Eurovision 2021

🇸🇪 #SWEDEN: #LiveBlog Of Melodifestivalen 2023 Grand Final General Rehearsals – #JoinUs From 08:20 GMT/09:20 CET

Melodifestivalen 2023 concludes this weekend and we are here in Stockholm with our #LiveBlogs – continuing with the twelve Finalists, taking to the stage for the first time, here in Stockholm, for the General Rehearsals, of the Grand Final this Saturday, March 11th.

So join me, Richard, from 08:20 GMT/09:20 CET, as we discover how the Finalists will do here in Sweden. You know what to do by now, refresh regularly to see what we have to say in our #LiveBlog.

Refresh here from 08:20 GMT/09:20 CET

Nu kör vi!!! 

08:20/09:20: Jon Henrik Fjällgren, Arc north feat. Adam Woods – “Where are you (Sávečan)”

As with all true rehearsal days, we are running slightly late. Jon Henrik Fjällgren is a great opener for this years Melodifestivalen final.

Jon Henrik, a seasoned Melodifestivalen finalist, is joined by Arc North and Adam Woods. This is bit more of a dance tune, not something we are use to from Jon Henrik. All three are in silver jackets of some sort. Jon Henrik leaves the raised staging to interact with a dancer for a period of the song.

08:50/09:50: Tone Sekelius – “Rhythm of My Show”

Tone starts her rehearsals with great connection to the camera and audience – something many haven’t been able to achieve this year. I’d forgotten how much of the production of “Rhythm of My Show” reminds me of “Fuego”. Tone is wearing the same outfit as she did in her heat.

The back projection adds to the “Fuego” vibe now I think of it. The rising flames in red and purple transport me back to Lisbon and the Cypriot stage show. The only difference Tone has with the flames is they turn into words throughout the performance.

Tone oozes confidence and attitude throughout these rehearsals. Vocally great, however needs to execute the song in the right way to ensure she is able to breathe.

09:20/10:20: Mariette – “One Day”

Mariette has brought the exact same stage performance to Stockholm that she has used throughout the Contest this year. As I said last week, I can picture this in a musical at some point.

While this isn’t a favourite with the bookmakers here, the International Juries (who we don’t know yet unusually) might help with an improved result.

If you are looking for a song full of emotion, storytelling and great production/performance, “One Day” will be the one you will want to see in Liverpool, in May.

09:50/10:50: Marcus and Martinus – “Air”

Marcus and Martinus are on the same raised platform as they were in the heat. They are dressed in the same outfits. Lighting and production is also the same. The boys use a range of contemporary and upbeat dancing throughout the performance.

In terms of connecting with the audience and the cameras, this seems to be a bit 50:50 for me. They spend quite a bit of time looking at each other throughout and while this may be part of the routine, it doesn’t help grab the ausience at home.

As well as the good range of dance used, the boys vocals are strong and they allow time to breathe in the relevant places – something I’ve questioned about others already.

These guys will attract from the younger viewers I suspect.

These guys are having another run-through of “Air”. They must have had the most run throughs of anyone.

10:20/11:20: Panetoz – “On my way”

The Panetoz lads are now on stage having the time of their lives. They are bringing some strong summer vibes in snowy Stockholm. The back projection even shows a sunny beach. There is currently one problem with “On My Way” if it did go to Liverpool. I’ve just noticed the five lads are joined by two backing dancers. The backing dancers would have to go to comply with the six person rule. I didn’t pick up on this in their heat – the five of them is enough to carry this performance to be honest.

Panetoz have. great vocals – even though I’m not a rap fan. They are also synchronised with their dancing – which must have been rehearsed a lot.

10:50/11:50: Maria Sur – “Never Give Up”

The dry ice, smoke and lighting adds a great atmosphere to “Never Give Up”. Maria delivers a strong vocal performance and while she is alone on stage, she has the attention of the audience. Maria doesn’t stay rigid neither and moves about to make this a performance. Backing singers appear at the back of the stage in the last twenty seconds – something I forgot about from the heat. Maria Sur is mesmerising and for those that have yet to see her performance, Saturday night is more than just Loreen!

While I haven’t talked about every Acts chances with the voting, “Never Give Up” should grab the attention of not only the International Juries, but a wide range of age groups voting in the app too.

11:15/12:15: Lunch Break & Press Conference

We have now broken for lunch etc. Please join us again this afternoon from 14:15/15:15.

Refresh here from 14:15 GMT/15:15 CET

14:15/15:15: Smash Into Pieces – “Six Feet Under”

Time for the annual heavy rock number in the Final. While we have got brightly coloured back projection screens, the stage is darkly lit at times, meaning Smash Into Pieces are hard to see at times. A camera filter is used at points, meaning the picture is slightly blurry – maybe an artistic element?

Given the genre of the song, vocals are quite good. In terms of connectivity with the camera and audience, the band members are all good at connecting, however as a viewer, I’m drawn to the drummer in the mask lit up with LEDs.

While this is likely to get some of the crowd going, I’d question where the votes will come from – especially which age groups in the app. I think this entry is quite specialist for a Contest like this.

14:45/15:45: Kiana – “Where Did You Go”

Kiana is ready for the Final! Another confident performance – both vocally and visually re dancing. Kiana, having only turned 16 a few weeks ago, performs like someone in their twenties. Kiana in her debut Melodifestivalen Final proves she has what it takes to return again and again.

Kiana obviously wants to win. Rehearsals have been flawless and it shows she has put the effort in, even at such a young age. I’d like to say top 5 on Saturday, if not top 3.

We have now stopped for another break.

15:30/16:30: Nordman – “Släpp alla sorger”

I’d. forgotten how dark this traditional entry was and at the time questioned whether it could qualify from the heat. However, amongst the other Finalists, this entry from Nordman actually works well. This is the only entry to incorporate CGI graphics on screen, with bats flying towards you – not great if you don’t like birds! I always love the use of a traditional instrument, something that is a rare treat here at Melodifestivalen.

Can Nordman do it? In a year when they are followed by Loreen, it is highly unlikely. However, following the announcement of the results in their heat, it showed they had widespread appeal amongst all age groups.

There is something enticing about “Släpp alla sorger”. While as a member of the audience you will feel like you in an atmospheric moment, the same could be said as a television viewer, with the added CGI effects. Something tells me this will do better than we expect.

16:00/17:00: Loreen – “Tattoo”

Loreen is the favourite outright here in Sweden. Without something major happening on Saturday night, then the voting should go her way. If this does go to Liverpool, I’d like to know if the staging will travel too.

Like I said during heat 4, I still believe looks like she is in some sort of pain. Thinking about this a bit more, this could be down to how she is positioned at the start of the performance. Vocally, can I understand every word she sings? No. Will this bother the voters, probably not.

16:30/17:30: THEOZ – “Mer av dig”

THEOZ yet again delivers a strong performance of “Mer av dig”, which reminds me how strong he was in his heat. Another great vocals and his sycning with his backing dancers is near on perfection. He wears a red jacket this time around, instead of the green one he wore in his heat. The red doesn’t stand out well with the back projection screens.

So the final run through. We are greeted with some pyrotechnics to end the last few lines of his performance. For once they suit the production, rather than setting them off for the sake of it.

17:00/18:00: Paul Rey – “Royals”

First run through had to be stopped due to a technical issue. Let’s try again.

Paul is in the same black and white jacket from his heat, which matches the back projection screens. The entry is upbeat and this is highlighted further with the six accompanying backing dancers. I’m not going to lie, “Royals” is catchy and will stick in the viewers heads – perfect for when it comes to the voting.

Thank you for joining our coverage today, live from Stockholm. I will be back tomorrow for the first dress rehearsal from 18:00 GMT/19:00 CET.

Let us know what you think about Melodifestivalen 2023 – either in the comments below or on our FACEBOOK and TWITTER pages.

Author: Richard Taylor

Source: SVT

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