Before the rehearsal
The song is quite different from everything else this year, so it has the possibility of grabbing some votes just based on that. I expect the performance will also just be a rather simple one, which suits the genre. Nicky isn't bad looking, so they don't need a lot of distraction. We've seen him being a bit shaky vocally in the past though, so that's probably their main challenge to overcome.
Barbara Dex Award alert again!
Black jeans, brown boots (when was that ever a good match?) and a leather jacket with some black bits, some bits of brown suede, and some red parts. It's not silly or ridiculous. It's just a very very ugly combo.
The stage is switching between red/pink colours and dark/blue. He is joined by a drummer, a guitarist and a keyboard player on podiums. They also seem to sing. But we can hear female voices as well, so there's probably more people behind the stage.
Vocally quite ok, actually. Although I couldn't quite tell because Hovi Star and about 9 members of the Wiwibloggs team are in an interview room next to where we're sitting at the moment. But it seemed a lot better than some previous performances that he's done. I would say the main problem with this performance is rather that it comes across as rather boring. It doesn't exactly scream "Remember Me!", and there's no really anything happening at all. Which could of course be a good thing, especially in a year where most of the other entries have so much happening on stage. Will have to watch this again to get a better impression of it.
Nicky sings it again, and this time I was able to focus less on the jacket, and more on the singing. And yes, it's really not that strong, but the backing vocals do back him up a lot. It's almost a bit like with Jedward, when we basically heard Leanne Moore's voice more than the actual lead singers. And the harmonies do work quite nicely.
It still comes across as quite boring visually though. The stage is mostly very very red. He mostly walks around the stage and eventually walks out to the end of the catwalk. That's about it.
No applause in the press centre.
Before the rehearsal
I was preoccupied and forgot to write something here before I saw the rehearsal. Sorry :-)
Sanja is at the centre of the stage, which is lit with tones of red and blue. And the edge of the stage has the Undo-styled light pillars. Simple but effective. Sanja is dressed in a rather interesting dress with a printed landscape on it, but it doesn't look like it would be her performance costume.
Behind Sanja there's 4 female backing singers who start off standing in a half circle behind her, doing synchronised arm choreography with Sanja. Later they move to one side of the stage and do a more complicated choreography which involves a lot of grabbing of shoulders and other body parts. And towards the end the backing singers move back and stand right behind Sanja. It's rather reminiscent of the choreography of Molitva.
With one major difference. There's also a male dancer. He appears after the first chorus, and tries to grab Sanja. She over and over again pushes him away. He then moves on to try the same thing with the backing singers, and they also reject him. Basically, as the song seems to be about getting out of a bad relationship with domestic abuse, he's clearly playing the part of the violent ex, and she's now strong enough to push him away. It might sound messy, but I think it worked quite well. They could easily have overdone it, but they didn't.
Vocally Sanja was perfect, and the backing singers were very strong too.She doesn't quite hit all the camera angles yet, but hopefully she will later. Both the first and the second run-through was met with an applause from the press centre.
Before the rehearsal
I think the only question in people's minds right now is whether there will be wolves of any kind. and whether Ivan will be naked. I assume he will not. But a bit (or lot) of skin would surely not hurt to make this song memorable. The song itself shouldn't be difficult to perform live, as long as he's given the right amount of backing singers and doesn't try to do anything too complicated vocally.
Whenever Belarus send rock-inspired entries they tend to make pretty lame stagings that don't really do much to help the song stand out. Let's see if they've come up with something that is a bit more interesting than Hasta La Vista or Eyes That Never Lie
Projections are really THE most over-used prop this year. The song starts off with a video projection of a naked Ivan and a wolf. They both then turn into dust (or stars) just like Greta's silhouettes do, and instead the real Ivan is seen. He's in a beige linen blazer over a beige shirt. His extremely long legs are dressed in beige trousers of some material that might almot be some kind of leather. The only non-beige thing in his outfit are dark high military boots. And he has the white face-paint stripes that we've seen before.
The screens behind him show images of wolves as well as very badly animated people walking around looking a bit like Neanderthals. There's also additional sheer hologram screen which he at one point steps behind, which means he can interact with one of the holograms.
The floor also has projections and at one points it gives the effect of Ivan standing on blocks of ice. Very similar to some of the Russian projections.
And at the very end of the song, the screen behind him shows an image of a huge baby. Stumbling towards the camera. In a diaper. It's rather cute but totally awkward.
Needless to say, this got mostly laughter from the press centre rather than an applause.
Second run-through. Some things I didn't notice before. The hologram screen also at one point shows a drummer, and then a guitarist. Which are actually Ivan himself, dressed in different clothes and with his hair done differently. Basically instead of having a real band on stage, he's got holograms instead.
He does have backing singers though, but not on stage.
Vocally, Ivan is mostly fine but there's a few notes that aren't 100 %. But probably not bad enough for the average viewer to notice.
It's really hard to tell how this performance will be received. Just like the Russian projectiongavanza, it's doing SO many things all at once. But there's certainly a lot of cool parts. Especially the part where it looks like Ivan is standing on a solid block of ice floating in the air over a river of moving sheets of ice. (Or whatever they are). Unlike Sergey who had to climb a screen to reach his block of ice, Ivan just has to stand on the floor, and the 3D effects are doing the rest of the work.