Monday, 2 May 2016

Day 1 Rehearsals - Finland, Greece, Moldova, Hungary

 We're here at the press centre, ready to blog!


Before the rehearsal

The song is quite a powerful ballad and Freddie has an interesting voice. I don't think it will have to rely too much on a spectacular performance to stand out. As long as the performance is competent and he sings it well, not more should be needed, in my opinion. And I'm hoping it won't be doing a Moldova and hide the backing singers... Because frankly, it's rather silly to do when the backing singers play such a prominent part in the song.

There's no feed at the moment. Not sure if it's because they have a break of because we just neither have sound or picture at the moment.


The rehearsal started, and we had both picture and sound. For about a minute! Then it all died again.
The stage is basically very red. The floor looks a bit like dark red molten lava with black cracks in it. (That's the best description I can give). And Freddie had backing singers surrounding him on stage. That's about all I can tell from the brief part we got to see.

The stream is back! Freddie is wearing a light brown leather jacket over a light overlong t-shirt. Light-wash jeans with lots of rips and holes, and brown boots. He's got three male backing singers on the left side of the stage, and on the right side there's a guy beating on a huge drum which they probably stole from Suzy.

Vocally it's not 100 % but good enough. Basically, I would say that the performance is totally adequate for the song, and they could probably not have done much else with it to make it better without risking to distract from the song and from Freddie.

Suddenly there's one more run-through. The camera shots start off with a close up of Freddie (good idea) and then a close up of the drummer.  And then a close up of the backing singers as they do the whistle bits. There's actually a LOT of shots of the backing singers. Which would probably work better if they had actually rehearsed their choreography (which mostly just consists of swaying a bit back and forth and clapping along) a bit better. But in general it's all quite effective on camera and the performance comes across as effective without really doing much. 


Before the rehearsal

Again, vocals could potentially be an issue, so what Lidia need to do is to nail them. And do a staging that doesn't feel too much like a Melodifestivalen entry from 2006. Hopefully they have also brought a bunch of competent backing singers to back her up, and to make sure she doesn't look lonely on stage.


The first run-through just finished. Still no sound. But, Lidia has brought an astronaut with her! The guy (currently only wearing the helmet part of the costume) suddenly appears behind her without warning. It almost came across a bit frightening.

Lidia is wearing a potato-sack-coloured jersey dress, silvery jewellery and white jogging sneakers. I assume it's not her final performance outfit.
There's also a LOT of armpit-flashing here. And she did shave them. But about three days ago.

Apart from the astronaut, Lidia seems to be all alone on stage. Without the sound there's no way to tell if she's got backing singers hidden somewhere, but it seems quite likely.

Overall, the performance reminds me a lot of Montenegro 2009. A single woman with lots of hair alone on stage with a random dancer.

And... We've got SOUND!

As suspected, it's vocally a bit shaky. But she does have a stack of backing singers hidden somewhere, which help a lot. However, the fact that one can hear a lot of voices but only see one person (and a flailing astronaut) just makes her seem even more lonely on stage. She doesn't really have the energy or the big personality to pull off owning the stage all by herself.


Before the rehearsal

This song's biggest challenge will probably be the singing and the staging. In the studio version the girls are quite off, and songs like these tend to be difficult to stage. To present this well I think thy first of all have to nail th singing, but also stage it in a way that puts emphasis on the strong ethnic elements without feeling too much like it's 2005. Let's see how they do...


First run-through... we get to hear the first few seconds. Which are voclly actually quite fine. Then the sound goes silent on the press centre stream (happens every year, nobody is even surprised anymore)

They are all dressed in white. But some of them in sweatpants, so unless they plan to really go chav with this, I assume it's not all their actual performance outfits.

There's a lot of "WE ARE GREEK"-styled choreography going on. Dancing in a line while holding hands and waving their feet like they're drunk drag queens who just broke a heel. Combined with lots of jumping (kind of like Serbia-Montenegro 2005) and stomping. And there's big drums (the kind that only really exists in Eurovision performances) and what I assume is a pontian lyra. Basically, nobody will miss the fact that this is Greece.

Second run-through and we still have no sound.
The stage is black and yellow/orange, with the backdrop and the floor displaying a moving animation of what looks a lot like that sun (or is it star?) of the original FYR Macedonian flag that the Greeks made them replace.

Personally, I quite like it visually though. I do hope they go for white outfits in their actual performance too. This is all very Eurovision, and it's not trying to be anything else. It could borderline coming across as a parody of a Greek Eurovision entry, but I find it hard not to enjoy it.

Still haven't actually heard the sound though, as there's still only a visual link. So this is all based on what can be seen. No clue if they're actually singing it well or not.


Before the rehearsal
The Finnish song "Sing it away" has always been more effective on stage than in the studio version. It's downfall may be that it tends to not stand out as much among all the songs. What I hope to see from the rehearsals is that they really give it all they have during the performance so it will really come through the camera and be an opener to remember rather than just another opener that people find nice enough but won't remember at the end of the show

Sandhja just took the stage and did her first run-through. On time. She's wearing a baby-blue jumpsuit of what looks like some kind of faux suede-ish material, with bare shoulders and some open parts in the sides and the back. On top of it a silvery kind of necklace/harness. And sparkly flats.
Enough about her fashion sense.
Sandhja and her backing singers did what seems to be the full routine of the performance. Bascailly the performance opens up with Sandhja alone on stage, with a bunch of white microphone stands. Then as the first chorus kicks in the backing vocals appear from the door at the back of the stage and do a syncronated strut across the stage into the camera, joining Sandhja. Then there's a bunch of pretty simple but effectiviely joyful choreography. And a good use of the catwalk in the bridge.

Vocally Sandhja is steady but holding back a little bit. The five backing vocals are competent but for obvious reasons it doesn't sound as big as the studio version as that one has a million voices to create the gospely choir-sound.

Second run-through, after a looong break. Vocally good again. The stage is kind of dark and red-ish, colours which I don't think necessarily work with the actual performance and the outfits. Let's see if they change anything for the next one .

Third runthrough, and the colours are more blue this time. Which works a lot better.
And Sandhja has got herself several Ingeborg hairs by now. I assume that's intentional. 

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