And we are back LIVE for the first time since Tel Aviv! Yes, while first rehearsals have been taking place behind closed doors, we’ve provided some limited coverage and interviews, however our LiveBlogs start here!
Join myself (Richard), along with John and the odd squeak from Staggy along the way today, from 10:00 CET/09:00 CET, where we will be within the Press Centre for the first time.
Refresh from 10:00 CET/09:00 GMT
Good Morning from Gliwice!
10:00 – 10:30: Albania
RICHARD: Isea Cili is very confident in the rehearsals today. She has very good connectivity both with the cameras and the audience. Isea is in a blue dress with added pinks accessory.
The back projection starts and ends in with a moon in a stary sky. In between that, we have a nice colourful summery cartoon scene. Beach, yachts and vibrant colourful lines are used. Very bright and cheery.
JOHN: Isea is first on, and really belts out her heartfelt little song. We see the massive stage used for the first time, with a very effective backdrop. It switches between a full moon and rainbow patterns. All very nice. Isea is in a pink and blue dress, and appears to be alone on stage. There is nothing wrong with this rehearsal, and as she’s performing late on Sunday afternoon, that could help her with the voting.
10:30 – 11:00: Armenia
RICHARD: Armenia is the entry to bring you the Disney castle this year. Karina Ignatyan walks through two cast iron like gates on to the stage, with the castle in the background.
Karina has a powerful voice and some great connectivity with the camera. The performance seems to be really polished. Karina is dressed in pink, while her backing dancers are in either blue or white.
Fitting in with the Disney theme, their dresses remind me a bit of Tinkerbell from Peter Pan. The castle soon disappears and bright colours appear on the back projection – including at one point a swarm of cgi butterflies.
JOHN: Karina is resplendent in pink, and lots of it. She has four dancers with her, two in blue and two in white. She makes an entrance through a huge set of gates. They have the energetic dance routine nailed to perfection, so if you like to move, this could be a song for you. She switches from Armenian to English for parts of the song and you can understand her – something some more senior performers have trouble with. And watch out for the butterflies at the end.
11:00 – 11:30: Australia
RICHARD: Jordan Anthony knows how to perform after his appearance on The Voice. Like previous Australian entries, the use of the colour gold is used, although this morphs in blue part way through the performance. On the backdrop, various figures appear throughout, along with geometric shapes.
Jordan starts off at the side of the stage sat at his piano. As the song goes on, he moves away from the piano and joined his backing dancers on the central bit of stage – one of the backing dancers is slightly out of sync, however rehearsals are here for a reason. It’ll be polished by Sunday.
JOHN: Jordan Anthony knows what he wants. He looks happy, assured and really, really confident. He starts at a piano which he uses a couple of times during the song. He has four dancers that come in towards the end. Every rehearsal was just how you’d expect it to be. Faithful to the vocal in the video and a great opener. I just fear that being first on will hamper his chances. It shouldn’t though.
11:30 – 12:00: Belarus
RICHARD: Liza has come to Gliwice with a very polished performance in her second rehearsal. Liza must have been rehearsing with her backing dancers for a number weeks.
The use of neon and electric colours are used throughout. It sort of reminds me of the mid-nineties night club style nightwear. I really can’t see any faults with this performance at all.
JOHN: Liza means business and offers another very high energy dance routine. She and her four dancers are dressed in bright eye-catching clothing – especially lots of day-glow green. I can’t help thinking it’s a little like her country’s song in Tel Aviv in May, so this must be a popular style of music in Belarus. Nevertheless, there’s something about it. A decent outsider? Very likely.
12:00 – 13:00 LUNCH
13:00 – 13:30: France
RICHARD: Carla has a strong and punchy performance with “Big Bam Toi”. The dance routine will no doubt be a favourite after the routine by Angelina was easily a favourite too last year.
The back projection and stage flooring use vibrant, cartoony graphics – including words with cartoons speech bubbles. Carla has a pink top with a silver skirt combo.
JOHN: After the break, Carla came on with all manner of extras. Several dancers, umbrellas, projections and lots of smiling. Her song will appeal to the younger viewer, and there was nothing wrong with this rehearsal.
13:30 – 14:00: Georgia
RICHARD: Giorgi gives a competent performance, but looks very lonely on the stage. However, it is bright and happy and smily as an overall performance.
Giorgi has a Beatles-esque yellow jacket. The back projection sees planes fly around various objects like stars, then planets. Nearly the end, hearts also start to pop out.
JOHN: Giorgi is alone on stage, in a refreshingly yellow jacket. He sells his jazzy song really well, and smiles at the camera for the full song. The backdrop if bright colours complements it well. And then at the end we get red heart-shaped balloons falling from the roof of the arena onto the audience. They will be a devil to clear up before the next rehearsal.
14:00 – 14:30: Ireland
RICHARD: Anna Kearney has brought musical theatre to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest stage. Anna is very good at telling a story through the medium of song.
Anna is wearing a white dress, possibly emulating a Banshee? The back projection brings the official music video to life with the forest scenes, while having flying animals pass by – like birds and butterflies for instance.
I went into the arena for a run-through for the first time today and the vibrancy of the graphics have really blown me away – they certainly come across well on screen too.
JOHN: At last, and I wasn’t disappointed. Anna is all in white, with silver boots. She stays put on stage, but uses the camera angles really well. The backdrop is a soothing panorama of woods, moving through the seasons and ending with something wintry. I like it, even though my command of the Irish language is a tad lacking. But you don’t need to know what it means as Anna gets the gist across beautifully. She deserves to do well, and did herself no harm at all this afternoon.
14:30 – 15:00: Italy
RICHARD: Marta Viola is performing a classically sounding Italian entry we’ve grown to love at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Marta is dressed in a gold jacket, over a black top, with a gold tutu.
The back drop projection features shapes, but in a more classical format, rather than the vibrant graphics we’ve seen from other entries. While Marta’s hand/arm gestures helps deliver the song, I feel she looks a bit lonely on the stage (only from the long camera shots).
JOHN: Marta is on stage next. She’s dressed less elaborately than Anna. Alone on stage, she has a microphone stand which she uses to effect. She switches between Italian and English whilst singing about the voice of the Earth, and you can tell she’s really comfortable on stage. It’s a pleasant song, sold really well. She’s also on near the end of the song presentation, so that could help her with points.
15:00 – 15:30: Kazakhstan
RICHARD: Kazakhstan has certainly brought everything to the stage, well The Greatest Showman to be exact – or their interpretation anyway. Yerzhan also brings us the first costume change, where he adorns his national colours.
Technically, the start with the screen needs better synchronicity, however this is a rehearsal and there is time to work on that. Yerzhan has a powerful voice and knows how to hold a note – very impressive for such a young person.
JOHN: The next rehearsal comes from Yerzhan – the small Kazakh with the massive voice. His song has show tune written all over it. Maybe it’s a bit ‘The Greatest Showman’. He starts in a black suit, but switches to something in Kazakh pale blue during the song. It’s possibly our first costume change of the show – certainly of the day. His backing dancers are dressed strikingly, which could really go either way when attracting votes.
15:30 – 16:00: Malta
RICHARD: We are running approximately an hour late now. This has hints of Ukraine 2018 all over it, however the back projection isn’t strictly red and white throughout – other colour combinations are also used.
Eliana has a strong voice and connects well with the camera, however the use of so many lyrics on the back projection does tend to take my focus away from Eliana.
JOHN: Last on today is Eliana from Malta. She’s alone on stage, and the general vibe is to have all the words on the backdrop. The words are only in English, even though she switches between that and Maltese. At one point, they’re all over the backdrop, which might be just a tad distracting. However, the song demonstrates her voice well and she looks cheerful throughout. It’s a great way to end the day.
Thank you very much for doing us today – our first live day from Katowice. Join us for more of the same tomorrow. But before then, look out for some of our interviews this evening that we have recorded today.
Author: Richard Taylor, John Stanton & Staggy
Source: Eurovision Ireland