Albania

Eurovision 2015 – Day 2 First Rehearsal LIVE ROLLING BLOG – START 12:00 Noon CET- JUST REFRESH

Day 2 - Semi Final 1 Rehearsals
Day 2 – Semi Final 1 Rehearsals

Eurovision 2015 – Day 2 First Rehearsal LIVE ROLLING BLOG – START 12:00 Noon CET- JUST REFRESH

You remember that you wanted it yesterday? – And you certainly got it!! – Well, you lucky readers, you’re going to get it again today!!! If you want to see what you missed yesterday then take a look at this HERE

It is DAY 2 In the big Eurovision house and Eurovision Ireland will be here for you to whet your appetite for what’s going down, dow low in the old Wiener Stadthalle!

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?

9 – Serbia

10 – Hungary

11 – Belarus

12 – Russia

13 – Denmark

14 – Albania

15 – Romania

16 – Georgia

SERBIA

Phil : Moje 3 have a lot to answer for.  If Leslie Philips was here, he would say “Ding Dong!!” – She’s an ample lady with a gay bar anthem set to music.  Somewhere RTS went ” I’ll tell you what we’ll do….” – Whoever that person is needs to be sacked! – It’s big and in your face and vocally fine but, and it’s a bit butt ( fnarr), It’s a Eurovision song that is outdated and the original version in Serbian was just fine, it’s then been changed to having a “message” and the styling och consulting have gone totally the wrong way for me.  It may get through to the final OR I might do an Angelica Agurbash.. I’m hoping for the latter but the constituency it’s aimed at may well get it through, to a disaster on Saturday Next…

Tweet Serbia

Andrew: Well what a start to the morning we have here. Bojana is surely the diva of the contest. She is dressed in a big bold silver dress(Verka Serduchka meets The Toppers) and her hair has been frizzed to the max. She starts the song in the slower part with 4 backing group dressed in flowing white wearing white masks and waving flags (think Regina  from Bosnia from a few years back). Then when the disco beat kicks in the backing group strip off to reveal colourful outfits(for the girls) and regular wear (for the guys). Its as camp as kittens and so works for me.  It goes down a storm in the press centre.

Elaine:

Serbia is #fabulous!!! An eruption in the press centre at the end of the rehearsal shows the love towards Bojana. She is trussed up like a Christmas Turkey in foil with a hairdo that resembles “bed head meets dragged through a hedge backwards” but boy has she got some volume!! (hair and voice).Bojana does not strip off in this performance but the backing dancers do as the song changes to a dance floor stomper. There is plenty pouting, posing and strutting and it is fabulously camp! Great start to the day.

John:

Big round of applause for Serbia with a performance that had me transfixed. Why, you may ask? It’s because it’s so over the top it’s come back around on itself. Bojana is a powerful singer in a big dress made of shiny parachute silk. She also has a wild hairdo that definitely hasn’t seen straighteners for some considerable time. She’s flanked by big white flags that aren’t attached to her even though it looks like they are. She has four dancers who undergo an interesting costume change. They go from long white robes and white masks to, erm, vivid colours which make this even more memorable. That’s if it can’t be memorable enough already. They give us the jazz hands, and it appears one of the guys has been co-opted on stage to fill in and he’s absolutely loving it. A qualifier if there’s any justice.

HUNGARY

Andrew: Well things are rolling along nicely now. Hungary  have given us a performance that’s so sweet its sickly so. The juries will love it to death. Boggie is accompanied by 4 backing singers on stage and we have striking images both on stage and backdrop. The world map, guns intertwined turning into a gun tree. Then we move to a real green tree with a green meadow backdrop and the moving earth at their feet on stage. Boggie is wearing a velvet/scarlet dress and the vocals are good. It’s a simple song with a very strong message and I suspect it will easily pass to the final now.

Elaine:

If I was diabetic I would be checking my sugar levels right now. Everything sickly and sweet in this world has been thrown at the Hungarian entry as I thought may happen. The backdrop changes from a night sky with sparkling stars, to a map of the world revolving on the floor then develops into a large tree, green grassy fields and a vision of beauty and wonder. Boggie sings about everything terrible that has happened in the world and how much better we would be without all the bad stuff.

It is very professional, looks good on the screen and will probably sail into the final but I am gonna have to cut down on my sugar intake for the rest of the day!!!!

Tweet Hungary

John:

If ever there was a complete opposite to a previous song, this is it. Now I’ve always rated this song for its simplicity. Not least because Boggie is a brunette. The way that Boggie starts alone and her backing singers gradually join her is a nice touch. There’s no competition between them and they don’t try and outperform her diminutive-ness. In fact, the way Boggie is joined is slightly akin to the Armenians yesterday. It’s worked before. And vocally it is very good.

Now, the problem lies with the backdrop. A monochrome globe I can cope with – it suits the vibe. It’s the revolving sub-machine guns that bother me. If they’re needed at all, which they don’t, they need to be slowed down. Instead of helping the song, they’re all you look at. I appreciate they turn into a tree by the end of the song (up a gun tree, if you will), but there must be other ways of expressing this sort of symbolism.

Phil : I like this song.   Possibly because I was forced, at gunpoint, to watch A Dal for six weeks for Eurovision Ireland so I have an affinity for this song.

It’s could just be argued that it is slow dirge that would do nothing in this contest because there are so many ballads it’s untrue.   However, it is a half decent crafted song in which Boggie actually believes the things she is singing about.  You can tell by looking into her eyes, I believe that she cares about the subject matter… the titular “wars” are not all about fighting if you listen to the lyric.  It’s not anti war, it’s anti oppression really.  Her message may be lost on the cynical but there is a truth behind this performance which is very very overpowering.

Simple song staged simply without any fuss or bother.  It makes you sway from side to side and thats a good thing… It might not get the result it deserves because it could well blend into the background but that would be a shame.

BELARUS

Andrew: Well what to say about this one? It’s a perfectly competent song and performance. But its not coming out and grabbing me by the b@ll@cks. It has lots of busyness in the backdrop, lightning bolts and clouds and white stripes. Its going to struggle I think not because it is poor but because its not memorable enough.

John:

As with another song yesterday, this song just does what it does. Uzari is a competent singer and does his stuff well. The extremely lovely Maimuna plays her special red violin well. He moves around her. There appear to be no visible backing singers. There’s a nice backdrop of flashing colours and laser lights. But, and here’s the but, it’s nothing special. A song that does what it does might not cut it in a cut-throat show. There are countries in this semi-final that traditionally vote for Belarus, I fear it may not quite get enough.

Tweet Belarus

Elaine:

Belarus have had a good rehearsal today but the song is a difficult one for me to write about because sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t. It is definitely a grower not a shower and Belarus may have to rely on their voting neighbours to get them into the final. Uzari gives a polished performance and looks confident on camera. The backdrop has good lightening effect and lazer lights going on in the background. Uzari and Maimuna say “Time is Like Thunder” but I say this song is like Thunder – I can take it or leave it but it doesn’t get me overexcited.

Phil :  When I had look at the screen all I could see was an average song sung well by a good looking singer.  There is nothing that makes people go “vote for me” on the stage apart from himself and that’s the major problem.  It’s perfectly competent but competent doesn’t win places in the Final and thats a shame.

It’s underwhelming and something needs to happen quickly in order for it to do something special.

RUSSIA

John: We may be onto something here. This has been polished to perfection. Polina is in white. Lots of white. A long white dress with a long cleavage. And there’s white on her band and all around the stage. It’s been produced to within an inch of its life and it works. As you might say, the final result is greater than the sum of its parts. Polina stays stock still but doesn’t need to move. There’s a brief shot of the drummer and he’s doing a little beat in a ‘Bistra Voda’ stylee. My only criticism, if there is one, is they may need to work on some of the camera angles. But these can easily be remedied in the coming days.

This is most definitely in with a chance. In spite of the, erm, troubles that Russia may encounter next Tuesday, this will hoover up no end of votes here and there. A winner of this semi-final? Possibly. A winner of the contest? Perhaps.

Elaine:

Well Russia completed their first run through and in my opinion they don’t need the other 3. Simply stunning! It was a surprise to see Polina had gone with a band on stage but to totally works. She looks stunning in white with a floaty train and the staging is subtle and beautiful. The press centre were very impressed and as the cliché goes “you can see the credits rolling”.

A million plaudits to Russia – Bravo – see you in the final!

Andrew: Well things just got interesting. We have more cleavage going on from Polina. She is in a stunning white dress that radiates around her onto the stage. She has two backing singers also in white and a three piece group which includes a handsome guitarist.  The look is simple and stunning. The vocal on the first run through was effortless and faultless.  Huge positive reaction from the press hall. This is a serious contender which I felt would be the case all along.

Phil: It’s performed to within an inch of it’s life.. It’s cleansed of all emotion apart from the story that Russian TV want it to sell ( The one of peace and love and harmony) – Couple that with a massive voice and a decent song and you have…. a winner perhaps?? This, make no mistake, is a great song sung by a very good and accomplished performer, she will take on the boo-boys in the hall that will automatically boo the words “Russia” and “Eurovision” and turn it back on them and go ” I don’t care.. i’m singing… *this*”.  It makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up…. It’s going to score big points from all over the place…..  Be afraid Europe.

DENMARK

Andrew: We now have a bit of old style Brit pop almost Beatles style. Denmark have a fun song which bops along quite happily. Anti Social media are a 4 piece group with two female backing singers. Lots of black and white in the backdrop. Its happy, poppy, fun and harmless. In a contest laden with ballad this should do well and may indeed pass to the Final.

Elaine:

Anti-Social media give a flawless performance of their song ‘The Way You Are’ – this is a mix of Brit Pop meets The Jersey boys and it looks very slick. The backing singers are in red against the black and white stage lighting and it looks very effective. I am a sucker for a bit of Danish Shuffle Pop and this fits the bill perfectly. It’s lush and should make the final without a problem.

John:

Anti Social Media are good old safe run-of-the-mill pop band, only with a slightly retro feel about it. The Danes did this sort of thing in the past and it didn’t do them any harm. This could fill the Softengine slot this year – a young band after a break, with an ear-friendly song. The more I listen to the songs, the more I think this will be a tough semi-final to call. I would like to see this qualify. However, it falls straight after the ad-break – sometimes a curse – and it might be just too safe qualify.

Phil : If this song was any safer it would be a box in a Safe Deposit vault far underneath London.. oh, wait! – Seriously, though, They have gone with the safe pair of hands and professional ginger fronted Anti-Social Media.  They look good, the styles gel nicely, the 60s Vibe is very happy clappy and you tend to swing your pants at the song.  The bad news, however, is that competent and safe rarely do well in the final.  It’ll qualify, but probably lower top 10 in the final… it’s definitely an Earworm though.

ALBANIA

Elaine:

Elhaida Dani seemed to be having some sound issues in her first run through but this is a very catchy number from Albania. She has joined The Netherlands, Russia and Greece in “The Year of the Cleavage” wearing a sparkly glittery cape style top with a plunging neck line. There is a lot of spinning and revolving with the camera work and it made me a little sea sick whilst watching but she is a great performer and the camera loves her. With some more work on the camera angles this could be a great performance. I think this is a borderline qualifier.

Andrew: Another accomplished singer takes to the stage and there is no doubt Elhaida can sing. But I find the song a little bit uninspiring at times. It tries to build then falls away and then builds again.  The stage work is at times more than a little bit busy.  Part way through she takes the mic from the stand and goes on a slight walkabout. Its doing very little for me and I am not even sure it can qualify based on this.

Phil: Not sure about this song, as Andrew has pointed out she can sing, but there seems to be a lot of disengagement going on here… I can’t make my mind up as to whether it is deliberate or accidental but there is clearly something missing but I am not sure what it is?  I can’t be more specific than this but… it’s not right but, then again, I can’t suggest what would improve it.  Possibly lighting cue changes?, but i’m clutching at straws.

John:

Elhaida is a good singer and it’s obvious that she knows what she’s doing. She’s remembering that, while she’ll have a large arena audience, it’s primarily a TV show. She interacts well with the camera which does seem a tad busy at times. They should maybe have a warning like they do with strobe lighting that this could cause dizzy spells. She looks good in what is presumably her Tuesday night frock. It’s an OK sort of song she’s performing. I think it could be another one that will struggle though.

ROMANIA

Andrew: Voltaj have taken their National Final idea to the Eurovision stage in Vienna. There is left luggage randomly placed around the stage and the backdrop also has large cases in it too as well as picture frames with portraits of kids. Its fairly effective and the song itself is pretty decent.  It is a competent performance without wowing me especially and it will probably qualify anyway.

John:

We have a prop on stage not seen since a certain Hungarian Magdi Rúzsa: suitcases. It’s to convey the meaning that this is all about those Romanians that leave their homeland to earn money top give them a better life. It’s the most honourable of sentiments and maybe someone show the preview at a gathering of a certain political party. Speaking of the preview video, this is shown on screens behind Voltaj. It’s a great melody with its soaring vocal and a very assured lead singer and band. If I had to be picky, I would say this song needs to be entirely in English. I’ve heard a full English version and it almost reduced me to tears. But this deserves to qualify. And qualify well.

Phil:

Symbolism ahoy with this one – suitcases on stage to represent the second part of a story that political parties in the UK sell you.  The song, as we know, is about the struggles of the kids and their parents that are earning a living abroad and it’s sung with total conviction by a band that clearly have an affinity with the subject.  Preview video on the screen, missed suitcases from the floor that show those to be missing, English/Romanian mix seems to work for me (unlike others) but it’s a very strong and yet simple performance with a strong song.  Qualifying, yes, but the next bit worries me.

Elaine:

Voltaj have recreated their national final performance with the suitcases littered around the stage. The backdrop depicts the children, families and country that they have left behind to try and make better lives for themselves and their family. This song used to pull at my heart strings until I noticed it’s similarity to A1’s ‘Caught in the Middle’ and now it is all I can sing when I hear the chorus. Add to that, Garrett pointed out that the lead singer looks like Ming the Merciless and it loses just a touch of it’s charm. Having said all this, De La Capta is a beautiful ballad and Romania have never failed to qualify out of the semi-finals and I don’t see that changing this year.

GEORGIA

Elaine:

Georgia just stole the show on day 2 of rehearsals! Nina put on a phenomenal show and the staging is dramatic and fabulous. She is in dark black leather with feathers on her shoulders and her headdress gives her a sinister raven look. She is dark and broody and the dark staging adds to the effect. There are many floor shots depicting electricity bursting out of her. There is an effect half way through the performance when eyes on the back drop, cry tears into water on the floor of the stage-beautiful!

John:

Nina is a solo artist on the stage, she barely moves yet she fills the whole stage with her drama and performance. I am absolutely delighted with the staging and the song. I have always been a fan of Georgia and this year they have produced a real cracker. A-MA-ZING!!!!!!!

This is dramatic in a grab-you-by-the-throat way and screams ‘vote for me’. Nina is an almost scary individual and dresses in black. Bodice, hot pants and feathered shoulder pads. She could be a baddy in a Star Trek film It’s apparently just her on stage and she has copious amounts of dry ice and dark staging. Then just when you felt it couldn’t get any more dramatic, we get a huge pair of eyes crying mercury tears. Not one of us could take our eyes off the screen for her three minutes of fame. This will clearly be in the final on 23 May. And watch out, Batumi is a possibility.

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