Wednesday 13 May 2015

Haiku #3

Colourful LT
Blue blue competent black blue
Black blue black throw shoes

Winners and losers on Day 3

I know, #firstworldproblems and all that, but crikey, it's been a tough old afternoon in the press centre. There's a great deal of shade and not much light in the first half of the 2nd semi-final, a situation that isn't exactly aided by some remarkably similar choices on the visual presentation side of things. I swear, if I see one more blue or gold stage... sorry, who did you say was on first tomorrow?


Anyway, this makes it all the more difficult to pick out the beneficiaries from today's proceedings, but let's give it a go regardless! Things started well enough, actually, which is why I'm according "winner" status to Lithuania, who were perhaps a bit too colourful but who at least get things off to a nice and jolly start, and Ireland, where Molly was given explicit instructions from the production team on which cameras to make eye contact with - and followed them to the letter, getting more and more assured with every rehearsal.

Somewhere in the middle we find the Czech Republic, who threw their shoes and shouted at each other a lot, but garnered a warm press centre response for a competent and reasonably personality-filled performance; Portugal, who are getting as much as humanly possible out of a total B-side of a song; and actually, San Marino, which wasn't anywhere near as bad as we initially feared - though on the other hand, sadly it wasn't anywhere near as bad as we initially feared.

It might be a little churlish to classify Norway as a loser, because there was nothing fundamentally wrong with their rehearsal, but the middle section of the performance is too empty on stage and Debrah's fashion choices are quite frankly weird. Joining them near the bottom of the pile would be Malta, whose solo staging for Amber is dull and far too obviously taken from Conchita's Big Book of Inspirational Colour Schemes and Wing Designs; and, most disappointingly of all for me today, Montenegro, for whom the stage is JUST TOO DARK - it distracts from the song, as does the peculiar hoppy dance indulged in by the backing singers during the instrumental break, while Knez's "Stefan Raab in the Let's Get Happy video" face provides a further obstacle to enjoyment.

Tomorrow should be a more pleasant experience, at least, with several bookies' and fan faves to look forward to - I'm thinking of Israel, Azerbaijan, Sweden and Slovenia, for starters. Just please, no more blue stages...

Day 3 rehearsals: MT, NO, PT + CZ

Re-energised with a vegetable tartare sandwich (really), I'm ready for an afternoon of maritime nations: Malta, Norway, Portugal and, erm, Czech Republic.


Every song in the contest carries a special message. Amber does this with her powerful voice and vocal techniques, Amber takes the stage alone without the support of any backing vocals.

But enough of the press release kindly given to us. Her voice is indeed loud and she is wearing a black dress. Backdrop is quite lazy with lots of squiggles which turn into something resembling wings a la Conchita and a la Warrior Nina, First blue, then orange.

At the moment Warrior Nina is beating Warrior Amber in straight sets.

All a bit uninspiring really. But she is solid, albeit with the occasional slightly crazed look to camera.


We just had another "what is she wearing?" moment. Other than that this is basically the MGP performance but with live backing vocalists, one of whom was a little high in the mix on the first run.

Backing vocal sorted out. This is again competent. The "instrumental" part does seem a little long and we see our duo wandering about - I presume there will be dry ice there in the end,

The middle section is a problem. It is really quite boring and the walking about seems a bit without a purpose.

Still no sign of dry ice on the final run. Think they should probably stick to the steadicam during all that walking,


Another woman in black standing centre stage with predominantly blue lighting. This is getting boring. However, it was nice to have something with a bit of a beat. Leonor was fine, and even managed to create some excitement by breaking her mic stand (accidentally, alas, no rock'n'roll moment).

Backing singers in unnecessary big-rimmed Doce hats.

Leonor is singing fine and nails the key change. Another performance that is very similar to the national final.

There are some nice white lights towards the end and a wind machine helping Leonor get the hair out her eyes.


Another blue/black stage. Yay! Good vocals, Marta took her shoes off mid performance.

Oh, she took her shoes off again and threw them across the stage. It must actually be part of the performance. That's odd. Giant columny things and clouds on the backdrop, looks good.

The shoe removal is reminding me of the Moldovan hair removal last year.

But all in all, this is very solid and competent, which seem to be the words of today. Will have to work them into Haiku #3. 

Day 3 rehearsals: LT, IE, SM + ME

Guten Morgen!

Slightly sore head this morning, free wine on last night's Danube cruise you know, Anyway. Looking forward to today which should give us some entertainment I think. First off will be the Lithuanian duo, who were also on said cruise last night but who possibly drunk slighty less of the wine.


Awww, it's just so happy!  Solid first run, even most of the camera angles seemed to be working. Some walking, some holding hands and of course the kiss!  Almost psychadelic backing wall, purples and yellows.

Also a couple of great overhead shots of them choreographing the "round and round and round" very literally.

It *is* cheesy (Vaidas' own description in fact), but in a very good way. Super cute and fun. So much so you kind of forget Monika's slightly odd dress.


Backing walls of a forest, golden yellows and autumnal. Some nice sweeping steadicam work but very introverted from Molly, eyes either closed or looking down at the piano. Although that does fit the mood of the song, I think a tiny bit of contact with the camera is needed.

We managed two glances at the camera in the second run-through. This is well staged, no nonsense and no jigging man with a bodhran to come and tell you THIS IS IRELAND.

Yep, some good looks down the camera now. A very fine rehearsal and the Irish should be pleased with this.


Well that was surprisingly dull. Another one to use a globe on the backdrop, although it was spinning the wrong way (Tom spotted that). Lots of orange candley lights initially, blue at the end.

This is boringly competent. I guess I was expecting something a bit silly and foolish. This is one of the songs I've barely listened to, and I'm surprised to find that I rather like it. Oh dear,

Some very nice camera shots, including one when they walk to the back of the stage. Slightly dodgy last note. But overall it does seem a bit underwhelming after the first two today.

Anita has an air of Paula Seling about her, and really looks like she's about to get the giggles as it dawns on her that the song is very silly indeed.


More dull competence and a funny little dance (Martin likened it to the Kloden drejer hop, old people will get the reference). The backing singers also do a lot of arm waving.

Reddy orange and black stage for the most part, with the backdrop looking a bit like lava.

I'm pretty sure that Ċ½eljko literally writes these in his sleep.

And so we're halfway through today. Time flies.