ESC2019: BLOG OF DAY NINE REHEARSALS #DARE TO DREAM LIVE FROM 9.00AM CET
Welcome back to day nine of rehearsals for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. Today we see Israel and the Big 5. Will we see a winner 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 morning of Eurovision 2019 rehearsals! Keep checking back for all the latest goings on, live from sunny Israel!
Israel: 09:00 – 09:20
RICHARD: Kobi has returned for his second rehearsals. He gives a competent performance of “Home”. Nothing has changed since we first saw this on Friday. I’m not going to predict where we will see this finish in the Final yet, purely because I think it’ll all depend on who surrounds the country in the running order.
BOGDAN – Kobi sings with a lot of passion and this is what makes the whole performance believable. He starts singing alone in a dark environment and afterwards is joined by five backing vocals. There’s a lot of accent on close-ups, spotlights and towards the end we have fireworks as well. It shows on his face how proud he is to represent Israel and we always like to see that kind of commitment.
JAMES – This is actually the first time I’ve watched the Israeli rehearsals, and I must say I’m impressed. Kobi has an impressive voice, which is allowed to take centre stage thanks to subdued staging. The addition of the backing singers works really well and makes for a powerful emotional crescendo. The home crowd are going to go absolutely wild for this!
John – Kobi is back with a different bow tie. Apart from that, little has changed. Monochrome staging, five backing singers that appear and vanish at various points, emoting everywhere. It’s not an outstanding song, but the reaction by several thousand home fans in a smaller-than-usual venue will raise the roof on 18 May.
France: 09:25 – 09:45
BOGDAN – I must admit ‘Roi’ wasn’t my first choice from ‘Destination Eurovision’, but things have changed and I find myself singing it very often – and for an Eurovision song is always good if you can sing along! Now back t the staging. The performance remained the same as in the first rehearsal. Bilal starts alone on the stage and then he is joined by an atypical ballerina and afterwards by a deaf dancer. There is more accent this time on the words that are shown on the background (eg.’ people judge me on a picture’ ‘intolerance’ ) and this is a plus for the people at home to understand the song’s message. At the end, all three pose doing the ‘crown’ sign and we even see the baby Bilal in an old footage doing the same ‘crown’ sign.
JAMES – France really have outdone themselves with this staging. Bilal commands that stage despite his small stature and the lighting and camera angles are all on point. It’s emotive without being overly sentimental or soppy, while its messages of tolerance and freedom are going to strike a chord across Europe. I fear this may be a tad too divisive in more conservative corners of the continent for an outright win.
RICHARD: Bilal and his son “Roi” was never a favourite of mine until I saw him perform it live at the London Eurovision Party. Bilal has come to his second rehearsals carrying on from where he left off on Friday. This entry is bound to divide viewers for several reasons. Because of that, France may not get the victory they deserved.
John – No change for Bilal and his chums. All in white, lots of interpretative dance and slogans on the backdrop. I sort of get it, but can’t help thinking it’s a little contrived. I think they should have stuck with one of the two staging they used in the national final. I’ve no idea how this will do on 18 May. It might bomb completely, or hoover up votes from here, there and everywhere. Th press centre seems to think so.
Spain: 09:50 – 10:10
RICHARD: Yet again, DISAPPOINTED. Completely the wrong staging for this entry, which doesn’t allow the full energy of this song to come through. It should be, but won’t be battling for last place in the Final.
BOGDAN – Miki and his team are doing a better job than we’ve seen in the first rehearsal and it all looks more tight. I still don’t like the concept with the giant that ‘pushes’ the house. It looks ridiculous. What I like is that I’ve seen more energy, but they are also losing precious seconds running around towards the ending of the song. They should be all dancing not running. But that’s just my humble opinion.
JAMES – There’s always one song every year that suffers Death By Staging, and sadly I think this year it’s Spain. The show starts out well and I like the idea of the rooms – but as the performance goes on, it spirals out of control. There’s too much going on, rapid camera movements that don’t give Miki enough time to connect with the audience at home (though to his credit, he does a great job with trying to keep up with them!) It feels a bit all over the place, which is unfortunate as this is one of the few genuinely upbeat songs this year. Simpler staging like at the national final would have suited it so much more.
John – I did like this song. And then I saw the staging. It needs Miki and his backing act marching around the stage, with a close camera on him for three minutes. It needs the crowd in shot behind him, going mad. It doesn’t need a two-storey house. And it doesn’t need an inflatable wickerman supposedly pushing the two-storey house. It’s too late to change, so we’re stuck with something I don’t think is good enough.
Italy: 10:15 – 10:35
RICHARD: Mahmood has come back to the stage with more energy in this set of rehearsals and it shows. I appreciate he was a bit under the weather on Friday and the difference is visible. Could Italy now be on course for that win?
JAMES – I’m still struggling to warm to this staging, though I must admit it is better than it was in the first run through. Vocally, Mahmood delivers a competent rendition of the song and the camera angels are much neater and transition into each other much better. Mahmood has also worn something different for each rehearsal, each look still missing the mark for me. The dancers do little to add to the performance for me, but that’s just me. It has it’s moments, but it’s still a work in progress.
John – I still like this, for all its dark and angry charm (if there is such a thing). Mahmood is dressed more suited to this song, for the first run throughs in a white hoodie, and one in a red, white and black short-sleeved shirt. His mates still dance and look moody, and they’ve thankfully ditched the shiny silver jackets. My fear for this is that it could – just could – seem like a three-minute whinge to music about the tortured relationship with his dad. I really hope not, and if we’re in for an accidental winner, then this is it.
BOGDAN – I’m not convinced ‘Soldi’ is a winner, but I don’t hate the performance. I do admit it all looks a little bit rough and towards the dark side and I don’t know if the audience will clap along as we in the press centre are doing. I know this song is not about fun, but having a fun element ’ the clapping’, it has to include a brighter atmosphere (some flashing lights, something)- and so far this is lacking.
UK: 10:40 – 11:00
BOGDAN – Much hasn’t changed in Michael’s performance. I did enjoy that he started on a softer tone and then he reached for the power 🙂 I still believe the backing singers should face the camera whilst in ‘the circle of light’ and at the end Michael has to connect with the camera (but things like this have time to be sorted out). All in all is not bad, but doesn’t strike me as an outstanding performance.
RICHARD: Very little has changed with Micheal’s staging of “Better Than Us”. The only notable change we have, is the introduction of pyrotechnics around the stage as Michael joins his backing singers to form a circle in the latter parts of the performance. Overall it’s pleasant enough, but it won’t win.
JAMES – The UK have perhaps one of the maturest forms of staging we’ve seen from them in a good while. We’ve seen a few tweaks from the last set of rehearsals, including no more smoke when the backing singers appear on stage (good idea, looks much better), and the additional of fireworks at the bridge of the song (also a very good idea). I’d like to hear a little less warbling from Michael, only as that kind of vocal flourish suits an audition, but less so the Eurovision stage. It’s a very safe and solid, which should get it some points at least.
Germany: 11:05 – 11:25
RICHARD: What can one say about this? I think the politest thing to say is it’s not very good and if it isn’t last, the Germans have got off likely.
BOGDAN – I can see an improvement of the staging. They’ve toned it down and it works better. We initially had an imagery with multiple faces on the background, but now we have only the faces of the two singers. They still have to work on the connection, but it looks better. I know they are not sisters, but they should at least hug each other to make it a song about ‘making mends with your sister’.
John – I’m sorry, but this does nothing for me at all. Everything about this just screams ‘last place’, although it probably won’t finish last. I get the sentiment, but the girls are opposite ends of the stage at one point, meaning they appear tiny in the wide-angle shot. But they’re trying. That must count for something, right?
JAMES – I was just starting to warm to this song when I saw it on stage… OK, so it’s not as garish as it was during the last run through and the simpler light shows are a much better staging choice. But still… it’s so nondescript and forgettable. The girls have good voices, and off stage have great chemistry. A shame it’s completely lacking when a room full of journalists are watching them…
Author: Eurovision Ireland
Source: Eurovision Ireland