Before the Rehearsal
Although most people you ask seem to like this song, neither the polls nor the betting seems to think it will qualify. So why are we enamored by this? It could just be because the singer is outspoken about who they are and are not afraid to say it as it is - quite refreshing. What we do know is that there is bound to be more profanity in the meet and greet, although 'fuck' has already been blurted by Armenia's Iveta during hers.
Simple black staging. Hovi dressed in black suit, glittery black shirt and matching finger-less gloves. The camera pans out to reveal two people in a hula-hoop spinning around. There are some effects on the stage floor which probably Hovi should be in the centre of but he was not in place this time round. The spinning twosome seem to be caught by the camera having a bit of a break. This might be due to some mishap in their performance or due to bad camera shots. Elements from the preview video are seen in the blue light graphics enveloping the stage. Hovi is clearly emotional after this first rendition.
Second run - Although there are no backing singers visible, the stage floor does consist of a digital face, made from a constellation of stars, which acts as the backing singer face. Again, the two spinning artists end up stopping and arguing on stage - or at least that's what it looks like to us. Vocally a bit less good than before however maybe we should not discard this so quickly. What should be discarded however are the two acrobats who clearly are not good at what they do (again, unless it's the camera angles) and just seem to distract and annoy rather than add any value to the performance.
Third run - The acrobats finally managed to get it kinda right, not perfect, but right. They don't argue on stage anyway. I still think having them there is too risky. The addition to this run is the pyro curtain which happens on the final chorus. Wouldn't count this out at all.
Before the Rehearsal
Hmm... well... they have nice chocolate don't they. And mountains. Nice mountains. Having watched the Swiss selection the choice of Rykka was 'interesting'. We have seen her performances since while on promotional tours and unfortunately there appears to be a collective agreement that this will likely finish last in the semifinal. Will something be able to get pulled out of the bag this morning in order to help us change our opinion?
Rykka joins the ever-growing list of singers who are barefoot on the Eurovision stage. She has decided to change her hair colour but with the lights behind her it just looks gray. She has a black top with black bedazzling going on. A light grey see-through fine-mesh skirt which leaves nothing to the imagination, at least for the legs. The song unfortunately just seems to be there, and there appears to be no real interest by anyone on what is actually being sung. Rykka appears to be pleased with herself however which is, at the end, a very good thing. It must be very disheartening going into a competition like this knowing that no one expects you to be able to do anything, so keeping positive and making the most of the experience of a lifetime is all one should be doing.
Second run - Smoke is coming from under her arms - literally! Not exactly sure what it's supposed to be adding, apart from the idea that she has smelly arm pits. I'm sure someone can answer it in the meet and greet. The other amazing fact about this song, we've started to get used to the vocal performance - which she seems to be doing actually quite well. Better than anything in the promotional tour anyway - then again, it is better production value. The stage looks a bit too big in this song however for someone who is just there on her lonesome singing about being the last of her kind.
Third run - Armpit fire is still an issue. But PYRO!!!!! OK, the last chorus, we have pyro making a round of the stage edge and then you have the curtain pyro to close the song. A bit Azerbaijan 2011 but still works. Could this possibly not end up last in their semifinal?
Before the Rehearsal
Sources tell us that unless Poland ends top 10 in the final they are unlikely to be back next year. I would worry more about being top 10 in the semi rather than the final. However, the bookies do seem to think it will qualify - although this could also just be due to a large amount of Polish (possibly diaspora) money being placed on the Polish song giving it a fake augmented standing.
This starts well. A collective laugh from the gathered press. It is a sight to behold. Michał dressed in some silver jacket over a black tank top and black jeans. Most noticeably, one of the three violinists doesn't have a violin and is just moving her hand up and down. Lovely. They should keep it! Apart from the 2+1 violinists, there is a cello and a piano. There are no gimmicks at all to the stage, keeping it very simple.
Vocally - another capable singer. Styling choice might however end up taking away from his talent.
Second run - The silver jacket is gone, this time Michał is just clad in the black tank-top and jeans. Nice big gold watch on his left wrist. The missing violin seems to have been found, but, at least to this reporter, it looks that who is 'playing' it is not going to be an actual performer on stage since even to my untrained eye it is clear she has no clue of what she is doing with the bow. Another good vocal rendition just as before.
Third run - Jacket stayed off. The piano appears to have been replaced, losing it's prominent position it had before. "There is no smoke without faaaayher" apparently. Michał is not able to keep the note this time. He also chose to not complete part of the last chorus. This could be taken of he is trying to save his voice but the look on his face appears to tell otherwise. Will today be a day of bad third run-troughs?
Before the Rehearsal
Well, well, well... Latvia is currently third on our scorewiz which means that many of us like it. And we all know that one question we want answered - will Rīgas Berbs finally make an appearance of the Eurovision stage?! Latvia is quite sure of qualifying this year but could it suffer from the fan hype for something which is not being considered as a contender?
The feed to the press centre was not from the start of the song so it caught us all by surprise. Justs is wearing his black leather jacket, tight skinny jeans and a maroon oversized t. There are many position markers on stage but he does not seem to be using any of them (at least in this run). The staging is quite like we had seen in the Latvian selection however just more slick - red hues on a black backdrop. The bridge does change this to bright white (a bit too bright, could not see the singer). Song over and there is a deer-in-headlights moment close up of Justs' face. Still gets a decent applause by the room. But no, Rīgas Berbs is alas once more forgotten by the delegation.
Second run - We see it from the beginning which is good. The stage in fact starts in a gray anthracite - and the effects complement the song very well, simple enough to not overshadow the song which is a trap that seems to be catching people now. Vocally Justs is doing well, but we knew he can sing this song, even with the bad audio we were able to watch from the Latvian preview show.
Third run - Nothing changes in the stage, no pyro, no CO2 columns, no glitter confetti ... but he is a bit weaker in this run-through, seemingly he is forcing the notes out which is not a good thing to do during rehearsals - the last thing needed is to lose your voice. Still, plenty of time to recover if needed.
Before we Start
And so we have it, it already feels like a week but we're only on Day 3! The word around the center is that Austria and Cyprus were at the Euroclub yesterday but it seems it was more of the same in attendance figures. Your ESC Nation team decided to stay in and have a quiet night in order to be able to bring you the updates from this morning as we see them.