Eurovision 2016 – Day 3 First Rehearsal LIVE ROLLING BLOG – START 1000 CET- JUST REFRESH
Just when you thought you had seen the best of us, we are back and better than ever!! If you were thinking of going anywhere else for your fix of Eurovision rehearsal news, then SHAME ON 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 1000CET. You will be taken care of by Phil (our good friend from OnEurope) – So if you want an honest opinion of how the rehearsals are going then tune in here. The other members of the team should be chiming in from time to time, but mostly its all me me me me me!!
ALSO!! – Make a date HERE! RIGHT HERE!! at top of the hour, EVERY HOUR* for a 60 second Periscope round up! – Follow us on Twitter for that live and it will be here as soon as possible.
* Subject to dinner and food – we have to eat you know 😉
( Sideways… Richard’s been at the Voddy!!)
Who do we have rehearsing today?
1 – Latvia
JOHN: Justs opens with his song that has Aminata written all over it. He’s by himself on the stage, which is made to look even bigger by all the light effects happening. The look is quite professional with lots of friendly camera angles. There’s the occasional money shot of him in profile, as if he’s talking to someone who’s not there. It’s a great way to open semi-final two and with that in mind I have this qualified.
2 – Poland
JAMES: Oh, the outcry from the fans on the internet there was when this song was selected! To those people, I know you’ll be screaming “I told you so!” when you see Michał appear in a silver waistcoat, but you can’t deny it’s a competent vocal performance. It has a great hook that is sure to get the audience chanting along with it, but for the audience at home it’s a tad monochrome in its staging, especially for a song about colour (even if it is black and white!) I think commit more either way – either go for full colour, or full black and white – this could be a dark horse for qualifying.
JOHN: I’ve never warmed to this song. I’m trying, but I still can’t, even though I can see why it might have an appeal. It’s primarily the hook that gets you. Michał is interestingly dressed in a sleeveless silver jacket. He’s joined on stage by a number of violinists (one of whom was miming but didn’t actually have a violin), a cellist and a drummer. The violins and cello have red light emanating from them which is something I’ve never seen before. And he has some words on the backdrop behind him. The second and subsequent run-throughs were sans jacket. Probably a better look. It’s a likely qualifier.
3 – Switzerland
PHIL : Never has a song title with “last” in it been so apt. Rykka seems to be singing with a very slow stooping stoop and wearing a skirt made from a fisherman’s landing net. It’s all very focused on her and, honestly, that is not a great thing. The viewer, in this case me, loses interest and I can’t see what what SF were trying to achieve with a dreary negative solo performance with a wind machine and she also whines her way to a Finish. Back to Canada with you, and don’t spare the horses!!
JOHN: This isn’t a bad radio song. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be the best visual song. She’s alone on stage wearing black and what appears to be polythene fashioned into a skirt. Her hair colour choice is a source of debate. Is her perm blue, purple, grey, or is it the lighting making it that colour? I sadly think that this is going nowhere, even though it has a wind machine.
JAMES: Rykka gives a solid vocal performance, but the staging is almost non-existent. Wandering around stage with a few twinkling lights and touch of a smoke machine does not a winning Eurovision entry make! I’m sorry, it’s a real shame, as I personally really like this song and shortly after its selection had it earmarked to do very well this year. But in what is becoming an increasingly showy contest, this is unlikely to make any visual impact.
RICHARD: Rykka gave a solid vocal performance – perfect for radio play, but sadly the song does nothing for me on stage. Another option for Barbara Dex if what we saw is what she is wearing. They need to up the technical and visual elements for me if this has any chance of getting into the top ten of the semi final.
4 – Israel
RICHARD: Emotive, powerful and grabbed the hearts of the Press Centre – even reducing some to tears it was that good. This is all I have to say.
PHIL :….If Switzerland was particularly poor (and believe me it was poorer than Poor P McPoor) then Hovi has just come on stage and completely squished any chance Rykka had of doing anything.
The contrast can not be overstated. Hovi literally just came on stage, sung the song straight at the camera with hardly any effects and..just..nailed..it. I mean properly nailed it. If he was holding back, you couldn’t tell, He hit all of his marks and his back-up act ( a woman in a hoop doing some gymnastics) wasn’t overly stupid and wasn’t the main focus of that rehearsal.
That, thankfully, was Hovi. I had a fear that it would be all about him on stage and totally overblown but it wasn’t…. it connected with the camera and, by extension, Hovi will connect with the Viewer. This will easily walk out of this Semi Final and, based on this performance, could well be top 10-ing in the final.
JAMES: Oh wow… words cannot do what I have just seen justice. That was incredible. Pure and simple. Hovi delivered a beautiful rendition of his ballad and the tiny lights of stars on the stage were magical. This is the first time today I’ve seen the entire team stop what they were doing and just watch mesmerised. I must say, I wasn’t this song’s biggest fan at first. But I finally get it. This is going to do well.
JOHN: I’ve just seen a performance that has stopped in my tracks for three minutes. I’ve always liked this song but it is brilliant. The staging is dark with twinkly lights all around. Hovi is standing on an eight-pointed star of light. He has two dancers that start by spinning around in a very large metal hoop. If done properly, this is good, but I can see a number of things going awry with this. On the whole, I really hope that this qualifies as Hovi is (arguably) the best singer in the contest.
5 – Belarus
JAMES: Belarus promised us wolves and nudity, and they delivered! Ok, so the wolves aren’t real ones, and the nudity is only an image projected onto the stage at the very beginning, but still! You knew animals and being naked on stage were against the rules! Several wide angle shots of wolves, ice flows, imaginary band members and even a baby later, I’m left wondering what I just saw. On paper nothing about this performance should work. But it really does and the end result is quite spectacular. This is sure to stand out and proves that sometimes performances with a lot of gimmicks, if handled well, can actually be really effective. Well done Belarus, I’m impressed!
6 – Serbia
Phil : BEST THING TODAY BY A MILE. Hovi Star was good, and don’t let anyone else tell you any different, but this was just marvelous. Sanja looked and sounded like Amy Winehouse but better. This is the kind of thing we need I tell you. It wasn’t oversold but was belted out like only she can, straight down the camera and even the bits of choreography ( well a beardy man being given the cold shoulder – as per the song lyrics) worked a treat. It’s a powerful and an impressive song given a good staging. This is now a contender for the upper reaches of the board if it gets out of this bit, which it will.
JOHN: There is a lot of symbolism in this song. It’s got a serious theme and does hold your attention. We don’t think the outfits Sanja and her pals were wearing are the ones we’ll see them on next Thursday, so we can’t comment on them just yet. There are four girls as backing singers and a guy who is meant to be Sanja’s other half, and he attempts to be controlling. He obviously won’t succeed. The crowning glory on the excellent way this is put together is the uplighting forming a cage around them all. It’s very effective. It gets a thumbs up from me.
JAMES: A very claustrophobic performance from Serbia, with close-ups and bars of light hemming in the stage. Added to the modern and stark, but sensual choreography, the mood of the song is captured really well. Reminds me a lot of the Cell Block Tango from the musical Chicago! Vocally it is very strong, and overall it’s all very polished and is performed well. So why, in contrast to the rest of the team, am I not convinced by it all just yet? It’s not that I don’t like it or that there is anything wrong with it. It’s just something is a amiss for me. If I figure out what exactly, will update this post!
7 – Ireland
JAMES: Ireland up now, and Nicky certainly knows how to command an arena! No gimmicks, no tricks, no silly costumes, just lighting that doesn’t steal the show and a good, solid vocal performance. This is sure to get the crowd going and Nicky’s affable personality comes across in bounds. Congratulations Nicky, you’ll certainly do Ireland proud!
JOHN : Nicky has now rehearsed and it was a confident performance. It’s very lead singer and capable backing band sound which bounces along really nicely. Nicky catches the camera and does know what he’s doing. However, with a song about sunlight I was expecting to see more yellow or gold light, to go with the theme of the song. The people of Europe will – hopefully – like it enough to pick their phones up.
8 – FYR Macedonia
JAMES: On to the only song in this semi-final without a single word of English in it – oh, bring back the language rule, we need more entries not in English! Kaliopi looks like she’s having the time of her life up on stage and her energy and passion are infectious – because so are we! The staging is simple, only backed up by a handful of singers with simple, clean lighting. This means that Kaliopi gets to command the audience with her stage presence and impressive vocals – and boy, oh boy does she!
JOHN: We finally have a song that’s not in English. Kaliopi is another performer who you can tell knows what she’s up to when on stage. It exudes professionalism. At the same time, you can tell that she’s not really trying. This is a wise thing as her next 7-10 days will be busy for her. Kaliopi is in black clothing and it’s a dark stage with flames behind her. The flames might be a little too far behind her but they are effective nevertheless. The only thing that could hold tis back is the non-Englishness of the song. Voters accustomes to songs in English might get turned off. Alternatively it could be different enough to be memorable.
9 – Lithuania
JOHN: The prop of the day is Donny’s trampoline. Not a big one as that would be ludicrous. It’s just one of those square ones, enough for him to do a big leap. He’s tried a variety of outfits, with a white jacket for the final run-through. Backdrop-wise there’s lots of dark staging with star-like lights. Towards the end of the song we see him jump over the trampoline and then duck under some jets of dry ice. If you’ve seen his national final performance you’ll get the idea. Will it qualify? It’s tricky to say. It’s one of those songs that could finish second in this semi-final, or it could just as equally finish 15th. I think the second rehearsal will give us a better idea.
10 – Australia
JAMES: Our big finale and perhaps one of the most eagerly awaited rehearsals – Australia! The performance definitely has good elements too it. Dami’s vocals are flawless. The back of the stage lighting up to the beat of the music is a nice touch. But there is also a lot of room for improvement. I can’t decide if Dami’s dress is spectacular or just a spectacle waiting to win the Barbara Dex award. The visuals during the second verse could also be more obvious. The raw materials are there, it just needs a bit of work to do it justice.