Finally! The time has come when we can bring you all the going ons from the rehearsals here in Turin. As you will be aware by now, the first rehearsals were closed to the Press and access was given exclusively to TikTok and of course, eurovision.tv.
So #JoinUs today as we get to see the Acts from the Big Five take to the stage. Join me, Richard, throughout the morning, while the rest of Eurovision Ireland will dip in and out with their opinions too.
Refresh From 09:00 BST/10:00 CEST
10:00 – 10:20 France
After some technical issues with both the screens in the on-site and online press centres, we are only just getting a feed (10:17).
Sarah: France have brought their National Final staging to Turin, it’s brilliant, comes across well , catchy,this will do very well.
James: A few technical issues with seeing this morning with the first French run-throughs… well, magic and technology don’t mix I suppose! I may be biased as this is easily one of my favourites this year, but that was spectacular! (As I strongly suspected it would be!) Dressed in black and gold, their vocals are on point and the effects of green lighting, fire and quick camera work add to the mysticism. This is like a pagan rave and it’s amazing!! Alvan’s smouldering looks down the camera are sure to capture the attention of televoters and their vocals will certainly appeal to the juries. If this doesn’t finish somewhere in the Top 10, I’d be very surprised!!
John: A great way to start a short day of rehearsals. The staging is very familiar. It’s as the national final performance and preview video. Lots of darkness, lots of flame, it’s all very effective. The props have made the stage a bit shorter and tighter, which is what a song like this needs. The interaction with the camera is there, so Fulenn should get its fair share of votes next Saturday.
Bogdan: France is giving us the land of dark and magic and I love it! The staging is similar to what we’ve seen at the national final but is much more elevated by the background (those green mystical flames!). This won’t go unnoticed at the night. Could France be in for a win?
10:25 – 10:45 Italy
Richard: Mahmood is dressed in a nay blue suit & a white shirt, while Blanco is in a white outfit, more akin to a contemporary dancer I feel. A lot of white lighting is used and a pianist is on stage. This is the first proper set of rehearsals they have had on this stage, due to Blanco having a concert on Thursday. While this will go down well with the locals, I’m not sure a second consecutive win is on the cards after only half the rehearsal time has been completed on the stage.
James: Just before the first run through, we heard Mahmood ask Blanco if his throat hurts (the things you hear when your team speaks more than one language!) so I won’t comment on the vocals today. Dressing in complimenting colours (Blanco in white, Mahmood in black) provides a stark visual while the soft lighting gives the impression of star light. It’s quite moving. The host nation’s entry always goes big in the hall and I don’t see why this won’t. As things stand at this moment, I don’t see this as the runaway winner some people suspect it will be. It feels a touch of going through the motions this morning and if they bring this level of enthusiasm to the final stage, then they’re in trouble. To be fair though, it’s only a rehearsal – so if they’re saving the conviction for the final, they don’t need to go big in a run-through. Still a gorgeous and deeply emotional song though.
Bogdan: Mahmood (dressed in black) starts singing alone on the stage until Blanco (in white) joins him to sing together, just to go and hop on a piano afterwards. Blanco’s vocals are not the best we’ve heard (but we’re almost convinced he’s not feeling well). I can only assume that this is the cause we don’t see the fire sparkle between the two of them. This doesn’t say it won’t be perfect in the Final when it matters. This is why we have rehearsals. However, I think this song conveys better the emotion on a smaller stage – on this bigger one, the emotion is a bit diluted.
Sarah:I have to say that I expected more from Italy today. Staging wise, for me ,It’s lost the charm that it had in San Remo , although still a pleasant and emotional song. It starts off with Mahmood on stage singing the first notes of the song . He’s then joined by Blanco , who then for part of the song goes to sit on a piano ,which is being played by another person.I feel it unfair to comment on the vocals today as there are some indications that Blanco may not be feeling well. It’ll still be up among the contenders but I feel it’s not the sure fire winner that people think it will be ,especially given that there are other, really strong contenders this year.
John: A hot favourite with some, could they reproduce Sanremo success? On the first run-through, I’m not so sure. It was a bit messy. I know Blanco can be a loose cannon when it comes to staging, but he seemed all over the place. By the final run through things were better. I’m still a bit concerned though. It was exquisite in Sanremo, but has gone a little bit cold now. I’m conflicted.
10:50 – 11:10 United Kingdom
Richard: Sam Ryder = true class. I haven’t seen the Press Centre go as nuts as this for anyone else yet this week. The giant prop that everyone is raving about, is like the Crystal Dome, from the Crystal Maze – a television show in the UK. Sam also wears a black jumpsuit with space elements sewn on to it in white. Definitely deserves a top 5, if not a top 3.
Sarah: Sam is alone on stage stood within a crystal dome he’s dressed in an all in one suit . the camera shots zoom in to focus solely on him, then wider shots to see the dome itself , with lighting effects. Vocally Sam is great , he sings with passion and is clearly enjoying being up on that stage .I feel proud to say that this is my country’s entry . Can the UK do a top 5? Definitely deserves it.
James: Watching UK rehearsals since I first started writing for Eurovision Ireland back in 2014, I’m usually filled with a mixture of trepidation, alarm and a general feeling “Oh FFS…” – which is why this morning’s rehearsal with Sam makes for such a wonderful surprise! Lots of close ups of Sam to let his charm and likeability play down the camera, some nice long shots to give the audience a sense of scale with the prop (which we’ve dubbed a crystal dome!)… dare I say it, some care and thought has gone into this staging! A little tightening needed here and there to keep stage hands out of shots at certain moments, but these are very minor things that are easily rectified – if this doesn’t give the UK their best result at this contest for at least a decade, I’ll be amazed! Bravo!
John: UK in decent song shocker! Sam’s rehearsed and I’m impressed. There’s always the risk of getting carried away, but he could be onto something. His vocal is bang on. His set is eyecatching and not in a bad way. There might be issues with the moving around of his crystal dome. They don’t detract. It’s good, and if the UK finish 14th or below, I won’t be happy.
Bogdan: Sam is in a black jumpsuit with silver geometrical/ space-inspired shapes in his own ‘Space Pyramid’ that at some point opens up to showcase the guitar section of the song. The performance was strong and Sam’s vocals didn’t disappoint. There is tiding up to do at the camera work as today we’ve seen too many people on the stage handling the props or the camera, but that’s not Sam’s fault. I’m sure it will be flawless in the end. I’ve enjoyed that!
11:15 – 11:35 Spain
Richard: Chanel has great vocals, let’s please not deny her that. But her stage outfit, along with her backing dancers will certainly get many excited across Europe and beyond – whether that is in a good or bad way. Lighting is bright and the overall performance is completely upbeat. Some have it as a favourite, I really am not sure.
John: Spain like something upbeat. Throw in a sturdy thigh and a something choreographed to within an inch of its life, and what could possibly go wrong? Well, let’s hope Chanel performs after 9pm across Europe, as the thigh is not so much sturdy but revealed for all to see. This song is OK. It follows in a long line of similar songs over recent years, to varying degrees of success. Your average punter might not remember Fuego or El Diablo, but I think they were better. I get what Spain are trying to do. I just don’t think this is it. It might do well. Or it might go the same way as other Big Five songs.
Bogdan: Well that was ‘muy caliente’ and I bet it’ll make some hearts race faster. The show is about 85% similar to what we’ve seen previously but this time is right in-your-face and you can’t ignore it nor do you want to. The performance was definitely NOT in slow-mo and the fans won’t be disappointed. Chanel’s voice was on point and the choreography eye-catching . I’m not sure if the more conservative countries will appreciate this though.
James: This routine from Spain is anything but slo-mo! Chanel hits the ground running and doesn’t let up – and in doing so, there are moments that push decency as she makes angles with her body one ought not make in public. You might think I’m being prudish, I’m just mindful Eurovision is a family show and there’s a fine line between sensual and graphic… and Chanel is strutting that line at moments. This being said, this is very upbeat and makes you want to move, so I give it credit for that. This could give Spain their highest score since 1973, but this doesn’t strike me as the winner some people are touting it as. Regardless, it’ll be a talking point of this year’s contest and depending who inebriated we all are, I’m sure some of us will try to swagger along!!
Sarah :This has been much talked about in the ESC media and social networking sites, however on seeing Spain’s rehearsal today , I can’t really understand the hype for this .Comparisons have been made with Fuego in 2018, however this doesn’t come across as slick and organised as Fuego or El Diablo from Cyprus last year .It’s very in your face choreography with lots of dancing ,touchy-feely movement. Looking at Chanel’s and the female backing dancer’s outfits, I did wonder if we’d been taken to the Moulin Rouge in Paris instead and not the Pala Olimpico, Turin ! I agree that the more conservative viewers may frown on this. This may actually detract from the song itself. While it’s a very upbeat song and there’s nothing wrong with Chanel’s vocals ,I am not convinced that this will do as well as many people seem to think , looking at what we have seen today.
11:40 – 12:00 Germany
Bogdan: Malik is alone on the stage, accompanied only by lots of instruments. The performance is quite centred-focused and what Italy failed to achieve, Germany got right: they made a big stage look small – just enough for this act to shine. There are no big flashes, only yellow lights in a dark atmosphere. Not sure what to say about this one. I enjoyed it, but I’m afraid it might get a bit too lost on the night (considering the more in-your-face acts that we’ve seen). However, it was a good effort.
John: This song is trying to be all things to all people. It should really concentrate on one thing. Whether it’s the Eminem-style rap, or the more mellow Sheerin-style verses. But just pick one. I also have an aversion to performers who play an instrument that you can still hear after they’ve stopped playing it. On the plus side, I like the fairly tight staging with him moving casually between areas of the carpeted stage. But I think this might struggle.
James: The last of our Big 5 country’s to take to the stage this morning, I’m a little conflicted about what to write about Germany. Parts of the performance I think work really well for the mood of the song. Malik wanders almost like a ghost among a deserted stage set for a rock band, trying his hand at different instruments. There’s a lot of close up camera work, especially during the rap verse which allows him to connect to the audience at home. The lyrics are the also kind of thing many people will connect with. But while this set-up would be brilliant for (and actually, not too dissimilar to) the music video for Rock Stars, I’m trying to watch it objectively and think “What about this is going to make someone want to pick up the phone and vote?” … and this is where I come unstuck. I think I like it as a staging idea – but also wonder if there’s not really enough there to grab the attention of an audience that ultimately cast votes to choose a winner. Could Germany accidentally be heading towards another 0 points from the televote? Would make for the 3rd consecutive year… and that would be a real shame, as it doesn’t deserve that.
Sarah: Malik is alone on stage , with several instruments as stage props, which presumably are reflecting the days gone by of being rock stars . Again we have dark staging with minimal lighting. Malik walks around the stage while performing the song and the camera focuses solely on him, which enables better connection to his audience There’s not much wrong with the song, except that sudden change to rapping the words may put people off .This may get lost amongst other, much stronger entries .
We will be back on Monday, Wednesday & Friday evening from 20:00 BST/21:00 CEST for the Jury Final rehearsals. Let us know what you think about the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest – either in the comments below or on our FACEBOOK and TWITTER pages.
Author: Richard Taylor
Source: Eurovision Ireland