Eliot is back now for his 2nd rehearsal. What has been changed since the first one? Not much. Performance is solid, with Eliot wearing a blue jacket with red ends. The two drummers now wear shirts with two red V signs on them. Video art shows red lines, vertical and horizontal. Smoke erupts towards the end of the song. I must say something with the song doesn't connect to the performance.
Eliot's now on stage. He's wearing a blue and red outfit. With him on stage are two drummers hitting on 3 big drums. Later they join in the simple choreography with Eliot. The stage is lit with a red light. Eliot looks good and engaging as a performer. He's an effective live performer, but the performance as a whole doesn't leave that much of an impression.
Laura has certainly done her home work. She's delivering a huge routine.
Vocally I'm not entirely impressed yet, I am hoping the backings are a bit stronger in the chorus.
Personally I'm not a big fan of the overall orange and yellow look, but considering this is a song with a lot of disco elements, I can see why this was chosen.
Laura does bring a big choreography along, and you can see she's worked hard on it.
Funny little detail, I just got a cup of coffee and while pouring it, several journalists were also grabbing coffee whistling What's The Pressure. A Good omen?
Let's hope so!
The catering area for the press is well stocked with lots of tasty lunch options and isn’t overly expensive. There’s also free water and coffee so well done Denmark. It compensates for dragging us out to the middle of a post-industrial wilderness.
AZERBAIJAN was first up after the break and Dilara is in a beautiful deep red dress that becomes quite revealing with the lighting. The backdrop goes from gothic to Gotham and avoids the obvious fire cliché. Vocally this is better than I’ve heard it before and Dilara looks beautiful on the close-ups. The only issue I have with this is the trapeze, which I think is too distracting at the start of the song. I would have used her for the last minute only, after the initial crescendo, to add variety. Sailing into the final and a good bet for the Top 5.
UKRAINE is by far the worst vocal of the day so far and no amount of gimmicks using a man running in a hamster wheel or wind machines or mechanical backdrops can cover over the screechiness. The basic song was never up to much and it comes to hiding the basic frailty, Russia has done a much better job than Ukraine. If this was almost any other country I would say it was a non-qualifier, but almost all Ukraine’s neighbours are voting in this semi so it will undeservedly make the final.
BELGIUM Performance as in the national final but there’s less focus on the dancer. It’s not vocally perfect, but it’s good enough. The main issue I have here is the placement of Axel’s mic, which hides his mouth when viewed from the centre of the screen. The staging is also too dark for my liking. I think this presses buttons that the other ballads don’t and as long as he can deliver it, it should make the final.
MOLDOVA Christina was a little wayward on the first run through but really got her act together after that. She’s mixing a blue and gold in her half and half dress. The gladiators are a bit unnecessary at the start but when the song gets going they add some nice camera shots, especially from the overhead shots. The key change with added wind-machine really adds something. This is dividing opinion on whether it qualifies but I think it’s in the mix.
SAN MARINO isn’t helped by coming after Moldova as it’s a little pale in comparison. Valentina looks fantastic and is note perfect. She really has matured brilliantly in two short years. The white dress and background look nice and the overhead swirl of yellow look great on screen. The problem is not with the singer or the staging, but with the song, which sounds far too like a song that would have finished 7th in Sanremo in 1988. Not qualifying, I think.
PORTUGAL comes after a long lunch and after an ad break on the night. Suzy looks comfortable and the “suzyshake” is back. The green, red and yellow backdrop looks fantastic. On the night Suzy will be wearing be wearing a red dress with tassels. I love this, although there are elements of the presentation and lighting that I would change.. It’s got great energy and it’s fun, which is very welcome after the songs that come before it. I have a sneaky hunch that this will do better than many people think.
NETHERLANDS is another complete contrast to what goes before it. The overhead road traffic effects and long camera shot which introduces the singers at the start is great. Having them face one another is an inspired move as it makes the connection between the singers that wasn’t there in Amsterdam. Simple, effect staging, no gimmicks but is it instant enough? This is more likely to be a jury winner than a televote favourite but it’s back in the qualification mix for sure.
Belgium is represented by Axel Hirsoux, who's bringing an ode to his mother. How did this second rehearsal go?
Axel Hirsoux is the final candidate to take the Eurovision stage at B&W Hallerne today. Here's what I made of his first rehearsal.
Even though Roberto looks like a boy whose ice cream was just taken away from him, they did the best thing they could - that is taking the atmosphere of music video in a live stage performance. Two dancers behind Roberto do excellent job. He sings well and he is covered by 3 backing vocalists too. Austrian sticks are back on stage and raise from it. Blue colours of stage. Roberto and dancers and vocalists dressed in black.
Another red coloured performance, and Fabian tries very hard in it. I really like gimmicks with young guitarist and he also properly uses catwalk.