Finland

Finland first rehearsal

Desiree on Mon, 04/30/2018 - 13:53

Big applause in the press hall after the first run from Saara Aalto.

She starts her performance on a turning wheel, going 360 degrees up and down while singing and wears a short black/white glittery dress with high black boots.

Lots of choreography, Saara seems confident and sounds ok but seems to be holding back in the first run so it's a bit hard to judge on the vocals just yet.

Second run - she actually starts completely acapella so that could be tricky - there's some running here as being unclipped from the wheel turned out to be a bit problematic.

The last run revealed even more pyro - fountains and a curtain and she is taking some risks by falling into the hands of her dancers at the end. Vocally it's become better during the rehearsal.

Day Two of the First Rehearsals

So, here we are for day two of the first rehearsals. A first opportunity to see Croatia, Greece and Cyprus, none of whom took part in the promo parties in the last month. We'll also be seeing how Macedonia, Austria, Finland, Armenia, Switzerland and Ireland have adapted their songs for presentation on the Eurovision stage. Stay tuned for updates throughout the day from the team.

Norma John talks in the press centre after semi-final one

Desiree on Wed, 05/10/2017 - 12:48

Norma John in the press centre after semi one

Finland not making it to the final has been a big surprise - if not shock - for many, including quite a few of the team of ESCKAZ didn't see this coming and/or hoped otherwise.

Despite the disappointment, not long after the semi-final finished, Norma John already showed up in the press centre to give some words to mainly the Finnish press. I also spoke to them for a few seconds (not on video, sorry everyone..) and they didn't seem too devastated. Lasse told me that it's always hard to compete in music.

Onto semi two, but first....

Congratulations to the delegations that made it to the final, but more important heartfelt commiserations to all the singers that did not make it to the final. You were all winners and all did an amazing job in front of the crowd and to those watching on television - you can all be very proud of yourselves today.

We hope that you will now all take the time to relax a little and enjoy Kyiv and remember that this is not the end but just the start...

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.

Finland second rehearsal

Desiree on Thu, 05/04/2017 - 11:45

And that's the first goosebumps of the day for me with Finland. Absolutely magical to hear and see this in the hall. Of course it's all personal, I'm all aware that there are people finding this song and performance boring, but with this song I am not for a second bothered by the fact that Leena is standing on one spot without moving from her place, as the song and her vocals are more than enough to move me.

After the songs we have had before, a few quite shouty ballads and a completely over the top strange performance, I think Finland will come across very very well. It deserves every point and vote it can and will get.

Norma John have now performed the song 3 times and each time was as good as the previous one, goosebumps each time. Other than that, not that much to add. Finland is ready.

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!