Eurovision 2019

#SWEDEN: Melodifestivalen Final Open Rehearsals #LiveBlog – #JoinUs from 13:00 CET

This is the day where the Open Rehearsals take place for Melodifestivalen Final 2019. The twelve acts and their songs vying for Sweden’s spot at the Eurovision Song Contest this year in Tel-Aviv will be rehearsing in 35 minute stints – you know the drill, join me, Richard from 13:00CET by regularly refreshing the page!

Refresh from 13:00 CET

And we’re off approx 5 minutes late due to the speed dating interviews (technical term).

13:00 Jon Henrik Fjällgren – “Norrsken (Goeksegh)”

Before Jon Henrik takes to the stage, there is a camera shot of the white jacket he’ll be wearing on Saturday night. It’s a similar style we’ve seen him in before. He won’t be rehearsing in it today.

Jon Henrik starts off in front of the video screen showing an artic backdrop. He soon moves to the centre of the stage where he is joined by two backing dancers – with more joining throughout the performance. The lighting reminds me very much of the Northern Lights – something I was very lucky to see for myself on Monday night in Iceland!

The second run through starts with a sunrise before we get the lovely artic backdrop. The backing dancers are performing what seems to be a competemporary routine, but slowed down. By the looks of it, Jon Henrik is also rehearsing in the white boots that form part of his overall outfit for Saturday night.

The third run through has added pyro! Throughout the performance, fire is present along the front of the stage. This is consistently at a height of 20-30cm.

13:35 Lisa Ajax – “Torn”

Lisa is knelt down in the centre of the stage at the start of her first run through. She does stand up after the first chorus. The stage is in near darkness, with a semi circle of yellow lighting around her. While the camera likes to span the stage a lot, Lisa knows to make eye contact when the camera is focused on her. The staging sort of reminds me of Sanna Nielsen’s “Undo”, although that was a full circle of lighting.

The second and third run throughs have delivered nothing different from what we’ve already seen.

14:10 Mohombi – “Hello”

After a number of camera run throughs with the special mirror/camera screen, we’ve finally got Mohombi on stage.

Mohombi starts his performance looking into the mirror, where he interacts with a cartoon-esque female figure. He soon moves to the front of the stage, where the stage show becomes very “Mans” 2015. At one point, Mohombi also appears in the screen behind himself. The cartoon-esque figure turns into a human for the final verse/chorus.

While this is a effective staging, I feel this has already been done before.

Mohombi has had another solid run through of “Hello” with no visible changes.

14:45 Lina Hedlund – “Victorious”

We have a wind machine! Lina is stood at the top of a staircase from the start of this first run through. This is positioned in the centre of the stage so Lina appears in the centre of the circular part of the stage set. Lina starts to descend the staircase during the second chorus. At the bottom, she is joined by a number of backing dancers, which add an extra element to this disco tune.

Lina has some sharp arm movements in time with the music, which adds a fantastic element to this disco corker. Lina Hedlund is no stranger to strong routines however, after a successful career already with Alcazar.

In the next run through, Lina had a slight outfit malfunction, causing a mishap on the staircase. The run through has stopped and she looks ok.

Lina is all ok and we are back for another run through. The flowing cape does seem rather long however as she is treading on it quite a bit – something that can be easily rectified, if this is indeed the one been worn on Saturday night.

Break

15:40 Bishara – “On My Own”

We are back and still running approx 10mins behind. The press room cut in half way through Bishara’s first run through. What I can say so far is he is completely alone on a dark staging, with lights coming from the circular part of the stage set.

This is the first full run through we’ve seen. The way the camera focusses on the large stage, Bishara doesn’t look lost in such the big space. This will work in his advantage when people watch this via their televisions or tablets. While a simple a non-offensive performance, I would question where the votes will come from outside of the teenager age bracket in the app voting.

Another run through and more of the same. For a first time at Melodifestivalen, Bishara will be proud of what he has achieved in such a tough, competitive year.

16:15 Anna Bergendahl – “Ashes to Ashes”

We finally get a run through of “Ashes to Ashes” and it is just that – very dark for the first half of the performance. This remains so until Anna moves to video wall element of the stage set where a colourful forest scene is displayed and she is surrounded by flowers and fauna on stage. I appreciate Anna is walking around for the majority of this performance with a microphone, but I feel like she is missing her guitar from 2010.

We have a second run through now. It is much the same once more. Mentioning the guitar before, this would work in the opening bars of the performance, but how to incorporate in would be the question and a challenge. One would assume that “Ashes to Ashes” takes place just before or after a break in performances – simply due to the amount of props on stage!

From what I understood at the Welcome Party last night (a Welcome Party will come today or tomorrow), Anna Bergendahl is a favourite here in Sweden. However, with the new age groupings in the app voting, it isn’t clear how the public points will be distributed.

16:50 Nano – “Chasing Rivers”

Nano has come back to the Melodifestivalen stage a moody performance, on another daily lit stage. This all changes with bright yellow lighting in the final third of the song, where not only can you visibly see the stage, but also Nano’s backing singers too.

A younger version of Nano, portrayed by a younger teenager, can be seen at points throughout this run through. The backing singers also can be seen at earlier points, to the right of the stage before the yellow lighting kicks in as before.

The next run through seems to be more fluid in it’s performance. I’m slightly confused where the younger version of Nano is – whether he is on stage or appears on a screen.

17:25 Hanna Ferm & LIAMOO – “Hold You”

Another performance to start off in the dark, which quickly turns to bright white lighting and flowing white sheets. The pair come together during the opening bars and have to contend with moving between the moving sheets. Wind machines are in full play here. One wrong footing could cause catastrophe here!

The second run through keeps the pair in a darkened lit stage for longer – I believe this allows them to show a bit more raw emotion, whether this is intentional or not I don’t know. The visible raw emotion isn’t as good once the stage is fully lit.

Break

19:00 Malou Prytz – “I Do Me”

We are near enough back on track with timings! Malou is back with a strong performance after she qualified direct to the final. We still have the school lockers/climbing apparatus set up. This really works well with Malou joined on stage still with her two backing dancers. This sort of performance will not only just appeal to the youth of today, but also the High School Musical and Glee generations. A mixture of yellows and purples are used to light up the stage throughout.

The second run through see’s Malou add some extra attitude through her facial expressions – joining the physical movements from the first run through. Like Bishara, Malou will be proud on what she has achieved in her debut Melodifestivalen.

Malou’s third run through is fluid and looks as if it is been done for schedule reasons! I think we have a star of the future here.

19:35 John Lundvik – “Too Late for Love”

John Lundvik has taken to the stage with one of this year’s favourite entries. Standing on a dark stage, a LED panel hangs above John to create a lot of the lighting. In the last third of the performance, the circular area of the stage set oozes blue and yellow lights – not only revealing the stage, but John’s backing singers too. Flawless. Could John have two songs at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest?

If John Lundvik didn’t have to do another run through, I don’t think he will have. He is on stage now purely entertaining those sitting in the arena.

20:10 Wiktoria – “Not with Me”

Wiktoria is stood centre stage throughout the performance – in front of the circular piece of stage set. Blue lighting is used throughout. A rain/water curtain is used throughout the second half of the performance. Wiktoria portrays raw emotion and attitude throughout. While some consider this a favourite, I can’t see this heading to Tel Aviv. This is different from Wiktoria’s normal Melodifestivalen entries.

While I’ve been watching several run throughs on this flawless stage show, it has dawned on me how quickly the stage will be dried beyond the special staging that is taken away. Arvingarna don’t want to cause a mischief to themselves with a slippery floor!

20:45 Arvingarna – “I Do”

Now it’s time for my guilty pleasure and a stinker of an ending to this year’s line up. Arvingarna represented Sweden back in 1993 and are back to try their luck again.

One quarter of the band is under the spot light as he starts “I Do”, before the others are revealed as their harmonies kick in. This is one of the most colourfully lit entries we’ve seen, using all the primary colours. The raised staging is a video wall on the flat. You can see fireballs and words portrayed during the performance. These guys need to remember they’re not a boyband anymore when it comes to the dance routine though! I love it, but it won’t win unfortunately with John Lundvik I the line up – but happily prove me wrong.

Author: Richard Taylor

Source: Eurovision Ireland

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