Before the rehearsal
I don't really expect Sweden to change at all from the staging in the Melodifestivalen final. Every year the Swedish team report that they've made changes and adjustments, and every year we don't really see them. I expect that it will just be some minor camera angle that's changed, or possibly he's wearing different trousers or so. But if we're lucky they'll be giving us a surprise. Maybe even visible backing vocalists?
However, the old staging was clearly effective, and there's no real need to fix something that isn't broken.
Yes, it's basically the same as in Melodifestivalen. He's got the screen with the lights behind him, creating various shapes and words. And he's walking around the stage in the same way, "missing" the same cameras as before. It works, of course.
I couldn't spot any of the backing singers in the first run-through, so they're presumably placed behind the stage or behind the screen.
One main difference is that for the last chorus he walks out onto the catwalk and sings the rest of the song from the end of it.
There's not really much else to say about this. If you wanna see a video of the rehearsal you can basically watch the Melodifestivalen one. He is wearing different clothes now, but they're probably not what he'll wear in the final.
Before the rehearsal
The Maltese song, as many others this year, relies heavily on lots and lots of backing vocals. We already know that Molly P-H will be one of them, and that she (due to her own request) and the other backing singers will most likely be hidden behind the stage. Four backing singers isn't really enough to re-create the big gospel sound of the studio version, but it should be close enough. What might be a bigger challenge is to make sure Ira doesn't feel lost on stage and that it doesn't come across too much like a karaoke performance when she's all alone singing together with a choir that the viewers can't see. Some props or somethning else to fill up the stage and distract from the fact that only one out of five vocalists can be seen, might be a good idea.
First run-through. Ira has HUGE images of her own face on the backdrop screens in the beginning. And then as she starts singing we see her face... projected on the cloak of a dancer who stands in front of her. Then halfway through the verse we get to see the real her, dressed in a very baggy light brown dress that is either hiding lots of clothes underneath, or a pregnant belly. Makes her chest look very ill-shaped somehow. The cress also has some sort of LED or light effects going on.
And yes, towards the end the bulky dress comes off and she's in a black mini dress instead.
Ita's choreography is mainly to walk around the stage a bit. She's sometimes standing inside an image of a blue swirly thing on the floor, which is probably meant to represent the water she's walking on.
Vocally, Ira sings it fine. No problems at all on that part. The backing vocals are rather low in the mix, and I wish we'd hear them better.
The oh-oh-oh-oh-oh wail before the last chorus is clearly done by somebody who isn't Ira. Might be Molly.
But most importantly, the chipmunk vocal sample effect from the studio version is STILL THERE. Either they found some way to do it live (but it doesn't sound like it) or the backing track features a pre-recorded backing vocal. Someone will probably have some explaining to do here...
Second run-through now. The potato-peel-coloured projection dress really is one of the most hideous dresses I've seen. It's so bulky that it makes it look like she doesn't have boobs, but rather just a chicken breast on the front of her torso. Nina Kraljic suddenly got some serious competition for the Barbara Dex Award.
But vocally it's really good, and as long as they get the mixing levels right it should sound basically the way it's supposed to sound. The choreography itself is working quite decently too. The male dancer is spastically dancing around Ira in what looks a little bit like what Loreen's dancer did, but he doesn't distract too much from the song. I would say that the dress is the only problem now. Hopefully they'll realise that themselves once they go to the viewing room.
Before the rehearsal
The song is very much like the kind of thing that used to do really well 10 years ago. Montenegro has had mediocre success with similar songs recently, but the question is if Bosnia can manage to stage this in a more interesting and original way than the Montenegrins did with their recent balkan ballads.
If they want to recreate it to sound like in the studio version they'll also be depending on good backing vocals, as there's quite a lot of them in the recording. And visually there might be a challenge to make all four members of the group really seem like they're part of the performance and not four random people doing their own thing.
The Bosnians just took the stage. Some of them are dressed in golden tinfoil cloaks. Or maybe it's thermal blankets? I m not sure what the symbolism might be. But it seems the general theme is gold. Deen is wearing golden high-top sneakers, and most of the things that seem to be items that they're meant to wear in the actual performance are sort of gold. So is the cello.
The barbed wire fence is there, and kind of just like Chanee and Nevergreen were positioned on each side of their screen, so are Deen and Dalal. And they sing towards each other through the fence, sometimes reaching through with their arms trying to reach each other. Clearly lots of symbolism here.
Vocally I thought they were fine. Deen and Dalal's harmonies work well together, and the backing vocals, situated further back, are doing what they should.
Second run-through. Vocally steady again. During the instrumental break after the first chorus, Ana stands up and drops her cloak. Once Jala enters the stage, wearing sunglasses, the camera mostly focuses on him interacting with Ana while Deen and Dalal stand stind at the back of the stage. And then in the final chorus all four of them are together at the front.
Overall I would say that they've staged it quite well. It's not trying to be a different song than it is, but yet not trying to just do a typical Lane Moje/Lejla-staging. It feels like they're doing something that is new, but without over-staging it or distracting from the song. The only thing that does't make any sense to me yet is the choice of costumes.
Ana Rucner's outfit. More or less.