Eurovision 2017 – Day 4 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 our early bird Richard late on Day 1. 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 – San Marino
RICHARD: Jimmie and Valentina have wowed the Press Centre where everyone basically clapped along to disco fever GOLD!!! I think this is the first time we could say that San Marino WILL qualify, rather than MAYBE. San Marino have caught a certain demographic and will remind many of their disco youth. It’s Romania without the Glitter Cannons.
BOGDAN: So outdated, so confused, but so much fun. I think we would still love Valentina even if she came to Eurovision to sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. And a star she is. A little bit of spark, a little bit of clapping and lots of color. I don’t think the chemistry is quite there between the two of them, but we all clapped at the chorus. They were both in black – could they be the dark horses of this Semi?
JAMES: San Marino always deliver the goods when it comes to Eurovision and this year is no exception! *dodges barrage of things being thrown at me for saying that* Yes, the song is dated and a tad cliched, but it’s brightly coloured and a lot of fun – that’s not a bad thing! Valentina Monetta is a huge fan favourite and she performs the song with gusto, while Jimmie look like he’s having the time of his life on that stage. It’s a joy to behold!! My one big suggestion is that Valentina stops dressing like a 13 year old boy – a peaked cap is not a good look for anyone my dear!
JOHN: This was worth getting into the press centre early doors. Val and Jim (as I’m going to call them) are both in various creations of sparkly black leather. She’s also got her handbag with her. I watched the sole run through they did and I wanted to shout ‘Shaft’ at appropriate intervals. Perhaps because it’s 1970s music for people that don’t remember the 1970s. It’s barking mad but does have something about it that might get those televoters to pick up the phone. And it got a massive massive reaction in the press centre. It must have been the key change.
ANDREW: I swear everyone in the Press Centre must still be drunk from last night. The reaction Val and Jim got was Eurovision Gold. This is fantastic, great interaction between the pair of them and lots of colour in the backdrop. Gone right up in my estimations, Old Ralphy may have just rediscovered his golden touch with this ditty. Another qualifier for San Marino? Quite possibly.
2 – Croatia
BOGDAN: What was that? If Croatia wanted to capture our attention, they totally did. Powerful yet very ridiculous. One biblical mountain, sunflowers and turning sides to switch registers. You can’t stay with a staight face watching this performance. Have no idea if the fans are going to back this up, but for sure I’m feeling sorry for who’s next after Jacques Houdek.
JAMES: We’ve been waiting with baited breath for Croatia’s rehearsals, wondering what on earth was going to happen… and we were not disappointed!! Spectacular in the sense of spectacle, Jacques clearly has an incredible singing voice. Switching between Italian and English by turning (!!) sunflowers, rainbows and even pyrotechnics… a lot of people have derided this song, but I think it’s one of the most instantly memorable performances we’ve seen thus far. Will it qualify? Something like this I think will either storm through to the final or come dead last. But one thing is for sure – everyone in the press centre is still talking and smiling about it a long time after it’s finished!
JOHN: I’ve never seen anything like it. Jacques has done everything here. He sings both voices – which we knew he would. There are videos of him on the backdrop, singing both parts to ‘complement’ the stage show. He has guys duelling with a violin and ‘cello. He has pyros. And he had everyone entertained for three minutes. We were giggling, and sadly not with him. The most disconcerting things was the fingerless leather gloves Jacques was wearing. I can’t fully describe what I’ve just seen and properly do it justice. You’ll need to find a rehearsal clip. What has HRT done?
ANDREW: And before we had time to recover from the shock of San Marino on steps Jacques to wipe the floor with with them. I hated this song until now. It is inspired, great camera angles to give us good effect in the vocal styles. Then we get Pyros at the key moments. The backdrop has sunflowers and the whole package is brilliant. Press Centre still drunk with many of them resembling a pod of seals with their clapping and cheering.
RICHARD: This was a scary spectacular.
BOGDAN: Norway basically has the same show as in their National Final. No surpsises here. It’s a pleasant song and good vocals. Is that enough? I don’t know. The worst part is that they are singing after Croatia. We’re still talking about that in the press room.
RICHARD: As Bogdan has mentioned, it is near enough replica of the National Final performance. Nice and bright backdrop which brings the performance alive. Vocally Jowst are very competent – it was interesting to see how they would deal with the electro vocals after the recent controversy.
JAMES: Norway have opted for the same basic set up as their Melodi Grand Prix performance and it transfers surprisingly well to a bigger stage. The biggest challenge facing this song now is the fact it comes after Croatia… I fear this song may fail to qualify not because it’s a poor entry, but because it’ll be lost after such an attention grabbing song. Sorry Norway.
JOHN: This is a complete contrast to the giggle-fest so far. And I think it’s actually quite competent. It bounces along nicely, the camera work is very sympathetic to the song, and our little band of Norwegians can carry this off. I fear that after the three minutes of lunacy before, this might get totally forgotten. It will be a real shame.
ANDREW: A perfectly competent performance which replicates the National Final performance but looks better on the bigger Eurovision stage. Normally I would say this is good enough to qualify, which it is but I fear it is overshadowed by Croatia before it and may not get people to pick up the phone for it cos they missed most of it getting over that which went before it.
4 – Switzerland
JOHN: Yellow. That is Miruna of Timebelle. I guess it’s because Apollo is the god of the sun. She’s in a dress that is not dissimilar to the dress Yohanna from Iceland wore in Moscow, except that it’s not blue. And she’s standing on a cylindrical box, or the sort of pulpit you might find in a church, without the lectern. It’s definitely a contest of biiig props. As a song, it’s OK. It’s neither a definite qualifier, nor is it going to be plum last.
BOGDAN: Belle is on the stage and here name is actually Miruna. Up on a staircase in lemon- yellow dress she sings to Apollo. Her vocals are good as always and the visual impact is working. You can’t forget the lady in yellow. This Semi is much more entertaining than the first one.
JAMES: Why is Miruna wearing Big Bird from Sesame Street? It’s all very pink and yellow and bubblegummy at a first glance… considering the music video for the song is quite dark and the song itself feels quite grown-up, I don’t know why they’ve decided to stage it like this… I’m quite confused and don’t think it works…
ANDREW: Well this is surprisingly good for me. Miruna looks amazing in her long flowing canary yellow wedding dress and certainly looks like the top decoration on a wedding cake. Good movement around the stage once she steps down from it and a competent vocal performance. Whether it will qualify? Well it just might.
RICHARD: From what I saw of this, reminded me a little bit of Dami Im’s staging from last year – however not with a big cuboid box, but with a circular staircase. Not convinced, but there again I didn’t see it all.
Break for Lunch
5 – Belarus
BOGDAN: Pure in white the Belarusian singers are on a boat, presenting their song in a light way – in contrast to what we’ve seen so far and even to what they presented on their National Final. I miss the energetic performance. The visuals got better, but the energy got lost. Come on Belarus, show us again your passion!
RICHARD: This is what we have been crying out for. For a start Naviband are hover crafting straight into the final. Yes you heard me right, Naviband are standing on a hovercraft with moving propellers too! This adds to a fantastic backdrop of images of buildings and other things moving away from the hovercraft. Both visually and vocally spectacular!
JOHN: Naviband are all in white clothes with traditional overtones, on what’s meant to be a hoverboat. The type of boat you’d see cruising up and down the Everglades. The backdrop has lots of typical Belarusian buildings flying by. There’s no getting away from what part of the world this song is from. It’s equally refreshing that they’ve stuck to their own language, as this really adds to how good this is. It’s three minutes of happiness and optimism, all distilled into one stage performance.
JAMES: Belarus were one of my favourites very early on in the contest and I still rate them as having one of the best songs this year. So why am I left feeling a little underwhelmed? I love the idea – flying through a Slavic skyline of domes and turrets against a moon bathed in traditional Belarusian folk patterns. But because Arciom and Ksienija have only the relatively small stage space of their hovercraft (for a lack of a better word!) they have a lot less space to bound around in and their energy seems a lot lower as a result. Shame, as this song makes you want to dance along! Still, I love the song and they do a fantastic job. I really hope it does well!
ANDREW: Yes another good transformation from National Final to Eurovision stage. Belarus have a great boppy singalong song even if you cant understand Belarussian its as catchy as hell. Love the hoverboat prop they are performing on and with our daily dosage of heavy fog and a great backdrop of fly past buildings its an extravaganza of loveliness that deserves to see Belarus progress to the Final.
6 – Bulgaria
RICHARD: This knocks the socks off everything we’ve seen today so far. Visually it is electrifying in terms of graphics around Kristian. He is dressed in black with sleeves ending in white which helps to empathise his hand gestures – something that is just done spot on where others would over do it. Vocally great too.
JAMES: Bulgaria are living proof that if you persevere you really can do great things! From a shaky start in Kyiv 12 years ago, they I think they have a potential winner on their hands now. For such a young performer, Kristian commands that stage with the gravity of a much more mature performer. It’s simple, dark and a little moody, but it fits the feel of the song perfectly. Reminds me a little of “Rhythm Inside” by Belgium in 2015 and that stormed the scoreboard. I’m confident Bulgaria have what it takes to do the same now. Potential winner, definite Top 5.
JOHN: Kristian is alone on stage, which is greys blacks and whites. It’s very severe and dramatic. He owns the stage and for someone of his age, he’s very good at what he does. Each run-through that we saw was faultless, and Bulgaria won’t have any problems next Thursday with his delivery if he carries on like this. I didn’t get the song before I arrived in Kyiv, but this has real potential.
BOGDAN: Kristian starts in darkness with a spot of light on him. We see floor effects storm-like and electric waves on the stage. Visual it is very good and so is his voice. Bulgaria will have no problem qualifying for the final and do very very well.
ANDREW: Simple is beautiful. Vocals are faultless and sublime. Staging is simple and perfect for the song presentation. Love his outfit and the extra on screen graphics add a nice element to the package. Sure to qualify and potential Top 5 in the Final still.
7 – Lithuania
BOGDAN: Fusedmark did a performance similar to what they showed us at the National Final – lots of red, red and more red and lights. To be honest I never was a fan of this show and the situation hasn’t changed. We can’t deny the singer has a good voice and the show is ok, but the song is not my cup of tea.
RICHARD: Fusedmark wore a red dress throughout. Vocally competent, but not great. The production side of it visually was quite frankly a miss mash of everything. I can’t see it qualifying unfortunately.
JOHN: This is a tricky one to write about. After the work LRT put in to selecting this song, it’s really underwhelming. She’s in red, which is about as good as things gets. It’s got a bit of a tune, but it’s also got a lot of shouting and woo-hoo-ing. This is going to appeal to almost no-one.
JAMES: I’m at a loss what to say about Lithuania… I’ve never rated the song, and after watching the rehearsal I still have nothing terribly positive to say. The performance is jarring and disjointed and she fails to make any connection with the camera. If anything, she seems to be totally in world of her own, and what a frightening place it seems… I like the colour of her dress and the graphics though… that’s something, right?
ANDREW: Well the presentation is lively and great and similar to the National Final. The colour is definitely red here but beyond that there are no more positives. The song is pants and is going nowhere fast. The vocals are ok but oh dear Lithuania your not getting out of the Semi Final with this.
8 – Estonia
RICHARD: Koit Toome & Laura for me still need to work on their connectivity at times. Feeling is in general that they come across cold unfortunately. I love this song and was pleased to see it win at Eesti Laul when I was in Tallinn back in May. I have no doubt this will qualify, but hope the connectivity will be worked on before next Thursday.
JAMES: It’s Goodbye To Yesterday part II! There is a very palpable tension/sultry longing between them, but I’m not sure if that’s frustration at missed cues and such… this could easily be contender for 1st place in this semi, but the performance is currently struggling and needs work. It can be done, and I hope it is as this is one of my favourite songs this year and if the staging is neatened up, it could be a in the running for 1st (in my very humble opinion!) All the pieces are there Estonia – just put them together!
JOHN: There seemed to be issues with this rehearsal. The camera work was all over the place, as were some of positioning of Koit and Laura. She has her microphone transmitter on her wrist which also looks a little odd. I really want this to do well, but they are seriously going to need to do some work. At the moment, it’s messy and there’s seemingly little co-operation between the two singers.
BOGDAN: I loved this song from the first time I heard it. The performance is quite uncertain and they both look quite uncomfortable. Laura’s dress is stunning but I’m not enjoying her hairstyle because at close-ups it just looks weird. We want emotions and connection and I just haven’t seen that today. It needs to be more polished because this song has lots of fans.
ANDREW: And one of those fans is me. I love the song and I loved the presentation in the Eesti Laul Final. But its not transferring well enough to the big stage here. I can see what they are doing with the graphics and I get the meaning of the song. I know the two of them are singing about a disconnection but they are not giving across the message quite correctly as yet. The staging is not polished enough and needs lots of work to correct it. What they have is the right building blocks for a classy performance they just need to deliver that so the viewer believes it. I still think it has enough to qualify but it needs to improve to have chances of doing well in the Final.
9 – Israel
BOGDAN: Well Israel, that is so much better coming after Estonia. Energetic, alive on the stage, colorful and charismatic. Imri in black, two dancers in white, everything is right 🙂 From my point of view, see you in the Final!
JOHN: There is nothing wrong with this at all. It’s very slick and polished, and won’t need much more work to what’s already been done. Imri starts alone, and is joined by two dancers, and three backing singers. The backdrop doesn’t detract from what’s happening on stage, and in contrast to Estonia, everyone knows where they should be at any given time. It’s through.
JAMES: What a way to end the semi! Israel are polished, on point and will have the arena up on its feet and dancing away! After a disappointing set from Estonia, this stands out even more. If Verona can’t come up with a more convincing show, then I Feel Alive will very easily steal the spotlight and qualify in their place. I only wish they had the traditional horn all the way through the show, but hey-ho! Imri is also very easy on the eyes, which can’t hurt when it comes to the public picking up the phone to vote!
ANDREW: Well yes this is a good way to finish this Semi Final, Imri is very easy on the eye and sings well. The performance is slick and polished and the dancers know what they are doing. The visual graphics are also good and we have a bit of fire towards the end of the song. A good solid entry from Imri should see him get out of this Semi.
Author: Andrew Main
Source: Eurovision Ireland