Just when you’d thought you’d had your fix of Live Blogs from us this year during the National Final season, we are back for daily Live Blogs from Lisbon – home of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
You can follow the LIVE BLOG HERE – as always just refresh the page from 10:00 GMT/11:00 CET for all the updates throughout the day. Honest opinions about how the rehearsals are going will be delivered to you by John, Richard, Andrew, James and Bogdan today.
The videos you will see on this blog are the official ones taken from eurovision.tv.
Day 4 Rehearsals
Today sees the second half of Semi Final 2 taking to the stage for their first 30 minute rehearsals. The first half of Semi Final 2 took to the stage yesterday.
10:00 – 10:30/11:00 – 11:30: Georgia
Richard – Wow. Iriao have brought a Causcaus twist to Il Volo from 2015. A traditional performance again that would’ve fitted perfectly into the classic 1990’s contests with the orchestra. The gentlemen are dressed formally and classy. While this has passed me before when listening to it on the album, the staging of this year’s Georgian entry has blown my mind away. The pyro curtain at the end makes you get that warm and fuzzy moment. Only the second moment of that kind I’ve had this year. #ThatsHowToWriteASong
John – A great start to the day with this fine fine song. Iriao. They are seasoned performers and know how to sing – probably the best singers in this semi-final. The harmonies are great, the staging which is dark and slightly blue works, and they are even dressed the part in tailored suits. If you can picture how Italians Il Volo moved around the stage, this it very similar. And there are pyros! After the histrionics of the preceding songs, this should be a welcome change and I think it should qualify. I’ve even got goosebumps, and it’s nothing to do with the air conditioning in here.
10:40 – 11:10/11:40 – 12:10: Poland
Richard – Dad Dancing. Sorry Poland, but please ask the DJ behind the decks to stop doing it. Overall, vocally it is OK. It does have a taste of Norway from last year in terms of staging. I like it, but I’m waiting for the second rehearsals later in the week to give a definite qualification prediction.
John – Poland’s act is a little bit JOWST, but better in my view. Gromee, Lukas and their pals are all in variations of black. Gromee is behind his mixing deck but spends a lot of time gesturing with his hands and smiling. Apart from this, it starts as a very static performance, which does actually work. Later on, Lukas moves over a footbridge onto the front stage. I like it, as it’s modern, upbeat and generally optimistic. A thumbs up from me.
11:20 – 11:50/12:20 – 12:50: Malta
John – I wasn’t expecting that. Before we arrived, I wasn’t that keen on this song. However, seeing what I’ve just seen, it’s probably completely eclipsed Poland and has gone up a long way in my estimation. Christabelle is alone on stage, although the graphic panels around her give the impression that she isn’t. There’s a CGI heart too. It’s either CGI or has come from a blue whale due to its size. The camera work is very sympathetic and shows off the whole staging. In contrast to Georgia, which is just keeping things simple, Malta give us a stage show that makes sense.
Richard – Taboo is a masterpiece piece of staging. What looks like CGI screens surrounding Christabelle are actually real screens – something you only realise once the performance progresses a bit. With added lasers within the lighting, there is a whole tangible aspect given to the performance from a technical side of things. Once Christabelle moves forward on to the stage, a backing dancer moves to within the screens. Vocally brilliant. Fire a plenty with the pyrotechnics too. This will qualify ahead of Poland easily.
12:00 – 12:30/13:00 – 13:30: Hungary
Richard – This is the song this year I struggle with. Sadly it’s just a scream fest for me. The staging on a positive note is like a true rock concert. I’ll go no further here as I don’t wish to upset anyone. What I will say, if you like this genre, you will throughly enjoy the stage show that will be presented to you. Pyrotechnics add to the spectacular.
13:40 – 14:10/14:40 – 15:10: Latvia
Richard – Laura has performed a strong rehearsal. While I wonder if she appears lonely at times on the stage, it contradicts this with how confident she is looking into the cameras and her gestures. Laura is in a strong red dress. This has promise, yet a bit of tidying up will help in the next set of rehearsals.
14:20 – 14:50/15:20 – 15:50: Sweden
Richard – Aspects of Melodifestivalen have been brought to Lisbon, while others haven’t. The big neon tube stage prop is here and the lighting colours are a lot brighter than that of the Melodifestivalen final in Stockholm, back in March. Benjamin’s vocals are as good and the routine as such hasn’t changed. It is more obvious that we have backing singers somewhere in this version of the performance. He is in a new set of clothes however. The black trousers don’t leave a lot to the imagination, while the new black leather stays on throughout, rather than gradually been removed. At the moment, I have a feeling it will be either Australia or Sweden that qualifies, rather than both of them.
John – I got one run through of this. With pyro, naturally. For those that know, his stage performance is almost identical to what we saw at Melodifestivalen. It’s Benjamin on stage in a leather jacket, with horizontal lights of various colours behind him. On what I saw, he’s making a good fist of things but it’s more a radio song to me. However, they’re making a very good use of effects and camera work with what they have. I think it will qualify.
15:00 – 15:30/16:00 – 16:30: Montenegro
John – Vanja has given us a Balkan-by-numbers song. He leads the singing, flanked by four girls in wafty white dresses, and a man at a baby-grand piano. They all move around the way you’d see in a Zeljko stage performance. Vanja is in a white and pale blue jacket that sparkles and shines when the light catches it. The jacket is a little incongruous and is a little off-putting. I normally like a good Balkan ballad but this doesn’t really do it for me. There will be a constituency that likes it, but I don’t think they’ll be enough to get it through.
16:00 – 16:30/17:00 – 17:30: Slovenia
John – Lea was having a few issues with this rehearsal and so there were large amounts of time when nothing much happened. When it did finally start, we got a very choreographed stage show. Lea has four dancers with her. They’re all in similar costumes of what look like see-through lace outfits over sparkly bodices. Possibly. Her dancers do lots of interesting hand gestures. There is also a point at which the music starts and Lea makes out that it’s a fault. It, of course, isn’t and only starts after she’s told us all to clap our hands. Simply put, it doesn’t work.
16:40 – 17:10/17:40 – 18:10: Ukraine
Richard – Weird just sums it up. Think Count Dracula! MELOVIN started off confined to inside his Piano like a coffin, before lifting up and walking down the stage. After a bit of time on the stage, he walks back up the stairs and plays the Piano – the stairs set on fire via the form of pyrotechnics. MELOVIN during the performance, it dressed a bit like Dracula for the performance. A good, yet amazing closure to the semi final.
John – Prop of the day comes from Mélovin. You will have seen a taste of it at the Ukrainian national final However, they’ve upped the stakes this time. Our singer’s piano contains him at the start of the song. He’s trapped within it, until some bars open and then he gets raised up. As if from the dead. He then comes down from the piano, sings a bit and then goes back up the stairs to play it. The stairs then catch fire, just like in the national final. It’s familiar, yet a little bit barking too.
James: Hello everyone! We’ve finally arrived in Lisbon! And just in time for Ukraine’s last run through… our colleagues were keen to see our reaction, and I don’t think they were disappointed! Rising from a metallic coffin like the stylish undead, Mélovin’s performance has instant impact… but maybe not for all the right reasons! It’s bizarre but looses impact halfway through the show and fizzles out… what did I just watch?! 0__0
Bogdan: Melovin certainly gave us some vampire realness. I did not know how to react. Laugh or just rise my brow. I think I did a little bit of both. I was entertained, but for me it’s a step down from the national final. Having said that, it will be an interesting way to end the first semi.
Author: Richard Taylor
Source: Eurovision Ireland