Friday 13 May 2022

Grand Final - Jury Rehearsal

Overview: there's probably not going to be much to be said or written about the songs themselves, we've all seen them live, but I'll of course focus on the Big 5 and whatever shenanigans I find worth reporting. 

And we're off at 21:00 on the dot. Cool opening sequence, a group of musicians and people singing the Beatles Give Peace a Chance to the drum roll of We Will Rock You then going to the hall with a mass clap along.  

Laura singing clad in orange and accompanied by drummers in orange too, then somehow she changes to white and sings another song. I imagine these are her Italian hits because the audience is eating this up. It's pretty cool, she's a great performer. And my feed froze but when it came back she's now in purple with purple accompanying dancers. Now we're in yellow. And now black and red with dancers doing cool Jazz hands movements. This is all very local home/arena audience centric but very enjoyable. 

21:08 - they're introducing the countries. Very nice flag colour bursts on the backing LED's with the artists coming out. Huge applause for Finland. And insane cheers for Italy, but even more insane cheers for Spain(!). It's very 2019 with the dance breaks between country blocs. Nice welcome for Ukraine of course. Another big applause for Greece, Moldova and Sweden. You can tell who the audience faves are. UK getting a huge roar. This is very colourful and a lot of fun. People at home will enjoy this.

21:13 - they're introducing the hosts. Laura is in a very chic silver glittery jacket and black pants, with Alessandro in a black glitter striped suit and Mika in white. He obviously likes his solids. The pace so far is very pleasing, they're getting right to it without too much nonsense.

Sun update: still not moving

21:16 - we're off to the first entry: Czech Republic. This is a great opener, and she's in top form nailing her vocals and the audience is cheering her along. Clever girl, she's covering her sweat with glitter. This is really getting the audience going, a fantastic choice to open. Romania up now and the clap/sing-along to the chorus is very effective, and another huge crowd pleaser. "Keep fighting for your freedom" ends the routine. Noted. Portugal goes next to a nice build-up by the audience and it's a nice contrast to the previous two, but I think it will get a bit lost. Have to point out that the audio balance and quality so far is flawless, which is emphasized by Maro's perfect vocal. Finland up next to a huge cheer and the audience is engaged from the first guitar riff and Pennywise balloon. The vocals aren't as sharp as last night, he's much more breathy here, but the audience is totally into this throughout the song with a giant cheer at the end. Switzerland is exactly the same as Tuesday but much like Portugal I fear the early draw and coming up after Finland will make this a bit forgettable.

21:37 - break, with Green Room banter between Alessandro and Mika. Thine may pee. Oops, I take it back. Don't, because we're immediately on to France. First time seeing this for me, what an interesting language. The performance is all very Voda and the audience is clapping along, the stage effects are beautiful in green with a ton of fire everywhere on stage, and it's another big crowd pleaser. Moving along quickly, still keeping a good pace and we're on to Norway which is exactly as before with lots of audience engagement. Armenia up next sponsored by 3M. Actually, not, the Armenian postcard is followed by Mika in the Green Room doing the rounds with some artists. He's about to chat with Maro, but then leaves her and introduces the song..awkward. Same same presentation with the Post-It's and the pleasant vocals but this time she destroys the paper circle in one push. Thatta girl! 

21:51 - back to the hosts, with banter by Laura, who changed into a purple dress, and Mika. They're introducing a one minute rundown clip of the semis, set to some cool electronic music. Then back to the Green Room for the three of them, and introducing Italy to a huge roar. Mahmood in a sleeveless navy kimono top and Blanco in a glittered black suit. This is gorgeous, with the audience singing along throughout. Any hint of holding back in the rehearsals is gone, this is an incredible performance, worthy of a top 2 result - at least so far. Another huge crowd pleaser, Spain, is up now, and it's fantastic! More sing alonging by the audience, they came prepared knowing many of the lyrics, and they're going berserk! What a cheer at the end, it's going on and on even surpassing the home entry.  A huge contrast now with The Netherlands which is even better than her Tuesday performance, with sharp vocals from the getgo. The audience is engaged and cheering her on with singing along and clapping to the ooo-ooo ahh-ahh bits. So far this is an excellent Final! All-time odds faves, Ukraine, are up now and not missing a beat. Big clapping along and cheering at the last part of the song and of course a giant cheer as they end.

22:10 - back to a brief Green Room break with Alessandro and Mika and right on to Germany. His postcard is the arena, which is cool. The set-up is intimate and fitting to the song with rugs and studio equipment like it's a jam session. This is really different than anything before it, in a good way. I hope it stands out for the voters as it deserves, he's so completely one with the song. Moving along to the cool jazz club vibe of Lithuania, which is even better hearing it a second time, she's such a natural with her facial and hand gestures. On to Azerbaijan, the audience is getting a bit more quiet now and seems less engaged. Guessing the juries put him through and they'll probably be liking this. This string of Azerbaijan and now Belgium doesn't seem to be exciting the audience too much. No different than last night and another competent performance. 

22:28 - another Green Room break with chatting and flagging of the official CD, followed by another clip medley of the semis. Greece up now as flawless as on Tuesday, and the vocal and audio seems even better. The break serves this well, it doesn't get lost in the slower few songs before it. Iceland follows next, and has the audience clapping along to the verses, and the vocal blend is beautiful as is the presentation. I think juries will like this lots. Moldova, as expected, wakes up the arena to a huge cheer from the first second. What a fantastic draw for them, they couldn't have hoped for a better slot. Great contrast for Sweden, with some nice singing along in the arena to start it off. She's just as great as before and of course the contender it always was, and the audience loved it. 

22:48 - more Green Room breaking while they set up  for Australia which gets a bit lost coming after Sweden, and I expect will be blown away by that who will follow. We now have a video break promoting tomorrow's acts followed by another Green Room break while they set up for the UK. They're now doing a Volare singalong, which I guess they had to fit it in somewhere, but on the plus side it gets the audience enthused for Sam. Oh man, this is incredible! He's nailing every note and engaging the camera at every angle. This is the best thing I've heard tonight, and a worthy winner if I ever heard one. 

23:00 - you guessed it, more breaking, chit chat with artists and we're ready for Poland. This is probably well served by the break because coming immediately after the UK powerhouse would bury it. Vocally perfect, with the same dancers in rags pushing and poking him about. No break !!yay!! and we're right on to Serbia which is greeted to huge cheers. The clapping along is magnificent, and everything about this is wonderful, and a giant roar by the audience at the end. This should do very very well. The show closes with Graham Norton's fave, Estonia, which seems completely paled to me by Serbia, but he sells it as best as he can encouraging the audience to sing and cheer with him. There are some effective audience shots clapping along with him. 

23:15 - voting banter and recaps. I'm loving the huge cheer for Italy's recap followed by an even bigger cheer for Spain. Quite muted for Ukraine. Notable cheering for Lithuania, Greece and building to a roar for Moldova, Sweden and of course the UK. Serbia gets a clever clap recap which engages the audience. 

The intermission starts with dancers doing Italian hand gestures, with the hosts explaining what they are, followed by a bit in sign language. Italy's Int'l Space Station astronaut says hi, then we get Maneskin, who are lip-synced by other artists. Mmmmkay. The audience doesn't seem pleased and Alessandro addresses the lead as Fake Damiano, then asks the audience to stop booing 😂 Another fake Maneskin song, actually a half-song, this time a ballad and the audience isn't even pretending to like it. This is a weird segment, which I hope they'll sharpen by tomorrow.

23:35 - Back to another recap. The audience seems tired and isn't really cheering anything until Italy and Spain, which even they are subdued. All is forgiven as Gigliola Cinquetti graces the stage, as flawless and beautiful as always, singing Non ho l'età. Gorge! Wish there was more of this than the other unnecessary fodder. We then get a clip of past Eurovision entries, celebrating their creativity.

Now we get Mika singing his greatest hits, which is a lot of fun. Gotta hand it to him, the guy is energetic at this time of night after doing all he's been doing this far. And one more recap, followed by one more clip of building up to the winner from previous years.

00:05 - Breaking news: the sun has moved! It's a backdrop for the voting stand and it looks gorgeous...what a waste and missed opportunity not to have used it up until this point. Opening the voting with The Netherlands and Jeangu with the first fake 12 going to Australia. Right😂. The hosts have zero patience for the banter that follows with the next spokesfolk, will be hilarious if it's like this irl tomorrow. Fwiw, Ukraine gave fake 20 to the UK.

And with that I bid thee a buona notte. Thank you for following, and have fun tomorrow. There's a great show to look forward to 💖


Grand Final - Dress Rehearsal 1

 While Jonas is not allowed to leave his room until he's finished watching Eurolaul 1993, I'm watching the first dress rehearsal and bringing you the highlights. You're already seen the songs performed so there's no point talking about each one of them, so let's talk about: What surprises RAI have for us? What does the scoreboard look like? Will Blanco be there? Does Moldova suddenly feel like a surefire winner after 83 ballads in a row?

13:01 The screen has gone all blank. Scandalous behaviour by RAI. I hope Italy never host again. Oh wait, that was arcticandy pressing the wrong button on the remote. Well they haven't started - there's a UK flag projected on the floor, so possibly still rehearsing prop changeovers.

13:11 And we're about to start - Laura will not be here, she's "taking a rest" but will join us for the interval act, according to the MC.

13:49 The intro wasn't streamed, and now we see Switzerland. Marius is singing higher notes that we've heard in the last chorus. Is he planning to do this tomorrow?

13:56 France took a long time to set up and Mika had to improvise. Some very messy camerawork and they'll need those rehearsals to get things right by tomorrow.

14:02 There was no break between Norway and Armenia. They managed the allegedly complicated changeover during the 40 second postcard. And the break will be after Armenia.

14:09 Mahmood is in shorts, boots, and a kimono. That's... a look. Will he be wearing it tomorrow? Nobody knows.

14:17 You probably knew it already, but the contrast between Spain and Netherlands is the contrastiest contrast ever.

14:20 We're getting the UK postcard for Ukraine. Well they're similar names I guess, easy mistake to make. I'm not really getting winner vibes, but there's no audience now and it can make all the difference.

14:26 A green-room break before Germany, which is somehow working better than I anticipated. 

14:33 Another quick break before Lithuania, don't think this one is planned. Monika is without her wig(?) looking more like Kateryna from Go_A. I actually prefer this look.

14:39 Belgium is on. As some of you know me, I'm a hopeless ballad lover, but even I'm struggling in this section of the lineup. This is followed by a break, the fake Laura is promoting the official CD and DVD.

14:52 Greece was the same. Iceland is on and all Systur are wearing shades. Probably a tribute to Magnús Kjartansson.

14:55 Anyone who wandered off to the kitchen will be summoned back by the opening HEY HO of Moldova. This is out-contrasting the earlier contrastiest contrast ever. 

14:59 Now I get the running order. "Now that we have your attention, here's the good ballad". Oops, Corneila is having yet another technical problem and has to stop. Alessandro for the rescue.

15:11 Australia was the sa... identical to what we've seen. Followed by another break.

15:20 The UK prop is obviously causing headaches for the hosts, having to extend and improvise breaks before and after. Sam himself has polished his act and does just the right amount of adlibs.

15:26 Poland's splash is followed by Serbia's towels and I see what you did there RAI.

15:31 I can see why Estonia is closing - a crowd pleaser with no props. And the real Laura is here!

15:43 A snabbis followed by the hosts introducing us to the wonders of Italian hand gestures 🤏✋👌🤙 with the help of some dancers. Very much work in progress at this stage. Some of the gestures they're teaching us are basically identical to Serbia's choreography.

15:46 A real astronaut this time, an Italian one greeting us from the International Space Station. There's a lot of space this year. All we're missing is Elon Musk, but there's still an hour or so to go.

15:49 This is the Måneskin bit. With stand-ins. They will perform a song (not sure what, the stand-ins didn't really sing), followed by an interview (in which they didn't really speak). Then another song.

15:58 Another snabbis. Spain chose the "ooooooo" part for theirs with very little actual song, which I think is a terrible idea.

16:02 Alessandro is in space. He is space. He's a galaxy. SO MUCH SPACE TODAY

16:03 Gigliola Cinquetti is here, looking more like Py Bäckman. Non ho l'età is performed in full, which means this is the first time we get to see it in full in Eurovision, not destroyed by Danish archive fires or interrupted by Toto.

16:09 a video section about fashion in Eurovision history (Gisela is there, nuff said) followed by Mika singing his hits with big hearty flags, an LED piano and a lot of dancers. And another piano. Oh no he took his shirt off. Oh no it's just a very tight skin-colour body suit, the kind that only Blanco should be allowed to wear.

16:25 Yet another snabbis. It's been nearly an hour and the votes are still open. I should have been used to this from recent Eurovisions, but it surprises me every time. And now Laura is in glittery gold giving us a countdown, some fancy graphics with the numbers turning into dust.

16:31 A short clip and straight to the voting. All three hosts will be doing the voting. Taking a while to get to the Dutch spokesperson standing in front of a Friet van Piet. The spokespersons are Italian stage workers who haven't been briefed about what they need to do. This will be entertaining (or exhausting). I should add that the scoreboard looks like... a scoreboard, just with this year's colour schemes.

16:47 Mika is yawning, they were fed up so they just skipped to the televote part. France won the jury vote with Azerbaijan last.

16:57 The televote reveal is ongoing. We get different sound effect depending on if the country scored well ("prrrrring!") or poorly ("pffpffpff"). UK wins the fake voting, much to the delight of the fake Sam (a stage worker who has to cut short her phone call)

And we're done - overall it's going to be a great show, despite the BALLADY SEQUENCE OF DOOM. Much thanks to the hosts being a lot of fun.