Andrew and I are here to bring you all the action from today’s rehearsals here in Valletta and the second half of the participating nations. If you don’t know the drill, come back from 10:00CET/09:00GMT and refresh the page on a regular basis for all the updates.
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RICHARD: The Water of Life Project performed Water of Life in a background full of water – quite apt for the name of the act and song! Vocally it was very competent and the choreography is simple, yet effect. The four of them end together by using their arms to create a heart.
ANDREW: Due to an emergency with both my pairs of glasses I had to visit an optician this morning so missed the Russian run through but will take a look at the official video when it become available. Now that I see the video this is a very slick performance lots of good harmonies and good movement and hand waving going on culminating in their arms coming together to form a heart shape. Dangerous indeed.
RICHARD: For those familiar with the UK Strictly Come Dancing, all I need to say is Ore and Joanna – then you’ll have an idea what to expect. Sofia Rol wins the prize for having the prop of the year. Standing in a giant umbrella for the first two thirds of the song helps empathise the big objects/small people element in her preview video.
ANDREW: Well given that it is pissing down here in Valletta today Ukraine’s prop is highly appropriate really. Sofia starts the song by standing inside the upturned umbrella. She is joined on stage by a male/female duo if mime artists. They move to the umbrella when Sofia vacates it. The song sounds slightly more ethnic/eastern than I remember from the preview video. It is sung with a sweeping confidence and the vocals are also good. This should finish in a respectable place methinks.
RICHARD: Klesta is a very polite young girl and says Thank You at the end of each run through of her song, which many are finding adorable in the press centre. She is alone on stage and the background consists of ethnic type patterns. Personally, it is not a favourite of mine.
ANDREW: Well what to say here? I could be diplomatic like Richard and say pleasant things and that would be the end of it. But why should I ? She is certainly a sweet young girl but the song does nothing for me and the vocals sound rather screechy and forced. It is in danger of ending up near the bottom end of the scoreboard on Sunday based on what I have seen here today.
RICHARD: For me, this personally is ten times better than the National Final performance back in August. The National Final was very JESC 2003, while the first set of run-throughs today have proven that a lot of rehearsals have taken place before arriving in Valletta. The use of hover boards certainly add a new dance element that we haven’t yet seen during the rehearsals, although I expect we will see them again in the rehearsals from Serbia. Belarus for me was solid.
ANDREW: This performance is very colourful indeed. The singer and backing artists all make use of hover boards in their choreography. The song itself is trying to be a modern pop song and it fairly bounces along but I also find the structure rather disjointed at time. I cannot fault the singing though and despite my reservations Belarus tend to often do well with average songs. So we shall see what happens this year on Sunday.
RICHARD: After a melee of technical issues with sound for Lidia Ganeva, she excelled on stage. She might appear small, however she is able to fill the stage with her arm-ography. The backdrop is a delightful burst of colour throughout and in the last part of the song, when it switches in to English, the English words appear on the back screen.
ANDREW: It was more a melange of technical issues, I think Lidia could not hear her in ear monitor. But the prolonged wait was certainly well worth it as she literally smashed through every full run through. This is a great song sung by a very young but confident accomplished singer. I can see this doing really well on Sunday.
RICHARD: Anahit and Mary have taken to the stage – one in a mutli-coloured top, while the other is black and white. They each have two backing singers wearing similar tops to make the staging a bit of a ying/yang feel about it. The vocal performances are varied, but obviously there is plenty of time for them to polish this aspect of the performance. A fun bouncy performance overall.
ANDREW: There seemed to be constant problems with one of the lead vocalists microphone. But what we heard was confident and polished. This is a song that has a good bouncy feel to it and I can see it doing well despite coming second in the running order.
RICHARD: Mariam’s performance would sit classically in 1950’s Eurovision Song Contest. The entry starts with an overture which has similarities to 1980’s US Soap Opera Dynasty. Mariam is one of the smaller acts and appears lost on stage. The lighting is an icy blue which makes the staging feel cold – not helping the overall feel of the performance at all.
ANDREW: Now this is very brave from Georgia, after many entries that were fun and bouncy and poppy we now have a song this smacks of Disney musical and even starts with overture. The vocals are very bold and sweeping. Its a dramatic departure and stands out for all those reasons. Georgia could do really well with this entry.
RICHARD: Dunja performs throughout on a Hoverboard. Unfortunately, it creates the effect to the viewer of “Why Bother?” To me there is no point to it and it would’ve been better to have dancers instead. The hoverboard does hinder her singing I think.
RICHARD: Alexa takes the stage by herself and for me misses the backing singers Bella Paige had last year. The backing graphics from last year’s participation seems to have been near enough recycled with the song title “We Are” appearing from time to time. For me, it lacks something that actually Bella last year – it doesn’t grab you as such.
Do you agree with our views from above or do you think we’ve missed something important out? You know what to do, just comment below.
Author: Richard Taylor
Source: Eurovision Ireland
Video Source: Junior Eurovision