH
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Now if you were thinking of anything else besides our LIVE ROLLING BLOG for Day 1 of Eurovision Rehearsals then naughty you 😉
You can follow our LIVE BLOG HERE – You know the drill by now. Just refresh the page for our live updates. We start at 12 noon CET. You are in capable hands of the team for the day – Garrett, John, Elaine, Andrew and Phil (our good friend from OnEurope) – So if you want an honest opinion of how the rehearsals are going then tune in here.
Who do we have rehearsing today?
1 – Moldova
2 – Armenia
3 – Belgium
4 – The Netherlands
5 – Finland
6 – Greece
7 – Estonia
8 – Macedonia
John: I saw one run-through of this and it’s noteworthy. My first thought was that George Michael wants his ‘Let’s go outside’ video back. Eduard has a big climbing frame for him and his happy band of police-uniform-clad cohorts to cavort around. Some of it is a bit effective, but some is a little distracting, whatever your persuasion. Eduard can move and demonstrates this by a sneaky little back-flip. He could almost go all Israeli on us and ask ‘Do you like my dancing?’. I’m still undecided on whether it will qualify. My gut feeling is no, but as it’s a big quick song it could catch the eye of enough televoters out there.
Andrew: We only saw the last run through as the feed to the press centre was switched off. Well we have our first omg moment of the day already. Eduard in cap and open chested top and tight leather trousers, backing dancers dressed as cops in leather shorts, girl cop in tight hotpants which are as skimpy as can be. They also have a scaffolding platform which they use during the routine. Girl cop shook her booty right into the camera lens at one point creating an audible gasp from the press. Do Moldova know their market audience, I am not sure? Vocally it sounded ok for a first rehearsal and Eduard seems to be enjoying himself. The stage looks great, I love how it looks tight and focused.
Phil: Eduard may well have to revisit the voting demographic that this song is aimed at after that performance, It’s very much aiming at the jury demographic (Middle aged men over 40) but certainly not in the musical sense.
His styling och consulting have definitely said ” you know what… sex sells” and that’s the angle he has gone with, complete with booty shaking lovelies and lots of chemistry. However, vocally it could do with some work and technically it looks to me slightly messy and whilst I totally understand the concept I think it misses the mark by quite some way unfortunately.
Well we wondered how long it would take to have our first “What on Earth?” moment in the press centre and Moldova did not disappoint. Take the cast of Police Academy and put them into a George Michael video and you just about have it. Policemen in leather shorts and police women in hot pants chasing Eduard around a climbing frame made for a fascinating first rehearsal. We only saw one run through and the vocal was only aired half way through but it sounded pretty good. This song is one of my guilty pleasures this year. It is fun, catchy and upbeat start to the first semi-final.
Andrew: Well this is jumping out at me. I don’t like the song but the vocals are spot on and strong. They have staged this really effectively with a big tree in the backdrop and good lighting throughout. They stand on stage in varying groupings. All six together either in a row or in a tight circle at some point. It’s simple and effective and is going right up in my estimations for qualifying.
And all because the lady loves Milk Tray………………. Armenia have staged their song ‘Deny’ in a frenzy of purple. There is an enchanted forest feel to the back drop and they use a lot of floor art with camera angles looking down to the stage. The patterns on the floor took me back to my days as a child playing Spirograph.
Genealogy are from 5 different continents and they cleverly use a map of the world on the floor towards the end and each artist moves to the continent on the map that they come from. The staging is very profession and the vocal excellent. This is not a song that lights my fire but Armenia are giving us a very slick professional performance and it looks great on TV. I’m off now because I feel the need to treat myself to a Dairy Milk.
The Armenians have thrown a lot at this. We see many many things that have appeared in many many stage performances down the years. The time hand-manoeuvre that Nicki French used in 2000. The diadem used by the UK’s Molly in 2014. The tree motif used by their very own Hayko from 2007. The standing around used by Croatia’s Put in 1993. I could go on.
The general motif is lots of purples, blues and greys, which is what they wear and what features in the backdrop. The backdrop also features a large white tree that sways and blossoms emphasising that life goes on. There are lots of camera angles from above them, looking down at the stage floor. We get geometric shapes, more allusions to clocks and a map of the world. It’s all very familiar and maybe just a little bit contrived. But you can’t argue with the vocal which nails every note. It could qualify as, after all, most of the songs mentioned above worked.
Genealogy are a group that has been specifically put together for this contest and boy does it show. They are almost the countdown numbers game of Eurovision ( One from the top and any other 5 please, Armenia). It’s very purple and someone has clearly gone “Try very hard and the votes will come”
They are trying very hard to be everything but sadly ends up being just a big ballad that gets stronger and stronger as the three minutes goes on but, to me, it’s just so contrived it doesn’t really get me excited. If, though, you want a faux ballad with a message… you’ve got it here. It should qualify but, for me, it’s just…. meh.
Andrew:Wow moment number 2 today. At the end of the run through Loic is clearly in the wrong position and while his backing singers/dancers are all lying on the floor he gives out an audible sorry and has to run around them to find his finish position. Hoots of laughter in the press centre. But back to the run through. Some of the camera angles are messy and some time is wasted on angles that have no impact at all. He is often standing on his own dressed in black while his 5 backing group are elsewhere often in a tight knit group formation and dressed in crème. Vocally he is giving it loads already and this may stand out in this Semi Final enough to qualify.
The first set of rehearsals seem to be a little problematic. There’s a lot going off here in front of a very white backdrop. Fear not though, as it gets darker during the song. Little Loic is currently dressed in black, and he has five backing singers, mainly in white. They play a very active part in the stage show – no standing in the shadows for these guys. There’s a lot of what I would call modern dancing, sometimes all moving together, sometimes one at a time. I’m not sure whether the song needs it. It’s not a bad song, but it could be a bit distracting. I’m prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt for now though.
The arrangement is a little different to the preview video – when we can hear it. We saw plenty of run-throughs but only heard the one. The general camera work is OK. Not brilliant, and could probably do with some closer angles.
Phil : Both with us in the press centre and with the hall. Sound seems to have gone so we only got one vocal performance which was, shall we say, a touch ropey in a couple of places but, as people always remind me, it’s a first rehearsal but, when the sound had gone… Loic looked like he was having problems with the in ear monitoring and has dispense with a leather jacket between the first and second run through and looks a lot better.
I still think, though, that the look (which is all I can actually comment on up until right this second and they have turned it back on) is very black and white, literally, with him in black and the stage is in white… hellish if you have contrast issues on you screen, I get with him being in black and the backing singers in white, but it just looks lost on stage. They have also changed the arrangement of the song and Loic seems not to be 100% comfy with it, and I definitely aren’t. He seems to be interpreting his own way through parts of the song of his own accord which is also dangerous. The camera angles are very far away and they all look small on screen. This is not working on the TV either to be honest.
It’ll do well, but it needs to get a touch better in my opinion.
Hmmmmm Belgium!! I’m really not sure what to say. We were hindered by getting some of the run throughs with no sounds but the camera angles look all wrong. The song has grown on me and is one of the more modern songs but the staging looked bare and sparse. They looked very small on the stage because of the distance of the camera angles. Loic gave us all a good giggle on his first run through when he forgot to get into position and had to run shouting “SORRY”!!! The staging needs a lot of work and Loic looked a little bit “rabbit in the headlights” but with some work this still has a good chance.
Andrew: Big wow moment number 3 today. The Netherlands OMFG. Dress is well wtf? The front is cut out by scissors revealing her bosoms almost completely as well as her navel. At the back there is a star shaped cut out on her right buttock cheek. Also she is wearing a birds nest veil over her face at the start of the song. The gasps in the press centre were deafening and there is clearly some of the lads here traumatised by the experience of her boobs. They are experimenting with the style of the veil as well. Vocally its fine and catchy but styling is either inspired or so wrong. She also has L O V E on here fingers which are prominent under the uv lights.
NEVER has the question whyayeayeayeayeayeayeaye been more appropriate! Oh dear bless Trijntje. We start with a head shot where she looks like she is going out to burgle the local shop – we have a selection of veils that look like tights on her head and just as we got over the shock we got the full frontal of her dress. “Slashed to the Naval” appears to be back in fashion. The phrase “Fashion Boob” is the most appropriate slogan I can come up with. I am soooo upset because I love this song but she looks like Stiffler’s Mum at a funeral.
Trijntje would be able to pull off casual, sexy woman with ease and I really feel the stylist has got this all wrong. When I saw the L.O.V.E. emblazened on her knuckles in the second run through my only thought was I hope she ain’t got H.A.T.E. on the other hand. I hope they got back to the drawing board with the outfit for the next rehearsal.
Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Trijntje needs to seriously rethink her outfit. For starters, she’s sporting a speckled widow’s veil. Her black frock is also ‘slashed’ down the front, almost to her unmentionable area. Perhaps to counter that, there are a lot of close-ups of her. But when the camera does pan around her, there’s a bright star on her back as if someone’s hit Trijntje with a paintball gun.
There are several strikingly dressed backing singers, one wearing a very oversized T-shirt bearing the words Yes and No. There are many changes of stage colours, red to blue to green and so on.
On the plus side, her vocal is impeccable so needs hardly any work.
When we saw the first run-through, there were very audible gasps from the Press Centre. So if the Dutch have any sense, we’ll seeing a different outfit for the next rehearsal.
Johnny Logan once said “What do you say when words are not enough?” The answer is clearly ” Why eye eye!” She certainly puts people’s eyes in focus for those that like that sort of things She is clearly “large and in charge” which is good but Anouk must have to take some responsibility for the staging mistakes in this one. Trinitje is a good singer, dont get me wrong, but as with the others today, questionable styling och consulting means that this song is shocking me in all the wrong ways. Please change it ASAP, that would be great!!
We are now on our lunch break and the canteen in the press centre is open and selling tasty food alternatives of good Austrian cuisine at reasonable prices. We bumped into the Armenians who felt happy with their rehearsal.
Andrew: The song is now only 1.25 long. That is a good thing in my book. We have lots of smoke on stage and lots of white spotlights. We still have PKN standing middle stage very static except for the gentle head banging. I liked punk in its early stages of the late 70’s and I am sure I would like punk now in the 2010’s but this is not a good song. It grates to my ears and I fear for it qualifying and letting a better song miss out on the Final.
John: Finland has gone for a very industrial look to their stage. It’s a bit like Georgia’s Eldrine’s, but far more gritty. There’s not much to write because the song is less than 1½ minutes – so I guess PKN could perform it twice and still be within the time limit. Lead singer Kari sings and the rest of the band just ably play their instruments.
I will say that it’s not really my genre and I genuinely think it will struggle next Tuesday. But it’s a great leap forward in the interests of opportunity.
Phil: The advantage of an 85 second punk song is that you get to hear it again… and again… and again, and so it proves with the Finns. Everything controversial has already been written about this but the song itself is just typically punk and you either love or loathe it but it is what it is…. and punk song with a repetitive hook.
When you look at this song the first thing you’ll notice is the huge pillars of white smoke and then the performance does everything that it did at UMK and that is the essence of this song, it doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t.
Will it qualify? – Probably not, but the old punks will love it.
Well Finland gave us no more and no less than we expected. The staging is fairly simple with a lot of smoke billowing around the stage. The guys performed this as well as we have seen them in other performances. They have stayed true to their genre and are delivering a punk song in a punk style and this will appeal to their fans. It has never been my favourite song and I was very happy that it was only 1min 30secs in length until the rehearsals started because it means they can fit in about 15 run throughs within the 30 minute time limit. This song will definitely have a fan base but whether it is enough for it to qualify remains to be seen.
PKN – Well this song is going to divide public opinion and I like songs that actually get a reaction from the audience. I know I am in the minority here but I like this song but what of the performance? Well PKN have stayed true to their punk roots and this performance was shot like a live concert performance. With a cellar like background with exposed brick work and a lot of dried ice with flashes of light pulsating through. The band were obviously enjoying their time on the stage and for me it was authentic. Following on from The Netherlands performance before it – this song for me is going to the Final for me.
Andrew: We have the first Bond theme of the show now. There is a giant circle as the backdrop made from spotlights which reminds me of the gun barrel at the beginning of a Bond movie. This is really beautifully sung and staged. Nice and simple with tight vocals. Another revealing down to the navel dress here but Maria pulls off the look better. This has gone up in my estimation based on only one run through. Job is a good ‘un Greece.
It’s great to have a big big ballad that ticks lots of boxes. Good-looking singer – check. Powerful voice – check. Minimal movement – check. This also benefits from a pianist who does his stuff but, as with all other instrumentalists on stage, must be miming. The backdrop reminds me of the countdown clock from the programmes for schools and colleges I used to watch when at school. It’s a circle of large white dots. But these stay on for the whole performance.
It’s definitely a ballad by numbers. Greece has never failed to get out of a semi-final, and I can see the same happening this year. It is, however, too ballad by numbers and it might struggle in the final.
I wrote a shedload on this, and WordPress lost it all…in brief, however, BBC TV Childrens clock.. qualifying.
Well the performance and presentation from Greece was simply stunning. Maria has provided us with our 2nd “Slashed to the Naval” dress of the day however she pulled it off with style and sophistication (she never actually pulled the dress off I may add)
It sounds like a bond theme, it is staged like a bond theme and Maria makes it look effortless. Sometimes less is more when it comes to Eurovision staging and Greece have got it spot on this year. It has gone up in my estimations.
John: I got goose bumps just now. No, not because of the cold but towards the end of this song. It just kept my attention throughout. The setting with its long shadows gives it that noir vibe. Stig starting alone, Elina joining him, and then Stig leaving the stage just before the end.
You can tell there is a sort of awkward chemistry between them. She looks most dischuffed. So does he. We’re not quite sure whose fault the cause of their rift is. It even keeps you guessing on whether they will kiss and make up or not. Until the end, that is. This is a definite qualifier, and the best thing I’ve seen all day.
Phil : This is class – John has not played this card enough but because it has just the right side of cold and annoyed between Stig and Elina that it makes you go “blimey, that’s really really good” – and it is…. This is, as has been said, the best thing that has been seen all day and it works so well its amazing. This will be given lots of points by lots of people… Bring on Tallinn???
Andrew: Stig and Elina are both standing apart on the stage with huge silhouettes behind them on the stage and backdrop. This is very effective and is used well in the performance and in telling the story of the song. Some of the camera angles are certainly not tight enough yet. Work in progress comes to mind. It is a great song and a great performance both visually and vocally is possible with this but it aint happening for me just yet. Its one of my personal big favourites so I am hoping that this steps up to the mark after all the rehearsals are over and it sails into the Final next week.
Andrew: Loving the backdrop for Macedonia, its like a big Greek temple with lots of columns. Autumn leaves come into the backdrop too. He has a 3 piece backing group called Merj from the USA who dance and sing alongside him. I think it looks good and works well. Its more RnB boy band than boyband. This is working for me and enhances the chances of us seeing Macedonia in the Final next week.
A very slick performance from Macedonia. When you put in a dance routine as they have, it can be risky because the timing has to be great but Daniel and Merj (from Blackstreet) are on point. The backdrop is fabulous in gold with the ‘Falling Leaves’ effect. The dance routine is like a boy band routine but made cool and I love the shoe shuffle. You know what I will be attempting down the Euroclub when it opens. Good job Macedonia.
Last on today is this pleasantly-staged song. The separate elements of gentle song and R&B influence wouldn’t seem to work, but actually they do very well. Daniel’s backing singers, Merj (from Blackstreet) don’t get in the way at all, and give a very good complement to the main vocal.
Our backdrop features classical arches and columns, giving the impression of an ancient temple or arena. No lions though, luckily. There are also [virtual] leaves blowing around. More up than down but they create an effect nevertheless. The occasional shots of the stage floor show a carpet of autumn foliage. Just to make sure the viewer knows what the song is about. This has grown on me, and it’s come from a less than average chance to a more secure qualifier. Macedonia just need to keep the vocal clear and they should be there.
Phil: It seems the guest blogger is going to round the day off in style. Daniel has drafted in some professional assistance in the form of Merj from Backstreet to help him learn how to move around the stage, no I kid you not, they have managed to get them in!! – Vocally, however, and overall it just strikes me as average lift lobby music which is probably where this song will end up – in an elevator in the long term. In the short term, however, It is fighting for a qualification place and, in my opinion, it needs to have very good luck to qualify but I do think it has a chance… but not a very good one. It looks ok on the telly though, and that’s the thing that’s more important.