Welcome to Sofia and welcome to our rolling blog for the Day 1 rehearsals of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2015. You know the drill by now. Just refresh the page to get the latest news on the contestants and their performances.
Our good friend Phil comes to us courtesy of OnEurope – so check him out too!. We also have John of this Parish. You’re genial host is otherwise engaged, but we are fine substitutes for yer man!
Well I say fine substitutes, we’re the only thing you have. I can hear Albania in the background but she’s started early, she doesn’t know who we are!!!
Phil – A very disconcerting start for Mishela. With this song being in the weaker category of songs, the last thing she needed was in ear issues. Repeatedly saying “I can’t hear anything” is de rigeur for rehearsals though so, not surprised really.
When she gets to the run through though it is a very…. one word performance and I can’t help thinking that Mishela would be suited to a better song rather than this one to be totally honest. She clearly has the talent but doesn’t have the song. Sounds horrid I know, but we are keeping score but I fear without an overhaul this one won’t be troubling the scorers.
John – First rehearsal of the day, and it’s an interesting song. It doesn’t shout ‘Junior Eurovision’ at me as it seems a lot more mature. I did have to do a double take to remind me that Mishela is only eligible for this age group. Is it a winner? I don’t think so, as it’s maybe a little too mature for a contest of this nature. The odd phrases in other languages are a nice touch though.
Phil – Well i’d really love to extole the virtues of this song, however the screens have died in the press centre so I can’t tell you anything APART from Mika is wearing a purple suit jacket and he could sing the first couple of notes really well. His soundcheck sounded fine though!!! –
We have people trying to get the feed back from next door as soon as possible!
And now its fixed. Mika has, sadly for me, gone with the less is more philosophy and hasn’t gone full out with the backing singers in the 50’s stylee which I liked so much in this song. Also, to my ear they need to sort the mix out and make the female backing singers a little bit louder but, overall, with a great staging, getting the camera work on point and with the bags of potential this song has, even at this early stage it has to be Top 5???
John – Mika has definitely got the bounce this morning. He has a lot of stage presence for someone so diminutive. The outfit he’s rehearsing in this morning is a bright pink suit which can’t be just for rehearsal purposes. So expect to see it on Saturday night. He’s flanked by three female backing singers that help him out no end but without getting in his way – as backing singers should do. And the backdrop is similar to the preview video. If this doesn’t win, I think it’ll definitely be on the podium.
Phil – Oh no!! – Negative camera work for this one. Having stood and watched the video feed it seems as though it is not only death by a thousand camera shots but having a massive word “NO” in the background doesn’t help and neither does using the video pictures in the background. It’s not Destiny’s fault at all as she is nailing the song on every time she tries to sing but, and its a bit but, to get this to where it needs to be there has to be some work done in the viewing room (like “Change the background” “Change the shots”) but with limited resources *something* has to be done and quick smart to get this song back to it’s rightful place as a top 3 candidate. Don’t panic yet, it can be saved and this is only a first rehearsal.
John – Now this is a very catchy little number and has to be up there in the final shake-up. It needs a bit of work on some of the stage direction, but Destiny has a sound voice. She’s alone on stage which may be a slight mistake for a funky song like this. They will, hopefully, have a good look at this in the viewing room and remedy what needs to be done.
Phil – It seems that I have been left to give you, dear reader, my thoughts on the songs whilst John of this Parish does all the MEEEEDJA stuff.
There seems to be a bit of desparation behind this song and, frankly, in the outfit our lad is wearing! He seems to have only half a head of hair and the other half has been styled akin to him having his hands on a van de graff generator (Shocking!) – John has just commented that it seems somewhat longer than a 40 minute rehearsal period and I tend to agree. This song whilst earnest is going to bore Europe….
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz – sorry Ruslan supporters.
John – Ruslan has a big voice though I’m not sure whether this big song is actually the right sort of song to win a contest. To me, it seems more suited to a film featuring big landscapes and dramatic weather. I see that he’s stood on a circular plinth akin to the type of thing a certain Conchita stood on last year. The tree behind him is very eye-catching so perhaps there is a bit about big landscapes after all.
Phil – Fifth to rehearse and it’s time for the “home” entry to take to the stage. Singing in a massive rainbow…. thing, Gabriella and Ivan are potentially home town heroes on the stage. Only potential though because Ivan is clearly the star and that Gabriella has been brought in for moral support and ends up owning the stage and the song. When Ivan starts to sing his voice doesn’t match hers and its very off putting vocally and visually the rainbow motif and the large arch the stage has doesn’t do any favours. It also has backing “gymnasts” as well…. It’s a bit of a mess on screen and vocally…. Someone needs to tell them..
John – Back after a nice lunch break of local moussaka and we have local girl on stage. An interesting setting, but more on the backdrop later. Gabriela starts on one of the catwalks, with Ivan joining her to sing about two-thirds of the way through. They have dancers on stage in the form of gymnasts doing the artistic version which uses balls and ribbons. It all bounces along very nicely. The back drop is a rainbow spanning the stage. Is it a specific reference to anything, or just something to enhance an innocent song with colour in the title? We hope the latter. It will get a big reception on Saturday. It has a draw that’s done well in recent senior Eurovisions. Will it win on home turf? Sadly, I don’t think so.
John – I liked this song before I arrived in Sofia, so I was looking forward to seeing The Virus perform as a proper band with instruments. That hasn’t happened, and they’re four vocalists that dance very enthusiastically around the stage. I find it very similar in style to Armenia in that respect. It’s also set off nicely by a very futuristic backdrop of laser lights and geometric shapes. My only criticism is towards the end of the song when they really let themselves go it and gets just a little bit messy. That can be easily reined in and it was better by the final run-through.
Phil – Whist The Virus seemed a good idea at the time, and the preview video was excellent, It does appear however that there has been a complete disconnect on stage as to how the whole song works. We were expecting them to be “a band” and we got a lead singer and three backers who are, frankly, not quite camping it up as much as your lead singer. The idea was sound but the reality is a little bit underwhelming. It’s a bit like the flash mob dancing in Copenhagen, only for real on stage and that itself is a little disconcerting.
This has lost some appeal now and needs to be got together reet quick
Phil – I’m a touch too close to this one to ensure complete objectivity, as the owner of this site is currently the D1 but…. It wasn’t half bad you know. TG4 have got rid of the negative camera shots from their national final and the Bulgars have improved on a very good vocal performance by Aimee. There are still one or two technical flaws to iron out if we’re being ultra picky but the overall effect tells the story of the song well for non Gaelic speakers. The dress Aimee will wear looked turquoise on the stage lights and matches well with the stormy seascape that has been generated on the background. Turn down the vibrato a touch and you have a shot at the Top 5 with this.
John – It’s time for Ireland’s début on a Junior Eurovision stage. She will be wearing a nice greeny-blue dress, which one of the stage hands held up in front of himself after he’d done the same to Aimee. She’s on stage alone – she doesn’t need any help for this. And you can tell that, as she’s had a large hand in putting the song together, she is giving it everything. Well, not quite everything, as these are only the first runs-through of the song. Behind her is a computer-generated sail boat on a stormy sea. The boat is fine although the choppy moonlit sea it’s on may need slowing down a little. I like it as it’s different, and to get a Celtic-language song at JESC is an achievement in itself. I really wish her well.
John – The Italians have gone very uptempo after their quality winning ballad in Malta. They’ve also opted for a busy backdrop and a snappy little routine too. Chiara and Martina look too old to be participants here but we’re assured they’re only 15. So what of the song? It’s OK and seems to be an attempt by RAI not to win two years in a row. I thought they’d got the microphone slightly wrong mix as it didn’t seem to be quite right. A second rehearsal on Wednesday may well resolve matters.
Phil – It’s been a long old day at Europe’s favourites Children’s music contest but, just before we retire to a bistro to chew the fat, there is one more set of singers to go, the macedonians. It’s had its in-ear problems, as have most of the entries today but, sadly, it won’t make that much of a difference to this song. The girls (who wrote this song together remember) have voices that do not mesh at all unfortunately and it just looks like a big mess on the screen despite the vocal problems the song is very messy and has hardly any structure. I just, sadly, can’t see that many people voting for this. Part reflection on the girls and part reflection on the song, sadly.
John – This girl duo comes straight after another one, so there’s the ability to make a direct comparison. This won’t be the case on the night as there are four countries between them. It’s not dissimilar to Italy but seems marginally better to me. There’s a slightly retro backing to it and it’s far more catchy. The singers/dancers assisting Ivana and Magdelena do work well. Macedonia can be happy with what they’ve done today.
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