Before the Rehearsal
The UK decided to move away from their format they chose for the past few years of internal selection. Admittedly, they did not have much of a lot to choose from and probably did choose the best option for the show. No one is expecting this to really do anything in Stockholm (apart from the British media who keep on asking people if they are going to win - just to have people disappointed and angry when they don't even finish top 10), but we should be seeing the UK reach a higher position than they have seen for a bit.
Starting on a darkened stage, we open with Joe's closeup. The shot changes which then brings Jake into the picture for the second verse. The stage also lights up in blue, white and red lighting. There are two drummers on podiums. For the intro to the chorus, photos of people take the stage. For the second verse, the stage goes back to its original colourings and changing back to new photos for the chorus. These photos change with the rhythm of the song. This unfortunately does look like a bad performance in an X-Factor style show. They would be in the sing-off and probably get eliminated this week. The third run-thorough has some pyro on the last chorus but I doubt this will gain many extra points (if any) due to it. Don't expect any "Royaume Uni, douze points!" being uttered.
Before the Rehearsal
Well, at least we have someone who wanted to come to Eurovision rather than the group Stadio who let's face it, would not have any interest in coming here. Italy is one of those nations who everyone wants to see but has no real following at home. This is the first year that the contest will be shown on the first channel - until last year it was on Rai2 with the semifinals still being on Rai4 until today. Will having it on the first channel make any difference? I believe it will all depend on what happens. If they do well like last year, then it is likely that the interest will remain the same. If however Francesca fails to light up Europe, then it is more likely we see it go to Rai2 and stay there for the duration of Italy's comeback - which in itself might not be greatly long-lived.
She's definitely not wearing her outfit for Saturday. Brown sparkly dungarees on top of a white t. There are a lot of digital effects on screen like we saw in her music video. They take a bit of getting used to. Staging, well, it's nice, it's different, it's unusual... we have a couple of platforms with a lot of items on sticks around the edges. I'm sure I can find better words to describe it but it is quite difficult to explain. A yellow balloon, a seagull, a sunflower, a parrot, an umbrella, 3D glasses (blue/red) and much, much more.
Unfortunately I seem to be the only one who does not get this. At all. Everyone around me is telling me how amazing it is but I clearly am (as has been told to me) "dead inside". The staging starts with a bare tree on a cloudless, sunny day. Francesca is on a grassy circular platform. The background turns into night for the chorus. The tree is lit up as is the floor and we have fireflies buzzing around it. For the second verse, the floor is an ocean. This continues throughout the rest of the song while the time of the day changes from day to night depending on the chorus. Her microphone stand has ribbons in blue and yellow - unlike in Rimini where this was in the colours of the rainbow flag.
At least for this rehearsal there has been no pyro or any other effect. If there was going to be it would be likely that Italy would have paid for it but maybe we just need to wait for the second round of rehearsals. A lot of people here are already talking about Turin 2016, could this be just press-centre emotion like we had with France last year?
Before the Rehearsal
What are we to expect from Jamie-Lee. The good thing is that we really do not know. The staging for this song is one of the things I've personally been looking forward to. we know that she is quite a character and that it is hard to point out what she will want to do next. Will the artistic director want to change from the staging in Cologne or will we see something similar to that?
Well, it is similar to the national final. You can see the outline of Jamie-Lee in front of a moon. She is in the forest which we saw in Germany. Wearing an outfit not too dissimilar to that we saw in the national final, consisting of a Japanese schoolgirl shape however being a sparkly silver top, turquoise skirt with sparkly blue circle stones, and frilly shoulders. She is also wearing a headpiece in the same colours of her attire. Socks are knee-high and in blue and purple. White sparkly flat-souled shoes with a silvery bow complete the outfit.
The backing vocals are unfortunately quite off in the first round, unlike Jamie-Lee who is giving a good performance. There is, as you can imagine, not much choreography. Jamie-Lee walks along the stage rather calmly but never moves too far from her original position on the main stage. She does however later use the bridge to the satellite platform which is where she completes her performance.
Second run - the backing vocals have been lowered which is a good sign that this was noticed immediately by the delegation. Jamie-Lee is looking like she is really enjoying being there but is quite shy and has the 'I'm just a little girl' look. Mothers across Europe will be into this if she finishes her performance with *that* look - regardless of what they think of the song.
Third run - Addition of the dry ice to cover the stage to enhance the mystical look of it. Could do with getting the combination right, the platforms of the trees are visible which could be done without. Small issues which will be fixed before you know it.