#ESC 2021: Day Five Rehearsals Blog from 10.00 CET
Well, we have now seen the first rehearsals of both the 1st and 2nd semi finals and today at 09.00 BST/10.00 CET we kick off with the start of the second set of rehearsals , starting with Semi final 1 , apart from Malta, who will perform tomorrow before the semi final 2 participants start their second rehearsals. This is where we may get to see if any of the acts have made changes to their performances from their first rehearsals.
REMEMBER: This year the first run through of each song is delegation only and not broadcast to the press centre – we’ll give you all our thoughts as soon as we can!!
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So what’s in store for Day 5? Disco dancing, angels and devils, Russian women and girl power … we have it all !… And don’t forget to visit our TWITTER page, for our Daily Poll!
Good morning everyone , we’re off to a quick start this morning and have just see the first run through of Lithuania . Just to update , we now get to see the first run through of each act .Keep looking our for our comments as we view each act .
Lithuania( 9.00-9.20 BST)
Sarah – The Roop give us their now very familiar routine . It’s very entertaining and a great start to this semi final . This has more than a strong chance of qualifying .
Richard – The Roop has come on stage with the same polished performance from Saturday. It’ll be a great opening to the Contest and will grab everyone’s attention. After seeing all the other semi-finalists, I’m not sure we can call this a winner though.
James – As always, a very polished performance from Lithuania and The Roop. Vaidotas (henceforth known as Mister Magnetism) is a stellar performer and will have the televoting public eating out of the palm of his hand. If this doesn’t give Lithuania their best placing at the contest to date, I don’t know what will!
John – The same old schtick from The Roop. Vaidotas had issues with his microphone pack during the first run through, but this was soon resolved. The contrasting purple backdrop and yellow outfits work well. A great opener.
Slovenia ( 9.25-9.45 BST)
Sarah-No doubt that Ana is a fine, accomplished performer and she gives her all in her performance. It looks much more polished today, the only thing I would change is having a choir backdrop scene at the point where the gospel backing vocals come in . I fear that coming between two very televoter friendly acts may damage her chances of qualification , which is a shame as she is a fine singer.
Richard – Slovenia have a safe entry, which sadly sits between two huge songs. Its visually and vocally good, but the overall offering isn’t as good.
John – A decent rehearsal today, and in places the backdrop is worth the three minutes alone. I still doubt whether this has the oomph to get further, as I can’t see the televoters picking it (even though the juries might). The pre-recorded gospel choir vocal adds something, but I think Slovenia will be watching the Grand Final from the sidelines.
Russia (9.50-10.10 BST)
Sarah-Manizha gives us the same routine as in the first rehearsals .It’s very in your face , with just about everything but the kitchen sink thrown at this staging. Manizha still in her over size Russian doll dress at the start, then breaking out of that to reveal her now traditional boiler suit and hair in a bandana, looking not too unlike a young version of Hilda Ogden in Coronation Street ( those in the UK old enough to remember will know what I mean !) . This is going to gather televotes from everywhere, it’s got a very good chance of qualifying.
Richard – If you want strong female empowerment, then please look no further that Russia. Manizha is someone I wouldn’t want to mess with.
John – Russia has done a number on this. It’s just the right side of bonkers. There’s lots of eye-catching colour, not least from Manizha’s frock. There’s the backdrop of Russian women singing along. There’s what’s akin to Russian rap. All of these little things add up to votes, votes, votes.
James – A lot of fans dismissed Russia’s chances when this song was first selected, but as expected, Manizha’s stage presence and charisma make this a very memorable performance and entertaining to watch. Hats off to Russia, they really know how to do Eurovision staging and Manizha should be very proud of her work today.
Sarah- Although slightly improved, unfortunately, Tusse still seems to be struggling with his vocals at times due to his recent surgery . I still feel the backing singers are having to compensate for this .It’s a very safe entry and the performance will very likely come across well on TV screens but will it be enough to get Sweden through to the Grand Final? Coming straight after the crazy and memorable performance from Russia may risk Sweden’s chances of qualification.
John – This has improved since Saturday. However, I still think there are some vocal issues. Pre-recording is there, and it’s helping. But there are couple of moments of doubt. I’m still not too keen on the clunky key change. On the plus side, this is Sweden which might be enough to get it through.
Richard – Today, I felt like Tusse’s voice was strained, which doesn’t bode well. This performance doesn’t cry out Sweden to me and for those expecting pop or disco, will be surprised by this contemporary offering.
James – This morning’s Swedish rehearsal feels quite a bit neater and it’s stronger than the previous run-throughs we’ve seen. As a result, Tusse seems more confident and that moment he kneels and there’s that close up is all the more powerful. I don’t see this storming up the scoreboard in the semi-final as Sweden usually would, especially as Sweden have quite an awkward spot in the running order. But I’m fairly confident that enough votes will go its way.
Australia ( 10.40-11.00 BST)
We’re getting reports that the Australian rehearsal is being played in the actual press centre, but not the online one. As yet, we haven’t seen anything of Montaigne or Technicolour, but fear not! As soon as we’ve seen something, we’ll let you know!
North Macedonia ( 12.05-12.25 BST )
Richard – Vasil knows how to deliver a song and is great at conveying emotion. The visuals for this performance are outstanding and prove that you do not need to use pyrotechnics. I’d like to see this classical entry in the final.
John – Vasil has the best voice of all the participants this year. That is without question. This song would be highly suited to a West End musical. I like the glowing heart effect. And the glitterball vest. Somehow, though, I’ve got a little nagging doubt here. The song could make more use of his voice right at the end, instead of what seems like a slightly rushed closing. But that voice…!
James – Vasil is easily one of the best vocalists at this year’s contest and his run-throughs are a joy to watch. It’s grand and dramatic without being too kitschy. The jury will love his voice, the televoters will react to his glitter ball shirt – so I think this is going to do a lot better than people suspect and we love it for that!
Ireland (12.30-12.50 BST)
James – Ireland have incredibly complex staging and Lesley bounded through her first rehearsal and seemed a lot more animated and at ease with her staging. It’s a shame this illusion is ruined somewhat by the long angle shots at the very end, when instead of a story book wonderland we see a behind the scenes set. Otherwise, much improved, well done Lesley!
Richard – The first two thirds of the performance when Lesley is performing amongst all the impressive visuals. But the last third when she moves to the front of the stage and you just see a pile of props – unless you’re trying to show the concept? On the positive side, Lesley Roy’s vocals have improved dramatically.
John – The innovative staging is the main selling piece here. Lesley has to be in certain places at certain times, and this could go so awry if she’s so much as a fraction of a second out. But if she gets it right, then it’s points in the bag. Showing the props as miniatures towards the end is also a high-risk strategy. I think it could take away some of the magic. Or it could show that you shouldn’t believe all you see. Either way, it’s with a bunch of eight or nine countries vying for four of five Grand Final berths.
Cyprus ( 12.55-13.15 BST)
Richard – So it’s Fuego Part 3. While its known as a banger in these parts, I fear it’ll get lost amongst the pack, with the likes of Croatia, Israel, Azerbaijan, Malta etc.
James – Elena swaggers around the stage with a very physical and sensual routine. It’s difficult to move around so much on stage and sing at the same time, so well done to her for making it look effortless! It’s not ground breaking, it’s the kind of thing we see often at the contest, but it’s still good and a confident performance for a very boppy and up-tempo song that is sure to do well.
Sarah- For me, this is like watching Fuego meets Replay ,with a lot more red in it .It’s a good performance by Elena and the routine is very slick . The problem is that Cyprus are in a semi with a lot of other ,probably more memorable, up tempo numbers. However , it should be up there among the contenders for the qualifying spots .
John – Elena is an excellent saleswoman for this song. She and her pals have the dance routine off pat. She knows how to work a camera. She can also carry a tune. All very necessary attributes. What could work against her are the several similar songs in fairly quick succession between now and the end of the semi-final. If she does on Monday and Tuesday what she’s done in a second rehearsal, qualification isn’t out of the question.
Norway (13.20-13.40 BST)
James – From El Diablo to a Fallen Angel, Tix gives us his usually proficient performance. Perhaps after a dance track, Fallen Angel seems a little subdued in comparison, but I’m trying to look at this as someone who hasn’t seen those fluffy angel weeks most weeks since February. This is the kind of thing the televoters will love for the staging, and Tix definitely has the vocal capability to impress jurors too.
Richard – Much the same from what we saw on Sunday morning. It’s quite a safe entry, although it will stand out amongst the entries as I see the gimmick of the angel costume will stand out in peoples memories when it comes to deciding who to vote for. It’s also different enough from the other entries that surround it in the running order.
Sarah- Tix gives another proficient performance , same stage attire of his silver suit with fluffy coat and angel wings and surrounded by his four demons . The song lyrics may resonate personality with some people , which may help to get it the votes but I do wonder if it will be the staging rather than the song that gets Norway to the final .
John – Nothing wrong with this. The sound of the song is very good for radio, so should attract that audience. It’s also very visual, so also memorable. It tix (geddit) a lot of boxes for me.
Croatia (13.45-14.05 BST)
Sarah-Another ,very polished performance from Croatia, this should be in amongst the main contenders for a place in the final next week.
Richard – A much more polished performance after Sunday. One of the many performances that gives up that 1980’s vibe.
John – A good solid rehearsal here, and Albina performed her little socks off. She looks very happy with things. And rightly so. She had nothing to be ashamed of there. The dance routine worked, and I didn’t detect any bad vocals. Could it rival Cyprus? Maybe.
Belgium ( 14.35-14.55 BST)
Richard – A nicely polished performance once again. Still dark and haunting, but not enough to scare the viewer who is seeing it for the first time. Should easily qualify and maybe even head into the top 10 of the final.
Sarah- A nicely polished performance and Hooverphonic’s years of experience shows through. The backdrops this time have included images of hands as well as Geike’s face. This stands out as it completely contrasts all the big up-tempo songs. Should qualify .
John – This is a nice solid little rehearsal. Their professionalism is obvious and the Steadicam usage really sets this off. It cuts through some of the busy dance routines we’ve seen from other quarters too. And, there are no other songs this could be confused with. Juries will love it for its construction. Televoters might love it because it’s not a singer with four/five dancers.
James – Some of you might remember when I filmed #ReVu2 I was very sceptical about Belgium and their chances at this year’s contest. I would still like to see more variety from them going forward, but for this year I think they’ve staged this incredibly well and it has instant impact. Sultry, moody, and very film noir, I’ve reassessed my view that Belgium won’t qualify – I think they’ve got it made.
Israel (15.00-15.20 BST)
Sarah- This looks much more polished than the first rehearsals , Eden oozes charisma and the performance as a whole is enjoyable to watch . I would like to see this qualify
James – Israel seem to have reworked their cameras a little to focus more closely on Eden, and I think that’s a good idea. She has a lot of charisma and bringing that to the audience’s attention is a smart move for the televote. I’m also happy to see they’ve ditched the idea of putting the hairpiece on at the last minute, as that was just asking for things to go wrong in a live show. Israel have made an already strong performance all the stronger, very well done!
Richard – Eden has returned to the stage with a very polished performance and I some respect outshines some of the other uptempo tunes in this semi final. Eden’s vocal range is incredible.I still can’t get over the high note at the end – it doesn’t come across well and potentially isn’t needed.
John – Eden have really managed to polish their act up, not that it wasn’t polished already. The head-dress we only partly saw in the first rehearsal is worn throughout now. It suits her. Eden is charismatic, and us holding back a little. She misses some notes – clearly deliberately – and hits other challenging ones with ease. The choreography is pretty much there. Of the similar acts, I have this leading right now.
Romania (15.25-15.45 BST)
Richard – As I pointed out on Sunday, Romania has gone down the contemporary route. It isn’t different enough to stand out from the others songs in this very strong semi final. Romania are over due a win, but it won’t be this year.
John – I’ll give Roxen her due, in that this is different to the songs around it. The trouble is it’s not that different to the songs around it. Her vocal is more natural, in a very contemporary rough-around-the-edges sort of way. However, it seems to lack a bit of direction and is a bit laboured. That will cost her votes.
Sarah- Roxen’s vocals are unique, the stage performance is still very contemporary but at the same time doesn’t seem to go anywhere and I found myself losing interest after a while .It’s certainly different but I feel not in a way that it will gain votes.
James – Roxen seems much calmer today, which I’m happy to see and it comes across in her performance. Both in terms of music and staging, this is very contemporary and I applaud Romania for giving this to Europe. I would love to see Romania back in the final, and part of me hopes there is enough support for it. It’s not going to be easy though. Sometimes being a slower song between two upbeat songs is a positive thing, it helps you stand out – but equally, it means you can get lost too. Noroc Roxen!
Azerbaijan ( 15.50-16.10 BST)
Richard – Nothing really much to say about Mata Hair since Sunday really. This is a very scaled back production that we are used to from Azerbaijan too. I just keep thinking about last year’s entry when I see this.
James – For today’s rehearsal, Efendi seems to have built on Azerbaijan’s earlier run-throughs with neater choreography and camerawork. There are still a lot of wide angle shots of an empty arena which at this point detract from things, but when there’s an audience will help lift the mood significantly. This dance track has the added bonus of having a touch more ethnic flavour to it, which could help it stand out from the other. Efendi really seems to be throwing herself into things as she’s breathless by the end of each take – now that’s dedication!
Sarah- Efendi is certainly going all out to sell this song, which is the most ethnic of the up-tempo songs we have seen today . As already said , it is very scaled back from past entries from Azerbaijan . It’s in a semi final with a lot of other up-tempo entries, I feel it needs something extra to make it stand out from the others.
John – Not a bad rehearsal by Efendi and her chums. The dancing is slick, there’s that ethnic sound we’ve largely been missing since Turkey last took part. But I was still expecting more. After all, it’s Azerbaijan. There are flames on the backdrop, but I was expecting real life pyros. It bounces along nicely, but I think I may have seen better today.
Ukraine ( 16.15-16.35 BST)
Richard – While we have a stand-in singer for this afternoon’s rehearsals, Ukraine still comes across as pure brilliance. I can still see this going all the way.
James – The first time I saw Go_A rehearse this, I was blown away and wanted to see if it still had the same impact on a second watch (even without lead singer Kateryna). This staging is just what we love at Eurovision, memorable for the right reasons and teetering on bonkers but not falling in. Ukraine have proved again that they’re a powerhouse at this contest and I can’t wait to see an audience thrashing around this mad techno-folk romp next week. Very well done Go_A and a special well done to your stand in, she did a fab job! And get well soon Kateryna!
Sarah- Even without Kateryna this afternoon, this hasn’t stopped this from still being three minutes of sheer brilliance! This should qualify.
John – Finally today we saw Go_A with a stand-in as Kateryna is under the weather. It still has everything it needs to do well. Effective staging, a kickass turbo-folk beat, a band that gel well together. And those slightly bonkers touch it just to get it over the line. I know we have one SF1 song to hear tomorrow, but this is looking like this SF’s winner.
Author :Eurovision Ireland Team
Source : EBU
Categories: Eurovision 2021