Albania

#ESC2021: Day 7 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. Today, we get the final eight participating countries of Semi Final 2, as they have 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.

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?

Georgia (09:00-09:20 BST)

Richard – More of the same from Thursday really. I still don’t feel like Tornike’s vocals are strong enough, but there again he might be holding back as it’s only a rehearsal. What stands out for me is the production values of the staging. Very simple, yet effective at the same time with the lighting etc.

James – Tornike’s rehearsals this morning are much more solid and “there” vocally than earlier in the week, which is great to see! The staging is still very dark and simple and lets his vocals take centre stage, which is something I always appreciate and I love the inclusion of the Georgian script. Georgia are between two fairly dramatic and up-tempo songs, so I am concerned about them standing out to voters. Tornike has a unique vocal quality and musically the song is probably one of the more sophisticated entries on offer this year. But subtlety can be a tricky one to gauge at a contest known for overtly whacky staging…

John – This is a beautiful song, and could be classed as a grower. Sadly, most televoters won’t go for growers. Tornike is a great singer (as we know from 2020) and he attacks this song when it needs attacking, and is a bit more mellow when it needs it. The staging is also very impressive. Not too over the top, and the words written in very elegant Mkhedruli script are a lovely touch. I can see this hitting the mark with juries.

Albania (09:25-09:45 BST)

James – The more I watch this performance, the more I’m stunned by Anxhela’s command of the stage. One of only a handful of vocalists appearing on the stage alone, she’s captivating to watch from beginning to end and makes it look easy. The Eurovision stage can be a huge daunting place for the unprepared, but Anxhela makes it look effortless. I think this will make it to Saturday night no problem.

Richard – The more I watch Anxhela and the Albanian entry, I think I’m watching the Albanian Fuego. All it is missing, is the pyro. I think this song has gone under the radar for quite a bit and may surprise us as a qualifier.

John – Albania is Albania. Anxhela does what she does very well. Emotion, power and just a bit of sass in there for good measure. I still wanted to see her in the hairdo she had in the preview video, but you can’t have everything. A good rehearsal and in an open semi-final like this, she could scrape through.

Portugal (09:50-10:10 BST)

John – I was wrong. This won FdC and I wondered what the Portuguese were playing at. I have to admit this is a cracker of a song. It’s a good honest song sung honestly. It’s a charmer with a simple melody, just the right side of schmaltzy. And it’s the first time in several days I can imagine a song with the finishing credits rolling up at the end of it.

Richard – Like on Tuesday, The Black Mamba have delivered a strong and powerful performance. In the year where we could find ourselves with an accidental winner, this could be one of the contenders. The black and white imagery makes it feel so classic-Eurovision.

James – Watching Portugal’s The Black Mamba rehearse this morning, all of the Eurovision Ireland team noted they could envision the credits rolling over this song as it plays its reprise at the end of the contest… I know I said a while ago I feared for its chances of even qualifying. But now I see there’s something very special here and great potential. I can’t deny how much its grown on me, which proves two things: first impressions aren’t always right, and you shouldn’t be afraid to admit you were wrong!

Bulgaria (10:15-10:35 BST)

Richard – Victoria delivers another vocally strong, emotional and sincere performance. I think, just like Portugal, we could have another accidental winner here.

James – Another country I could see pulling a surprise victory (i.e. not winning either set of votes, but coming say 4th in both), Bulgaria have staged this rather beautifully. The light, the visuals, Victoria’s vocals all combine for a strong stage show that reflects the sober and aching feel of this ballad. I’d love to see Victoria connect more to the camera, as at the moment it’s a lot of closed eyed emoting, but that’s a fairly minor detail. OK, the camera work wasn’t perfect on that first run-through, but this is why we rehearse everyone! I can imagine this not leaving a dry eye in the house on Saturday night!

John – Another decent rehearsal here. The staging is very kind to the song, and Victoria does her best. Her voice soars in one moment, and then comes down to a breathy quality afterwards. I think this song needs a BIG orchestration, and whilst it’s almost there I still think they could beef it up a little more. A qualifier? I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.

Finland (10:40-11:00 BST)

Richard – I’ve said it before on Tuesday and I’ll say it again. Finland have rehearsed and it’s not my cup of tea.

John – Blind Channel are here to wake us up, and they did too after the mellowness of what had gone before. It’s all a visual feast of lighting, and they make some of the best use of the stage we’ve seen. The song obviously has a message based on the last twelve months we’ve all loved through, so if they can get that across, the votes are theirs.

James – Another belter of a rehearsal from Finland! This song is just perfectly staged, Blind Channel do what they do best and the result is explosive! I love this kind of music and am happy to see it getting airtime at Eurovision. If the rockers of Europe get behind this, it should get through to Saturday with little issue. Judging from my colleagues’ comments I’m the only one that likes this, but that’s fine – would be boring if we all liked the same things!!

Latvia (12:05-12:25 BST)

John – Didn’t get to see much of Latvia. Samanta has a very powerful voice, and it’s refreshing to see a singer who’s not in silver. Despite all of this, I think qualifying will be an uphill struggle.

James – I was expecting so much more from Latvia this year. For a song about female empowerment, their music video hit it on the head. This staging feels like it’s too general and doesn’t connect to the message of the song. It’s one saving grace is that Samanta’s vocals are strong and she can warble with the best of them. I’m left feeling like this won’t be enough to get Latvia to the final sadly.

Richard – Samanta delivers a very modern performance, which will appeal to the youth demographic. For me sadly, I can’t see this as a qualifier.

Switzerland (12:30-12:50 BST)

Richard – What can I say about this stage performance? Beautiful, mesmerising, classical and utter brilliance. Gjon’s Tears has to be up there at the top of the scoreboard next Saturday night.

John – I like this. I like this a lot. It’s luxurious, classy, and very ethereal. And it breaks the monotony of songs in English. The staging is striking: innovative or baffling depending on your perspective. But something so striking means it’s memorable. And that means votes votes votes. Gjon is note perfect during every run through too. This will challenge for a win.

James – I think John has phrased it perfectly, and I’m very much in the baffled category. Yes, Gjon’s vocals are undeniable and I’m glad they didn’t stage it with a piano like so many of us feared Switzerland would. But despite some nice elements (such as the set, the lighting and juxtaposition of light and dark), I find some other parts detract (like jumping between camera angles and Gjon’s’ *ahem* dancing…) It’s not bad, by any stretch of the imagination. The thought that struck me most watching it – which will have me classed as a heretic – was will this and France cancel each other out? Dark staging, powerful French language songs… guess we’ll have to wait and see!

Denmark (12:55-13:15 BST)

James – Having Denmark close was a great move. Jesper and Laurits look like they’re really enjoying themselves and after a trying year, a nostalgic Euro-bop is just what the doctor ordered –and extra points for being in Danish! I’m still not sure if the purple blazer is particularly flattering, but it’s memorable and when you’re bopping along, it doesn’t matter. I’d be quite surprised if this isn’t in the final.

Richard – Well we’re back to the 1980’s vibe for the last rehearsal of the day. For Og Flamme just bring so much joy to the proceedings that you can’t help but love this entry. This should easily qualify and it’s so nice to have the Danish language back at the Contest.

John – Nothing wrong with this. It’s a nice little bop with lots of bright busy colours to catch the eye. There’s also lots of the Danish language to catch the ear. If you can’t tap your foot to this as it nicely bounces along, there must be something wrong. A guaranteed qualifier, and a jolly happy one at that.

And that’s the blog for today – you all get time off for good behaviour. Everything starts again tomorrow (Saturday) for the second rehearsal of the six automatic finalists at 09.30BST/10.30CET.

Don’t forget to visit and like our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and keep an eye out for more stuff from the Eurovision Ireland team.

Thanks again – you really are the best.

Author & Source: Eurovision Ireland

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