Welcome to Sofia and welcome to our rolling blog for the Day 5, the Jury Final, of final dress rehearsals if you will, of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2015.
John of this Parish will be blogging tonight and Phil from OnEurope may chip in but he is concentrating on his site at OnEurope. You’re genial host is otherwise engaged, but we are fine substitutes for yer man! We also have the reliable James in the Arena who will be chipping in as our man on the inside.
We’re here with the usual travelogue before the songs. Dancers appear from statues and painting around Sofia. We see some of the nicest sights in the city before heading to the arena.
We get a short of taste of the JESC’s official song, before nine of the acts come on stage with their flags.
Another travelogue of the very mild and dry Sofia that we’ve been in all week. It’s all a really great build-up.
Yet again we’re back in the arena for another musical interlude of talented children playing instruments before the remaining eights acts appear on stage. James tells us Bulgaria got by far the biggest reaction.
All the acts introduced, Poli Genova comes on. She’s in a blue dress that has an inordinate number of petticoats giving it a shuttlecock effect. She knows most of her lines. There are masses of people all around Europe – and Australia – watching tonight. The televoting makes up 50% of the vote, so it’s important those that can, do so.
John – Lena goes rally driving in her postcard video. Then the song. The stage is dark, then red to go with her long red dress. She also has hearts and globes drawn on her hands. A nice touch. This youngster has a really powerful voice which helps the dramatic nature of the song. The middle eight gives her time to gather her strength for a big note and key change. She hits them all. It gets a massive round of cheering. A good opener.
Phil – Double duty again tonight peeps – this could be fun, but i’ll only chime in when I can. Big bad opening from Lena, I think that the mix might be having problems that were reported earlier on because she sounds a bit off and I suspect its not her fault.
Phil – For my ears there seems to be a mix pro lem and that has been reported to me here in the press centre too. This sounds too harsh on the screen and the camera shots have been spoilt in a couple of places. However, The kids are bouncing around on stage like mad things and the lead singer is even confident enough to freestyle it out. This has suddenly come back into the reckoning, despite the mix issues, and has come shooting back into the frame just when it matters the most.
John – We see skiing on a very sunny day. Boy Virus Data is in black with green braces and socks. He has attitude and what could be an Elvis sneer. Nice. His Virus girls are in herringbone dresses and try to demonstrate a bit of sassiness. This is very bouncy and brash, just like the interview we did with them the other day. If they’re nore careful, this could become a bit shouty but they got it right this time. Big amounts of cheering and a round of applause in the press centre.
James – Data got flipped off the crowd, but we’re not sure whether the cameras picked it up.
John – We see some of Bulgaria’s old building here. Lina is in a white dress with a blue belt and a red heart. It’s a little bit Frozen (the film) a little bit Hogwarts in winter. She has another very big voice and just a little bit warbling (which is good). The genereal wintry theme is set off by a huge snowflake on stage. It may not have the bounce of Georgia but it’s pleasant enough.
John – We see trains and landscapes. We go upbeat and catchy again. The general look is very red and colourful, set off by the girls’ red dresses. Again, there is the potential to go little bit off-key but they held it together for this important show. It doesn’t seem an effort for the girls to sing this. My technical expert tells me they had to sing down a little – there must be issues with the mixing in the arena. A big finish, but something tells me it might not give Italy the double.
Phil – Just a quick point, everything has been filler and no killer so far. Well done drawmaster EBU!!
John – We see sea – try saying that quickly. It all looks warm and sunny out there, a bit like Sofia all week. Shalisa sings in a very winsome style at her piano with its candles. Her dancers are on one of the bulbous bits of the catwalk and her backing singers are on the other. We think there might be an issue with the mix again as the backing singers don’t sound right. But Shalisa does and gets a good round of applause.
John – We see more water, this time one of the country’s fortresses by a river. More sun and cloud and catching fish. Bella is in a black top and flowing gold floor-length skirt. The mix is really off here, it’s definitely not Bella’s voice. The chorus sounds better though. Sound issues aside, this is a very good polished performance, with minimal dancing that sets it off. I still think that it’s in with a strong chance of winning.
First break between the songs. We have drummers beating child-sized zorbing balls. The glow before getting up and moving. Dancers with what look like nunchuks come on and spin things that show the flags of the 17 nations. It then goes very futuristic with what looks like an eight-foot tall Predator (see Youtube for details) come on stage and move around with some dancers in interesting outfits. Then there are pyros. We like pyros.
Phil – Winner of the first six for me? – Italy as they adapted their voices and sung down where appropriate, Netherlands pulled it out of the bag and Australia only in 3rd place
John – It’s our time guys!!!!! We go back to sea and see a montage of all things nautical. Just what we need in November. The hall falls silent and Aimee starts to do her stuff. Dry ice moves around her feet and it has a very ethereal look. She’s in a long turquoise dress to go with the general blue and black setting. First verse out the way and it’s good. The second chorus comes along and the boat in the backdrop calms down. The biggest reaction in the press centre so far and we can feel very suitably pleased. #goaimee
James – Good response for Ireland in the hall. Lots of applause before song and cheering after.
Phil – WOW, Just WOW. Our glorious leader has had to leave the room in tears.
John – We see scenes of Sofia that we’ve become familiar during the week. Mikhail appears to be very confident in this performance. It’s a good song-by-numbers which he performs well. He’s like a little Dima Bilan without the attitude. Everything about this is very polished. He even breaks into English at the end. I’m not sure whether it’s been overshadowed by Ireland – I think it has.
John – Scenes from a rustic country with old buildings and modern dancing. The technicians really stuffed up as the girls were singing and the microphones were off. It’s clearly not the girls’ fault. Did it worry them? No it didn’t. Ivana and Magdelena are harmonising very well and the crowd are really getting into it. This is the best performance they’ve given of this song, and when it matters. And someone needs to have stern words with the technicians. It might also leave Russia dead in the water.
John – More views of Bulgaria. I still think this song would lend itself very well to a movie soundtrack. It’s really improved as a song and Ruslan’s another one who’s hit it when matters. It’s in the shake up now. He knows how to use the camera although as it’s between two uptempo songs, that may have some sort of effect.
Phil – That, my friends, is the first nailed on certainly for top 3 and, more than likely, top 1. Mika has just destroyed the competition with a solid and spectacular performance that has knocked spots off countries like Russia, Australia, Georgia and Italy. Juries will have seen confidence and that gets a big TICK in all the boxes.
John – Mika has been entertaining us all week and you can tell the camera loves him. He’s in pink as are his three backing singers. There’s a very cheeky charismatic little vibe that draws you in completely by the first chorus. This sort of thing has been done before, however I think this is a very good example. You don’t need to understand Armenian to like this either. At the moment, it’s winning. Sorry to say that.
John – More nice and sunny views of this fine land where we are. Anna emerges from her lotus flower which doesn’t break down this time. A good start. She gives us lots of shots of her bat-winged dress with her arm-waving. This is bouncing along quite well. There is a strong voice in there, but I still thinks it lacks a certain something which I can’t put my finger on.
Our second mid-song break has rapping and beat-boxing. The lady on stage appears to be dressed as Disney’s Snow White. It’s not really my bag but the crowd seems to like it.
John – The postcard goes rustic with lots of country dancing and people with towers of fruit on their heads. There will be a big round of applause. Gabriela performs this in a long pink and white dress from one of the catwalk bulges. She has the four gymnast-dancers on the main stage using ribbons. It’s an OK but slightly challenging performance and maybe did miss a note. Ivan then joins her wearing a formal dinner jacket. They eventually meet stage centre and finish this ballad. It’s OK but not quite a winner I’m afraid.
John – Churches are the theme here for the postcard. Kamilla is in her long, and I mean long, white and mirrored dress. She looks quite cheerful if a little pensive, so we may be in store for a good performance. She also gives us lots of arm-waving during the first chorus. The dancers emerge from her dress’s train for the second verse and move around in their mirrored costumes. To be fairm Kamilla doesn’t appear totally happy. It might be the technicians’ fault again. We’ll have to see.
John – Bulgaria has some big countryside and mountains it appears. In contrast to San Marino, Destiny starts strongly and now owns the stage. She’s in black with contrasts excellently with the colours in the backdrop. I might have a slight worry about the amount of ‘No’s’ that appear there, but I don’t think it will matter too much to the televoters. This is confident and extremely catchy. Armenia suddenly has a rival for the victory.
James – Audience loving Malta
Phil – Confidence in buckets, this could well challenge for the Top spot.
John – More views of cities in Bulgaria. Mishela is in a white dress with pastel markings. Her song moves along pleasantly with a mix of languages and just a hint of calypso. It’s completely different to the upbeat Destiny and this might may work in its favour. It’s simplistic, which can work. I’m therefore not sure at all how this will do. It gets lots of applause in the arena.
John – Final postcard of sunny countryside. Jana is looking confident here. It’s a song that needs backing dancers with a polished routine, and that is what we have. I still think she looks a little uncomfortable when the long ribbons are attached to her dress but she’s hiding it well. There’s some decent camera work here as she moves around the stage. The key changes is also fine and this is the best performance she’s given all week.
John – My view is that the winner will come from Armenia, Malta or Ireland. Macedonia and Montenegro have gone up in my estimations most.
John – Our first part of the interval is the participants from the 17 nations singing the JESC 2015 on stage for us. It’s bouncy and just about sums up how the young people have got on together all week.
John – Joanna Dragneva, who you may remember from the 2008 ESC as part of Deep Zone and Baltazar, then sang before we cut to the usual reprises of the 17 songs.
James – Bulgaria got massive reaction, obviously. Malta, Macedonia and Australia too. Australia and Malta phenomenal in the hall.
Phil – Overall I think that the winner will come from Malta, Ireland or Armenia. They are clearly the best three songs in it and should take the prizes, however honourable mentions will go to Macedonia, Australia and Italy.
STOP PRESS – We understand that Macedonia will perform again
John – Krisia, Hasan and Ibrahim perform ‘Planet of the children’ – the song they sang that made them runners-up in 2014. Then the diminutive Krisia sings a new song in English. It’s a very uplifting song.
John – Next on is hostess Poli Genova going all rock chick on us. She’s with a number of other performers. The music is very modern and has the crowd on its feet. There are shots of all manner of Bulgarians getting on down to the sound. It’s all very jolly.
John – A JESC wouldn’t be complete without a reminder of last year’s winner. The highly-talented Vincenzo Cantiello, who’s been here all week, kindly obliges. This song is still quality.
John – Next, we get highlights of the weeks and months leading up to the big show. Shots behind stage, shots of the postcards, shots of the press conferences. Already they’re bringing back good memories.
John – We start the dummy voting. You know how this works – they all get 12 points to start with. We’ll leave you at this point, but don’t forget to tune in to the show tomorrow night. It’ll be a great show.
Thanks for reading, and good night/Лека нощ!
Authors: Phil Colclough, John Stanton, James Scanlan
Categories: #JESC Armenia, Albania, Armenia, Australia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Eurovision 2015, Eurovision Songs, FYR Macedonia, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, JESC, JESC Albania, JESC Australia, JESC Belarus, JESC Bulgaria, JESC Georgia, JESC Ireland, JESC Ireland, JESC Italy, JESC Macedonia, JESC Malta, JESC Montenegro, JESC Netherlands, JESC Russia, JESC San Marino, JESC Serbia, JESC Slovenia, JESC Ukraine, Junior Eurovision 2015, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine