#ESC2019: Blog of Day Eight Rehearsals – #DareToDream Live from 09:00 CET


Welcome back to day eight of rehearsals for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. Today we see the final nine acts of the second semi-final. Will we see any qualifiers amongst them?

You know what to do. Hit ‘Refresh’ to see our latest thoughts. Feel free to add your views.

All times are in CET (local time is one hour ahead of CET) and subject to change.


Shalom from Tel Aviv! We’re just getting settled in at the Press Centre for another day of Eurovision 2019 rehearsals! Keep checking back for all the latest goings on, live from sunny Israel!

Croatia: 09:00 – 09:20

BOGDAN – To have or not to have wings? Yes, Roko replied. So we see him with and without wings through his performance from hell to heaven. Viewers will definitely remember that. Why? Because even though it looks ridiculous, fortunately Roko has the voice to carry it to the next level. Having said that, once he gets his wings permanently, he looks like he’s in pain and that’s not quite what they were going for – I hope.

JAMES – Though the rapture set to music sounds like a terrible idea for a Eurovision stage, it actually works quite well. I think there are enough elements here to combine votes from the televote and the jury, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Croatia in the final. Personally I think editing the final shot so we see Roko from above rather than straight on was a mistake, but you can’t fault his vocals at all. Well done Croatia!

RICHARD: Roko has come back with the performance he had from Tuesday and polished it off. Now we have seen a polished version, we may encounter Roko and his wings in the Final.

John – Roko earns his wings in a dramatic performance, involving lots of dry ice and almost hitting every note. He’s trying to act cool, however, and that’s not the easiest thing to carry off when someone’s trying to put wings on your back. He sells this well, but it’s just not really my cup of Karlovačka.

Malta: 09:25 – 09:45

RICHARD: While the routine is still there, a number of changes have been made to the visuals of the performance. Vocally, I feel Destiny is carrying Michaela due to the high energy side of the performance. This needs polishing a lot more before I can see Malta make this year’s Final.

JAMES – Malta have tweaked their staging this morning… well, I say tweaked, it’s actually very different. It’s been neatened up a lot and looks a lot slicker in terms of lighting meaning that we see Michela clearly throughout the song, something that was missing from the first rehearsal. I’m a big fan of these changes, the addition to on screen graphics is a nice touch. Michela does look a bit uncomfortable, which is understandable given her age, but if she could relax and enjoy the song (it is a party song after all!) then Malta may be on to something here!

John – Big big change here! They’ve ditched much of the fun and games we saw several days ago. Michela is still in white, but in an outfit more befitting her age. The backdrops, which are key to this song, are much less in-your-face colourful and help things along a little. The song itself bumbles along, and she could sell it better than she is. And I’m not quite sure about Michela’s dancers crawling along the stage floor. There’s potential, but it might, just might, struggle.

BOGDAN – Michela’s starting her performance by trying o convince us that she’s bored. Unfortunately, she doesn’t look like she’s having a great time the afterwards. Something is holding her back (Maybe the lack of experience?) This in an energetic song, we need to see her having fun. You can do it Michela, I’m sure you can dance and sing at the same time without looking uncomfortable! The graphics are in technicolor, she has dancers on the stage, the beat is very catchy, but we need more.

Lithuania: 09:50 – 10:10

RICHARD: While I’m a fan of Jurij’s performance, after seeing other entries rehearse again in. this semi final, I fear for their qualification hopes. While I’d like to see Run with the Lions in the Final, the song is simply to pleasant – just like the Irish entry.

BOGDAN – That was 3 minutes of looking only at Jurijus. Not that he’s bad looking, but the song and performance does nothing to me. Nothing impressing on the background, only some flashing lights in a dark scenery that definitely does make me run – to have a break.

John – Lithuania has sent a formulaic song – but formulaic can occasionally do well. We also have some fancy schmancy camera angles. In addition, Jurij might awaken some televoters from their slumbers. However, this combination doesn’t grab me enough to make it tenth or better.

JAMES – On paper, there’s nothing wrong with Lithuania’s Eurovison song. It’s sung well, Jurij smiles and connects with the camera as we’d want him to… so why is it some underwhelming? I suspect it’s because the 2 songs before it (and even the one after) are s showy and flashy that this just seems like 3 minutes of yellow lights. Shame really.

Russia: 10:15 – 10:35

BOGDAN – Sergey is a professional and once again we are reminded what a good staging should look like. It’s refreshing to see something happening on the stage (even though it’s mostly multiples of Sergey) and to feel Sergey’s passion for performing. I’m not sure if the song itself is a winner and I might (not) be the only one! What looks like a certain thing is that the juries will have no choice but to award points.

John – Silence in the press centre as Sergey did his stuff. Blimey, he’s good. The mirrors-come-screens work well and the camera work is slick enough to hide the bit where Mr L has to disappear into his wet box. If he can get his cue right when he re-appears out of said box, Russia could have something big on their hands. I liked that. I liked that a lot and it’s head, shoulders and knees above everything else we’ve see so far.

RICHARD: Yes Sergey has delivered a polished and creative performance, with the mirror boxes etc, but is it memorable enough for the one time, on the night viewer? For me, it comes and goes, then I near enough instantly forget about it unfortunately.

JAMES – So many Sergeys! While Stockholm saw him give some of the most sophisticated staging ever seen at Eurovision, Tel Aviv is a lot simpler, but still no less stunning. Russia have hovered around the top of the betting odds since the very beginning and with good reason it seems. Sergey sings with such conviction and is a natural showman – it’s a perfect Eurovision storm. The whole performance screams qualifier, and I suspect this will be one of the entries that will come within reach of the 2019 trophy.

Albania: 10:40 – 11:00

RICHARD: Albania and Jonida are back. We have changes in that the backing singers are now on stage. The eagle that appeared one time only, has not appeared again today. Albania will be in the group of countries that are fighting for the final couple of spots in the Final.

BOGDAN – Jonida doesn’t disappoint vocally and I am one of her biggest fans. Coming straight after Russia, it might not have the wished impact on the audience, but you can’t hate this song. I’m not sure though if only a good voice is enough to get her through the semis and into the Final.

John – Jonida has moved her backing vocalists onto the stage behind her. That’s a good move. Her dress is still an interesting concoction of black and gold. Swanky coffee anyone? While she emotes, and does so really well, it might get a little overlooked by Mr L on before her. No sign of the eagle – yet.

JAMES – Watch the birdie – oh wait, it’s gone! The CGI eagle that sent Staggy scurrying for cover didn’t make an appearance, which I think is probably for the best. I also think it was a wise move to bring the backing singers onto the stage, even though Jonida does a great job of holding the stage by herself. Well done Albania, that’s a significant improvement!

Norway: 12:05 – 12:25

RICHARD: Nothing has really changed in the Norwegian performance since they took to the stage on Tuesday. KEiiNO still look very alone on the stage, however once they are surrounded by the audience on Thursday night, the whole look will look better. A qualifier.

JAMES – I love the addition of ethnic flourishes added to the performance, it’s a great idea. KEiiNO are a great band and are clearly having a lot of fun on that stage. My one concern is that 3 singers on a huge stage do look kind of lost. But aside from that, visually and vocally it’s very strong.

John – The threesome of KEiiNO are nicely balanced and come across well. However, there are plenty of those distant shots as they’re liberally scattered around the stage. The distance shots make them look tiny. And then there’s the joik – a good one at that – that might get a few sniggers in some less-enlightened countries. It should qualify, for a number of small reasons.

The Netherlands: 12:30 – 12:50

BOGDAN – Duncan sounds very good and I’m very frustrated by his staging. The piano and the stand look cheap, whilst the lamp on top of the cube is not very pleasing to the eye. It would make more sense to see he light inside the cube not on top of it. Duncan has improved his connection with the camera, but the whole performance is ‘missing context’ to quote Lisa Jane Lewis.

RICHARD: Duncan vocally sounds great. He is starting to connect with the camera and the audience, which is an improvement on his first rehearsals from Tuesday. While he still looks lonely on stage, just like KEiiNO of Norway, this situation will be rectified once an audience is in place.

John – The Dutch have improved on their mediocre first rehearsal. Duncan is still sat at the keyboard, and now has a large globular light balanced on a clear glass cube about 30cm in length. He engages with the camera far more – but there’s still room for improvement. At one point, the light on the box brightens and it’s all we can see in shot, obscuring Mr Laurence. I’m not discounting this song’s chances in the Grand Final (because it will make the Grand Final), but there have been other things that could give it a run for its money.

JAMES – I’m sorry. It leaves me utterly cold. It’s better than it was during it’s first run through, but Duncan takes far too long to connect to the camera, by which point I’ve lost interest. To be more positive, I do like some elements. The blue lights are nice, but yeah… I don’t feel like this is the sure hit winner people believe it to be. Jury bait for sure, but I struggle to think who in the voting public is going to pick up the phone for it.

North Macedonia: 12:55 – 13:15

BOGDAN- Tamara knows what she’s doing. She came to sell her song and we’re buying it. Nothing wrong with her performance, because the emotion is there and the connection is there. Yes, she’s using a similar mirror effect like Sergey Lazarev, but that doesn’t bother me. Jury should qualify this one. Im not sure if the public will.

RICHARD: Tamara has once again delivered a strong performance. I’m not worried about her qualification chances because it is the strongest balkan country in this semi final. In terms of the Final, North Macedonia should get a top 10 placing.

JAMES – North Macedonia have staged this perfectly for the song. It’s simple, elegant and let’s Tamara’s voice take centre stage and drive the show. The mirrors offer a nice visual without being too gimmicky and adds to the theatre song feel of it all. North Macedonia have had a really rough road at the contest over the last decade. If there was a song and staging that could finally get them back into a final, it has to be this!

John – A sure and solid performance from Tamara. She exudes confidence and hits every note. She’s static but that suits the song. As I mentioned before, there are mirrors behind her which show off more of her long turquoise blue dress. It’s nicely powerful and it’s gone up in my estimations from borderline to a sure qualifier.

Azerbaijan: 13:20 – 13:40

BOGDAN – We’ve seen Chingiz doing the same performance like in the first rehearsal, but he didn’t need to change it. The whole futuristic scans and hologram emerging-soul projection in the air is working. We’re tapping along to the rhythm. This has a good chance of getting to the top or very close.

John – Chunky Chingiz (Ching, Ching, Chingiz Can) finishes today’s rehearsals and knows what he’s doing. This was a safe performance, and he has to be in with a chance of winning when he makes the Grand Final. The staging is the same as his first rehearsal, so nothing new to report there. But he’s done good. Baku 2020 anyone?

JAMES – Azerbaijan have come back fighting and this time they mean it!! Chingiz connects well with the camera, the staging is cool and edgy without being too over the top and ridiculous and has enough WOW! moments to keep televoters hooked. I think this could be a dark horse for the win!

RICHARD: After last year’s non-qualification and Tuesday’s first rehearsal, I believe Chingiz is in this for the win. Last in the running order should help the song easily progress the country to the Final. In terms of winning, I believe it’ll depend on where Azerbaijan is placed in the running order and which other countries surround them.

Author: Eurovision Ireland

Source: Eurovision Ireland

2 replies »

  1. I agree about Russia,no doubt about Sergey as a performer and he’ll certainly pick up a lot of the former Soviet block votes. The staging is good,but… it a little bit too OTT ? We’ll have to see what the viewing public think on Thursday night

  2. Morning all! Well,I agree with a lot of what you’re saying at the moment. I do fear for Lithuania ,mainly because the performance is so…..well…. ordinary in comparison to other acts and in this blood bath of a semi,you have to really stand out. Sadly,pleasant little song as it is, it’s sandwiched between two big fan favourites in the running order,which may kill it’s chances of making the final .

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