Albania

Eurovision 2017 – Day 5 Rehearsals are here!!! – Starts at 0900 CET. Refresh for your fix!

Eurovision 2017 – Day 5 Second Rehearsals 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 – Sweden

BOGDAN: I’ve missed Sweden’s first day of rehearsal so I’m seeing it now with fresh eyes. Was very colorful, electronic and the choreography the same we saw at Melodifestivalen. Definitely a crowd pleaser and a candidate for a high place.

JAMES: Sweden always go big for Eurovision and this year is no exception. They are desperate for that 7th win to equal Ireland and they are really giving it their all to try and get it! It’s a hugely polished show, rehearsed to within an inch of its life and will be a big crowd pleaser on the night. It’s a dead cert to qualify and probably in one of the top spots. For me, recent Swedish entries have plenty of flash and bang, but little substance musically (that’s just my opinion!) and this is a perfect example.

ANDREW: Well it is polished and near perfect really. No change from Melodifestivalen. It will prove to be very popular in the voters minds. Easing into the Final and a Top 5 finish again for Sweden. Job done.

RICHARD: For me there is nothing to have changed. It is well polished and will fly through to the final and make the Top 5.

JOHN: It’s the opener, and it’s the same as the MF performance. Robin is in a different coloured suit to his pals on stage, probably to indicate who’s actually singing. It has got a lot of style, but I’m not keen on the substance. As an audio track, there’s not much to it. It will probably qualify, although whether it should is another matter.

2 – Georgia

ANDREW: This is the first time I have seen the Georgian presentation of their song. The thing that stood out for me was lots of red in the backdrop supplemented by Tamara wearing a gorgeous flowing red dress. The song is fine and the vocals are also good and it may well have a chance to get to the Final, but there may be 10 others songs in this Semi that might just have better chances so it is borderline.

BOGDAN: Powerful performance from Tamara today. I’m not a big fan of the song but she is giving it her all. She might have a chance to qualify.

Video Courtesy of ESCKAZ.

RICHARD: Very red and fire plumes all around. This is portrayed more like a James Bond soundtrack video more than it did on Sunday in their first rehearsal. She is in a red cloak which reveals a red sequinned dress. She could be a Bond girl or Bond enemy! In such a strong semi final, I can see this been borderline qualifying – even though I think those that only tune in for the final would heavily enjoy this.

3- Australia

RICHARD: No major changes were needed to be made after the rehearsal from Sunday. The performance went well and the only changes that were needed was for the camerawork – which I think has been achieved. Same outfit as Sunday.

JOHN: Isaiah is putting his little song across very well. His choice of a long grey raincoat is interesting but it goes with the generally dark setting he’s singing in. There’s nothing wrong with this, and with precious few ballads sung by men this year, it will stand out.

Video courtesy of ESCKAZ.

BOGDAN: I think this is my favorite performance so far. I expect lots of people to connect to what he’s singing. Nothing too much, just enough to express the message of the song.

ANDREW: Yes this is a decent performance indeed. Lots of emotion and connection from Isaiah and a good vocal too. I think this should have no trouble to qualify as it stands out sandwiched between two similar female ballads.

4 – Albania

BOGDAN: Due to some problems instead of Australia we see 3rd Lindita from Albania. We have wind machines, wedding -like dress and lots of clocks on the ground and on the background. Powerful performance but we couldn’t expect anything less from her. I don’t know if Georgia and Albania are going to battle for the same spot in the final as both songs are in the similar style. We shall see.

ANDREW: Albania on before Australia again. Lots of white and heavy fog, Lindita wears a flowing see through white dress with a glitterball front to it. It is a sweeping which she sings to within an inch of its life. She sounds good vocally and cant be faulted there. The song is certainly dramatic but coming after Australia in the Semi I am not sure it will have the impact they might hope for. I don’t think we will see her in the Final.

Video courtesy of ESCKAZ.

RICHARD: Unfortunately, this didn’t grab me on Sunday and it still disappears out of my focus. What did grab me was the Human Gitterball outfit the delegation have dressed her in – surely a contender for the Barbara Dex award?

JOHN: In a change to the running order, this has come on next. Lindita didn’t quite hit every note, and there’s lots of scope for not hitting notes. It’s dramatic, I’ll give her that, but I don’t think that this will do anything at all.

5 – Belgium

JOHN: This is the first time I’ve seen this, and I’m not sure what to make of it. The preview video was slightly edgy and industrial, and I was expecting something like this here. Instead, she’s a youngish performer in an outfit that doesn’t suit the song at all. I do like the song, but I think there could be better ways of staging it. Blanche perhaps walking around the stage, or an outfit more relevant to her years. On what I’ve seen, this very contemporary song might get lost.

ANDREW: Well given all the talk of how bad this was during first rehearsal I wasn’t expecting much. It has plummeted in the betting and is now only 8th favourite to qualify. But apart from Blanche sounding a bit shaky and nervous the visual performance suits the style of the song and I still love it. If she can pull herself together I could still see this qualify but certainly not in the top 5. About 8-12 would be about what to expect.

JAMES: Belgium was one of the hot favourites early on this year and I wasn’t quite convinced of the hype. After watching it live in the hall, I’m even less convinced. It’s gone from being quite urban and edgy in the video, which really suited the song, to a bit insipid and washed out on stage. I’m sure the juries will see this through to the final, but as for the public, I couldn’t say.

Break for Lunch

6 – Montenegro

RICHARD: Slavko’s performance is bad, but not bad enough. I know it’s highly unusual to ask for a performance to be worse, but the absolute camper it gets, the more chances it has to qualify in my opinion. “Space” is simply one of a few guilty pleasures of my Eurovision 2017.

ANDREW: Well this is just bonkers. It is certainly a bit of a campfest. He has lots of big images of himself on the backdrop and when he lies on the stage. He then almost flies into the air when his helicopter hair extension starts swirling round and round. I feel like Richard it could be camper as I fear it does not quite have enough to get it to the Final.

JOHN: There appear to be microphone issues here. Or Slavko could be saving himself. I think that this is missing something – it’s a little underwhelming. It could be a lack of other people on stage, which an uptempo song like this is crying out for. Still, he’s bouncing around the vast stage and trying to make it his own. It may get the crowd going, in which case it will overshadow Belgium. As a qualifier, I don’t think it will, but it’s not really my cup of tea.

7 – Finland

ANDREW: This is a lovely haunting ballad very much in the Adelle mould. Very dark moody piece is matched by the staging and lighting. She stands on the stage while he sits at the grand piano. Beautifully sung the vocals are faultless and I am sure we will see this progress to the Final.

JOHN: This song exudes class. Lasse and Leena are in black with a staging that gives the impression of dark water. It’s extremely slick and I’m even getting goosebumps. They’ve got this about where they want it, and short of a disaster, it’ll be in the Saturday night final.

RICHARD: If this wasn’t the Eurovision Song Contest, people would still connect with this song as Norma John are the Finnish version of Adele. It’s dark, it’s emotional and quite frankly flawless. A sure qualifier.

8 – Azerbaijan

ANDREW: This is looking pretty good now. I still don’t get the narrative behind the staging and how it might relate to the song story but he it looks interesting. The guy with the horse is now accepted as normal with no titters in the room. The vocals are sure on point and confident and this is easily going to qualify as its better than Belgium which is aiming for a similar niche market.

JOHN: How barking mad is this? A set with a series of chalk-infested blackboards. It looks like the inside of a lift in a dodgy block of flats. I hope it doesn’t smell of what lifts normally smell of. Dihaj writes on at one point, but I can’t actually read what she writes. And I’ve finally seen the man with a horse’s head – on a ladder. It’s loopy as loopy can be. It suits her personality I understand. This will qualify, although it probably shouldn’t.

RICHARD: Still as bonkers as the rehearsal was on Sunday. I’m sure there is a message inside the performance but I have yet to see it. Will probably qualify even though I’d place others ahead of it through favouritism.

9 – Portugal

ANDREW: We have Luisa stepping in once again for her brother and standing again on the satellite stage. She sings the song well and with feeling and uses her hands and arms a lot to emphasise the story. This is what Salvador will also do when he gets here. This song will also look great when we have a crowd round the stage. The atmosphere we have with the graphics is moody blue. Still as sure it will qualify when the sweetness and charm of Salvador is added to the final package. Sure to qualify.

JOHN: This is one I’ve really been waiting for. It’s Luisa at the moment, not Salvador. She’s on the satellite stage which is nice. And there’s a pleasant backdrop of trees. She’s effortless, and although she won’t be singing this next week, this has the class to ease through. If it fails, there’s no hope at all. And I’m a blubbering mess – it was that good.

RICHARD: We still have Luisa as Salvador has yet to hit the ground here in Kyiv. My goodness how powerful the performance was in the arena – the first time I’d entered it. Luisa brought us all to tears – quite frankly a winner.

10 – Greece

ANDREW: Ok well lets be perfectly honest here. Greece is going to qualify no doubt. It is a great song and Demy looks great in her dress and the rising platform and male dancers splashing about in their pools add a certain dimension to it. Also I am sure Demy can happily sing all the notes. However on the first run through I am sure the mix between lead and backing vocals was all wrong. At least one of the backing vocalists was way off key on the high notes and made it sound awful overall to us in the Press Room. I am sure this can and will be sorted so am not unduly concerned. See you next Saturday Greece.

Break

11 – Poland

ANDREW: Kasia is looking very glamorous in a long flowing white dress with a leg split. We have a bit of a wind machine going on. WE have the fiddler on the stage. Lots of blue lighting in the backdrop. Kasia is a strong singer and is giving us a great performance of this average song. If it was the song alone I would say non Qualifier but as its Poland and with Kasia singing it I feel it could qualify but only just.

RICHARD: Finally we have the obligatory wind machine at the Eurovision Song Contest this year and it adds movement to Kasia’s long white dress. The rest is much of the same really. I still count this one as a possible qualifier.

JOHN: I saw this briefly, and whilst the song didn’t really catch my ear, her outfit caught the eye somewhat. It’s quite revealing, and a joy for first-aiders everywhere. She tries hard, but I can’t really see it doing anything.

12 – Moldova

RICHARD: Hey Mamma – yes that sums up the whole performance. The lads are back in their full wedding gear and the costume reveals actually work for the backing singers. This has qualifier material all over it. Some years it wouldn’t happen, but this year it certainly will.

JOHN: This is fun and bouncy. It’s also very well-rehearsed due to the ease in which Sunstroke and chums perform the song. You could say that it’s just a vehicle for Mr Epic Sax Guy to do his thing, but you can’t get away from the fact it’s an ear-worm. Due to some of the other songs in this semi-final, I think this is safely through.

ANDREW: Well this just a whole lot of fun. The girls are resplendent in wedding dresses that transform part way through. The guys are in black suits with grey trim. The dance moves are the same and on point. The monochromatic backdrop with blue lighting is excellent as well as images of the guys marching and dancing. Totally on point and sailing into the Final.

13 – Iceland

RICHARD: With an added wind machine and green laser lighting, we have got the Icelandic entry back that we fell in love with back during the National Final. Yes, Slava is still wearing the cloak type thing, but at least we knew the majority of her costume wasn’t lost with the luggage. Back in qualification stakes now.

ANDREW: This is more like it from Svala from Iceland. Back on track is where we are with this. She looks great in a flowing white dress and trouser suit combo and its flowing in the wind. The lighting is so much better and we now have green laser lighting firing through the backdrop behind her. Vocally great too and this has moved from being a complete non qualifier to a song that could well do it.

JOHN: Svala still has the same interesting frock from Monday. It just oozes understatement. It’s effective when the wind machine kicks in and also reveals quite of lot of décolletage. Maybe too much as you can see her tattoo. I’m still not sure that I ‘get’ it, and I still think this will get lost, especially as it follows Moldova.

14 – Czech Republic

ANDREW: Ok Martina for the Czechs is still in her gold foil jumpsuit. Its a gentle ballad which to fair is being sung well by her but I fear for this as it has nothing to give it the extra attention and impetus for the viewer to pick up the phone. May get a few juries interested in it. This could finish last in the Semi Final.

RICHARD: I’ve always been a fan of the Czech Republic entry this year. Admittedly not a lot has changed apart from improved camera angles. I’d love to see this make the final, yet fear it won’t. I have my fingers crossed for Martina I really do.

15 – Cyprus

ANDREW: Ok this is looking and sounding good today. It is slick and polished. The outfits are all black for both Hovig and his dancers. The backdrop is mainly white with lots of white lines on the stage which they balance upon. Yes this is as good as it can be and gives it  a fair chance to qualify for the Final.

RICHARD: This hasn’t changed a lot from Monday and didn’t really need it to be fair. Quite a nice near-uptempo number, which will probably benefit from following the Czech Republic. Although up against stiff competition throughout this semi final, I’m sure it’ll qualify.

JOHN: This is not a bad way to end the day. The routine is well put together and polished. Hovig bounces around the stage and interacts well with his two backing dancers. They are representing gravity – so were told – and they do their job.

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Author: Andrew Main

Source: Eurovision Ireland, Videos courtesy of ESCKAZ.

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