Ukraine

Ruslana presents her wild energy

Desiree on Fri, 05/11/2018 - 21:42

Not far from the Altice Arena the Ukrainian winner of the 2004 edition of the ESC took time to speak to the gathered press, with complementary drinks supplied. The press meeting took place in the exclusive Myriad Hotel, on the river shore not far from the Altice Arena.

In her speech she declared that her biggest dream is to unite people from around the world for clean, renewable energy. Ruslana also calls for Eurovision as a source of clean energy as it is needed to win. She has been looking for energy sources in the Carpathian Mountains and wants to stop the deforestation.

Tomorrow she will perform in the Eurovillage as well as during the Grand Final, where she will present her single 'My Mystery'. Her band will be on stage with her during the performance and she will play ancient musical instruments from the Carpathian Mountains.

We also spoke to her briefly after the event. You will find the full speech, the videos she presented as well as our short interview below:

Press event Ruslana in Lisbon

Grand Final - Dress Rehearsal - Part One - Intro and Songs One to Eight

So here we are after all of last night's drama - the dress rehearsal for Saturday's Grand Final (and of course, tonight's all-important Jury Final).

Intro and reprise

Ana Moura kicks off the show, treating us to some Fado. Salvador Sobral won't be performing his segment today we've been informed, as we are running a little late. Mariza then takes up the Fado reins, with drums and drummers-a-plenty surrounding her.

The flag parade of the 26 finalists is next, with the flag-bearers walking the outer perimeter of the circular stage before the acts move to the Green Room.

Filomena Cautela, Sílvia Alberto, Daniela Ruah and Catarina Furtado then introduce themselves and as standard, briefly explain the voting and display the running order with the graphics for those watching at home.

1. Ukraine
Postcard: Melovin takes a cliff-walk before horse riding.
Performance: Melovin kicks us off lying in his coffin before being released from it as part of the staging spectacular that we so often see from Ukraine. He's in good voice and it makes for an excellent opener while his coffin burns as he sits at the piano. Should be a top 10 finisher.

2. Spain
Postcard: It's a romantic country walk ending with a meal boiled underground in a hot spring for the Spanish duo.
Performance: The staging is classic and Alfred and Amaia are in fine voice. Although it's unlikely to trouble the top 10 on the night, it sounds great in the hall.

3. Slovenia
Postcard: Lea visits the very windswept and grey Azores. Just as well her pink hair was there to brighten up the weather.
Performance: Very much more of the same fantastic vocals and perfectly executed choreography (including THAT "malfunction" break) that saw her make the final last night against the odds and many of the press predictions. The cult of Hvala, ne! is now a Eurovision phenomenon regardless of Lea's overall placing on Saturday night.

4. Lithuania
Postcard: Ieva takes an antique car out on a quick spin down a country road.
Performance: Ieva's delicate vocals shine in the darkness and her husband can give her her first on-stage embrace as a finalist. Outside shot at top 10 possibly but it's likely that its high placing on the betting market is due to a slight skewing from Tuesday's semi-final's voting demographic.

5. Austria
Postcard: Cesar takes a mountain bike ride through small country villages, ending at a viewing point.
Performance: Cesar seems a lot more relaxed now (as is so often the case with many a qualifier). The pressure gone he gives his best vocal performance to date. Austria is unlikely to trouble the top half too much, but solid it is.

6. Estonia
Postcard: A country walk for Elina before a sheer-cliff face rock climb.
Performance: Impeccably delivered and with a mesmerising light show within the dress. Should sit mid-point in the first half of the table come 11pm on Saturday night.

7. Norway
Postcard: Mr Fairytale is given a spraypaint task.
Performance: As professional as slick as we've come to expect from Alexander Rybak, the song without any sort of notable lyric (ironically) and its on-screen graphics, sits early on in the running order but is still likely to put him on the cusp of the top 5 - despite the betting market effectively deserting it as a serious contender overnight.

8. Portugal
Postcard: The girls put a hard day's graft in with the Portuguese Navy.
Performance: Claudia is strong vocally and brings the song to life a lot more than we've seen in previous rehearsals. It may pick up a few thanks-for-having-us votes but something around a 20th-place finish would be my prediction for this one. However, the girls have done the home nation proud.

Now there's a short break before we see songs nine to sixteen performed.

Dress rehearsal 1 - Semi-final 2

Desiree on Wed, 05/09/2018 - 14:29

No time to keep thinking of what happened yesterday as the first dress rehearsal for tomorrow's semi-final is already in full swing! Later on we will fill you in on what happens on the postcards as well..

01 Norway
This is becoming a solid favourite for the win, the performance is slick and it's a cheerful opener. But the question remains how much juries will take this song seriously. Alexander seemed to be saving his voice.

02 Romania
Vocally this is very strong again, but the performance is too theatrical, too kitsch for this song. I will not be surprised if this will be the end of Romania's perfect streak.

03 Serbia
Good performance in this rehearsal, it keeps getting better and better. After Romania I think this has a chance.

04 San Marino
The robots and Jessika and Jenifer as well are back! Size doesn't matter was one of the messages on the cards held by the robot. It may distract from the sometimes weak vocals at the end.

05 Denmark
Another good and solid performance from Rasmussen, really not much to say about this, it looks and sounds very well, no issues at all here.

06 Russia
The vocal arrangements in the chorus seems to have been altered a bit, it sounds a lot more shouty now especially during the long notes. Really hard to predict what will happen here.

Time for a little break now in the greenroom, with a little game with Alexander Rybak among other things..

07 Moldova
Not sounding that great today in the hall, could be that they are saving themselves for tonight. It's still a fun performance though.

08 The Netherlands
Putting Waylon's stage together apparently takes a bit more than the time of the postcards, as just after the postcard we got switched to one of the hosts in the audience for a very awkward conversation that went completely wrong. Let's say "It's just a rehearsal" as San Marino reminded us a few days ago.

Now, to the actual performance. Vocally it sounds really good and it is not completely my genre but I feel we're back to real music after a few weaker songs. There are far less shots of the crumping dance right now, so it looks better. I think there's still a chance for the Netherlands.

09 Australia.
Back to the greenroom again! That's how they fill three extra minutes it seems being this the semi with one song less.
Very strong vocal performance from Jessica. It's one of the few straightforward pop songs and still think this could really have an instant appeal. I do think however that the shots during the bridge where Jessica is dancing are not that great.

10. Georgia
There seemed to be some issues with the sound at the beginning as it started a bit weak. Iriao soon got back on full strength though. With a few of the ethnical entries out from the first semi-final gone it could really stand out in the final if it qualifies, which I hope, as the last part was absolutely beautiful.

11. Poland
Vocally not the best performance. The many pyro fountains and the catchy song might distract from it.

12. Malta
Lots of flames at the beginning of this performance, very strange, likely to be a technical mistake. There seems to have been done a lot of work on the lighting of this song as there are now many laser effects. The light show could get the audience to go for this more than we expect now.

After these 6 songs it's time for another break in the greenroom.

13 Hungary
Those were three very intense minutes - very energetic performance as always and it does stand out.

14. Latvia
Still a very theatrical performance as well even though Laura seems to have toned the hair swinging down a bit and that's only for the better. In the bridge she struggles vocally.

15 Sweden.. or maybe not as we switch to the greenroom and then go to:

First rehearsal from Ukraine

Desiree on Wed, 05/02/2018 - 17:06

Melovin starts his performance in what first looks like a cage but later more a coffin. The background is mostly red and his outfit similar to in the national final. The backings on stage wear jackets with white vertical stripes (think pianos).

I'm pleased to hear that his English pronunciation has improved a lot and Melovin comes across very confident as he already dit during the promotour as well.

The same stand that had his coffin earlier transforms in his piano with the stairs to it light up in flames.

Ukraine’s first rehearsal: avant-garde props and fire alarm for MELOVIN

Andy on Wed, 05/02/2018 - 14:30

Ukrainian representative MELOVIN takes the Eurovision stage for his first rehearsal on May 2nd at the ‎Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal.

Impressive and literally fiery stage performance has all the potential to become the most discussed at this year’s Eurovision. After the furious staging at the national selection, MELOVIN brought to Lisbon turned on its head version of his entry song ‘Under the Ladder’. The stage act’s idea realised together with a Ukrainian stage director Konstantin Tomilchenko, who also staged Jamala’s winning “1944” performance back at Eurovision 2016.

Probably the most avant-garde and theatrical props of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest is a two-level gigantic piano brought to Lisbon by the Ukrainian delegation. The complex installation serves as a hidden spot for the singer at the very beginning of the staging and as music instrument on fire closer to the end. These props need a very sophisticated technical support. If operation button pressed a half second earlier or later there is a chance for MELOVIN to damage himself seriously. And let’s not forget about the fire need to be released exactly when the singer starts playing the piano.

‘Nothing but your will sets you on fire. Fire lasts forever’ - this line from my song inspired Konstantin Tomilchenko and me to create this theatrical staging. I wanted to keep the fire but kind of escalate the whole props story to another level. With Konstantin we share the same vision of how exactly my performance should look like and I also love what he’d done for Jamala, - MELOVIN says.

‘The installation looks impressive, and that’s exactly what we want to bring to Eurovision stage. I’m really worried about how it’s all gonna work together,’ – shares Konstantin Tomilchenko. – ‘We need to take extra cautions during rehearsals and at the Semi-Final.’

MELOVIN releases his mysterious music video for ‘Under the Ladder’

Andy on Mon, 04/30/2018 - 09:54

Ukrainian singer released the music video for his Eurovision entry song ‘Under the Ladder’. The shooting took place in Kyiv and lasted about 24 hours with challenging fire scenes nearly stop the whole process and left the singer with burned hands.

After his fiery staging at the national selection, no wonder MELOVIN wanted to carry on the burning theme in his mysterious music video. The saying goes “If you play with fire, you're gonna get burned” which had almost literally happened with the singer on the set. According to the director’s idea, witchy femme fatale, played by Top Model of the World 2017 Julia Gershun, wants to seduce MELOVIN and convert him to the dark side. However, the singer is strong enough to her enchantment and breaks himself from bonds closer to the end of the music video with spectacular playing-the-piano-on-fire scenes. For greater reality team used the real fire on hands with special protection.

“At some point, I just felt like my hands are actually on fire and asked to check if the protection is still working. Needless to say, it all nearly gone by that time due to the endless takes. Out team fixed everything, we finished the shooting without burning flash and I love the result. What is this video about? It’s about the resistance and the re-birth, growth and releasing your inner power,” - MELOVIN says.

A Day with O.Torvald (Ukraine)

Andy on Wed, 05/10/2017 - 04:10

Today, representatives of Ukrainian and largest international press have been invited for a tour with O.Torvald band, which included visit to the "Barman Dictat", Arena City complex and Gulliver mall roof.

"Barman Dictat" (formerly 44 art club) is the location where O.Torvald gave their first ever performance in Kyiv, and still remains favourite stage of the band. Zhenya Galich and his team (who were sadly missing bass guitarist, who was sick) gave rendition of 3 songs including their most recent hit #nashilyudyvsyudy and shared with press members a few drinks.

Special guests were Bandura Style project (Yaroslav Jus and Maryna Krut) who after releasing their cover of Time yesterday were noticed by Zhenya this morning and immediately invited to Kyiv.

After a short walk we have reached location of 2005 Euroclub Arena City where band met with their fans, who, despite just a one hour notice, gathered in masses to meet their idols. Artists spoke with fans and made numerous signatures and selfies.

To finish the day, band and press members have climbed to the 34th floor of Gulliver mall - the 2nd highest building of Kyiv and got a great view on the city from there.

A Day with O.Torvald