Welcome to Sofia and welcome to our rolling blog for the Day 4, the final day of open rehearsals of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2015. This will see the 2nd half of the performers sing in reverse order from that on Tuesday
Our good friend Phil comes to us courtesy of OnEurope – so check him out too!. We also have John of this Parish and James ( Who none of you know). You’re genial host is otherwise engaged, but we are fine substitutes for yer man!
STOP PRESS – PRESS CONFERENCES! – Press conferences are streamed HERE
Phil – We’re approximately (Oximatedly?) 40 minutes late for unspecified reasons so off we go with Ukraine. We have discovered that her glitter ball is in fact a large Lotus Flower…. well, why wouldn’t you?. Anna sings in the lotus and is lit in a pumpkin coloured light that isn’t the best for this song. Her voice, which can be a touch sharp in the higher register but perfectly fine elsewhere, is strong and the song, whilst strong in its on right, could well be detracted from by the Prop that really is unnecessary. Just get Anna to stand there and sing it like in the preview video and that would work wonders.
James – My first Junior Eurovision! Woot! So let’s get started with Anna Trincher for Ukraine! Emerging from a crystallised lotus, Anna’s gives us a solid vocal performance of ‘Pochny z sebe’. Visually, the show definitely comes from the natural images of leaves and water projected onto the back of the stage as Anna remains rooted to the spot, moving only her arms. The effect is quite impressive, especially as the song builds. Reminds me in some ways of Horehronie (Slovakia 2010), while her costume brings Drip Drop (Azerbaijan 2010) to mind. All in all, a solid performance from a very capable vocalist! Щасти!
Phil – Well as the gruesome Twosome have “gone away” in order to video Destiny, the blog is in my hands again (bwahahahah). So, Slow-Venia then is up next. To me Lina still merges into the background on the first shot which, I appreciate, is a set shot to get the song going but I also think it is a touch negative. Vocalluy Lina knows what she is doing (as do most of the competitors that are here this year it must be said) and looks confident with her lot. She smiles nicely into the camera and does all the pre-requisites well. Is it spectacular enough to do well? – Sadly not. Despite the confidence and all the nice work and smiles it is going to get swallowed up by the other good songs. It’s fighting for 6th – 10th I think here.
James – Back from interviewing the lovely Destiny from Malta and just in time! Lina Kuduzović is singing ‘Prva Ljubezen’! Dressed in white against a snow-scape background, Lina delivers her love ballad with aplomb – bravo! A very strong song and simple, but effective staging – srečno!
James – Having lived in Belgrade as a student, I really love Serbian music and so had high hopes for Lena Stamenković. And I must say, I’m impressed by her voice especially considering her age. The performance of ‘Lenina pesma’, with its slight overtones of ‘Molitva’ with the camera angles, also proves that sometimes less is more when it comes to staging. I would consider toning down her movements a tad too, just to give Lena’s vocal centre-stage. Srećno!
Phil – The more I look at this, the more I get to think it’s a balkan ballad by numbers sung by Lena who has been choreographed to perfection i.e drilled into not making mistakes, and that is a problem. It looks too staged for me and you can almost tell where there are going to be arm movements and emoting makes the performance all too predictable. With the song too this has been written to a formula it seems and whilst that can be a definite advantage in certain ways, I’m not sure that a balkan ballad by numbers is the right formula for this song. Granted it will get votes from all of those around it in this contest but is that going to be enough? – Think its fishing in the 6th-10th pond.
Phil – I know it’s a children’s contest but there are sometimes where punches need not be pulled and you need to say what you actually think, and this is one of those time. This song is a very strong contender for coming last by a long way. Kamillia doesn’t connect with the audience in any way apart from standing on a box and singing this and even the introduction of dancers to move the visual from Kamilla is not really helping as staging should magnify the song and not detract from it. This, for me in my opinion, is a certainty for Bottom 5 and if it carries on like this Bottom 1.
Phil – So the 2nd half begins with the “real” Russian entry and this is how to do it. Mikhail knows instantly how to sell this song to people by knowing exactly where the camera is and how to perform and you contrast this seemingly natural and assured performance to the San Marinese and there is no contest. Mikhail could have stood and sung this on the spot however he does a bit of movement and a bit or arm moving and there is one piece of performance art on the stage (a dancer in white) but there isn’t much of her shown and, overall, doesn’t detract. A very strong performance of a formulaic song which, in this case, is no bad thing and the change of language into English doesn’t seem like he is singing the syllables. This should be going Top 5.
James – A nice Dutch ballad, but I think this entry is trying to be 2 very different things at once. On the one hand, subdued and classical, and on the other more modern and edgy. My advice would be to ditch the dancers and tone down the costume. Yes, the dancers are talented and the costume definitely memorable, but they detract so much from the song. Veel geluk!
Phil – Jana is now on the stage but, once again, there are lots of things that are letting her down. Firstly, the ribbon dress thing. This is a bad idea as we can clearly see Jana counting the movements in her head, something that won’t look good on stage. Secondly, Jana knows there is a key change in the song but it appears that this is the bit of the song that she is worried about the most as it appears, outwardly at least, to be causing her trouble and, frankly, it really needn’t. I do think, though, that the mix of the 45 seconds of nothing, coupled with the fact that Jana’s voice is light and not strong means that there is no appeal for this across Europe. Low Jury scores and nothing televotingly exciting suggests a low score to come.
James – There’s a colourful storm brewing over Montenegro! Jana Mirković gave us a rendition of ‘Oluja’ in glorious technicolour, complete with yellow waves and a folkdance! (I’m not kidding!) Jana seems a tad hesitant, but maybe she’s saving herself for the final. One thing is certain though, with a bit of polishing here and there, Montenegro will give us a one heck of a closing number for the contest on Saturday!
Phil – Suffice to say that nothing has changed in this performance. Bella is the consumate professional and knows what to do and where to do it to give maximum effect on this performance. The song, classy though it is, could be considered too “Grown Up” for this contest and, if transplanted to Stockholm it could well have certain people getting a touch overexcited! In this contest, though, it will, as Ewan and I have just said, be a toss up between do the juries want “young” or “Mature”. You’re guess, dear reader, is as good as mine but make no mistake, it’s darn good, looks good and feels like a winner….. perhaps, though, of a more established contest.
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You had me at ‘oximatedly’ 😛