Eurovision 2017 – Day 6 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. We complete the line up of the Semi Final 1 along with some of Semi Final 2 with 2nd rehearsals followed by the 1st rehearsals of the hosts plus the Big 5.
Who do we have rehearsing today?
1 – Armenia
ANDREW: This is a great opener to the day. Artsvik is in a grey outfit that resemble chain mail and has two dancers with her. The moves are simple but slick and really enhance the performance. The vocals are perfect and we also have a couple of camera effects thrown in. The end has a bird flying off in the effects. I good rehearsal and a definite qualifier.
JOHN: This is a great opener to day five. Artsvik has this very polished performance down to a tee. I’m particularly impressed with the moves when the dancers stand behind her and do the arm thing that makes her look like an Indian goddess. And the holographic bird at the end of the song is a nice touch.
RICHARD: This is certainly a lot more slicker from Monday afternoon. The camerawork is much more dynamic and for the first time I’ve enjoyed “Fly With Me”. The strong and vivid pink is still there, while Artsvik is in a striking grey/black one piece. I can see why this is considered top 5 material in the final now.
2 – Slovenia
ANDREW: Not a lot wrong here. Great powerful and confident vocals from Omar with a classic power ballad. Lots of white panels and lights rising up from the stage like a space ship. This should qualify but it is a tough Semi to get out of so not sure it will have the attraction.
JOHN: I’ve always said that Omar is a great singer, but he’s sometimes been given material which doesn’t suit him as well as it should. I’m beginning to think that this might be the case here. I like the song, as it’s a good old solid ballad, and it could be straight out of a musical. However, he didn’t quite hit every note today during rehearsal. I also fear that it’s not quite the right song for a contest like this.
RICHARD: Yet another competent performance and the strong technological presentation is apparent as ever. Nothing has changed since Monday, but there again it didn’t need anything doing to it. I so want Omar to qualify, however I fear he may struggle with the high number of contenders in this semi final.
RICHARD: Agnese, the lead singer of Triana Park is wearing something that looks as if she has just risen from the dead. Her hair reminds me of Dolly Style from Melodifestivalen. Oh, and the mistaken giant neon green P**** has been filled in to represent the statue it is meant to from Riga. Still as I said on Monday, a great finish to the semi final.
JOHN: The Latvians have listened. The neon picture of something highly phallic (which was actually a monument in Riga) does now look like a monument in central Riga. Agnese is in a frock to remember – probably for all the wrong reasons. The song does have potential if you’ve had a few to drink, but it’s barking madness won’t cut it with a lot of voters out there in Europe (and Australia).
ANDREW: I love the song and the crazy psychedelic presentation of this song. She sure wears a crazy looking dress which deserves a certain award all to itself. A good finish to the Semi Final and I can actually see this qualify.
4 – Serbia
RICHARD: Visual effects and vocally Tijana is just as good as Tuesday. The outfit on the other hand is another contender for the Barbara Dex award. What looks like a see through jewel encrusted white dress actually has a silver bodice covered in small white pom poms. Great start to the semi final, but may find it hard to qualify in yet another tough mix.
ANDREW: This is fairly competent and has a good staging. The outfit is very white and very see through and very sparkly all at the same time. The male dancer in white with open shirt is a nice eye opener. Vocals are fine and its a decent enough dance song. But its a tough Semi Final and it may be on the cusp for qualifying.
JOHN: Tijana has opted for a long white, almost transparent, dress. When the light catches it in a certain way, you can see right through it. She hardly moves, leaving all that to her almost-dressed dancer. It’s perhaps modelled on a typical Adele performance, but with a song she’d include on an album rather than releasing as a single. I think it will qualify, but it will do little in the final.
5 – Austria
RICHARD: I do feel sorry for Nathan Trent as he won’t be taking to the stage at the International Exhibition Centre until next Thursday. He has a fantastic stage show and I hope he gets some more rehearsal time that won’t damage his chances – a six day gap is quite long. A definite qualifier unless something goes completely wrong and could be a dark horse.
ANDREW: Another great confident rehearsal from the lovely Nathan. He is a smiley cheeky chap who oozes charisma into the camera. Good vocals and a neat performance all round. Yes this is definitely going through and could hit the Top 10 in the Final.
JOHN: This is the best thing of the day so far. Nathan knows how to work the camera, and he’ll know how to work the crowd next week. The staging of dry ice (heavy fog as our stage manager friend calls it) goes well with the sparkly crescent moon. He hits every note and there’s a good vibe about the whole package. I don’t think that Austria will have anything to worry about next Thursday.
Break for Lunch
6 – FYR Macedonia
ANDREW: This is looking like a lady of the night in a sultry nightclub. Jana is dressed in a black spangly dress with fringe and high black boots. She is not selling the song enough for me, perhaps nervous or a slight lack of confidence. The vocals are ok but I am not convinced by the performance at all. I fear this is going to be overshadowed by Austria before it. Non Qualifier.
RICHARD: This is certainly a lot more sultry and I like it to be honest as I think it helps express the official video. Just as competent as Tuesday, if not better. But it is a tough semi final and will sit with the juries and the televoters to help FYR Macedonia to the final.
JOHN: Jana has changed her frock, which now suits the song a lot more. It’s a seductive song, and her short black sparkly dress has tassles which make her look more seductive. She still cavorts around the stage and may well catch a few votes from gentlemen viewers. However, it might not quite have the oomph of some of the songs around it.
7 – Malta
ANDREW: Claudia is milking this song within an inch of its life. A seasoned performer who is taking her chance at Eurovision and grabbing it with both hands. She has a great set of lungs on her and the vocals are great. She looks resplendent in a long white dress with glitter through the dress and an accented neck line. A classic sultry ballad which would do well in the past but not sure it will next week. But good luck Claudia as its a tough Semi to get out of.
RICHARD: Malta have brought a classic Maltese ballad to the Eurovision Song Contest stage once again. Claudia Faniello knows how to preform this both vocally and visually in terms of overall presentation – although it isn’t necessarily one my favourites in this semi final, it should qualify.
JOHN: Claudia is one of the most competent performers in Kyiv and she would sell any song really well. Her vocal on this power ballad holds for the entire song. I think she’s done as much as this song that she can, and if she can carry on this way, there’s the strong chance of a final place.
8 – Romania
JOHN: It’s a feast for eye and ear. Honest. There were a few issues with the ppayback early on, but this didn’t put them off after a while. The dodgiest thing about this song is the potential for Alex falling from the cannon as he moves it around the stage. The package is meant to be fun, colourful and very bouncy. It’s going to get votes from the televoters who like to be entertained. Whether the juries will be able to do the same is another matter.
RICHARD: The last of the second semi finalists to rehearse today and what a few run throughs. We now have a backing singer who rides the adjacent Glitter Cannon to Alex so it makes it more symmetrical. It sums Eurovision up in three minutes – pure fun and no where political. It has qualification written all over it.
ANDREW: Yes this is sailing into the Final it is colourful and fun. Even though the song irritates me the televoters will love it.
9 – Ukraine
RICHARD: We are back from our break with the Host Country. O.Torvald are certainly rocking it out in front of a huge papermache head – with bright lights beaming out of it’s eyes. Rock isn’t my genre, but taking presentation into account, it’ll do ok.
ANDREW: Rock is my genre and this will stand out as the only rock song in the Final. I loved the song in the National Final and preferred the presentation then too. That’s said the staging here is imaginative and the large head behind them lights up. Don’t have a clue as to the significance. Lead singer is wearing a sparkly white jacket and the lighting is mainly blues and whites. A decent entry should be in top half of Final.
JAMES: Our hosts Ukraine are up now with their song “Time”. I’ve seen this song live several times at the EuroClub (yes, I need time away from the press centre!) and it’s phenomenal (and LOUD!!). Watching it from a screen, I’m a bit disappointed. Some of the energy and impact is definitely lost through the camera, which is not good news for Ukraine if they want to pick up televotes. This being said, the staging with a large glitter ball head is quite cool and the audience in the arena are in for a real treat as these guys know how to rock!
JOHN: O.Torvald have a large head on stage. It’s got no hair, and is very angular. Think Kryten from Red Dwarf and you get the picture. Light and patterns are projected onto it. I miss the faux rocks that they used in the preview but this will do I suppose. Outfit-wise, they seem to have cleaned up a little, opting for leather jackets and shirts of patterned grey fabric. The crowd will go wild when they perform at slot 22 next Saturday. And I have to say I hope it does well.
10 – Italy
BOGDAN: Francesco Gabbani does a wonderful job singing his Occidentali’s Karma. The show is similar to what we’ve seen in Sanremo earlier this year, but the graphics are more explicit this time. We, here in the press center, joined him in moves and shouting “Alé!”
ANDREW : This is already looking good on first run through. They tightened up some of the camera angle during the next two run through’s. The graphics are very colourful with umbrellas revolving at ‘sing in the rain’. Lots of apes and the like as well as Buddha’s it has the lot. The ape comes on at the usual time and we get the dance, the four backing singers also go along with it. Yes this is hovering up votes all over Europe. See you in Milan/Turin/Rome next year.
RICHARD: Start booking your flights and accommodation for Italy next Summer. The only thing they’ve had to tweak since San Remo is obviously the camerawork to suit the International Exhibition Centre. And welcome the Gorilla to Kyiv! Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
JOHN: There was total concentration for the first run-through of what we saw just now. There have been polished rehearsals, but this was shined to perfection. Francesco wasn’t even trying and had it nailed on. There are backing singers on stage – big tick. There’s a plethora of backdrop effects that enhance the production without getting in the way too much. Francesco bounces around the stage, and there is of course his gorilla. It all hangs together so well that we might as well give the prize to RAI and all go home.
11 – Spain
RICHARD: This is far from the standard that the Spanish have built up over the last few years. I’m really sorry if that sounds cruel, but it’d suit the audience of CBeebies back in the UK. At this moment in time, 26th position isn’t even worthy.
JOHN: Spain haven’t really tried. After the fun and games in the Spanish final, it’s still debatable whether this should be here. I’m not sure that I like this, and the lyric is very simple – perhaps too simple. Manel and his pals are wearing almost matching Hawaiian shirts, but that’s as far as the co-ordination goes. Maybe it’s the contrast with Italy, but this will struggle to do much next Saturday.
JAMES: From the sublime that was Italy to Spain… oh dear me… it tries to be a smooth reggae track, but in fact it’s a repetitive mess. It’s almost half a minute before we even see Manel on stage, the colours of stage lighting are trying to be tropical but look more suited to a children’s TV show… and surfboards… why? For me, this song screams “We’ve entered this song because we’d like to take part, but have no intention winning, or even placing,”… and from a country that in recent years has given us some truly stellar entries, this feels very lazy and contrived.
ANDREW: Come on guys its not that bad surely? (Looks at the screen) Spain is a nice place to go on holiday and is hot in the summer. They have lovely Spanish music playing at the beach bars all over the Balearics. This isn’t one of them. It is trying to be a summer hit and it is repetitive but not in a good way. The vocals are also very strained at times. It is colourful and summery the only plus point I can genuinely think of. Welcome to last place Espana .
BOGDAN: Tropical cheesy staging very ill-conceived. Manel does his best but I am more than inclined to just wait for this song to end. The song itself is very lazy and repetitive. Sometimes more doesn’t mean it’s good too. Sorry Spain. I love you as a country, but this year I’ll have to just think of your beautiful beaches and not at the song. Maybe that was the idea.
12 – Germany
JAMES: Being part German, I am usually very fond of German Eurovision entries. I don’t think this is their best entry, but it’s a likeable enough tune. The stage is a tad dull for my liking, but started promisingly with Levina laying on her back and being filmed from above. The big question this year is will it be enough to save Germany from last place for a third consecutive year. Honestly? I’m not sure. While there are songs that deserve that place more *taps posts about country who performed before Germany*, Ann-Sophie didn’t deserve last place in Vienna and still got it… so honestly, I couldn’t tell you. At least if Germany do come last again, that’s a record!
ANDREW: Germany will not come last this year of this I am sure. I love this song. The presentation is slick and almost simple at times. I love the start with her lying on a swirling stage. Levina is a polished confident singer and it shows as she is selling this song well. I love her hair and her dress it is really simple and smart. It has a distinct likeability to it and a good vibe. The final run through gives us pyros with a big waterfall curtain. But overall good the best from Germany since Lena. I hope it finishes above 20th this year.
BOGDAN: Levina’s barefooted on the stage and she gives a good performance. The visuals were ok, but I can’t help to wonder who’s ever thought that “perfect life” is gray? The color theme of the visuals is mainly gray.The beat makes you tap along, she smiles at the camera. All in all not bad, but far from perfect.
RICHARD: Starting on the floor with a camera looking on from above is quite spectacular on screen. Yes the overall presentation is simple, but it works and may become one of the classic entries of this year. No way will Germany suffer another 26th placing in the final.
JOHN: This isn’t the worst thing we’ve seen today. Nor the best. And that might be its undoing. Levina sings an average song in an average way. There’s therefore nothing wrong with it as such. But it’s not going to compete with the some of the qualifiers that she’ll be up against. It’s OK as a song but I think ARD will be disappointed with the result this song is destined for.
13 – United Kingdom
JAMES: The UK’s first rehearsal was a very tense moment here in the press centre… especially working in a team made up mostly of Brits! But wow… we were not disappointed! I loved the opening with Lucie looking up into the mirror, then turning to face the cameras. The bursts of starlight timed with the music looks beautiful and suits the mood of the song perfectly. My one teeny-weeny critique would be Lucie should try to connect more with the camera. As Eurovision is a TV show, it’s the viewers at home she needs to woo. To be fair, on subsequent run-throughs, Lucie did this much better and the effect was mesmerising. Easily the best staging we’ve seen for a UK entry in a good many years!
JOHN: Lucie had a few technical issues with her rehearsal, but none of them were of her making. When the tech did work, she put in good performances. There are angled mirrors behind her, which are effectively used throughout. There are lots of golden starbursts, giving it a very dramatic look. Her voice is sound. If I had a criticism, it would be that Lucie needs to look at the camera more. There will be a large crowd in the arena next Saturday, but it’s primarily a TV show.
BOGDAN: What a lovely performance from Lucie Jones! The staging with the stars, wind machine, pyro and most of all emotion, made me clap like a maniac at the end of the song. One mention though, she needs to connect more with the camera. Surely she’ll be perfect by the Final. Well done!
RICHARD: Bypassing the technical issues that Lucie suffered (& remember it’s only the first rehearsals), she performed amazingly and for the first time in years, the UK public can be proud of their entry. What the BBC have done with the staging is golden, simple yet spectacular. Whether the pyrotechnics are really needed or not could be debated long into the night. Lucie’s mustard/gold dress works well into the whole presentation too. Thumbs up from me!
ANDREW: Well I am in shock. There is nothing bad here at all. Lucie is delivering the song well and the staging of it is great. Its many a year since I have not been so pleased with a run through in first rehearsal for the UK in years. The mirrors behind and the starburst in gold are quite mesmerising. Well done BBC for getting it right for a change.
14 – France
ANDREW: Ok I have never really got the French song so was hopeful the presentation would lift it for me. Sadly it does not Alma looks frightened when she is singing. She does a bit of walking about and there are lots of cityscapes of Paris including the Eiffel Tower. But its a bit too flat for me and not connecting well enough. This is not a top 10 performance for sure.
JAMES: Oh France… this really could have been so much more… I loved this song from the moment I heard it. I overlooked the indignity of the revamp, shoe-horning the English into what was otherwise a brilliant entry. But this… bare stage, a singer who seems unsure what to do with herself and wheeling graphics of Paris that induce fits of nausea and vertigo… this could have been a contender for Top 10, but with the current “staging”, I fear it might be time to write a requiem for France at Eurovision…
RICHARD: Why oh why France? Alma had a fantastic arrangement and then you go and mess with the arrangement by making it a bit more uptempo. No problem with the Parisian backdrop, but it has slipped down the favourites easily.
JOHN: This song has so much potential to do something next Saturday as it’s a great song judging by the previews. Sadly, there is a lot of work need to realise this potential. First, it needs dancers as she’s alone on stage. The backdrop of a spinning Paris is a little un-nerving too. Hopefully, Alma can turn this around by Sunday as this will not get a good result based on what we’ve seen.
BOGDAN: Was left quite underwhelmed by that. Sure, we have nice video effects on the background, but Alma looks lost on the stage. Where is the choreography? This is a dance track not a ballad. You can’t expect the lights to do the dancing!
Author: Andrew Main
Source: Eurovision Ireland, Videos courtesy of ESCKAZ.