Wednesday 4 May 2022

República Portuguesa

Postcard: drone shows a line of people getting tested for covid and the band is superimposed in the queue, and the camera zooms in on a positive test result. Kidding! I missed the postcard for this.

First & second run: Maro starting out with a close-up of her face and the camera slowly pans out to show the rest of the girls (all sans covid, one hopes) standing in a semi circle in the front section of the stage. The whole thing is so genuine with the soft clapping throughout and very effective camera interactions, and an intimacy as if they're telling the viewers a story. The word Saudade is featured in the background on both sides of the sun. The blend of vocals is incredible, and everything about this is magical and atmospheric. Another very dark staging with hints of dark green and purple which suits the song like a glove. Maro ends the song alone again. Perfection, wouldn't touch a thing here.

Sun's behavior: 🌔 like with Greece, there's nothing that looks out of place or that a functioning sun would seem to make better. In fact, in the opening part with Maro standing away from it, it looks quite lovely.

Qualification: 👍 in a perfect world this would win in a landslide, but it's a safe and obvious qualifier nonetheless.



Ελληνική Δημοκρατία

Postcard: a coastal town at night with Amanda superimposed next to a lovely fountain. Seems to be a nice fit to what follows.

First & second run: Amanda hitting every note in the first verse in a dark blue background surrounded by what looks like melted chairs on the floor. There's a very cool effect with the vocals here, as if it's being doubled or echoed in that first part of the song. It's really just her in that white vintage grandmother dress (which looks lovely on her, btw) and the chairs which at one point has the floor creating the effect of them melting slowly. The staging for this is professional with a perfect blend of white lighting and dark blue background, every second of this was thought out. She's making eye contact with the cameras at every close up, and you can tell we're dealing with a pro. The pre-recorded vocals at the last part are complimenting her own vocals and this is really a flawless rehearsal. Wasn't expecting to be as impressed as I was by this first run.

Sun's behavior: 🌔 much like with Austria, you can't tell it's there and when it is it's a seamless integration with the rest of the stage. They did their homework on this one.

Qualification: 👍 duh! Top 3.

PS - Portugal up next

Republik Österreich

Postcard: drone, castle on the coast, nice landscaping, castle at night and band image on wall. Have to be honest, was expecting something a bit more sophisticated or creative than this, especially from a Sanremo/Eurovision powerhouse like RAI.

First run: starts with Lumix standing with Pia in an illuminated circle yelling "what's up Eurovision, are you ready to party? Come on stand up!". Both he and Pia are totally selling this with their energy and chemistry. The staging is very slick, nothing complicated with lots of lights and the circle prop illuminated in red and white (flag pride?) blending in perfectly. Pia's vocal towards the end decided to go rogue, but it doesn't matter, they're so energetic and full of fun and you can tell they enjoy performing together. The audience in the hall will eat this up!

Second run: her vocals in the second run were much better. You can hear Pia interacting with the production at the end, she's so polite and sweet with every comment.

Sun's behavior: 🌞 on its best behavior and works seamlessly with the circle prop and the rest of the lights. You really can't even tell it's there which in its given situation is the best you can hope for.

Qualification: 👍 no way in hell this misses the final. Yes I know, going out on a limb with this prediction, but after train wrecks like Albania and Switzerland and no hopers like Slovenia, Bulgaria and Denmark I think it has very decent chances.


Postcard: ooo, beautiful coastal town with lots of pink little houses. It's very sleepy and the band's image seems to disrupt the peace.

First & second run: Miss Reddi starting slow on the piano in a green pantsuit that looks nice in the black background. Her solo seems a little too long to me. Then the stage lights up in reds and blues and you see the ladies doing their thing..oops Miss drummer dropped her stick, but gurl's a pro and she just went right on winging it. The camera shots are all over the place. The vocals were very flat for the first run but vastly improved on the second. Overall it's a very unremarkable rehearsal, not necessarily bad but there's noting that stands out.

Sun's behavior 🌘: yeah, this is where it definitely takes its toll. There are so many long shots and the LED background is solely made up of solid bright colours, so it just looks like a big black blob with no relation to the stage. I think it's a complete distraction from the performance.

Qualification: 👎 same as with Croatia, I can't see this making it.

Republika Hrvatska

Postcard: drone hovering over a nice field, then a castle by day then a castle by night and Mia superimposed on the wall. Quaint.

First run: she's in a pink dress playing a black guitar with three backing dancers interacting amongst themselves to her right, and looking moody. They're doing this movement routine that I don't quite get but the good news is that it distracts from her patchy vocals. Could be nerves. The backing vocals are clearly pre-recorded and helps give it a much-needed lift at the last bit. 

She's still on audio after it ends so she's saying "something was not right with my in-ear", and she's engaged in a techie discussion with the production. She doesn't seem pleased.

Second run: much better vocally. Oh, I just noticed there are parts in Croatian, was she doing this all along? Overall I thought this was improved, but Mia's still complaining about the audio, and she's now saying the recorded backing vocals aren't in sync. She's also not pleased with the Croatian part of the backing vocals, saying they don't come in at the right part of the song. She seems pretty upset at all this, can't say I blame her. There's some push-back from the production about the placing of the pre-recorded backing saying this is what the delegation asked for. 

Ugh, I really like her 💙

Sun's behavior 🌓: not getting in the way too much, as it does a decent lighting job. I don't get the impression it would have made too much of a difference here. In this song's staging it looks like a giant wall allowing specks of light to peep through so perhaps people won't notice that it's broken.

Qualification: 👎 odds say no and I'm inclined to agree based on this.


Ciao amici!

While we wait for Croatia (or Portugal), I'll have you know that I'll be your fly on the wall for Croatia, Denmark, Austria and Greece. I think Iceland swapped with Greece and will be featured in tomorrow's rehearsals. 

I actually only heard all 4 songs once, beyond that TikTok annoyance, so it'll be a fresh experience for me. I'll also focus on the sun's behavior, it seems to be the Jimmy Jump of this year's contest, so why not give it the respect/attention/spotlight it deserves?

 See you on the other side of whenever this restarts, which is scheduled for 15:35 CET. Baci 💋

Second rehearsal - Portugal (or not)

Postcard: The drone is now in Genoa. Again, by night. And it keeps finding images of MARO projected onto various buildings.

So apparently one of them tested positive for covid and has to isolate. And we've been seeing an empty stage being swept by a person with a broom for the last half an hour. There was just an announcement that Portugal will rehearse at some point later today. So I'm now handing over the blog to Jeremy who will guide you through the rest of the day. 

Second rehearsal - Moldova

Postcard: The drone is up late and is out flying around Italy at night. The drone's actually quite a cute little thing. It looks like it could be a pokémon. And it's been a while since we had some sort of mascot in the postcards, and this one is a nice upgrade from the Eurocat in 1990 and the birdlike creature in 1992. 

The first run-through begins. As we feared, it's the rockier narodnozabavnified version of the song. It probably made some sort of sense to include both folklore and rock 'n' roll, as that's what they're singing about. But I wish the rock parts didn't sound so slapped-on last minute. 

The guys seem to be wearing every piece of clothing they could find, not caring about anything actually having to match. There's big jackets, shorts, patterned suits, unny hats with tassles, fringy codpieces and a puppet hanging from the drums.  isually there really is a lot going on. They all start off on the main stage, jumping and running around in all sorts of directions. Eventually the singer and two other members end up on the satellite stage.

Colours: Every colour of the rainbow. But the main colour theme seems to be purple and yellow. 

Vocals: Totally fine for what it is supposed to be. 

What's new: The lead singer does a kind of choo choo train sound at the end. 

Is it live: There definitely seems to be some pre-recorded harmonies and shouts here. 

Will it qualify: I've previously been certain that it will. But I'm not so sure after this. Visually it's just a LOT to take in. And this new version isn't really helping. So I'm far less confident in its chances now than I was before. 

Second rehearsal - Netherlands

While waiting for the first run-through to begin we can hear S10 warming up her voice. She occasionally quacks a bit like a duck.

Postcard: The drone flying under some bridges over some river, then S10 being projected on some old buildings. I'm starting to see a pattern.

And we're live. The stage is very dark apart from the LED-part of the sun which is kind of off-white and beige. S10 is wearing black trousers, white sneakers, and a black cropped bellybutton-showing blazer with nothing underneath. (A 2022 version of this?).  She's all alone on stage, starting off on a black podium lined with white LED-lights. Later on she takes a walk to the front of the stage.

Vocals: She's sounding very competent and hits every note just fine. 

Is it live: During the oh-oh and ah-ah bits of the chorus there are some audible backing vocals. As they're not seen on stage it's possible that they're pre-recorded, but they also sound quite live. So they could be off-stage backing singers that we haven't seen in the soundcheck photos yet.

Colours: Black. Lots of black. 

Will it qualify: It comes across as a pretty safe one to do so. If it does, I think it would be the first song in Dutch to qualify from a Eurovision semifinal since 1996?

The stage during the Netherlands

Second rehearsal - Bulgaria

And Bulgaria is live!

Postcard: The robot drone is flying over a green countryside and some old castle-like structure. 

The lead singer of Intelligent Music Project is today wearing his hair loose and curly. Starts of with a hat, which clearly gets removed. The performance is a pretty standard rock band line-up. Singer in the middle, people with instruments spread out on his sides. The drummer is on a podium to the left, the keyboardist on another podium to the right. They're all wearing various forms of black. Some of them glittery versions of it, but it doesn't come across as tacky. 

In the last run-through I also noticed that the last shot of the song shows off the outline of a dove (the peacy kind) on the floor. Probably meant as an anti-war statement. But the outline is in a yellow-orangy colour which makes it look a bit as if it's on fire. (Is this the inspiration?)

Vocals: It sounds professional and solid. The guys all clearly know what they're doing. But there's also nothing new here that we haven't seen or heard before.

Is it live? I'm gonna say that a lot of what we hear probably is. The backing vocals in the chorus are probably mostly pre-recorded, since we hear more vocals than the number of people with microphones on stage. But it's nothing that's too obvious for a TV viewer.

Props: A half-globe shaped structure in front of the LED-part of the kinetic sun, which looks like a bunch of 🔉-shaped speakers. Two podiums.

Colours: Starts off very grey and white, then spends some time with blues and oranges until it eventually ends with a lot of yellow.

Is it a qualifier? This type of music definitely has it's audience, and they're performing this professionally and like a textbook example of how to perform an 80s rock song. But there is probably not much in there to make people who aren't normally fans of this music pick up their phones and vote. 

Second rehearsal - Ukraine

Time for me to take over the torch and do some blogging! 

Currently watching the Slovenian press conference (attended by about 7 people) but soon it's time to see what Ukraine will give us on stage.

And we're live!

The postcard has a cute robot drone flying over some city where images of Kalush Orchestra are superimposed over lawns and walls and whatnots, accompanied by cutesy music. 

The performance starts off with the sun actually looking like a sun, as the camera zooms in on the stage where all six guys are lined up in a row.  That first shot looks really pretty. Then as the beat kicks they all start moving and jumping around and it goes a bit messy. Overall quite similar to what we've seen in the NF performance. Though the outfits seem oddly uncoordinated. Two of the guys are wearing what looks like the result of Cousin Itt and a German flag having a baby. 

Vocals: The rapping is fine. The singing is a bit rough. But not in a way that I think will bother viewers too much. 

Colours: Orange. Lots of orange light. 

What's new: The intro from the NF version is cut, so the song starts with the chorus just like the Spotify version. 

Is it live: Well, yes and no. The singer and the rapper are obviously live, but the chorus uses pre-recorded backing vocals quite extensively. Not enough to hide a couple of missed notes. But then again, in a song like this it surely doesn't matter a whole lot. 

Will it qualify: Surely. Will it win? Who knows. It doesn't come across as something that'd win a regular year, but rather potentially be mid top 10. And in a year like this, maybe that will be enough. 




 We've all already seen the pictures of the boys in front of (well, one on top of) a giant disco ball. What we may have not seen yet is the ball having wheels, clearly visible in many shots so they're not even trying to hide it, but looks more like an office chair that way.

At the second chorus (I think that's the chorus?) they're all standing around it, and the camera goes around them in circles. Exciting.

Oh, and the drummer isn't on the ball, he's on a plinth well behind it.

To repeat my comment from last year: RTVSLO is a low-budget broadcaster, isn't it. To be fair - I appreciate that they're not pretending it's any more than a school production, and they're making the best of it.

They're vocally fine, there's really nothing more to say about this performance, so here's my take on the stage:

The Turin stage is... absolutely fine. If I hadn't known about the sun-drama, I wouldn't have noticed anything. There's a million things it can do. My main disappointment is that I hoped for something more Italian/Sanremo-esque, but it feels like it could be any of the recent Wieder stages. Jonas will be with you next for Ukraine.


 Drone is taking us to some very very Italian picturesque seaside town which seems as far away from the Swiss border as possible.

This is the first staging that draws me in (and I never really rated this song). They're doing the right things to keep my attention. Silhouettes of a "boy" in the background and lights projected on Marius' face in the shapes of a broken heart, it's all selling this as much as it could and 3 minutes have gone by very fast.

Illustration - I swear it looks better

Some more visible camera equipment they need to work on before the live shows, besides this it's all really effective and the first thing I've seen today that means business.


 Another "nice but uninteresting" drone postcard. There's a very lovely national flag display on the stage arches when the postcard ends, that with the Lithuanian colours looks like a rainbow. 🌈

Monika has clearly watched Barbara Pravi and tries to serenade the camera in a similar way. Unfortunately this comes off to me more like Jurijus Veklenko - camera showing the singer from all possible angles and moving directions where the singer itself doesn't move around.

There's also a mirroring screen effect so we see two of her at a few points.

The floor has zebra lines moving around, that later turn into a blue cloud. The sun is a disco ball, apparently this is one of the countries that counted on it to rotate but I'm not sure it would have been enough because the whole thing is quite uniteresting - despite Monika being very sweet and just fine vocally.


 Yay, stream! And yay, postcard! It's some city at night with a drone. Quite sleek as a postcard, unfortunately not like 1991.

Citi Zeni are being themselves. Every colour imaginable is either worn by them or is on the LED. The most effective part is when it all goes black and white and we see the sax player in front of a very bright sun - it looks great but by that point I've already lost my patience with the song.

I think there's a lot of pre-recorded vocals here. At least the chorus sounds very studio-y. The boy in green is obviously live, including a "Europe make us proud" or something like that adlib. And there's a "You're welcome Europe" in the end... ok then.

Bonus: Backdrop has giant cherry 🍒 and avocado 🥑 emojis!


 Literally a sekret, it seems. 10 minutes in and all that's on the screen is a giant "-6". Hard to tell if it's a timer gone wrong, a temperature or a very unusual staging concept.

At least this we're allowed to share, I think:

Join us for Latvia in a few minutes, sems that they've fixed the issue so we should see that one.

Hopping over to Turin

So, it begins. At least for the non-influencer press.

Apparently, while most of us were busy panicking about the stage malfunction, much of Turin has been concerned about a more threatenting situation, as reported by Torino News 24. A rogue deer has caused havoc in the city.


See you in the morning for Albania, for which I'll hopefully wake up, and Ronela will have hopefully come up with a child-safe routine.