Although we have all seen certain less than flattering comments about the concept of how the Armenian representatives have been selected and the song's topic of choice but if this was not a Eurovision entry it wouldn't have received such queen comments. Trying to look at it from a distance and keeping a level of unbiased opinion it is not half bad. Armenia is always one of those countries you need to keep an eye out for and even though this year sees their odds are less favorable than normal, we know things have surprised in the past. Could this be one of those?
We managed to get a short chat with the group composed of Essai Altounian (FRA), Tamar Kaprelian (USA), VaheTilbian (ETH) , Stephanie Topalian (JPN), Mary-Jean O'Doherty Vasmatzian (AUS) and Inga Arshakyan (ARM).
One thing I do have to mention here, with all the manic journalists and fans you need to deal with as Press officer for any delagation, I would like to offer my most sincere thanks to Ruzanna Pilosyan of the American University of Armenia. She is in charge of handling all the request, all the post shots and trying to keep the calm between the masses wanting interviews and promo materials. Always giving her most, she showed that even when under difficult circumstances you can still smile and give a great impression of yourself and a great representation of your country. Sadly, this cannot be said for all this year.
I would like to apologise in advance for any shaky camerawork. It was a bit of a quick rush and having the group spread out was a bit difficult to pan out and get the best shots when working solo. I hope you enjoy!
Conchita montage of her win from Copenhagen opens the show. The back of the stage opens up to reveal an orchestra - AN ORCHESTRA! AT EUROVISION! First time in years (I can't remember myself when the last time was but sure one of you will). The lights from the ceiling also dance and flutter like the flags and light bubbles of the logo.
Conchita emerges dressed in white singing Rise Like a Phoenix. The lights behind her flutter still but they also have a sort of wing effect. Conchita is helped down by a hot guy dressed in a tux. She then goes into the arena surrounded by dancers in sparkly evening wear. Being lead back up a flight of stairs to the second stage, Conchita continues singing and then welcomes us to the "Eurovision Song Contest 2015, live from Vienna", "Contestants, the stage is yours" follows. She then welcomes all the delegations in a parade as has been the case in recent years.
Trijntje appears to have chosen the second outfit - best choice.
Sound has cut out in the press room after Estonia has been announced so we have no clue but we can see that Russia is currently being welcomed. Denmark follow suit. Romania and Georgia have been announced and now all contestants are making their way slowly but surely to the stage from the green room which one again is part of the arena.
Still no ound but there appears to be a musical number since there are dancers going about. Conchita is also involved in this number.
The sound is just back when the musical number has finished. In the meantime, Valentina Monetta is lurching around the press room. Edward af Sillen and Sanna Nielsen were also here, sitting in front of us needing help for the priter. To the rescue, non other than Daniel Lynch of ESC Bubble.
The presenters are welcomed by Conchita but there is already a technical issue - to which "well, it's a rehearsal!". They cannot find their standing spot since there is no standing spot to find.
"Conchita has made herself comfortable in the green room with the contestnats". We are then informed of how to vote, not that I think it is a surprise for anyone any more - but hey ho, maybe for the Czechs, who are not even in this semi. You can vote up to 20 times for any of the countries apart from your own. SKANDAL!
Driving around in an open top car in Moldova, we have a engine wrench in the box. To which we pan up and we are in the Austrian countryside, using the wrench to start the gear of a tractor. Eduard helps the peasant farmers and they all celebrate with VIN!
Hashtags seem to make an appearance this year "01 MOLDOVA #MDA". There will be trendings this year.
Eduard is there dancing his solid beehind off - as are his dancers, all of them. Much rippage going on still, they have a big budget! Camera working well, but that is the luck of this song, you dont need much to make it work. Was typing so missed if the flippy bit worked or not. Eduard "tackles" the male policemen and wins - obvi!
The package is left in front of a house which Essai was just happening to visit with all the group. Inside, coins and cards from a fun park. They enjoy the rides and take pics. Something tell me Eduard got unlucky.
Camerawork slightly changed for the better. Still awaiting the circle-moment. All sing well. I am biased, I love this so ... there. Ooh, somethin happened with the camera, like someone bumped into him.
The circle camerawork has been changed, they still can't form a circle though - unhappy face :(
Brussels atomium, driving in a scooter around the city. Loïc receives something he is to young to know about - a cassette. He then is in some dance studio for some reason. He joins the group and they go to the streets of Vienna (or somewhere else in Austria) and do a street show.
Just like in the music video, this is working like clockwork. He might be young but he is very professional in his singing and his dancing. Camerawork is quite simple but effective. And it has rapapap. Still personally usure about the whole grabbing his mouth thing but oh well, I am not aid to understand these things. Big applause in the press room.
THE NETHERLANDS #NED
Scenery from Amsterdam, Trijnthe opens her post and finds an old compass like that from The Golden Compass movie. She then takes a hot air balloon ride over Austrian scenery.
In true Dutch 'f you all' style, my previous thought of her using an outfit from the other rehearsals was wrong. She is gone for outfit number 127 it seems. This is getting silly now. Then again, the more we talk about dressgate, the more publicity she gets, the more publicity she gets, the more people hear of her. You can never trust the sneaky Dutchies!
Some cloth is on the floor - maybe it's part of one of her previous outfits. It's over.
Pelle Miljoona (thanks anonymous comment who quoted my original comment *like*), which to me looks like he could have done with a wash, gives the pack to one of the guys at the door of his apartment block in Finalnd.. They then go on a tram ride through Vienna. They blow kisses to girls in the tram and to the tram driver. Everyone smiles and is happy building bridges.
Well, it's Finland, it's short. That's the best thing about it. He doesn't slam the mic on the phone, the fattest one walks off stage immediately.
Since it's so short, we take this opportunity to speak to Arabella and Mirjam. They give a shout out to Australia (to which an applause in the press is given by one single person - we really do not care any more about Australia) and then some other discussion which we didn't follow.
Conchita interviews a delegation, Belgium is selected. She calls Loïc "darling" and is loving is. She is actually lovely. "There´s just water on the table, what´s going on?!" ponders the lady. We agree!
Alice then is on screen to continue the show. We go to...
Maria-Elena is taken to a school in Austria where she colours and plays with the children. Germs aplenty! Thankfully she had her injections before she went ... we hope. Well, she didn't seem like she was riddled during rehearsals.
Greece is just one of those counties, you can pretend you really cannot be arsed with their drama any more, but you find yourself always talking about them. Great staging and lighting. The white piano on stage sometimes looks a bit funny since you can't see the guy playing it in all shots.
SKANDAL! Stig and Elina spent the night together - well, how else do you explain Elina opening the door and Stig coming to check what arrived. They then go to Austria and scateboard in the forest. As you do.
IT WORKS! IT WORKS! At least for now, no mistakes with the shadow and the effect is AMAYZING!
Typed to soon obviously, oh well, seems they don't show the angle much so not as obvious as it was - Elina gives Stig the eye for most of the song. But then again, with her eyes, who wouldn't want them focused on them?
FYR MACEDONIA #MKD
The package has an address of Macedonia. #pissedoffgreeks. They go skiing.
Not much changed from the rehearsal. Let's keep this politically correct. They did the best they could in the time they had and with the equipment that they had. Make out of that what you wish.
Bojana goes to dye some cloth in traditional Austrian fashion. She then wears what she made. And is happy.Not like the person she did not pay.
They stuck with the coloured flags, which to me personally, don't think fit in the beginning of the song. Love it or hate it, she knows how to belt out this song. It seems, for the time being, that maybe more 'press' than 'fanpress' is here since not so much screaming and clapping as during rehearsals. In fact, it's quiet after the end of the performance.
Boogie is putting out fires in Austria.
She is not liked in the press/fan voting but the song works. I don't like it either but I have to admit it works. She will do well. She thanks us in English and in Hungarian. This may not be the same in the live show obviously.
Apologies, too many people asking too many things so this missed me completely. I only managed to catch the last few seconds which did not really let me understand the gist.
Maimuna has found the good balance between too moody and too smiley which she seemsed to have problems with in the rehearsals. The two play around on stage and Uzari uses his shots to get his charm accross. The backdrop is stll a bit of a mix. We are to believe they are dancing on the clouds but there are no clouds beneath them, only on the back.
Polina, where would we take Polina if it were not a huge place full of crystals. She admires the sparkly stones.
Nothing I can write will make any news. She knows she has this semi final in the bag. Unless something really bad happens tonight and tomorrow night, there won't be many open mouths when she walks on to the stage as part of the ten. Gets a large round of applause from the room. She also looks emotional.
Conchita thanks Polina and continues by interviewing Stig and Elina from Estonia. Later "Hello GORGEOUS!" "You look fabulous darling!" she tells Bojana. Fabulous is a word used a lot here.
Arabella and Alice are now on stage to remind us the voting will be open soon. We can also download the official app from the app store, or we can use social media platform to discuss with others using the official #eurovision.
The danes get a hat. And they go sleding. They have a race down an old village lane.
The audio had gone quite low but it seems that was due to the room and not actual audio issue.
The boys are quite well oiled. Nothing bad happening, nothing I would say they deserve huge praise for, but its harmless enough.
Elhaida receives a key. A key to a huge Austrian snow plough. Thanks to her handywork, a single skier can go down the piste. Something smells like ORF have got some free labour from some of these artists. If it was real anyway ... which it is not just in case it was a question.
Some camera crew was filming a bit before Elhaida started which made the shot look weird until you realised what was going on.
Not sure if Elhaida is saving her voice but she has sung this much better in rehearsals. Could it be a bad year for Albania?
Horseriding is the activity for the members of Voltaj. They got the trophy! Will this be a sign?
Călin was out last night at the Euroclub as were many others. He is a really nice guy and has time for everyone, regardless of how pointless your chats to him are. Unfortunately though, I still don't see this working for them. It's in Romanian (for part), it's got sad movie shots of children, and it's late on when people will not be listening much (if they were in the beginning) to the commentry. The little kid is there, smiling and waving to the camra after the performance.
Nina got fabric. Not black which she probably is not happy about but still, when in Austria she gets something more appropriate to her taste from the shop.
Starting well but we soon realise something is a bit off. The backing singers are a bit too high in this run. Also, Nina seems to have made a couple of mistakes in pitch. What is happening? She was a dead cert until just now. No don't worry - she is saving herself we are sure. You don't force your horse to run for miles to train for a race they need to win later on today. She knows when she is needed - and this is not it.
And there we ave it. It's done. Conchita back on stage asking the empty green room how they feel! She is funny. Don't let Conchita down, "support your favourite".
Arrabella, Mirjam and Alice are on stage to bridge until the recaps.
Recaps go through and the artists are shown at points just before their section will end.
After the recap the three presenters are bck on stage and start talking about pets and animal. Arabella starts talking to a horse who goes through the streets and find Alice who has a cat which then also goes through Vienna to find Mirjam whose dog is next in line. Various scenes of these animals going around town, kitty also jumping into a Eurotaxi and paying the €10 fee is seen. The dog goes to smell the butt of another dog.
This is actually quite funny, if it wasn't so long.
Arabella and Mirjam on stage mention the official DVD and CD. So there will be a DVD release.
Recap number two ensues.
Arabella back and quickly followed by Conchita to ask for votes.
Alice is next to speak, in French but was looking at the wrong camera. She starts again.
Herself and Mirjam then proceed to the countdown to stop the voting.
History Lesson & Talks to Artists
The contest we are told, was always going to have to return to Austira sooner or later. This is because Austria is known for music and hospitality. We then go on a tour of Eurovisions past and great Austrians. The audio in room is not great since lots of people are having loud conversations so cannot understand what is being said all the time. Elżbieta of Elaiza fame should be arriving in Vienna (if not the group itself) where she will be interviewed by Arabella. Mirjam then interviews a member of Genealogy. Mentioning Mary-Jane being the Australian member from the group, this gives the cue to talk about Australia in Eurovision. Really, you'd think we had no other thing to talk about apart from Down Under.
Eduard is next to be speaking to Arabella. How did e accomplish so much at such a young age. Mirjam then has Maria-Elena and Polina next to her. She asks her question but the stand in didn't hear it. Mirjam says "it doesn't really matter, no one is listening anyway!" we love her now.
Uzari and Maimuna are up next with Arabella. How many has that been now? Are we going to talk to all of them? Has there been internal skandals which we were not made aware of? Has everyone been talked to at least once throughout the night?
Recap of Finalists
Austria, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Germany - FROM REHEARSAL! All others was the music video, France, Australia.
Alice goes to talk to Jan Ola and calls him a Math Magician. She has to repeat that part since it went wrong the first time. And yes, we have combined the televoting and jury votes and we have the winners.
Arabella and Mirjam are to announce the finalists. In random order.
"The first finalist is..." ... long wait, unsue of what to do, look at podium. Arabella waves at the audience. We laugh.
Arabella and Mirjam go into some German talk. We go on. The board is sponsored by Microsoft. Nice big logo at the bottom right.
We wait again to find out who is going through,. Finally find out.
We go back to German. That was it, those are the qualifiers! :D
Arabella and Mirjam are good though, they just start clapping to the audience and go into an impromtu standup. Asking where people are from.
03. The Netherlands. Mirjam says "gefeliciteerd, goed gedaan!"
09. Belgium "felicitacions!"
10. FYR Macedonia - but this was announced without the FYR in front. Again #pissedoffgreeks
The recap is in order of appearance not announcement. This could be changed though for the real night.
Recap over, all four presenters are on stage with the artists in the background. One thing left to say "Good Morning Australia, and have a good night Europe".
Time is like thunder, and it flies by so quickly. Doesn't seem like yesterday we were here admiring the press centre for the first time, and look at us now, already a week has gone by, EuroClub has opened, parties have already happened and also, there was some red carpet thing.
But the time we've all been waiting for is near, we get to see the opening of the show, the postcards and what have the delegations done since the second rehearsal - and was it a right choice.
Unfortunately we have been very busy trying to make sure
that we are able to follow most if not all of what is going on in the
Eurovision world here in Vienna. We therefore apologise in advance for not
being able to get all video footage taken uploaded as speedily as we might
otherwise have liked to.
Having said that, please find the interview we did with the
lovely Anita and Michele from San Marino. They took time out of their busy
schedule to speak to us and share their thoughts and reply to our fast round.