#ESC2021: Day 6 Rehearsals :Live Blog from 10.00 (CET)/09.00 (BST)

#ESC2021: Day 6 Rehearsals :Live Blog from 10.00 (CET)/09.00 (BST)

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 continue with the second set of rehearsals. Malta – in Semi final 1 – kick off today, before we get nine of 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.

In this longest of rehearsal days, we also see the six finalists for the first time!

Follow Eurovision Ireland’s blog, to see what we think, and who could make it to the Grand Final, or even win. Hit your refresh button to keep an eye on our thoughts!

So what’s in store for Day 6? !… And don’t forget to visit our TWITTER page, for our Daily Poll!

But who else is on today?

Malta (09.00-09.20 BST)

James – Malta’s Destiny is up first today. Vocally, she’s magnificent as ever, and she’s opted for a silver outfit like many of this year’s contestants in place of the magenta number that caused a bit of a stir earlier in the week. I’d love to see Destiny connect more with the home audience as that’s where she needs to woo voters. This will do well, I’m sure of it. It’s not the dead cert to win that people have it down as yet, but with some work it could be.

Sarah-Destiny has changed her outfit to a silver dress and her vocals remain flawless. The staging is largely unchanged. I would personally like to see more Charleston -like moves where we come to the 1920’s sound bits during the performance. It will do well but not screaming winner at me as much as pre contest . I still think Destiny will make top 5 though .

Richard – Destiny has come back fighting and the rehearsal we saw. The main selling point to this song is Destiny’s incredible vocals – something many people her age would dream of. While I don’t see this winning now after watching other rehearsals, it should certainly make the top 5 in the final.

John – Destiny has opted for silver now. A much better look for her. Whilst some may liken her performance to others in the first semi-final, it does stand out, purely because of her powerful voice. There’s also a charisma there that not many other acts really have. Yes, this is back on the potentials list.

San Marino (09.25-09.45 BST)

Sarah- If you want a performance that throws everything but the kitchen sink at it , then Senhit is the act for you. Nothing has changed from the first rehearsals . This will be memorable in many ways and a good opener to Semi final 2.

James – I love watching Senhit, she’s amazing! Such energy and fun!! HEEELLLOOOOO ROTTTERDAAAMM!! Covering up some of the pictures on her icon/altar piece headdress with question marks and pictures of Flo-Rida might be a good idea, so no one can accuse them of being blasphemous. This is a brilliant way to open the Second Semi Final and it’s my guilty pleasure for 2021 – with a capital G and capital P!

Richard – In all honestly, not much has changed since Monday, when we saw the first run throughs. As I said before, you’ll either love this or not. Sadly, I’m in the latter category.

John – Well I don’t think we’ve yet seen Flo Rida. We probably saw Ari Zona instead. Anyway, the song has lots of power and this will be a great opener next week. She uses the whole stage, there’s energy and vivid staging. It’s grabbing you by the throat rather than charming you. A Sammarinese win might be a little ambitious, but who’s to say, once this makes the Grand Final.

Estonia (09.50-10.10 BST)

John – Uku does nothing wrong here. He’s the very definition of a genuine singer, who is putting across a very heartfelt song. It’s just him on the massive stage, which worries me. And he’s after a song with many bells, whistles and dancers. But the contrast I striking, and if his fanbase is out there, who knows?

Sarah – Uku gives an emotional , confident heartfelt performance  and the staging matches the mood of the song. I would like to see this do well but fear for it being the second act to perform on the night and coming straight after a very energetic, memorable act from San Marino .

James – Everyone I’ve introduced to this song has fallen under the spell of Uku, and on paper there’s nothing wrong with this staging at all. He handles it with ease, smouldering down the camera (moreso than earlier in the week) and it’s a simple, striking and memorable. I think this song’s greatest difficulty is the fact it comes after the riotous whirlwind of San Marino – i.e., Estonia themselves have done nothing wrong, it’s just a quirk of fate. I’d like to see Estonia reach the final, and think it’s still possible. Eurovision is, after all, unpredictable if nothing else!

Richard – I absolutely love this year’s Estonian entry and for me this opens the second semi final – there will be many others like me that feel the same as San Marino is not everyone’s cup of tea. Uku knows how to perform a song and he has great vocals. I pray it makes the final.

Czech Republic (10.15-10.35 BST)

Richard – Vocally it wasn’t brilliant and I know, it is just a rehearsal, but I’d expect Benny to be picking up his game by now. This is one for the youth and I now realise I no longer fit under that category!

Sarah-Benny is a bit vocally off in parts still but otherwise it’s not a bad performance. I do find it very repetitive and sometimes this can be a way to make a song stick in the memories, but if I’m honest, it doesn’t do that for me .It’s very much a song and performance for the youth vote ,however just the youth vote won’t be enough to get all the votes needed to get into those qualifying positions.

John – Benny seemed to be holding back a little less today. After all, it’s still a rehearsal. The dancing seems to compliment the staging very well. He’s another very charismatic character who’s aiming to charm you for your vote. The yoof may well love it.

James – Benny seems much more alert today and it’s adding to the show factor of his rehearsals. I still wonder if he could rev up the energy more, but the more I see of him the more I’m thinking that’ll come with the live audience. Every time he rehearses, he comes to life that little bit more, which is fantastic. I can see this appealing to a younger demographic than more traditional Eurovision fans, but as the show’s demographic is shifting I can see enough support from the televote for cheeky Benny – providing enough youngsters are watching Thursday night. The juries though, I suspect, will be another matter… but overall, an improvement on Monday’s run-throughs.

Greece (10.40-11.00 BST)

James – For such a young performer, Stefania shows such talent and her nerves from earlier rehearsals are definitely behind her. Growing in confidence she gives a commanding performance of Last Dance and the special effects are definitely going to stay in the mind of the televoting public, while her voice lends well to the juries. I think Greece are back on form at Eurovision with this song and I still haven’t discounted this as an accidental winner!

Richard – Greece has one of the most highly technical stage shows this year and it comes across flawless. Stefania is a lot more confident today and you can see she isn’t concentrating on where to stand. Vocals are coming across a lot clearer too. Should easily qualify.

Sarah- Stefania is more confident in this round of rehearsals and the performance is polished, slick ,the green screen effects add a nice touch and will appeal to the televoters . This should qualify .

Austria (12.05-12.25 BST)

Sarah- I loved this in the first rehearsals and have seen nothing to change my mind on that . Vincent is alone on stage, which is appropriate as for a big power ballad like this ,the focus needs to be on him .He has probably one of the best male vocals in the whole contest , he sings with such passion and emotion. This really should qualify .

Richard – A very classy and polished performance is delivered by Vincent Bueno. The lack of lighting and pure focus on Vincent works really well. I could see this as a dark horse in the final.

James – Austria are really onto something here… Vincent’s vocals are beautiful, he sings with conviction and the simple contrast of light and dark on the stage will contrast nicely with the more visual number that came before it. If Austria don’t place in the Top 3 of the jury vote for this semi, I’d be surprised. I’d ever go as far as to say if they place in 2nd or 3rd of the jury vote, I’d be surprised!

John – This is a really good package. Vincent hits every note – and this is just a rehearsal. The staging is phenomenal, and he doesn’t appear lost on it due to the raised catwalk. Even the basic black outfit suits what we’re seeing, even though it’s a dark stage. An absolute show stopper of a performance.

Poland (12.30-12.50 BST)

James – Poland state they’re taking us for “the ride of (y)our life”… unfortunately, it’s a bit of a bumpy one. There’s a lot going on here and I applaud Poland for their production values and trying to put on a show. I like the dancers with the lights, though it feels like they’re doing a lot of the heavy lifting for this. Camera placing is neater than it was, but stills feels a bit chaotic and Rafał doesn’t quite pull off the cool swagger that he’s aiming for.

Sarah-Slightly improved from the first rehearsals , the electro pop feel of the 1980’s may draw in voters who remember that era or who are into 80’s electro pop music . However, the backing dancers do seem to be taking centre stage with more focus on them than Rafał . This will pick up televotes but will there be enough to qualify?

John – There is nothing wrong with this song as such. I just don’t really see someone like Rafał performing it. It’s great for radio and there’s that slightly retro vibe, emphasised by the neon and black backdrop. But it just doesn’t all really gel for me. Rafał is undoubtedly a reasonable singer. But I think there are other songs out there more suited to him.

Moldova (12.55-13.15 BST)

Sarah-Natalia looks more at ease and confident than the 1st rehearsals and looks to be enjoying herself more . The only concern I have is that the staging is quite plain ( pink geometrical shapes) in comparison to other up-tempo acts and misses the fun displayed in the promotional video . Moldova have generally sent some fun acts over the years and I feel this act is where it needs it . I hope it qualifies as I love the song.

John – Natalia looks far happier and more relaxed today. Her whole stage routine is nicely slick. There’s the turntable we’ve seen elsewhere, which when combined with the camera directly above her, is more impressive than other acts who’ve used it. I still think it needs some sort of bonkers element to really make it stand out. This risks becoming just another cabaret show of female singer and four/five dancers. But as it’s in a more open semi-final, it’s highly likely this will beat at least seven songs.

James – Moldova! That was brilliant! Natalia seems a lot more confident in her movements and vocals this time round. This is very sophisticated and contemporary staging for Moldova, which is great to see and has to be commended. Yes, we all wanted to see candy flavoured mayhem, but never mind! Make sure you check out our interview with Natalia too to hear more about the staging for Sugar!

Richard – We had more of the same from Natalia like she performed on Monday. Easily a finalist, but we do miss the ice cream cones.

Iceland (13.20-13.40 BST)

Sarah- Iceland give us a nice , simple , quirky little song , which is a joy to watch and listen too . This should qualify and if the voting public have had enough of all the up-tempo dance numbers they will have been exposed to during the week , they may opt for something like Iceland to give their votes too. Could be a contender for the win if it qualifies .

John – Daði and his pals don’t need to do anymore to this. It’s pretty much there. There’s a geeky charm about this that will appeal to juries and televoters alike. The extra touches will squeeze those extra votes. The three-part circular keyboard, the screen of vintage computer characters, and the wind machine. I’m still smiling.

Richard – You can’t help but say Dadi does bring some quirkiness to this year’s proceedings. Another polished performance carried over from Monday. It’ll be up there in the final, but with the competition I’ve seen, I’d say top 5 at a push.

James – It’s impossible not to be crazy about these guys and their bizarre and loveable humour. Bright and colourful, awkward but memorable dancing, a circular piano and that moment at the end where you think it’s all over… then pyro! I’m still not convinced this is a winner just yet, but still a lot of fun!

Serbia (13.45-14.05 BST)

Richard – I want to say I feel the synchronicity needs some work on between the members of Hurricane. If they can synchronise, it’ll look better.

James – Hurricane always bring the energy to their run-throughs and today is no different. The song is a real bop and will have the hall dancing away, and I’m happy to see there’s a splash more colour (not just the black, white and red) in the more dancey parts of the song. In one run-through it felt like there wasn’t much cohesion between the girls, but any concerns with that were brushed away after the next, more polished rehearsal. These girls always bring the sass and vigour!!

John – This seemed a little laboured. The girls are trying their hardest. However, it’s lacking something that other songs today have had. It could be the mix seemed wrong to me. Or the natural chemistry these girls must have wasn’t coming across properly.

Sarah- There’s no doubting the energy that these girls bring to the stage , however I feel they need to gel more together.

Italy (14.35-15.05 BST)

Richard – Italy have just had their first rehearsal. It’s not my cup of tea.

James – The first of the Big 5 to take to the stage for rehearsals, an air of expectation always follows Italy at Eurovision – they’ve found themselves in the Top 10 practically every year since 2011 after all! Zitti E Buoni is rock with a bit of a punk twang in there and I know it has its fans out there. Staging wise, it’s very much like a rock concert with the lead singer stripped to the waist as he roars out the lyrics. If you’re into this kind of music, then this will be a dream come true for you and I get that a lot of people around Europe will respond to this. I also suspect a fair few won’t though, and even among our press team there’s a bit of consternation. I don’t see this as an overall winner like some are proclaiming, I feel it’s a tad too niche. But, if the rocker contingent gets behind it like I imagine they will, it’ll do well regardless. I love the pyro and the lead singer has charisma by the truckload!

Sarah- Fans of heavy rock will love it, although have to say I am not a fan of heavy metal/rock/punk .This is a very typical loud rock  performance , with fire and pyros galore . As we saw with AWS who sang for Hungary in Lisbon this will definitely have its fan base . Difficult to predict how this will do

John – Wide awake? Well you must be now. Måneskin are here and ready to rock. The staging is fairly minimalist, with just the band on stage, and the drummer on a raised stepped platform. It’s a huge stage which they do partly fill. It might need some tighter angles to me. There are pyros, lots of pyros towards the end, just to give it that ‘we could be arsonists’ vibe. Definitely unique this year, maybe just maybe Italy are now up for that long-awaited win..

Germany (15.15-15.45 BST)

James – This was perhaps the rehearsal I was keenest to see from the Big 5… or should that be most anxious? I Don’t Feel Hate has (ironically) been bashed by the internet, but after seeing the music video I had a sinking suspicion it could be televoter gold if they could bring it to life on stage. And watching Jendrik merrily prance around the stage with his backing singers and a giant rubber middle finger, I’m not disappointed! It’s hilarious to watch and as much as I’ve tried not to, I’ve been humming this song for the last 15 minutes. The juries will kill this with fire. But a(n inebriated) televote might see this in the Top 3. Jendrik is just so likeable and fun and adding that to a singalong song with madcap staging… could Germany get their 3rd win before Italy? Stranger things have happened this last year…

John – You wanted utterly bonkers? Well your prayers have been answered. Jendrik has taken the ‘big book of what should be on a Eurovision stage’ and thrown it away. Instead, we have a big finger playing a cornet. Well who wouldn’t like that? Jendrik himself has a sparkly ukulele – not also stolen from his sister I hope – which he uses, well, as a ukulele when he’s not throwing it around. He also dances and talks. If a certain cohort of people are watching on Grand Final night, and he’s on near the end, he’ll be this year’s Alf Poier.

Richard – I don’t feel hate, I feel love. I may have bring wrong in our reviews in the lead up to the Contest when it comes to Germany. This is a colourful bundle of fun – the sort of fun we need after the year we’ve had. It’s absolute joyous and could be seen as a real accidental top 5 finisher. While this won’t win over the jury’s necessarily, the televoters are going to love this!

Sarah- I have been a fan of Eurovision since childhood and over the years have seen staging from the sublime to bizarre. What I have just witnessed really comes right into the totally bonkers category ! We have Jendrick with his ukulele and his backing singers running about the stage, singing along , one of the singers dressed in a giant rubber middle finger, yes, you did read that right, a middle finger !!!This is as bonkers as it gets, the thing is , it actually works and is fun ! Let’s face it after the bad year we have had , we need some laughter. If he gets a good slot in the running order on the Grand Final night and is kept apart from the other bonkers entries , if they qualify , this could do a lot better than people expect. I’m thinking back to 2003 when no-one thought Alf Poier from Austria would do well and look what happened ! Do I feel hate about this song ? not now.

Netherlands (15.55-16.25 BST)

James – This is really special. Jeangu’s vocals are crystal clear and the movements and voices of the backing singers at the beginning of the song add such a richness to the performance. This is so colourful and feels like such a celebration. This is easily the best home country entry for a good many years and likely to get our hosts into the Top 10 for the first time in a good many years! I love it, bravo Jeangu!

John – If you wanted the definition of a decent, safe, home country entry, then the Dutch have hit the mark. There’s a beautifully colourful stage, and it’s matched by the slogans (so we don’t think of a certain green vegetable), the sympathetic dancing and Jeangu’s silky vocal. I like this a lot. It ain’t winning, but you can’t write this off of a top five placing.

Richard – The Dutch have come back fighting after winning the last Contest back in 2019. Jeangu has great vocals and provides a wonderful stage show. While it starts quite darkly lit, we soon gets bursts of colour – like we seen in the official video. This will be one of the best home entry we have seen for years.

Sarah-Wow Netherlands, this is a really good home entry . It’s very gospel like in sound , Jeangu smartly dressed in all blue . Impressive staging, with the lyrics of the song displayed on the LED background, along with a mixture of bright colours. Fans of gospel type music will love this. Jeangu sings from the heart. It is probably one of the best host country entries for some time.

France (16.35-17.05 BST)

Richard – Barbara Pravi has performed a very strong and classical entry which will do very well with the juries – however I can’t see the televoters going for something as traditional, but I could be completely wrong. Vocally Barbara is amazing and conveys emotion well. While I want to say top 5, I’m thinking more top 10 when you look back at Patricia Kaas in 2009.

James – Perhaps the most anticipated rehearsal this afternoon, that of Barbara Pravi for France. It’s very atmospheric. Much like her national final staging, Barbara appears on a darkened stage and sings her heart out. I liked the touch with her shadow dissolving into birds, very film noir. I think the juries will be falling over themselves to vote for her. I still don’t see the televote going in for this wholesale though. It certainly won’t be last, she’s the talent and the voice to ensure that – but my main concern is how many people outside of the Eurovision sphere will be picking up the phone to vote for it.  Still, superb nonetheless.

Sarah-Staging is similar to the French National Final , with Barbara alone on stage in darkness with spotlights beaming down on her . This song is definitely all about Barbara’s vocals which are superb. However, as good as Barbara is, this song is very much in the “French Chanson “ mode and therefore may only appeal to a small  range of televoters. The juries will go for it but it may not have enough appeal to score well enough with the televoters to win. I can see a possible Patricia Kaas type of result here for France .

John – After a fashion we got Barbara Pravi. The staging is very simple. Just Barbara dressed simply in black, in a dark stage, with major use of a Steadicam. She doesn’t always engage with the camera, but she’s getting away with it. Some of us will liken it (or not) to Patricia Kaas. In my opinion, Patricia had it, where Barbara may have it one day soon. I think this song will appeal to juries in a big way. The televoters will like it, but perhaps not in the droves some quarters think. I’d place this somewhere between 5th and 10th when the votes are tallied on 22 May.

United Kingdom (17.15-17.45 BST)

Richard – For first rehearsals, that wasn’t that bad. Not sure about the giant trumpets as props on the stage, as it restricts the space the backing dancers have quite a bit. The BBC have offered us an upgrade though. We now have trombone players instead of drummers! James does look comfortable throughout, considering there is quite a bit of choreography involved. I must say, James’ vocals are flawless and he delivers the song with utter brilliance.

John – The UK of stuff has brought along giant trumpets. Not strumpets you understand. James is a very competent singer, so I don’t think the UK needs to worry on that score. I’m not sure whether the trumpets are a good idea. Maybe if they were seen as part of the LED backdrop, that might work better. Other than that, I’m fairly impressed with this. I suspect there may be more to come. Maybe more sparkly things and, perchance, less trumpets.

James – You know the Eurovision Song Contest is in an unusual place when Azerbaijan, masters of mega-props have 5 people on their stage and the UK comes into view with two trombones the size of city buses! People are often very quick to savage the UK and their staging (British people often being the first ones in line to gripe) but James is confident, performs well and the backing dancers/instrumentalists suit the mood of the song. While having two giant trombones on stage might seem odd, try and look at it as a being a memorable visual hook for televoters… oh, and from one James to another though, make sure you connect to the camera Mr Newman. When you do, you do so brilliantly, but there needs to be more of it. Other than that, not a bad effort at all!

Sarah-Not sure about the oversize trumpets on stage , I feel use should have been made of an LED backdrop with clips resembling the promotional video of people partying and dancing , that would added more to the party effect that this song represents. Needs pyros to give it that lift and party atmosphere. James is a confident , established singer ,he sells the song well and whatever the outcome , he will do us in the UK proud.

Spain (17.55-18.25 BST)

Sarah-And we’ve come to the end of what has been a very long day of rehearsals with Spain being the last on stage. Blas is alone on a dark stage with a moon prop , not a bad first rehearsal and a nice gentle way to end the day .

Richard – Blas has the similar issue to France, where it’s a nice classical entry that will do well with the juries. Blas has a good vocal range, however I don’t feel there is enough to offer when it comes to getting those televotes. After two giant trumpets with the United Kingdom, Spain offer us a giant, full moon dangling from the ceiling.

James – Spain are our last country to rehearse today and just when you think you’ve seen everything at this contest, Blas Canto brings the actual moon to the Eurovision stage! Blas sings well and smoulders into the camera. At first, I wasn’t sure why a moon. Someone suggested a moon for melancholy, as the song is about the death of his grandmother. That kind of makes sense, and there’s a beauty tinged with sadness to that if that’s the idea he’s gone for. It’s definitely a WOAH! moment when you first see the moon and has incredibly emotional vocals. I’d like to see a little less of the stage and more of Blas to sell the emotion of the song, but on the whole well done Spain, very memorable!

John – Blas is on a very dark stage. It does lighten up a tad, but it’s way too dark for most of the song, although I get that he’s in an eclipse. The voice is OK, and he’s not a bad salesman. When the set eventually lightens up, we get to see another giant prop. It’s Ganymede. Now, I’m no astronomer but I think it’s our own moon. It glows first silver-white, then gold. It’s not a bad effect. But I still have issues with the lighting for the most part of the song.

Bogdan – Blas is charming as ever, dressed in black. The gigantic moon is definitely making its visual impact. Blas sounded very good tonight and I can’t fault his commitment. My biggest problem is that for a big part of the song we can’t see his face. The audience at home needs to connect with him and this is done by looking straight into the camera. That effect is beautifully done, sadly, only at the end of the song. So please RTE, do something about it. We need to see Blas’ eyes into the camera!

Thank you to everyone that has followed our Live Blog today. It’s been quite a MARATHON and we appreciate your support. We all love Eurovision and we do this for you, dear reader. We hope to see you again with us tomorrow for another Live Blog.

From all of us, Good Night Europe and see you Tomorrow!

Eurovision Ireland Team

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