Friday 2 May 2014

Time to get to Denmark!

The journey towards Copenhagen has begun. Although I won't arrive until tomorrow... First I am having a bit of a stopover in Stockholm. I must be one of the few delegates who will (partly) travel by ferry to Eurovision. You might wonder why? Well, even though the Åland Islands do have a proper airport, there are very few flights and they cost ridiculously much. So taking the 2-hour evening ferry for 2,5 euro is a much nicer alternative ;-) And then a flight tomorrow morning.

Tomorrrow I'll give you some reports from the backstage area where I will be spending a large part of the afternoon. 
I'm hoping the Irish rehearsal will go well. I was really happy with the little bit I saw if the first one. I love the backdrop, it reminds me of a vintage video game from the late 80s or so. You can almost see Super Mario jumping around across those cubes while avoiding falling into the sea :)
Anyway, it seems it's a thing people either love or hate, judging by reviews so far. Hoping some of the haters might be swayed over later :-)

We want to be yours! Oh..oh oh oh oh

And continuing for the last part of the evening - and we get to get woken up a bit by the lovely Suzy who wants to be ours! Well, she's not the usual cup of tea of the fan base but she can try I guess, stranger things have happened!

How many times has this been sung at the Eurocafé? How many Suzy shakes have we seen? Many people think this is a definite qualifier also. I beg to differ - but have been proven wrong on many-an-occasion. I wonder if Suzy will be asked about her being mugged in her hotel lobby! 

One thing one cannot but agree is that Suzy knows her audience. She has given Tijana a run for her money in sassyness and playing up to the tendancies of the present press. Even if one may not appreciate the song, one cannot but feel happy for her since you can see she is absolutely loving being here - which makes what happened to her earlier this week even a bit sader, but it seems she hasn't let it dampen her spirits. 

All in all this is a good song, vocals could be better and the routine is well... entertaining on tv but not sure Europe will be that entertained by it to give it a top 10, especially the juries.

Your opinion? Comment here or in the Message Board.

Not much has changed from the first rehearsal and that's a good thing - means it will hopefully keep on doing well. Eye contact with eachother and the camera is working great and the song really makes an impact by its simplicity coming after Portugal which kept you looking in 10 different directions in each frame. There is a total of 12 camera angles it seems however this is just the runs through and anything could change before the live show. Whatever they decide to do with the camera angles, the song works well and I do not see this needing much luck in order to qualify - if a song is strong in itself, people will recognise it and vote.

How could this fail to qualify? I doubt anyone actually thinks it will be possible for it to do badly. Sergej might not be the most attractive singer of the night and he might not really move around a lot but there is enough movement from the ice-skater which now at closer range looks like she is on very thin roller blades which look like silver skate knives. If I could find a fault (and it is hard to find) it would be that the backdrop would have been a bit darker since it seems to not fully fit - but it depends on which angle you look at it. Should it be the dark of the song or the colours of the message?

Do you think Montenegro will qualify for the first time as an independant nation? You know where to comment!

Another one of the favourites and another which doesn't disappoint. Cleanly performed and good camera angles. The chemistry between the three performers on stage is good and the message is quite nicely conveyed. This is quite a heat considering the topic of the song, finding a balance to convey the appeal to a Eurovision audience while giving the song the 'respect' it deserves and not make it fall into a possible theatrical farce is quite difficult but seems to have been achieved in this case. Another one which is more than likely to be seen on the night of the 10th.

Since we have the open rehearsals, as you probably are all aware you can view them online at the official Eurovision YouTube channel. Watch and let us know what you think!

That is it for today, we are now off for a bite to eat and some rest and relaxation in order to be able to perform well at  the karaoke tonight! Until tomorrow!

Gather to breathe the morning air (well, afternoon) and later start a fire!

After the break we're back to continue this labour of love - watching screens and listening to our artists sing their tiny hearts out!

And it is amazing! Lovely song perfectly sung, and great staging. Still not sure about that trapeze artist swinging around but hard to find anything wrong with this, another easy qualifier, possibly also the winner of the semi-final. The combination of the package works so well with this song givinh immediate appeal to the general public. For those songs such as Armenia which might take a bit of getting used to before the appeal strikes, this would be more of a vote gatherer. In addition, Dilara owns the camera and has much more presence than some of the artists singing before her - giving the needed breath of air back to the evening.

Do you think Azerbaijan might win the semi or even the contest? Why not comment here or at our Message Board

Can you go tick tock?! Still that human hamster wheel on stage - but let's face it, we all secretly want one instead of a tread mill at home don't we? There are still moments where I get scared that Mariya will get her hands caught by the wheel but even though that contraption would not normally pass the health and safety legislation of most work place buildings, this is Eurovision and you need to expect a bit of pain in order to achieve greatness! Not sure about the connection between the two performers on stage but it is enough to get them through to Saturday. Still looking (to me at least) like 6 out of the first 9 songs will be making it to the final.

Unfortunately it's a bit hard to hear the Belgian entry since we have Pollapönk being interviewed by escXtra right next to us and they like to sing a lot, not that we are complaining too much about the distraction caused to us. But back to Belgium, we're on run two at the moment and "Mother" is still there not getting any less creepy. Axel is trying his best and there is the notion by most gathered "press" that he will qualify, but I am not sure he will. I don't see European drunks wanting this as their song. Not even those gathered watching in the living room of their respectable home - Azerbaijan would have already been seen and got their vote. Axel is a nice boy singing an ok song but appealing to the masses probably not.

"Interesting" would be the best way to describe this. Moldova have given us some greats in the past and this may become one of them in the list but maybe not for the epicness that is Hora din Moldova, Lăutar or Pasha Parfeny but for the camp karaoke night potential this has. You can already see the gay's Eurovision Fans of the globe perform these at their local dance floor of choice. As for the actual performance, they seem to like having a bit of everything for good measure. Not sure any more of its qualification - but still routing on the likely.


San Marino
We all secretly love this - Valentina has become a member of the Eurovision-fan community by proxy. We all meet eachother once a year and find out what happened to the other person over the past year and that's exactly what we do with Valentina. What do you think will happen in Valentina's carreer in the next 12 months? Start getting your questions ready to be asked in ESC2015!

As a performance it is ok still. Valentina is dressed in white with her blue shell backdrop and she can sing as always. The song however doesn't have the appeal that Crisalide had last year, and clearly less enthousiasm from the fan community than her previous attempt. A couple of people have mentioned - very accurately I believe - it seems the song was written for a musical and not the Eurovision Song Contest. 

Is Valentina singing her ESC Swan Song? Comment here or in the Message Board.
 Another small break and we're back with the remaining songs!

Round and round again we... rehearsals start again!

So, after a delightful day off from rehearsals we're back at the wonderful press tent ready to start a full day of eventful singing, dancing, pyro and wind-machine action. Long day ahead but we will get through it if we all give a little!

Good rehearsal for the first two rounds. Quite slick and working well. Not sure about this song going the full journey and having us in Yerevan next year (where will the Maltese 12 points go if that happens?) but it is not in any fear of a non-qualification.

There is a test in round three, not sure if this will be in the show or not. Not sure what the test is though, we went through the whole thing and I did not see a difference. Oh well, I'm sure whoever was in charge of the test is happy.

Question to the audience: Where do you think DR will place Aram on Saturday night?

Was going good until he nearly dropped the microphone from the stand by hitting it with his face. First run stopped and we restart.

I'm quite impressed with the vocals of this - mainly because of all the partying going on in this years' Latvian delegation. Joran has been in Euroclub every night and he is not shy of having a drink or two while there. This is the essence of the Eurovision fan, even though you know it's a very bad idea, you go to Euroclub anyway. I would love to see this go through and it could be the dark horse of the night, unlikely, but wouldn't it be great if it were?

First run was not able to be seen in the press area since the screens were down. In the second round there seems to have been a few issues in timing and then trying to get back in synch (Tanja and dancers). At one point Tanja starts furking under her top and you can see something is going wrong and she is trying to fix it. At the end of the second run, the mic pack fell off completely which clearly was not what Tanja wanted. I even if this is not fixed right now, it will definitely be something worked upon before Tuesday.

Another run to follow soon.

And the second run is a lot better. As long as the mic pack stays in place there is another song to go to Saturday.

Just announced that they are seeing if they can make the change in time. Sweden apparently has a lot of props to bring up on stage... wonder what they are!

Well, I guess that there must have been some kind of confusion since I see no props - which is a good thing since it really doesn't need them. A good rendition of the song even though a couple of notes were not completely there.

The following run throughs were just as good, and the notes are improving. Another good contender and an entry to be proud of!

And oh my! Seems like we've already reached the loving everything stage of Eurovision. The camera angles work very well and the guys have this atmosphere which is quite catchy. I can see people in their living rooms boogying along to this sing-a-long. If this had been in Semi 2 would be questioning its ability to qualify? But alas it is in Semi 1 and after a good couple of songs, so could it be unlucky because of the draw? Or is this blogger just a but too positive and out of touch with the Eurovision community? Why not comment below to let us know?
AlbaniaGood try, and it seems more polished than before. Does this mean it will get through? Unfortunately not so sure of that since it does not have the fun-factor that Latvia or Iceland have, which would also be borderline qualifiers. Albania also doesn't have enough diaspora who vote in Eurovision to practically guarantee them a spot in the Final show. The visual and audio part of the song is good, but unfortunately maybe missing that little something that would push people to vote song 6.
RussiaStill need to find love for this song, and admittedly I am warming to it, but that is what always happens in this show. The hair gimmick is working better than last time and the show itself is coming together quite okayish. Regardless of the political situation, I don't believe the sisters (or Kirkorov) need to worry about missing out. Will Europe really use the Song Contest to show Russia it's disapproval of their actions? Should the twins be punished for something they personally have nothing to do with? 

Final note: We have addition of small hats, yes, little white hats, one worn to the left, the other to the right - just so you can distinguish Tolmachevy 1 from Tolmachevy 2 - not however able to distinguish who is Anastasia and who Maria.
Philip Kirkorov during the Russian press conference
As opposed to the Tolmachevy Twins during the Russian press conference

And there is a break. Back in 30