Wednesday 30 April 2014

Rehearsals1 SF2 (Part 4)

No breaks allowed and moving swiftly on to the next entry:

What is going on? I mean the song is what it is, and yes, it's not usual for Eurovision but really, are we sure there was a choreography here? They all just seem to be doing their own thing and it's the camera's job to find them. This song really polarises people, already comments being said about Greece winning the semi-final (and no, the comments are not coming from Greeks or Greekophiles) and others saying it will struggle to qualify.

Vocally it is not good - very messy and parts seem to be just shoved in. Rise Up is not a song that really needs good vocals but there needs to be some harmony. The rehearsals seem to be a mish-mash of keeping to the lyrics and adding impromptu words and phrases during the parts which were previously instrumental.

One bit of amazing news: The trampoline makes an appearance on the Eurovision stage. Nothing like three grown men on a trampoline to really get your attention. And no, it's all the three members of the team, it's two plus a Greek gymnast (or at least we assume he is). This gimmick is just as polarising as the song itself. Some thinking it a great fun idea and others just mesmerised at the randomness of it all. There will be much discussion in the land of the Hellenes later on today I believe.

 Nikos Fortune
 Theo Fortune
 Risky Kidd

Dressed in blue, Tinkara is hitting the notes well. The stage, as you could have guessed, is using many circular moving motifs continuing the 'round and round' theme. The steady-cam also goes round Tinkara many times, allowing all camera shots to flow into each other quite well. Three female backing singers are to the left of the screen. The song presentation is quite simple but just like Switzerland and others, it fits the song. Starting off in blue hues it then goes to gold after the bridge and into the last chorus. The wind machine also makes an appearance as it should. As per my wild prediction, this will probably make it to Saturday.

Update: There seems to be indecisiveness in the Slovene camp on what kind of microphone to have. We've had two runs with a mic stand and one with a headset. The headset seems to work better visually but it seems to be impeding Tinkara with her flute. They seem to be running through as many as they can - probably will have decided by Saturday 3rd which to go for and rehearse all those with the mic of choice.

And in addition, it seems Tinkara is having problems with the mic stand. She seems a bit annoyed about it too. She had problems putting the mic back in order to do the late flute solo and then looked 'agitated' (read: pissed) when having to grab it again after not ten seconds later. Will this have an impact on the stand or not to stand situation?

They are trying to have a super-imposed image of Paula at the beginning of the song - like the hologram which they had in the national final, but the timing didn't work in round one. We also see that this time, the piano is in a circular form and is... well... innovative to say the least. The backdrop is mainly of golden butterflies and heart shapes. Not the cleanest of routines we've seen but remember it is the first rehearsal so things are never polished at this stage. Waiting for the next rounds to see improvements.

Round two also sees audio issue in the press room in the beginning of the song. Paula's image still didn't work correctly and people are starting to openly laugh at the entry. There seems to be an intention to make us believe that they are a couple - but although they undoubtedly work well together, it is obvious that there is no romance off stage between the two. Excited and delighted to see what happens in the next run!

Run three and IT WORKED! THE HOLOGRAM WORKED! We're still not sure about Ovi in the circle piano but oh well, we've seen it enough times now to not be so shocked by it any more. This already seems to be coming together much better than it did before. Don't dismiss this entry just yet, Romania have not missed out on a final spot ever and don't think this will be their first.

And that is me for today! All rehearsals are done and it is just left to try and find out which will qualify and which will not. As we did for semi 1, my prediction at the moment is:

Qualifying (in performance order)
FYR Macedonia

Non-Qualifying (in performance order)

See you all now on Friday for another day of blogging and maybe more! It's a miracle!

Rehearsals1 SF2 (Part 3)

Sill haven't had lunch yet but oh well, much to busy talking about how we should be getting Andorra to come back into the final with the guys from 12 points 4 Sweden! (it's in Italian). We already have the whole plan at hand and it is just a case of waiting for RTVA to listen to reason and let us dictate everything of their entry.

Ireland is on stage and we can see them but there seems to be tech issues so poor Can-Linn is just hanging around waiting for someone to tell her when she can start.

The audio is quite low in the hall so can barely hear the vocals over the backing track, and even this is quite low. The stage looks lovely, lots of Celtic motifs there and playing with the Emerald and Gold colours of Ireland.

There are men in skirts on stage! And no, it's not Conchita again. The backing dancers are doing the Irish dancing as they were bound to do. The violin solo is quite good and the stage presence seems to be good (not great yet but workable). There is a need though for Can-Linn to belt the tune out more, she seems to either be nervous or just trying not to strain herself too much - but doing it like this would not get many voters.

Second run through and I notice the lightening at the back of the stage. Can-Linn needs to connect more with the screen sine she seems to just have an indifferent glance to it which I don't think will be appreciated in the living rooms of Europe.

If this is her costume, it is long! and golden! and sparkly! And there is a wind-machine which is much needed.

Four male backing dancers/singers accompany Teo on stage. A fifth is at the back of the stage but is not a dancer, just backing singer (I guess he wasn't as popular as the rest). They do their little Robin Thicke routine and well, that's it really. The backings use the catwaks but Robin Teo doesn't. Not very imaginative use of the stage and background. You could have imagined the act a while ago even without any knowledge of the arts. And you're singing about Cheesecake? (well the word anyway - who do you know that calls their partner "cheesecake"?) Not well received in the press hall, total silence.

Most importantly: Is cheesecake cake? And what if it looks like this?


FYR Macedonia
When you come on stage wearing a top saying "That's Bullshit Darling" you cannot but love her! Well, you should only love her but a sigh of disappointment enveloped the press hall since we were expecting so much from this song! Attitude, wind machines and pyro, naked men, but nothing! Not even a gas mask could be seen on stage *sad face*.

Top like the one Tijana is wearing on stage

There are  three backing singers - two male, one female - and a male backing dancer. Tijana and the backing dancer should be performing some of the routine together but they don't seem to hit the timing right. Also, we know Tijana has attitude, she should be grabbing the balls out of the song and owning it on stage but it seems she is just a piece in the play and not the main act. I do hope there will be some talk at the viewing room since we all want to see Skopje in the final. Vocally the second run was much better than the first but from what we have seen and know about Tijana, she can sing and can pull it out of the bag when needed - no worries there.

Well, at least the dance routine to the chorus is quite easy, twirl your right hand twice in the air and then point straight up. Repeat ad nauseam.

Well, they're all there. The group starts together in the centre stage and move to the catwalk (apart from the drummer since he would find it a bit hard). There's a lot of frantic beating of drums while singing and whistling. "Interesting" would be a good word for the performance. Vocally quite good, and the whistling is flawless, we assume it is live since we don't think the EBU would allow it on the backing track. Visually not moving too far from the concept of Die Grosse Entscheidungsshow (Swiss selection show) but why would they? It seems fitting for the song and therefore why fix it? Will it be enough to see them through to Saturday? Will Switzerland and Malta share votes? Unlikely but we will find out soon enough.


Rehearsals1 SF2 (Part 2)

And would you believe it! Day 3 has come upon us and we are back in the press centre to blog about the final acts competing in Semi 2. This is a good feat considering that yours truly was at the Euroclub until quite late last night singing to a bunch of Eurovision greats such as Todas as ruas do amor, Quedaté Conmigo and many more which I don't remember. The Eurocafé which was supposed to be our stop for the night was closed early since it didn't have enough patrons by midnight. Euroclub was not fairing much better with a total of around 10 people on the dance floor when our group of four arrived. Thankfully the upstairs was open for the annual murdering of songs by wannabe starlets. The below picture was taking during a rendition of Hallelujah with Toby Carmel, Assistant Head of Press for the San Marino delegation and DQ of Denmark 2007 fame.

But back to the job at hand, the songs of this morning:

Simple and effective staging, starting dark and moving to red and orange tones in first chorus. Conchita dressed in her traditional black today but will this change later on? She is on a white podium and has dry ice enveloping the floor of the stage. Vocally totally working - even the high notes at such an early hour. Backdrop seems to play with the idea of Conchita having firey wings. No gimmick to the song, which is a good thing since it doesn't need any. Ask yourself "Would Victoria Beckham do it?" If the answer is no, then don't expect Conchita to! No backing singers to the song - not that they are required and Conchita does a great job standing on spot throughout the song.

Run two and three are quite similar to one, still great vocally and receiving a big applause from the gathered press. We expect her to have a wind machine since the song is clearly needing one but apart from that hurra!
This was one I was waiting for this morning - not because I have any major feeling about the song but just because the last two years I got 9/10 in the Lithuanian semi final, and Lithuania was always the one who made me miss the perfect score. Not much more enlightened after the first run - the song is messy, the dancing is messy, the vocals are messy - but it's Lithuania so I am not sure I can just say no. Need to see it more times in order to get a better opinion.

Run two took a while to happen but we have it now. Just Vilija and her dancer on stage but they do move around quite a lot on it, using most of the space. First time I see smoke columns coming from the stage this year. There is lots of me saying this won't make it but then my head just doesn't want to commit. I say a definite maybe.
A hint of the music video here. Much playing with lighting on stage but everything seems to complement the song nicely. Vocals are a bit low but sound good - it is just that the guy in charge of the sound board that needs to find the right mix. The boys seem to be comfortable on stage and even though they don't move around, they own the stage in the camera shots. In general the song is working well and will not find it too hard to go through to Saturday. Could do with a bit of pyro - just because which song could do without!?

One thing I did not notice in the first run (unless it's a new thing) is that the guy playing the piano is facing stage right, while all the others are facing stage front. I guess it's fine, but it does seem he is not connected as much as the others. And the drummer is going mental, bashing his instrument like there's no tomorrow! I guess it's just youthful excitement and he will calm down the more rehearsals he does.

Run three done and it seems that the lead singer is getting a bit tired already - someone should tell him there is quite a lot more of this for him to expect. Not sure if this was the last run or not but not much more to say about the song. Qualifying me thinks.

Smiling is not allowed in Finland. EVER!

Now for a break. Will check the Austrian Meet and Greet later on and then back for the continuation of the Semi 2 hopefuls.