Friday 21 May 2021

ESC week | Friday | Final | First Dress Rehearsal

I've just finished watching a playlist of all the final entries in running order, and now I'm... gonna watch all the final entries in running order. We're ready for the first dress rehearsal of this year's Eurovision final! Wonder if any of the Semi 2 qualifiers will have a distinct look of bed hair or hangover breath, or if they were all good boys and girls and went straight to bed as soon as the ever-awkward press conferences were over and done with?

And we are rolling, a few minutes delayed! Introduction film features Duncan and various randomers, who all seem to "connect" via Vasil's chest light flying about across all of Europe and gathering in Rotterdam, and we're inside!

Flag parade is relatively simple and efficient, just announcement of the country, some flags on the backdrop and artists coming out on stage. Way to, instead of some of the veeeeery slow ones we've had.

Oh, I spoke too soon, the hosts are suddenly singing the lady razor ad song in the middle!

Lots of casual outfits in the parade, wonder if they'll stay like that for their performances, or just got up ten minutes to do this and heading to the wasrdrobe. Senhit didn't even get up, some randomer (may or may not have been Flo, I'm gay too) walked on stage in her place.

Not much chitchat from the hosts before we're at it with Cyprus - this really went fast! A bit too fast, even, as there's some panicked shouting after the Cypriot postcard, and Chantal literally getting thrown in front of the camera to do some filling. Hvis det er lov å si...

We know what we're getting with Cyprus, which is probably exactly why it's on first, and why so many of us predicted exactly that. It really deserves to do better than Tamta did, but I'm not sure it will. Somewhat surprisingly, I think it will come down to the juries, as I think most viewers will have forgotten it come voting time.

Maastricht Albania
I'm a little surprised they put this right after Cyprus, not that they're particularly similar [insert discussion about what constitutes as a ballad, a waltz, etc here], but because of the overall red feel. I guess this just had a massive big NUMBER TWO post-it stuck on its back if it qualified, so here we are. She's glorious, of course, even without make-up.

I had this down as 'decent but forgotten, last place' in the semi up until rehearsals, but as you might have guessed, my tarot cards clearly need a change of battery. Or maybe I'll just lay them out again for the final...? #3 isn't exactly great news for this.

She has some great HEYs here and there throughout, but other than that, this whole thing feels like a very long intro to her squeals.

Geike's hair looks less unwashed than it did on Tuesday, but very fuzzy. Makes me relate to this more than ever, I'm a fellow newly-washed-dried-but-undone-hair-just-looks-like-a-fuzzy-mop.

Manizha gets PIZZA! I wannit.

While several others are looking like they just got up, she's as perky and adorable as ever. On paper a quite nothingy draw for this, in this deadland early on and just before a big favourite, but I think it's one of the entries whose draw will matter the least - it is what it is either way, and will get its fair share of votes no matter what. Preferrably about 700 hundred of them, but I'll settle for 600 too.

I've woken up humming LAAADIIIIEEEES pretty much every morning this week, today was no different. I think the performance takes a while to get going, and as such feels a little lost in the draw here, but once it and she gets going... holy heck.



Hahaha, the contrast, RAMBAMBAM! Glorious running order decision here. I feel like I've seen Hurricane more often without make-up than Noel Kelehan lately, that's not something I'd expected!

This is possibly the one I most misjudged before last night, as I felt it was a bit dull and uninteresting, but somehow it really clicked yesterday, and still does. Mainly thanks to them - half of them may not be singing much, but by gosh, they're performers!

We get a winner in the fan video challenge from Nikkie, as well as a greeting from Valentina. No, not that one, the little one.

United Kingdom
There used to be a myth that being on after a break was bad news, wasn't there, after Netherlands didn't qualify with Treble and such? Well, for James it's certainly good news getting separated a bit from Serbia, as those two back to back in the recap that popped up on YouTube last night was slaughtering these poor trumpets.

James is indeed back in black instead of the tinfoil wrapping, luckily. Not that that's going to help anyone with anything.

Lot's of food in the postcard, I'm getting peckish...

Hm, it sounds like she's singing double, is there a backing or tape singing the same just not quite in time? I bet OGAE Greece knows.

Most things that's to be said about this whole effect thing has already been said, I suppose. As she's lying down and floating about you get the sense that they'd probably planned all of this for Superg!rl last year, so she could get a cape on and fly or something, and then had spent so much time and effort on it that they just stuck with it. Cos surely they can't have thought it was a particularly good match for this song.

She's notnin great voice towards the end, but there was a specific growl that I somehow really liked, even if it sounded off - it just made the whole thing feel a little more natural and "vibrant" than before, which was much needed. But she didn't look particularly pleased herself!

His bed hair is disappointingly similar to his normal hair, no particular shrinkage or growage.

There's lots of odd decisions in this, but somehow none of them are bad, it all adds up nicely. The blinking backing wall for the last bit is perfection, but OUCH, his singing for that bit wasn't! He's been perfect for any other run though, so I'm sure he'll be fine when it matters.

In the aforementioned YouTube-recap I thought this felt very "thin" and ordinary when it came on in this order, but I'm not sure if that's because think it's thin and ordinary, or because it is. I don't trust my judgement on this.

<Attenborough voice> This is a rare sighting of the flat-haired Blas in the wild, approach with great caution or it might get startled </Attenborough voice>

Interesting choice to put this in this spot, it seemed like an easy one to "sacrifice" early on, but I appreciate it. There's no rushed Herewego before the howls today, and apart from some dubious notes here and there, I'd say this was pretty decent.

I was a bit surprised at some of the massive notes in this yesterday, did bloggers forget to mention them or have I just not been reading properly? She's very much just going through the motions here, and looking like she'd rather be somewhere else. Maybe she'd like to be in the wilderness looking for Blases.

There's both too much and not enough here, somehow. Too many words, to many points to make, to many "fun" things they want to get across - and yet it's just some people that aren't particularly good at what they're doing running back and forth on a big stage. I wish he'd take a nap.

Quite a surprising 'last envelope' yesterday! But I suppose it went down well in the hall, which would be a decent enough reasoning. Or maybe it was actually [gasp!] random?! There's for sure still an audience for this even in this (bigger and better) company, but will it be enough to get into the top 10s out of Estonia, Sweden and Norway? I doubt it.

Edsilia is high up in the arena, surely the highest point in Netherlands? 🏔 She's talking to Danish and Russian commentators, which is a surprising choice, but a nice change from the obvious Graham Norton!

Favourite thing about this entry is all the animals in the postcard, any chance they can switch song and postcard last minute?

This seems to have plummeted in the odds after last night, does this mean that I've been right all along in thinking this is nice and all, but not at all as special and winnery (and EMOTIONAL etc etc) as we've been led to believe? Again there's absolutely no wrongdoings here, so if this fails completely, it truly was never meant to be.

Was their shade of yellow always this pale? It looks like the kind of yellow people painted their hallways in in 1992. I can't help thinking that this whole thing is a little paler than you'd expect too, which I guess is proof of how good Eurovision has gotten. When something as bright and different and well executed as this can disappear, you know you're in for a good show!

We got the Ukrainian postcard, but then Chantal pops by to talk about opening up (that's what she said), as introduction to a video of Duncan asking us to open up (that's literally what she said).

I assume the break is meant to be before the postcard rather than in between, maybe they just got Fionnualaed as they were looking forward to Ukraine. Understandable.

There's bits of the backing action I find a bit messy and incoherent for the first half of this, with the various men in white running about to do this and that, but it's all forgotten when we get to the buildup to PLING * POW * RUN. The geese are back!

I need a wee and this is exactly like it has been since January, so enjoy or not, do as you please.

Oh, but there was a delay so Chantal had to chitchat about the app, so I didn't miss anything after all! Probably took them a while to unbump all the geese and herd them off the stage after Ukraine.

Yay, the fistbump with cameraman is still there!

Efendi looking rather lovely out of show make-up, somehow making it feel a bit less calculated and more human. Let's go! 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Qualifying always felt more or less like the ceiling of this resultwise, and there's nothing here changing my mind. He's singing it well enough, and it's as wingy as always. Sunglasses goes off before the golden NOOOO, and stays off until the end.

The contrast in professionalism after Norway is quite striking, and so is his face, smile and chest. The photobomber-bird-dancer completely overshadows Jeangu for the first chorus or so, but somehow it doesn't really ruin the connection, Jeangu is charismatic enough to pull you right back in when he wants to.

I can't see the average viewer going for this in any big way, but I really hope enough juries will take note and reward accordingly.

The start here is downright brilliant, with him inviting us in from the back of stage, and completely taking command from the get go, as he leads us onto the main stage. Once we get there though, I can't help feeling it gets a bit samey after a while, which underlines my main beef with this all season, that as a song it isn't quite as good as I wish it were, but rather a bit repetitive.

Then, however, the pyro starts, and this is all just a massive orgy of fire, lights, camerawork, guitars and professionalism. Geese are back.

This is quite 'good draw in theory but actually drowning', isn't it? I've always found the song quite flat and average though, so I'm not the most trustworthy judge here. You can trust me that his 'Can you here them's are quite awful though. I'd rather not hear them, please.

San Marino
Sticking Flo on at the very end felt like a very obvious thing to do, and it's probably good news for San Marino. It was great as a semi opener, with far less (and less good) competition, but I assume it would've disappeared a bit if it were to be first in the final.

Similar to Malta and Ukraine, this almost has to be judged as two separate entries, pre- and post-Rida. Not that he necessarily makes it that different, but just the whole mood and set up for the song gets so much better in the second half, and everyone seem to be enjoying themselves fra more. It better be their best result ever, Serhat being above this would be all kinds of wrong!


Interval acts
Afrojack ft. Wulf and Glennis Grace will be binding us (?) through music via a video, I'm hoping for some gauntlet-throwing.

Glennis appears without gauntlets, but she's singing Titanium, so I can forgive. She's also very Destiny-pink - maybe this is why Destiny decided to change?

After another recaptje, Nikkie's tutorial focuses on voting spokespeople, which is a fun twist. And we get Dayna falling with the trophy, which is always good!

We're then back to Nikkie in the hall, where she stubles in all her words while introducing a Making of film - these are sometimes quite fun, but this is thoroughly generic, and mainly consists of people walking through doors and smiling.

Edsilia is out driving with past winners, and they're all very huggy and kissy, which feels... like, not quite the signal you want to be sending in the current climate.

A nice segment celebrating the Eurovision audience (not specifically the Rotterdam, but all of us, every year), and then we get another recaptje. Destiny still kicks ass.

And it's time to rock the roof, with the rooftop performances of previous winners. Hope Paparizou hasn't been standing up there in the cold without thermal underwear since Tuesday...

No surprises in Måns's rendition of Heroes, it's still as average as it always was, but the balloon guy seems to fly around and above him, which looks quite cute. Teach-In is one of my least favourite winners ever, but it's actually quite sweet here, mainly because 1975 is about four hundred years ago, so these people all look like lovely grandparents.

At the other end of the scale, De troubadour is one of the best winners ever, but they seem to have processed it through a Sieneke-machine here, or via the generic-ator of one of those Swedish dansbands that record new versions of anything with a chorus.

And the endless row of interval acts just keep rolling in, with no sign of any voting countdown, so surely there's more to come after this too... We're treated with Duncan Laurance performing Arcade, before transitioning into his new song. Nice they managed to get a recording of him on stage before he had to get locked up, but the whole thing suffers a bit from clearly happening in an empty arena. Maybe it'll be better during the show tomorrow, if they can add some crowd noise and such.

His new song would not have won Eurovision, for the record, unless it was up against Rafał and only him.

The Countdown
It's finally time, and they've actually made a dance out of it! A bunch of people dressed in blue creating shapes of the "seconds" on stage, though clearly 10 seconds go by a bit faster than that? Maybe it's the timezones.

The result
So there actually doesn't seem to be any more interval acts after they closed the lines - just a brief greenroom interview by Edsilia. Can it possibly be this quick? Or are we just going to be getting a lot more Edsilia-chat once there's actual people there to talk to?

Running order for the final

01 Cyprus
02 Albania
03 Israel
04 Belgium
05 Russia
06 Malta
07 Portugal
08 Serbia
09 United Kingdom
10 Greece
11 Switzerland
12 Iceland
13 Spain
14 Moldova
15 Germany
16 Finland
17 Bulgaria
18 Lithuania
19 Ukraine
20 France
21 Azerbaijan
22 Norway
23 Netherlands
24 Italy
25 Sweden
26 San Marino

Some observations (from myself and/or posters on our Message Board)
- Albania gets a 2nd position again, after 2019
- Malta, as one of the hot bookie faves is on rather early
- The middle finger on stage from Germany is immediately followed by a song mentioning middle fingers.
- Efendi is followed by TIX ...
- The end of the first half has two high-pitched male singers rather close
- While Finland was following Bulgaria in the second semi-final, these contrasting entries will be next to each other again but in reversed order.
- Also Belgium and Israel are 'neighbours' again, and again in reverse order compared to the first semi-final.
- Eight of the ten semi-final two qualifiers are in positions 7 to 17,  with only three automatic finalists between them, and no qualifiers from semi-final one.