It’s time! Let the rehearsals and the first #LiveBlog of the 2018 Junior Eurovision Song Contest begin! Today see’s the first ten acts take to the stage for their first rehearsals – you know the drill, join me, Richard from 11:00CET by regularly refreshing the page for all the up-to-date commentary from here in Minsk!
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11:00 – 11:40 Armenia
And we are off with our #LiveBlog coverage of Junior Eurovision 2018. L.E.V.O.N is first up with his entry “L.E.V.O.N”. L.E.V.O.N is dressed in a emerald green suit. He comes on stage with a trumpet (Phil – It’s still a bugle!!) around his neck which he promptly puts down.
Stage projection we have some bright orange and white circular designs both on the background and the floor. Later on, he picks up he trumpet, as we have trumpets rotating on the floor of the stage during the last third.
L.E.V.O.N certainly knows how to move around the stage and doesn’t look lost – one of the few times I can say that there is no need for additional dancers or backing singers.
11:40 – 12:20 Australia
Jael has taken to the stage with her entry “Champion”. Jael is in an age appropriate glittery silver dress – not too young and not too old.
The lighting suits the entry really well. Opening with some nice white beams raising, continuing throughout with some nice royal blue lighting too. Bursts of orange during the chorus gives the song some warmth too.
While I certainly enjoy the arm-ography that Jael is using, I feel some of the emotion also needs to come from elsewhere, but that is why this is the first rehearsal – just finding your feet on the Contest stage. Jael connects really well with the camera and doesn’t need the extra dancers or backing singers on stage to support her.
12:20 – 13:00 Azerbaijan
Fidan Huseynova has taken to the stage for Azerbaijan with “I Wanna Be Like You”. Fidan is dressed in a white dress overlaid with netting for sleeves and ruffles for the lower half of the dress. Silver leggings are also been worn.
Fidan starts sat on a white box. Arm-ography is in use, however emotion is shown throughout the facial expressions too. When she stands up from the box, she is joined by an additional four dancers. The latter third of the song, she walks up on to the box, and the four dancers dance around her.
The backing dancers also have a differently shaped white dress, with three-quarter length silver leggings.
The lighting to begin with resembles the night sky, with blue stars, before bursting into a warm orange once the dancers appear.
13:00 – 13:40 Israel
Israel have come to Minsk with some really good staging. Camerawork comes in on Noam Dadon from behind to begin with and pans round. We have several side shots before we see Noam face on.
The use of lights are incredible. Lights have been lowered to help fill the stage and at points, form a box (through the light beams), restricting the need for movement by the singer himself.
Noam is dressed in black for this performance. He also comes across very confident. KAN have come to Minsk with a very traditional song in “Children Like These”. It could work well in the Eurovision Song Contest – but is there a rule preventing songs taking part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest been performed again in May?
13:40 – 14:20 France
Angelina is next up for France. There is so much going on in the performance, with the first props appearing on stage – park bench, lamp posts and ice cream cart. Oh, plus the Eiffel Tower is on show on the back projection.
Angelina is joined throughout “Jamais Sans Too” by two backing dancers. They start off on the island stage before moving on to the main stage. It is an energetic performance that at times seems like too much. Angelina is in dungarees, while the dancers are in jackets and jeans.
As a first time viewer, I think I would understand the narrative a bit more if the overall performance was simplified.
When the Eiffel Tower projection isn’t used, we have a spiralling pink and white hypnotic design.
14:20 – 15:00 Macedonia
Marija Spasovska takes to the stage with the Macedonian entry “Doma” – which translates as ‘Home’. Marija starts on the island stage in a black cloak, kneeling on the stage in a darkly lit, with hints of blue light. Sad-word emotions appear on the back projection such as Missing and Fear.
When Marija moves along to the big stage, she removes the cloak at the same time. When the cloak is removed, a white dressed is revealed. It is not until later on in the song does the lighting changes to orange.
Marija delivers a strong, competent and emotive performance. We have a strong balkan ballad that should perform well – especially if the removal of the cloak is in time with the change of lighting.
15:00 – 15:40 Georgia
Tamar Edilashvili is up next with her entry “Your Voice”. She wear’s a black jacket with the phrase “Every vision is there” on the back. On the front have some badges down one side. She has a red leather-esque skirt on to complement the black jacket.
Her entry is very strong and competent – one of the few Junior Eurovision Song Contest entries this year that could appear at the Eurovision Song Contest.
The back projection shows a busy motorway or dual carriage of sorts. This helps fill the stage visually so Tamar doesn’t look lost on her own. Tamar is showing a very early promise in terms of a strong competent performance.
15:40 – 16:20 Ireland
It’s certainly a trip back to the retro 1970’s with the stage projection on Taylor Hyne’s “IOU”. For various reasons, you might think of previous entries “Kisses and Dancin'” (Netherlands 2016) and “Not My Soul” (Malta 2015).
Taylor himself is dressed in an interesting black jacket with yellow threading over part of it – ala Michael Jackson. He has a white shirt underneath and black trousers too. The dancers are wearing black sparkly jackets over a pink top and black trousers.
Taylor gives an energetic entry and even incorporates a dance move we’ve already seen in the Azeri rehearsal today – to be fair it fits in better with “IOU” with the pace of the song.
This is a highly energetic and fun entry that should capture the attention of the audience – especially so early on in the running order.
16:20 – 17:00 Albania
Efi Gjika is on later in proceedings with her song “Barbie” after a change in schedule. Efi is dressed in a pink dress with added purple elements – included sewn hearts and frills – I’m no fashion expert admittedly.
The stage projection is full of pink all over – lighting and stage projections just some examples. We do have some cartoon characters on the background at times too.
While the camerawork is questionable at times at the moment, the child viewers will link to the performance because of the ‘toy’ ‘Barbie’.
17:00 – 17:40 Belarus
Daniel Yastremski is the last rehearsal of the day with his song “Time”. Daniel is dressed in a silver bomber jacket with top and trousers. He is joined on stage by dancers with similar attire – if not jackets, then hoodies instead.
We have props in the form of a sofa with embedded LED lights, basketball ring and a bicycle – a another possible overkill like the French performance.
The camera pans around and above Daniel at the beginning. He connects with the camera well when it is required. The back projection interlinks with the props – so when the LED sofa with dancers are sat on it, we have a backdrop of a room. The dancer on a bicycle gets a backdrop of palm trees and so on…
When Daniel is on the stage on his own, he doesn’t seem lost at all. It is a really confident performance and will do well on home soil. It’s also nice that the props aren’t on stage throughout like France.
That is it from me today in Minsk. #JoinMe again from 07:00GMT/08:00CET tomorrow for the second day of first rehearsals, when the second half of participating countries take to the stage for the first time.
Author: Richard Taylor
Source: Eurovision Ireland
Video Sources: YouTube/EBU