Wednesday 8 May 2013

Moldovans in Ireland

Nina Žižić may not have had fun at the Irish party tonight, but we did! And so did the Moldovans!

They do like a good clap!

And a ceilidh! We did this at a wedding once, and we were nowhere near this good.

And it wasn't just them who had fun! We did, when we got to clink drinks with Pasha (Hi Pasha!), and when we got introduced to the Slovenian dancers (Hi Slovenian dancers!) (Thanks Mike). And then when this happened. Hi Alan! This will definitely help your ranking on the hotties list tomorrow.

More on the Irish party

That was a good party. Nice food, as you can see in Jonas' post, lots of cider and some Irish Coffee (we'll never sleep now. Ah well).

An Irish Trad band did some Trad music (what a real Irish person would call "tourist music" because they don't actually listen to it), with the help of Ryan's drummers, who were scattered all over the pub looking for attendants who weren't clapping properly.

Our own Sam was the one they named and shamed.

Then Ryan performed his song - vocally solid, that's what I could pick up from where I was. The Moldovans were having a great time, while Nina Žižić was watching it with a rather unimpressed expression throughout the performance - or is this the Montenegrin way of having a good time? Ok, this isn't really interesting, I just like writing Nina Žižić.

Finally, we asked Ryan what he thinks the hamster (as shown in Sild's earlier rehearsal post) was doing. He thinks the hamster is "hovering" - great answer, really. Obviously Ryan is more than just a good singer/songwriter.


If you're going to leave these things around the place... can expect them to be turned into this:

No offence, Ireland! It was a lovely little late-afternoon/early-evening gathering at Fagans pub in Malmö Old Town, with the first drinks tokens of the year, some really nice (and unexpected!) sit-down food, and a healthy dose of music and dancing from the Green Isle. A fine ice-breaker on the delegation party front, and a good warm-up before the legendary DJ Ohrmeister's set at EuroClub tonight. We have made requests....

Irish party at The Fag Bar

Well, ok, it's really called Fagans. But there's plenty of drink tokens (Hello Athens) and all of a sudden we got free food on our tables. Yum.

Right now some Irish band is playing music that sounds like a lovechild between "Born to sing" and "They cant stop the spring". Well. We are told there will be ACTUAL performances later.

Oh. And Pasha is here with us. Hi!

Update: Aliona Moon (2 metres tall) has been riverdancing, Ryan Dolan has performed, and we were taught how to clap our hands the Irish way.

Sild was a bit surprised to see the food

Hurray! Hurray! It's a Farid, Farid Day!

It's Farid Day!

Disappointingly, Farid Mammadov kept all his clothes on today, both during the rehearsal and at the meet and greet afterwards, so we decided to make up for that and select five of our favourite Farid photos, presented here for your viewing pleasure.

Hi Farid!

Wednesday afternoon rehearsals (rolling blog)

Right, banana socks at the ready! Tried out the hot lunch at Euroclub, and it was yums! I had tyttebær. And on to Finland...

Fittingly, the backdrop is a Las Vegas-y sign telling us how fabulous Krista is. She's joined by people that are not Velvet (but might be Jane Bogaert) covered in velvet coats (I bet Yami LOVES them), but the coats disappear towards the end. It's very lively and wedding-y, as you would expect. And yes, there IS a kiss at the end! A sloppy one, judging by how the kissee wipes her mouth afterwards... I wish the Macedonians had used the same trick.

There's a bit in the middle where the velveters turn into a massive chair and Krista tries to pick rose petals out of a rose, but it's apparently a bit hard to do...

I don't think any of this will change your view on this entry, really. If you liked it before, you'll like it, if you didn't, you won't. It's silly, colourful, fast and fun, and I'm glad it exists, but I can take it or leave it myself. She is a charmer, though, at least for three minutes, and may well hit a few hearts at home. I'm just glad I'm not sharing a hotel room with her, I bet it would be tiresome!

While waiting for the next run-through, we're googling duckface + spaghetti. Do try it.

I've only just realised Krista has a bandage on her knee. Was that there all the time, or did she just have an AO on stage? Some pyro is also added to this performance, of the shoot-fire-diagonally-left-right-type. Looks neat, but doesn't add a lot, really.

We get lyrics in the back, which is probably handy, as Gianluca seems to be struggling with finding the right words and putting them in the right place... Is it going faster, is that what it is? Something has definitely happened!

The performance starts off with a rather traditional "band" set-up, with the people spread about on stage and Gianluca himself wandering about being very happy. He pops by the catwalk, and when he's back, the rest of the group have gathered on a park benchy thing like in the video.

Apart from the issues with the speed, and obviously some weird camera angles, as it is a first rehearsal, I thought this sold itself nicely, and he comes across as a sweet, charming guy-next-door.

And indeed, the second run-through doesn't seem quite as fast! Maybe they were testing out a smurf version for the next Smurfehits compilation.

OH NO, we bumped into cracker-hamster! Gigglefits galore! And obviously Yami had to try to re-renact it with his accreditation badge. Photographic evidence to come.

Meanwhile, Malta is definitely getting the little tweaks and sort-outs it needed, and they have all reason to be pleased with today. Even I am starting to squiddle my toes about it it!

Well, I've been looking forward to this, haven't I... :-[

Stage is mostly red and white-ish blue (clearly a plot to secure a Dutch victory), and they start off drumming with wet drums to that nice splashy effect they had in 2007. The bagpiper looks like a mugger with hernia while crouching about on stage like a madman. And just when you think it's starting to look a bit more together, with some wall of drums action and general howling, the herniated mugger shows up with a MASSIVE feathered mask (or is it a hat?) of some sort. I think the term erm covers it nicely.

It really looks like the bagpipe mugger is carrying a pig's head in some shots... I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. Backing singers in traditional costumes have now been allowed to step into the limelight, they were nicely tucked away in the dark in the first run-through. And they've added barking chihuahuas!

To conclude, I think this is horrendous, but then I was always going to, so... Not sure what could've been done differently (apart from THROWING THE SONG AWAY), so all in all, it was a pretty good rehearsal, I'd say. And NI!

A very fitting background to this, with a dark view out to the sea, some houses on the sides and a big lighthouse in the centre. Sets a very nice atmosphere to the whole thing, similar to the video. Not much happening on stage, as you might expect, apart from four backing singers showing up out of nowhere for the keychange, and well sung, as you might also expect.

Not much more to say, really - this is looking pretty much like a finished product already. Apart from him not yet having been anywhere near scissors, obvi.

After wearing a white jacket for the first two run-throughs (and hence looking like Rui Bandeira here), Eyþor has now changed into a black one, so obviously trying out to see what works best. I'm really not sure what I'd advice them (just as well they're extremely unlikely to ever ask me then) - the black one looks much nicer, but it also makes him disappear slightly in the predominantly dark stage. Could orange be an idea?

Wednesday morning rehearsals

It must have been a rough night, as I opened my computer to find the lyrics of Sku' du spørg' fra no'en open in my browser. But anyway, to the rehearsals:


Well, they're very glittery. That's not a bad thing. They're vocally better than I remembered - I assume it's partly due to Eirodziesma sound being poor and partly thanks to the backing singers know their job. The most remarkable part of the choreography is them (the two PeRs, the guitarist and the keyboardist) doing some kind of pretend high gravity slow motion soldier march on the catwalk during the DUBSTEP. The rest of it is mostly them jumping about. If you're the kind of person who likes singers you don't know asking you to make a noise (twice!) during the song, you might like this. The guitarist has a tablet device and a shiny hard Latvian flag on (or instead of?) guitar. I'm pretty certain this has never been done before.

Third go and the pretend audience (the actual human ones, not the Spock cardboards) are carrying the stagediving lead singer towards the end. I'm hoping for something like this - quite a similar song when I think of it. I hope Merethe is standing by.

Overall this makes perfect sense as an opener, kickstarty and the basses sound great. Still 3 minutes of noise to my ears, but they're making the best of it.

San Marino

The much awaited for choreography, but it's basically their preview video put onto a stage (well just the Valentina parts, no old woman wearing a paper bag sadly). Valentina holds the illuminating crystal ball, or gooseberry or whatever, but when she sets it down there's a rather noticeable hole in the bottom for the battery to go in. The change of rhythm part involves the silent backing dancers coming to life and helping her strip into the red sheet - it's all very red from that moment on. It's also very, very Andorran. Her vocals are fine, but I can't stop expecting Anabel Conde to come behind her and add some shrieks.

Second runthrough lasted about thirty seconds, Monetta had some sort of problem, possibly with her glowball, and asked the director to stop. They didn't stop though, for another twenty seconds or so. Rude.

Third go lasted all three minutes. On closer attention to the backing dancers, they're starting lying face down and folded, then raising very slowly as if they're doing some sort of yoga. After the beatchange they have their own (smaller) red sheets and are basically two mini-Valentinas. Overall it seems that they've learned of last year's mistake of overchoreography, but Valentina still seems too focused on her vocals to actually interact with the cameras.

Last runthrough and there's a bit more camera interaction this time - they must be aware of the fact that they really need to work on this. But they still have a long way to go.


Song begins with the camera sneaking behind Vlatko - pretty effective and almost gives the impression that this is going to be a normal song. The rest is the mess we knew it was going to be - although some of this can be improved with rehearsals. Esma better change her purple dress, at the moment it completely blends in the purple background and all we we see is her floating head, and the accreditation badges hanging on her wrist. The sound mix of the backing singers and the beat is a pain to my ears and needs a lot of work too. On the bright side, Esma herself sounds a lot better than she did in Amsterdam and Vlatko's voice is as great as always.

The feed was off for most of the second run-through, so we just looked at funny pictures of cats during it, until we finally got the last few  leleleleleleleleleleleleleleleles of the song. The only impression I could get is that they're still very much experimenting with the staging.

Third go with some more attention to the sound - this is definitely a different backing track to what I remember, much more electronic (even during his parts). I guess it's ready for the clubs, but not quite sure yet if the new mix works for the better overall. The backing singers are supporting Esma during much of her actual lyrics part - good idea, I think. Vlatko had a few problems with his earpiece, but overall an improvement on the first run and the press theatre liked this.

Last runthrough and it all seems much more competent now, with Esma having more charisma in her little finger than much of the acts we've seen put together. I'm still not sure about that sound mix though. At least there's no DUBSTEP...


Well, now we know what happened to the I from Sylvia Vrethammar's magic SYLVIA glass letters. It stayed in Malmö Arena, and a man got into it. And Fərid is sitting on top of it, with the man reflecting everything Fərid does for much of the song (invertedly. Upside down. Scary stuff).

Later the glass box becomes the Crystal Dome, the trapped man apparently collected four crystals and had twenty seconds of pink confetti swirling around him. He didn't catch any. Oh, and there was some girl wearing a long red sheet. Oh, and Fərid was as charming as always and perfect vocally, but almost nobody seemed to notice that because of the shock of everything else going on. The commentators (in countries where they're allowed humour) are going to love this.

Second go and little has changed - they've obviously rehearsed this for months to the very detail, the dancer's movements are in perfect synch with Fərid's. The sheet/trail on the girl's red dress is as long as the catwalk, literally. A much bigger sheet than San Marino (I mean Valentina's sheet, not the country) (actually the country too).

Third time with some more attention to sound mix - the backing singers are almost invisible, I only got a tiny glimpse of them (three, I think) in the dark background. But they're very much there - and they're helping him most (if not all) the time. And it's done quite well too, considering it took me so long to even notice their presence.

Last go added smoke on the stage - a nice touch I think. The glass box has become full of fingerprints by now. And after getting over the initial shock, I'm loving this a lot. Lunch time now, Sild and his banana socks will take over after me.


After doing manual searches the last two days, they've now installed metal detectors on the way into the press area - much to the displeasure of the two German fellas in front of me in line today, who seemed terribly disgruntled by the sheer inconvenience of having to take some coins out of their pockets. Pointing out that the same security measures applied at "their" ESC in Düsseldorf didn't seem to help.

Still, one of them was wearing a San Marino T-shirt bearing the logo "12 Points - Go For Final!", so they probably deserved it.

Why am I up this early!

Heading off to Malmö now. Quite a long train ride ahead of me, but it'll be made shorter as I'll keep giggling to this crazy little Icelandic video :)