Belgium

Belgium First Rehearsal

It’s all in the eyes…and Sennek’s eyes are all we can see as the performance begins. Eventually the lights show us more of her face, then all of her figure. It’s only the second half the song when the strobe lighting gets going. Vocally competent but restrained somewhat – she seems to understandably be saving herself for the days to come. Think we’ll see it build as the week goes on.

Press information from Belgium

Press event at Eurovision-Spain Pre Party 2018

This afternoon, our Eurovision candidate Sennek took the airplane to Lisbon. She and our Belgian delegation land there tonight, and Sennek will rehearse tomorrow for the first time on the Eurovision stage tomorrow.

A lot of Belgian press came to wave Sennek off and to ask her for a final reaction before her flight. Peter Van de Veire, the Belgian radio host who will provide the commentary for Belgium during the live shows, was also there to wave her off.
Tomorrow Sennek wil have her first rehearsal on the stage, with her full outfit and the act. This will be the first time that her outfit is revealed.

Here you can find pictures of Sennek’s departure at Brussels Airport: https://we.tl/ASpFLdITRC (copyright is VRT/Sofie Silbermann)

Sennek will perform her song A Matter Of Time in the first semi-final on Tuesday the 8th of May.

Semi-final 1 dress rehearsal 1 - live blog from the hall: to be updated!

Desiree on Mon, 05/08/2017 - 13:49

In a few minutes the first dress rehearsal for semi-final one will start and we just heard that the opening act will be done twice. I'm live in the hall where I will keep you continually updated, so please refresh from time to time to read the latest news!

The start is delayed for a few minutes. Spain, Italy and UK will also perform.

And we're off! just 5 minutes later than initially planned We start with women wearing traditional gear and Ukrainian folk music in the background. Then a dancer on stage to be joined by Monatik, who proves to be very versatile: rapping, sing and dancing a very modern song that could've been a nice participating entry. Unfortunately I haven't been able to catch his name yet. I hope to update you on that after we have seen him again.

After the second run his name is not mentioned, but instead he introduces the hosts who are in casual clothes for this rehearsal. Some introductory speeches later the lineup for the semi-final is shown on screen and the voting is explained. No surprises here.

Next: song 1 from Sweden!
Post-card: Stills from Robin and his dancers, rehearsing, motor riding, getting ready to perform.
Performance: The lights seem to flicker a bit in the beginning. First time I notice it, not sure it's meant to be like that. Once again a very solid performance so it's bound to at least qualify and possibly do very well. On the other hand, there is still the issue with the 'OK' sign he makes with his hands that means something different in other countries.

song 2: Georgia:
Postcard: Rehearsing with Anri Jokahdze, running in the park, getting ready to perform and walk on stage (which seems a common thing already for all countries).
Performance: There's a delay in the start of the Georgian performance, so stay tuned! A solid performance by Tamara, who has no need at all to hold back.

song 3: Australia
Postcard: Isaiah in Melbourne and in a car, getting on a stage, watching the stars.
Performance: In the hall Isaiah really seems a bit overshadowed by his own images on the screen. A very good performance again. No further issues here.

song 4: Albania
Postcard:Running, singing with a band, doing sports, working on her dress and making the heart sign with her hands.
Performance: Vocals a bit shaky in the beginning. Only yesterday evening she was going all out in the Euroclub.
The long note is not working completely as it should so she sings it lower to save herself. Will be something to look at tonight and tomorrow evening.

song 5: Belgium
Postcard: Blanche playing the piano, reading, doing press conferences, autographs.
Performance: Blanche wears a different dress now - in black! so her nickname nnow no longer fits her outfit. The black dress is very dark, as the staging is as well. I know the white one was criticised a lot but I prefer it to what she wears now. The high parts near the end still sound very weak. However, a good reception in the hall.

Song 6: Montenegro:
Postcard: Slavko in the park, in a theater.
Performance: The visuals of Slvako while he lays on the floor have changed now. In blue, no more bright pink lipgloss. Looks a lot better and a bit less over the top. Slvako still fills the stage on his own, Could be better vocally. I am quite worried about its chances but I still enjoy this song a lot after a few ballads.

First break: Hosts on stage (minus greenroom host Timur). App mentioned. Timur in the greenroom speaking with who performed.

Song 7: Finland
Postcard: Norma John working/sitting together, walking in a building, shopping sunglasses, playing the piano.
Performance: Dry ice. Looks beautiful at the start. Vocally it seems not as solid as we have heard before. Big applause though.

Belgium second rehearsal

Desiree on Thu, 05/04/2017 - 09:40

Time flies when you're having fun so we're already on the last song before the lunch break - Belgium's Blanche with City lights. I'm curious if there have been any improvements as the first rehearsal was not that appreciated to put it nicely.

She's on stage already wearing a long white dress with butterflies on it, could again be seen as a wedding dress but this time even more than with Albania - and they're going to be right after each other!

Starts with a dark stage, but very quickly white spots and visuals on her and moving all through the hall, which immediately gives the idea something is happening. It keeps on looking nice in the hall all through the song, but she's still standing there solid as a rock with hardly any movement, except that of her arms. Also the vocals are not that great during the first run, before the key changes when she sings in a high pitch and afterwards it sounds completely painful. The end of the song comes very sudden.

Day one catch up review...it's not live....but then again some days I wonder if I am (a)live anyway....

Day one

Well the most important tasks for me, always, on day one is to actually get into the press centre in good time, and hunt the interview lists. So The Boss and I duly arrived at around 7.45 in the morning to make sure we were in a reasonable place in the queue to get in - first!

The only real issue we had with this was that actually entering the building ended up being so confusing, with two queues (one for S accreditations and on for P) but in the end it all worked out as we were the first to get in. Which leads onto task two. Hunt the interview lists. This is a huge thing for me each and every year, there are never lists prepared in advance, the poor volunteers never know what I am talking about and it often takes about 20-30 minutes to even get them to prepare some sort of list for the press wanting to book interviews. When you bear in mind that the first rehearsal is on stage at 10, the press centre opens at 9 and there are other things to get on with, this can cause a little raising of the heart rate!
Not this year though - amazingly, wonderfully and to my deepest delight - the lists were already prepared in advance….who knew that Ukraine could be so organised???? So well done on that!

So all in all the day started off really well in the end….computers all worked, wifi and LAN were fantastic speeds (Thanks Swedish Tecchie guys) and not too many hordes of massed fans running around like school girls on a day out from St Trinians. All going so well so far yes??? Err well no, cos that’s when rehearsals started on the big screens….

Now we know that every year there are sound issues, always with the first run through. So if we know there are always problems, then surely the organisers should know the same? And maybe, you know, test things first? Nah, that would be too simply. So we were left with watching the big screen and attempting to listen to the sound coming from the arena next door. Which was fun. Anyway maybe I am being too harsh and expecting too much? Still it was all solved pretty quickly and left with the delight of the Swedish rehearsal.

Blogging is not really part of the things I get to grips with at the Eurovision each year, most of my work revolves around processing background stuff, like video, checking the work of the rest of the team, meeting with delegations to check for interviews, actually doing the interviews and generally just annoying people so I never really get a lot of time to watch the screens….but I do hear snippets of enough of the day to form a judgement on whats Fabulous, Great, Ok, and OMFG what the hell was that??? So here was my day in running order

Sweden Ok
Georgia Great
Albania Ok
Australia Ok
Belgium OMFG what the hell was that?
Montenegro Fabulous
Finland Fabulous
Azerbaijan Great
Portugal - - - Can’t really judge as he wasn’t singing but still find the song really dull…

Team Kaz has 2 full time and some part time English bloggers so if you want detail on who wore what, who did what to whom, and that Azerbaijan step Ladder please check them out….

The other huge part of my day was dealing with interviews, and we managed to get 4 out of 8 done yesterday with three being mine, Sweden, Albania and Montenegro. No real surprises with any of these as I’ve met them all before, apart from Slavko, he does get really in depth when you get him away from his on stage persona and get him talking on a level about some deeper though provoking stuff. He’s actually super intelligent and opinionated and kinda the guy I have a secret admiration for in the way he behaves and carry himself. Lindita is also the same, again get them talking about stuff away from Eurovision and underneath the surface gloss are some really deep individuals

I missed the interview with Finland, but I know that these two guys are the same as Slavvie and Linnie above, in that respect. Georgia’s Tamara seems a little off the wall, but in a totally great “don’t mess with me or I will destroy you” kinda way….still you can judge for yourselves on the clips. Robin was the one I still am trying to find a connection with every time I meet him though. I am still not sure if he is being reserved due to shyness or a lack of sleep or a lack of something else entirely but I will keep trying to find out what his buttons are and such them hard

All in all it was actually a great day, as “Eurovision Day One”s go, it all worked, we left the press centre on time, and still got to the restaurant in time to have food drink gossip with friends and actually look forward to Day Two without coming out in a cold sweat

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Today's highlights and tomorrow's expectations - an overview

Desiree on Sun, 04/30/2017 - 21:13

Some last thoughts on today's first rehearsals. Overall there haven't been that many surprises I think. Everything started and ended perfectly on time.

Obviously a lot was expected from Belgium but I also think that the earlier performances already did a bit to lower those expectations. Georgia and Albania once again delivered great vocals (even though the latter's experiments weren't such a great idea in my opinion). Vocally Australia was also really good but his face all over the screens is a bit much for me.

That leaves Finland and Sweden who hardly changed anything to their performance and did a really good job, especially considering it's just a first rehearsal. Montenegro was the most extravagant act of the day and I would've been surprised with anything else. It also really stand out with its draw. Last but not least Portugal, I find it hard to say something about it as another singer can leave a completely different impression. I think it will be mesmerising on the night, especially if flags don't ruin the view as they kinda did with the Dutch performance of 2013 (Anouk - Birds).

So on to tomorrow where we will see the last songs from the first semi. I think there's a lot to look forward to. A few of them have been around quite a lot with promo-tour performances but for others like Greece and Armenia it will be really interesting to see the staging as they either were hardly performed live or didn't really show a lot in the previous performances. I'm also quite looking forward to Iceland. Before the national final it was quite the favourite already, then many people were disappointed but with a different staging that might all change again. And then there's Moldova, obviously not the masterpiece of the year but one of the songs that always gets me in a good mood, so I can't wait!

All in all another exciting waiting for us, see you tomorrow!

Belgium first rehearsal (+ lunch break)

Desiree on Sun, 04/30/2017 - 11:47

So that was lunch already. The restaurant in the entrance zone of the press centre offers meals at very Ukrainian prices, which means practically for free. Apparently there will be more options in the next few days, so I'm glad that has been taken care of!

An hour has flown by and Belgium has started ahead of schedule! After the first run I must say I'm very disappointed. I had expected so much more from this performance. Blanche is alone on stage (no costume yet), and the backdrop is nice with some moving lines, but nothing out of the ordinary. The promotour performances already revealed that she's not the most charismatic performer on the Eurovision stage and little has changed.

Now, I would've expected some dancers or at least some kind of stage show, so far, zero of that. In the last part of the song Blanche tries to take it up a bit vocally but unfortunately misses the notes, the first offkey ones of the day (and hopefully the only ones!)

It took a long time to get another run from Georgia but we still got a third one. Both sounded a lot better than the first time, especially the third time.

Semi two predictions from us two.....

From Mike;

Latvia Yes
Poland Yes
Switzerland No
Israel Yes
Belarus Maybe
Serbia Yes
Ireland Yes
Macedonia Maybe
Lithuania No
Australia Yes
Slovenia No
Bulgaria Yes
Denmark Yes
Ukraine Yes
Norway No
Georgia No
Albania Maybe
Belgium Yes

I am really unsure about Ireland so may swop that with Macedonia or Belarus

From Daniel;

Latvia Yes
Poland Yes
Switzerland No
Israel Yes
Belarus No
Serbia Yes
Ireland Yes
Macedonia No
Lithuania No
Australia Yes
Slovenia Yes
Bulgaria Yes
Denmark No
Ukraine Yes
Norway No
Georgia No
Albania No
Belgium Yes

Daniel is unsure about Albania and Belarus and might swop those with Slovenia and Latvia

Live blog second Semi Jury Show

Rolling live blog of Jury Show Second semi

Keep Refreshing this page;

Opening;

Views of Globen and crowd shots and COME TOGETHER. Seem like quite a crowd in the area too which is nice.

Now we have lots of Swedish humour and comedy form the hosts, but this washes over me and leaves me very cold I am afraid. All a bit too much MF for my liking.

Both hosts resplendent in silver jacket for Mans and a dress for Petra....all very sparkly. And now we have a duet from the two of them....very smorgasbord like in Malmo

Latvia

Justs creates this emotional monster on stage as he leaps around and gives everything to the performance. For me it is slightly over doing things. Yes he has a great voice but this is not how to perform an Aminata song. That said the backdrop is just perfect for this. Sure fire qualifier but no winner....
Lots of crowd cheering for this though...
The graphics look amazing too

Poland

Michal always hits the spot for me. Simply effective staging for this seems to work. Nothing none of us have not seen on the promo tour or the rehearsal clips so far. He does seem to come to life on stage with his powerful voice and presence. The real issue is that the song is a bit weak both lyrically and musically. He tries his best but given what he has to work with this is not really doing it for me.
Juries should fall in love with this though.....the emotion in his eyes and connection with the camera is one of the highlights this year.
And words on the backdrop are always a no-no in my world, sorry

Switzerland

Sorry but this is going no where fast. No charism, no charm, nothing at all really. Tonight the blue hair is still there and this time it’s curly, but no amount of whacky clothes, designer hair or anything is saving this from being one of the 8 that go home.
3 minutes I will never get back

Israel

Simply perfection from Hovi, great presence, great voice, perfectly suited to this song…the stage really lifts this too, this could really scoop a lot of votes on final night. Yes qualifying and with a good draw on final night who knows?
The earnest emotion that he's given tonight does make me think that Hovi has a lot more to gibe as an artist in the future....and seeing the acrobats on screen for the first time I now get the the inclusion of them on the stage.
Oh and a pyro waterfall.....always love them.....can we have them in every song please?

Belarus

Amazing staging totally distracts from the weak song here, though IVAN does make good use of all the stage and performs the hell out of it. What would have happened if the guy had been given a half decent song to sing? Oh and the baby is still there. Weirdly.
But it's not all about the staging, it's about the song and this is getting totally lost after Israel and before Serbia
Also we have some missed camera angles tonight with his.....but he bring sit back by hitting all those important notes at the end of the song
And he does look amazingly cool on stage

More Eurovision Taxi moments, with some folks that we know.
While this is quite funny the guest appearances from Lordi really give away that this was totally contrived and constructed, which steal the magic for me

Serbia

Great song and great vocal BUT and it’s a small but, the staging is so dark that it loses something for me here. I feel ditched from the performance and slightly distracted by he dancer. But toward the end it starts to lift and when the backing vocalists gather around her it pulls it back a bit for me.
She is giving her all to this tonight though. however like Belarus we do have a few missed camera moments tonight too.