ESC 2016

Stand-in rehearsal Eurovision 2016

This year stand-ins got no chance to perform on public, but were allowed to publish their rehearsals post show.

Stockholm round-up

We definitely did not expect it due to a quite low bar set up by Malmö, but Stockholm organization of the show has been almost perfect.

We had a very conveniently located Arena, which was near to the metro station, it almost can't get closer. We had all proper facilities in the Arena, including even interview lists (!, first time ever done prior to our arrival), and also excellent speed wi-fi which was available even in the arena itself. The biggest downpoint probably were the stairs down to the press-center, several of our team members had their legs sprained on it.

The Eurovillage was huge and had everything in it, so hopefully everyone enjoyed the program in it and Tele2 arena. The Euroclub/Eurocafe also seemed a great treat to Eurofans, especially with OGAE accreditations.

For me personally the great highlight of the week was Mamma Mia! the Party which we have reviewed here: http://esckaz.com/new/blog/mamma-mia-party-7155 Euroweek for me was made not only with Eurovision, but with different other events such as Hairspray musical in Tivoli, Copenhagen, heavy metal concerts of Treat, Allegiance of Rock, Abramis Brama and Starlight in Stockholm, a visit to Medelhavsmuseet and several beautiful churches etc.

Remember that you can check a huge video and photogallery from our reports on the links in the right column.

We're looking forward Ukraine next year, and as usually are open for any suggestions which you can mail us to info@esckaz.com , we're also looking for collaborators so if you want to become part of #TeamKaz, send you CVs in English language to the same e-mail as well.

Thanks a lot for staying with us this week and we hope you all enjoyed our production. Great thanks to all the delegations, artists and their teams who have collaborated with us on our coverage, it always is highly appreciated.

Goodbye and see you soon.

Marcel Bezençon Awards

The prizes were as usual awarded by the contest producer Christer Björkman. Marcel Bezençon Awards are presented in three categories: Press prize, composers and artistic prize.

Russia's Sergei Lazarev with "You Are the Only One" won the press prize for the best entry, voted by the journalists accredited in Stockholm.

Australia's "Sound of Silence", written by the DNA (David Musumeci and Anthony Egizii), was named the best composition by the songwriters.

Ukrainian Jamala won the prize for best artistic achievement voted by the commentators on the spot, the prize awarded to the artist who made the strongest general impression in the performance.

Winner predictions from Daniel and I

Mike;

Still calling it for Russia this year, with either Australia or Ukraine in second place

BUT I would love to see Austria do it, that would be simply amazing but unlikely to happen and of course I am totally hoping for a top 10 place for Georgia

Daniel

Think that Russia will still pull this off, with a dark horse as Serbia and France possibly having their best score for years.

Would love to see Russia win this all in the end BUT at the same time Bulgaria should hopefully do well too, good luck to Poli

Samra (Azerbaijan) gets a warm send-off from her fans as she leaves her hotel for the Grand Final

Press and fans were invited to wish Samra well as she left her hotel this morning to attend her final rehearsal before tonight's Grand Final

Azerbaijan fan meet and greet

Before Samra arrived the gathered people were given t-shirts and Team-Samra inflatables to greet her with....

Azerbaijan fan meet and greet

Samra seemed quite surprised when she finally appeared and we believe that the delegation had organised this as a small surprise for her. She spent 20 minutes signing T-shirts and taiga selfie style photos with the fans and then performed and impromptu rendition of her song Miracle

Full video clip;

Gallery;

Azerbaijan meet and greet at her hotel

With thanks to the Azerbaijan Delegation for the invitation

Some thoughts on the Grand Final line up 2016

I normally do this after watching the press run-through on Friday afternoon but as I'm not in Stockholm here's my thoughts and predictions for Eurovision 2016.
1. BELGIUM: Well styled and performed, great show opener but the draw also kills off any chance of doing well. PREDICTION: 11th-15th
2. CZECHIA: An achievement just getting here, but will be long forgotten by voting time. PREDICTION: 21st-26th
3. NETHERLANDS: Stands out, charismatic performance and is quite memorable. Juries will like it. PREDICTION: 6th-10th
4. AZERBAIJAN: Very clever use of backing vocalist and ridiculous choreography doesn’t disguise a weak song. PREDICTION: 16th to 20th
5. HUNGARY: Off-key in the semi and now struggling to be remembered. PREDICTION: 21st-26th
6. ITALY: Mediocre and monotonous song. The lyrics are nice, but in Italian. May get jury votes. PREDICTION: 16th-20th
7. ISRAEL: Bland flat song made to look better by great staging and sound better with a terrific vocal, but it’s still as dull as ditch water. PREDICTION: 11th-15th
8. BULGARIA: Great energy but messy performance and it’s lacking anything that says “vote for me”. PREDICTION: 16th-20th
9. SWEDEN: After last year’s staging, it’s a major gear-change to “less is more”. Very instant song with a contemporary vide which is unusual this year. PREDICTION: Top 5.
10. GERMANY: The studio version is terrific but it’s transferred very badly to the stage and coming after the host country, it has “last place” written all over it. PREDICTION: 21st-26th.
11. FRANCE: Helped by coming after Germany, but the staging is wrong and it just confirms my suspicion that it never was a contender for victory (apart from biggest fanwank). PREDICTION: 11th-15th
12. POLAND: The most old-fashioned song in the show, but it’s well-performed and dramatic and will get jury and diaspora votes. PREDICTION: 6th-10th
13. AUSTRALIA: I don’t like the rather awkward and clumsy staging, but it’s a terrific vocal and this is the best of the over-blown female mid-tempo songs. PREDICTION: Top 5.
14. CYPRUS: It was lucky to qualify after the dreadful messy staging and now Georgia is likely to walk all over it. It should get some Greek diaspora votes though. PREDICTION: 21st-26th.
15. SERBIA: I was disappointed by the old-style Eurovision staging on this. It would have been better creating a jazz club style vibe, but great vocal and strong melody. PREDICTION: Top 5.
16. LITHUANIA: A perfect example of how to sell a very ordinary song with a slick, professional performance. But it’s now caught between two more memorable entries. PREDICTION: 16th-20th.
17. CROATIA: I love the staging and say what you like about the costume, it makes it memorable. Not helped by coming before Russia. PREDICTION: 11th-15th.
18. RUSSIA: If Eurovision was still a song contest, it would struggle to be Top 5, but in a show where music is secondary and against a poor field it’s hard to see another winner. PREDICTION: Top 5.
19. SPAIN: Coming after Russia is not a disaster (ask Czechia). Being a poor version of the far superior Belgian entry is a far bigger issue. PREDICTION: 21st-26th.
20. LATVIA: Patently unsuited to being a show opener, it still survived but it’s still a male, pale, and stale version of last year’s entry. Mind you that was Top 10 in a much better field and the late draw helps. PREDICTION: 6th- 10th.
21. UKRAINE: I was disappointed by this in the semi, but if Albania can be Top 5 with a similar song in a better year, so can Ukraine. You won’t forget it. PREDICTION: Top 5.
22. MALTA: The late draw and being the only contemporary pop song in a run of five helps this poor song and mediocre performance. But again nothing says “vote for me”. Prediction: 21st to 26th
23. GEORGIA: I can’t stand it as a song, but it’s presented terrifically (in contrast to Cyprus) and it adds variety to the show. PREDICTION: 11th-15th.
24. AUSTRIA: The biggest winner of all in draw, and this twee nonsense will actually come as a relief to many after the Georgian onslaught. PREDICTION: 16th to 20th.
25. UNITED KINGDOM: Apart from Israel, no song has improved as much since March as the U.K. The lads now look confident and it’s a terrific draw. PREDICTION: 6th-10th
26. ARMENIA: Italy won the televote from last position last year but Il Volo were unique and charismatic. This is still a nothing song, but absolutely superbly staged. PREDICTION: 6th- 10th

Live - Jury Final (Rolling Blog)

Welcome to our rolling blog of the jury rehearsal.

The contest kicks off with a lively haute couture catwalk featuring all finalists. The songs used are all dance anthems by some of Sweden's most popular dance djs (Avicii, Swedish House Maffia, Axwell, Ingrosso).

Mans and Petra have now appeared on stage, introduce themselves. They are also explaning Europe is going through dark times and hope tonight will unite Europe once more through music. The new voting system is being announced as well.

The running order for tonight:

Belgium: The last will be the first. Very slick performance from Laura, though she's sounding rather nervous tonight. The crowd however, are loving it. Let's hope Laura is back in form tomorrow.

Czech Republic:

The nerves seem to be taken over a little. Gabriela is not sounding as strong as she did in the semi earlier this week. Bit dissapointing, especially when the key change kicks in.

Netherlands:

Solid performance from Douwe Bob. The pause has remained,,, and the muttered I LOVE YOU words are going to swoon many viewers tomorrow evening. Could surprise!

Azerbaijan:

Oh dear... This had such potential before the rehearsals started, and while there was improvement Tuesday evening, Samra's vocals are all over the place tonight... she's sounding much worse than she did on Tuesday. Not even the backings can save this.

Hungary:

Again the vocals are pretty ropey tonight. Has everyone been out partying last night? Adequately enough, and one of the better acts we've seen tonight.

Italy

Francesca sings adequately and better than some of her predecessors. The act is nice enough to convey the message. Not entirely sure how does will do. Met with cheers from the press centre and audience in Globen.

Israel:

Italy could be a trouble though. Hovi from Israel completely outshines Francesca, with his vocals and staging. I would even say, the best vocals of the night by far too.

Bulgaria:

Poli needs to make sure she keeps her voice under control in the verses otherwise superb energetic entry which is going to do extremely well.

Sweden:

The home entry is met with a huuuuuge response of course. Not entirely sure about his vocals though, but Frans works the camera oh so well. Difficult to predict what this will do. For the first time it feels like If I Were Sorry drags on much longer than the 3 minutes it is.

Germany:

Jamie-Lee still has problems finding the cameras by the looks of it... Vocals are also sounding pretty nervous tonight.

France:

Amir's letting us down a bit. vocally it sounded okay but once the key change starts, the vocals are completely losing control. The empty staging is however the main point of concern.

Poland:

Michal Szpak on the other hand is giving flawless vocals tonight...well until the last chorus, then it gets a little shouty. Don't over do it, Michal...

Australia:

Dami Im... what a voice... Ok yes, there is some freestyling going on, but Dami's voice is strong and confident. Has pretty much blown everything in the competition away.

Cyprus:

Very shouty vocals for Minus One, out of breath as well... but a great reaction from the audience. Can't see this doing extremely well.

Serbia:

Easily the best vocals of the night so far. Literally wiped the floor with everyone so far... will be showered with points by the juries, and again tomorrow night.

Lithuania:

Donny Montell is very much in his element here. Vocals are being a little bit compensated but that's pretty normal considering there's a lot of dancing going on. Great staging for this too.

Croatia:

Shaky vocals which aren't as clear as we know from Nina. She hits the high notes in the key change though but then the freestyling goes a little bit wrong. Don't do the freestyling Nina...

Russia:

Great vocals and not a foot set wrong... Sergey may just have snatched the game back from Australia... Can anyone still take it from him?

Spain:

The build up for Spain to that first chorus is incredibly but that fall just ruins it... Barei also sounds out of breath and the whole production sounds really rushed... Slow down Barei.

Latvia:

You can not fault Justs for his vocals. He just sounds incredible. Whether that is enough to get him through, is another question though.

Ukraine:

Visually very strong and flawless vocals from Jamala. Spine tingling and full of drama. A contender for top ten, but not a winner.

Malta:

Adequate singing from Ira, but her song doesn't really have that extra push to go all the way. Radio friendly, which viewers at home will most definitely compare to the Naughty Boy and Emeli Sande sound.

Georgia:

Absolutely bonkers performance from Georgia... Deliciously alternative...

Austria:

Zoe from Austria has become an absolute fan favourite with her song Loin D'Ici... Even for me. I like everything about it. Confident sweet singer, who's come to Stockholm with a fairytale... Eurovision and Disney have always had a soft spot for each other.. I don't see any reason why this would be different.

United Kingdom:

Still some work on finding the cameras for Joe & Jake. Vocals get better as the song progresses. Lots of pyros in the performance too at the end. Sounds great in the hall, but doesn't really leave much impact on screen.

Armenia:

Iveta's staging and vocal capabilities are simply divine. Huge reaction in the hall and press centre. Keep an eye out of for this one.

This is where we end the our live blog roll for tonight's rehearsal.

Have a great night.

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