Eurovision 2017 – Day 2 First Rehearsal LIVE ROLLING BLOG – START 0900 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 0900CET. You will be taken care of by the full team now who all joined Richard late yesterday. We have Bogdan(our virgin), James, John, Andrew and perhaps even Phil (from Oneurope). So if you want an honest opinion of how the rehearsals are going then tune in here. All members of the team will dip in and out of the blog unless they are busy filming, interviewing, gossiping, sleeping or just generally being lazy.
Who do we have rehearsing today?
1 – Greece
RICHARD: We have a strong start to Day 2 of rehearsals from Demy. Where as yesterday we had rehearsals recreating their national final performances or their official videos, we have been treated to something completely different. Instead of splashes of red over a white backdrop, we have two greek men dancing in a pool of water in front of Demy. Demy did wear a white dress, so whether this was relevant to the video that is unknown. The backdrop and lightning effects are of that of running water.
BOGDAN: Demy’s vocals were good for a first rehearsal. The staging did not impress me that much even with that wanna-be under water effect. But definitely a good start of the day. She was smiling all the way, connecting with the camera. This is love? Well the camera seems to love her. Will see if the audience feel the same.
JOHN: Demy is in a long pale peach dress – not the red one she wore in the video – but at least she doesn’t look quite as pastey. Her rising and falling plinth comes as a bit of surprise. Her dancers are doing lots of stuff in the pointing stakes, and I’m just worried the three of them are that close together that they may get lost on the vast stage. Vocally it might also need a bit of work, but this is the first rehearsal. On the plus side, it’s nice and bouncy.
JAMES: Greece didn’t make it to the final last year for the first time ever and I think that really hit home. They’ve sent Demy to Kyiv, so I was expecting to be wowed. At first, I thought the staging was very basic, but maybe that was just my first impression. The usual staples of faux-rain, raising up on a platform, bare chested male dancers… it’s not bad per say, I’m just not wowed by it, or her vintage dress. The homoerotic over tones at the end is a nice touch, but not sure it’ll be enough to get it to the final.
ANDREW: First up for today and a very upbeat start for Greece. I like the staging with the male dancers in the paddling pool and Demy behind them. Love the water effects projected around her and a projection screen in front of them for a part of the song. The vocals could definitely be improved upon but that is not to say they were bad. Greece will have no problem in getting to Final this year.
2 – Poland
RICHARD: Kasia makes a competent start to her rehearsals vocally. For me, the song didn’t really get going until the uptempo-ish music kicked in. Kasia wore a white one shoulder dress, while accompanied on stage by a male violinist dressed in black. In terms of lighting, there is some cosmic purple beams on the stage and white lighting effects on the backdrop.
BOGDAN: Did that performance “take me higher”? Not really. You can’t deny she has a good voice. I did not feel captivated or feeling on fire with desire. 🙂 About the staging and dressing: I suppose she wanted to appear like a dove with a half wing (one sleeved white dress). On the stage beside Kasia we could see a violonist that did nothing to add a plus to the performance.
JAMES: Oh Poland… for me this song has always felt like it’s trying to be a lot grander and more dramatic than it actually is. The staging itself is actually quite nice – animals in starlight, constellations beamed across the floor. The violinist seems like a bit of an unnecessary touch, but it does all work together. Kasia’s vocals are very strong and she sings the song with gusto. It’s just a shame that the song is rather mediocre. I suspect this may struggle to stand out and make it out of the semi.
JOHN: Ballad time again, and Kasia is resplendent in white. With a fiddler, sorry, violinist. I’ll admit that she has got a really big voice on her, but I’m not sure whether the song will encourage people to vote for it. It’s a plodder of a ballad that tries to be dramatic, but doesn’t quite find its groove. Even with the wind machine. Sorry Poland.
ANDREW: I agree with everyone in this case, Poland have a great singer in Kasia who hits all the notes in the right places. The visual performance is also good but the song is a bit of a plodder indeed. It does get better when it reaches the climatic parts in the last minute or so of the song. Diaspora votes may get this through but if that doesn’t come to the fore then Poland could struggle.
RICHARD: The fun factor has hit the stage for the first time in today’ s rehearsals and it’s a warm welcome back to the Sunstroke Project to Eurovision. It is safe to say we have a carbon copy of the national final performance – although the guys aren’t in costume yet. Their three backing singers are in costume, however the costume change only worked for one of the girls – something I won’t spoil for you just yet! Certainly lively and a warm welcome after Poland.
BOGDAN: Hey Moldova! The performance was a bit out of sync. Not sure if the guys were wearing the actual costumes, but the background singers surely seemed so. Except one girl who was “the bride” in a long puffy dress, the other two were wearing shorter skirts. It looked disjointed and I do prefer the National Final package for this song. UPDATE: After the first rehearsal things are looking more smooth and all girls have the same long dress. Now it works better.
JAMES: The Epic Sax guy is back and this time it’s personal!! After the quite dull ballad, this is going to grab Europe, shake it awake and get us all on our feet dancing! It’s very upbeat and a definite crowd pleaser, made for the Sax Guy to do his thing. The staging looks a little all over the place for now, with the 3 guys and 3 girls looking so delighted to be there they are a little overexcited and out of sync. But with a bit of fine tuning it’ll definitely be 3 minutes to remember and will (most likely) sail into the grand final.
ANDREW: I love this song and the performance is the same as the National Final. The girl backing singers are in dresses that morph into something different part way through. I love the big white backdrop effects , very monochromatic. This is certainly a lively enough performance and the vocals are being held back a little. After Poland this sure stands out and I think has a good chance to qualify.
4 – Iceland
RICHARD: Considering the Icelandic delegation have had 42 suitcases go missing, we may have just seen part of Slava’s costume and it’s a very pale pink, Princess Lelia type thing. I expected a lot more edge to the performance so felt rather underwhelmed. Yes it’s only the first run through and there is more time yet. However, as things stand, I’d question if Slava could qualify the way things stand.
JAMES: Despite her luggage being lost somewhere between Reykjavik and Kyiv (so roughly the entire continent of Europe to search then!) Svala still rocks up to stage looking like Princess Leia heading to Glastonbury. The staging is quite intimate, giving me flash backs of Euphoria which is promising and I usually prefer an understated show. The consensus amongst us is that something is missing with the performance, though we can’t quite put our finger on what. I quite like it, but think it might struggle to stand out.
BOGDAN: Svala and Sailor Moon’s hair buns! I was expecting more moves and more magic from Svala’s performance. I just hope she has a hidden ace on her sleeves that she’s going to show us later as the rehearsals progress because I do like the song and she delivers. I was left with the feeling that she could have had a better show.
JOHN: Svala has an outfit to remember. We heard that 42 Icelandic suitcases had not arrived, so we can only assume she wore this long white outfit to travel in. It’s long and flowing, and she has her hair in two buns. The song doesn’t actually do much, and it might be just a little bit too safe. Safe doesn’t always make it through a semi-final. The show has lots of lasers and other futuristic yet brutalist touches, which sums up the slightly raw nature of the song. All in all, it will need some work to push it over the line.
ANDREW: Well this is another song I like but I feel more could have been done with the staging. Not convinced what she is wearing today is going to be what we see next week. I fear that Iceland may get lost in the race for the finishing line.
Break for Lunch
5 – Czech Republic
JAMES: And we’re back from lunch for the next rehearsal! After last year’s qualification, I really thought the Czech Republic had broken the code at last. And then they send this… It’s a lovely song, but it’s also very safe – and safe does not qualify for Eurovision finals. This is perfect as lounge music, but looks utterly lost on a massive arena stage. As for the foil suit… why? It just feels so out of place and bizarre. Sad to say I very much doubt we’ll be off to Prague for 2018… it’ll be nothing short of a miracle if this even qualifies.
RICHARD: Bacofoil isn’t just for wrapping Turkey up at Christmas. Martina appears to be wrapped in a jacket designed by copper coloured Bacofoil. Starting sat at the edge of the stage, isn’t particularly a flattering position, however soon stands and all becomes fine after that. Elements of her official video of My Turn appears throughout on the backdrop, along with golden and purple lighting used throughout.
BOGDAN: Martina shined but not because of the show, but because of her outfit. Her vocals were ok but the presentation let us waiting for the real show to begin. Maybe following the “yellow brick road” will do get her home after the semi.
JOHN: Martina is in gold. My first though is that her gold trouser-suit doesn’t match the song, but since the video shows her not wearing much at all. She’s on stage alone, which one as big as this loses her completely. I fear for this, as we can tell Martina has a good voice. The Czechs may need to do some work to put this across better.
ANDREW : I went for a walk at lunchtime and failed to return in time to catch this. Sounds like I didn’t miss much but it has got me in the mood for roast chicken for dinner.
6 – Cyprus
RICHARD: Hovig certainly knows how to put on a show. It is reusing some aspects of Russia’s entry from last year – on the back drop and screen projection only – not physically. Hovig is joined on stage by two male backing singers. All three are in black. Of all the songs that have plodded along today, this is the only one that will probably qualify along with Moldova.
JOHN: The stage is generally very monochrome for this. Lots of bright white light on the stage, to contrast with Hovig’s black outfit, mainly consisting of leather jacket and trousers. He has two dancers with him which do their stuff from time to time. There are some interesting floor lights, sometimes involving him walking along a tightrope. It’s actually quite effective. There are also moves reminiscent of a certain song that came top three in 2016. On the downside, the song maybe could do with speeding up just a tad. A qualifier? It’s the second best thing we’ve seen today.
BOGDAN: Ok so we finally see some nice graphics and a decent concept that suits the song. It reminds me of Russia last year, but my eyes were pleased so can’t complain. The performance needs to be more polished, but Cyprus is a serious contender for qualifying.
JAMES: Cyprus have been a bit under the radar so far, but I rate it as one of this year’s stronger entries. Hovig has clearly put a lot of effort into this performance and there are some spectacular moves from him and his backing dancers. They’re not quite polished yet, but with a bit of work I think will provide quite a show. The end effect of Hovig laying on his back amongst the stars works beautifully and is very memorable. Hovig being all in black looks a little reminiscent of Sergey Lazarev but it works really well, especially against the white lights. Well done Cyprus – a bit more work and this will be flawless!
ANDREW: This is a decent performance of a song that was not highly thought of in my mind. Lots of little trickery with the graphics on the screens and especially on the stage floor. A bit of dancing from both Hovig and his dancers. Definitely moves up in my estimation and now has a good chance to qualify.
7 – Armenia
BOGDAN: Lots of hand gestures but that’s it. It so needed more people on the stage not only Artsvik and two dancers. Also choreography lacks excitement when the melody is very rhytmatic. Having said that, I see Armenia qualifying.
RICHARD: I can say it is very pink in terms of lighting. Artsvik isn’t in her stage costume unfortunately. She is on her own for far too long before her backing dancers appear. Sadly a favourite with many may fizzle out if it stays the same.
JAMES: For me, it was a promising start that didn’t really deliver an awful lot by the end. For such a hypnotic song with strong elements of the near East, I think you have the go the whole distance with it – costumes, lighting, dancers, the whole shebang. The lighting and back grounds are shrouded in mysticism, but Artsvik looks distinctly more modern – hopefully that’s not her final dress. Also, a number like this warrants hundreds of dancers (or at least the maximum permitted!) so 2 doesn’t cut it for me. At least get another 2, and we’ll talk then. For now, it shows promise, but needs work.
ANDREW: Sometimes less is good but I expected more from Armenia not less. More on stage would be better for me. What we have got is Artsvik on stage alone for too long and only 2 backing dancers. What they deliver is still good but it could be so much better with more impact if they added a few more into the mix. Having said all that it will still qualify quite easily.
JOHN: Artvik’s stage show seems very pared down from the preview video. She only has two dancers with her, but I think it needs more. It’s the ethnic sound that cries out for more dancers, specially during the extended instrumental breaks. From what we can see, her vocals seem fairly sound and the camera work is definitely getting there.
8 – Slovenia
JAMES: On your way and never coming back? Just as well you didn’t sing this last time you were in Kyiv, otherwise we’d all be really confused now! I’m fascinated by the whole play of lights and shadows during Omar’s performance, it’s an idea that if it pays off, will be incredibly memorable. Some of the cues need to be sharper to make sure the shadows accentuate, rather than obscure him on stage. The whole song has a real stage show feel to it which I really like, and I’m pleasantly surprised by how it all looks. I was dubious before coming to Kyiv, but I can see this qualifying now. Bravo, Slovenia!
BOGDAN: Omar’s voice was quite powerful but not consistent, but I enjoyed the visuals. You can see him in a cage – like scenery and then breaking free. I didn’t quite have great expectations about this song, but I think it’s a grower on me.
RICHARD: Some of the most spectacular lighting is been used during this performance. Remember Armenia and the holograms last year? The technology is back – no doubt thanks to the Swedish side of the production team. Omar was at Eurovision last in 2005, when Kyiv last hosted. Omar is vocally impressive and I could see him progressing to the final this time around.
ANDREW: This is visually quite spectacular I love they way they use the moving panels and it enhances the look and feel of the performance. Omar is a very powerful singer and he is perhaps trying a bit too hard on the first few run through’s as he is not totally in control of his voice. But this will come good I am sure. Slovenia may just sneak into the mix after this.
JOHN: Omar has an excellent voice, and this is an old school power ballad that would fit right into a West End musical. He’s on stage without backing singers which, to be fair, most soloists seen to be, although it again makes him look very small on stage. During one of the runs through he didn’t quite hit every note. I still have confidence that this may qualify as a good old-fashioned ballad, and he’ll get the performance in order when it counts.
9 – Latvia
RICHARD: Neon lighting with a backdrop of splashing of the waves. Doesn’t really quite work. Apart from that the vocals sound right and I can’t see the outfit been the final one. Oh, we spotted a giant neon green p**** too – or that’s what it looked like anyway. Good way to end semi final 1.
BOGDAN: Well that was something I don’t even know how to describe. She looks a bit like Katy Perry with curly pink hair. Lots of neon lights and one shape quite questionable as what it is or if it should even be there. As it’s not a challenging song for vocal abilities, I don’t think it will do well with the judges, but will certainly have some fans from the public.
JOHN: Triana Park are clearly not in their performance costumes, so we’ll have to wait and see what they’ll wear next Tuesday. The lead singer has looked different every time I’ve seen her, and today she has pink hair. The general vibe is psychedelia, judging from the luminous shapes appearing on the backdrop. It’s not a bad little party track – even more so after alcohol – so being last one might work in its favour.
JAMES: It’s definitely colourful. Lots of neon lights and psychedelic colours not usually seen outside an acid trip. In essence, it’s the same as the Supernova final, just on a bigger scale. While visually it’s a great ending to the first semi, vocally it’s a bit all over the place. It will give a crowd-pleasing show, but I’m not sure it’ll make it into the final based on what I’ve seen.
ANDREW: I Love this song. The presentation is great. Very psychedelic and colourful. Lots of neon signage and a good modern dance track. But what were the graphic designers thinking when they decided it would be a good idea to add in a green neon penis shape into the mix? The fact its in a prominent place behind the lead singer means its seen loads of times and brought much hilarity to the press room. That apart its a good song to finish this Semi so we will have to wait and see if Latvia manage to pull it off.
So there we have it folks the second Day is over and we have seen the second 9 countries in Semi Final 1. The standouts today were Moldova, Cyprus, Slovenia and Armenia showing loads of promise. The biggest let down was Czech Republic which really gave us nothing to work with. Also Latvia gave the most interesting graphics!! So come back tomorrow for Day 3 Live Blog same time and same place when we will see the first 9 countries from Semi Final 2.
Author: Andrew Main
Source: Eurovision Ireland