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Denmark. Georgia. Hungary. Mala. Macedonia. Cyprus. Portugal.

Andy onWed, 05/14/2008 - 16:34

Denmark was bad. That's it. It goes absolutely nowhere.

Georgian rehearsal was the one most far away from the final performance. Delegation is not revealing anything about Georgian final performance. We just know it won't be angels as at the national final. There are absolutely no problems with vocals.

Hungary - the best ballad of the contest, great background with candles and piano on stage. The performance is very static. Today she sang in English, but will be performing in mix of languages as at the official CD version.

Morena - 4 dancers and backing vocalist. Very ordinary dance routine without any development.

Macedonia - it also has sort of doors on stage as has Ukraine. The girl enters first through them followed by the guys. The show ends with one of singers standing on his head.

Cyprus is very close to the national final performance with 4 dancers dancing sort of syrtaki, then falling on their knees and rolling around. The Evdokia climbs on a big table. At the end she is rised with table.

Portugal - Keith claims it is brilliant. I think it was pretty ordinary. I think it is qualifier but may be bottom 5 there. Vocally it is perfect though.

Latvia, Croatia, Denmark

Andy onWed, 05/14/2008 - 11:05

Latvia was just amazing and left me extremely impressed (though only a few agree with me). This is typical voting friendly song, very catchy, choreography is pretty minimalist - three main and three back singer. Janis is not singing at all, we can hear only vocal of Roberto, and sometimes Sasha. I think it is pretty guaranteed finalist.

Croatia - it's pity that they removed the bench. It is a bit boring. Girl is very nice and dancing greatly, but I don't think it fits the performance. Old guy is walking, scratching grammophone, others are standing.

I've missed Bulgaria.

Denmark is just plain boring.

From Lithuania to Belarus

Andy onTue, 05/13/2008 - 16:13

Lithuania - we've missed it unfortunately, but it should not be that different from national final one, Jeronimus is accompanied on stage by moon. Press-conference was mostly devoted to underlining that Lithuania has heavy metal singer this year. I'm extremely happy to have a good young heavy metal vocalist in Lithuania and track Vampire Woman by band Soul Stealer is highly recomended.

Albania - from what we've seen - it is very static on stage, Olta in front of stage accompanied by her band at background.

Switzerland is absolutely the same. It is awfully static and goes nowhere.

Автор Ukraine-Belarus

Czech Republic - the gimmick here is in DJ boot in form of heart. Again a lot of unnecessary movemement on stage.

Belarus - so far I'm dissapointed. This is typically Greek choreography with 5 "stones" on stage, with all team dancing around and on them. Vocally it is perfect though.

Iceland, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine

Andy onTue, 05/13/2008 - 11:26

First some opinions, before others will bring photos from the hall.

Iceland is looking very good and I think it completely overshadows Sweden. It has all Sweden should have but don't. It is typically Swedish choreography, they follow each other on stage and then are joined by backing singers. Omar throws away his jacket during performance. It is perfect vocally.

Sweden has same videoeffects as at national performance (black and white ones), glamourous microphone and stairs from which Charlotte enters. Everything looks pretty weak. I can not imagine what this has to do to get remembered by non-fan audience. Especially in this first 4.

Turkey is good rock band on stage, backs need more synchronization, screens show creatures from video. Should qualify and finish in top 10.

Ukraine has small room on stage of 4 sections, they are enlighted and show backing dancers in it. This is the best part, then everything continues in typically Agurbash style with dancers jumping around Ani. Then she climbs on the top of the room and sings there. On stage is also backing vocalist known for previous Kirkorov's entries. The staging in pretty good.

More photos: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/esckaz.com/IcelandSwedenTurkeyUkraine


Andy onMon, 05/12/2008 - 16:50

Game Over. If Russia will not get the worst possible draw and Plushenko will not fall on Bilan and Marton we know the winner.
Plushenko is on small ice, max. of 6 meters. Bilan sits, stands then climbs upstairs, while Plushenko is scating. Everything is pretty static. There are also Marton a ballet dancer and two opera backing vocalists. I don't understand the idea of staging, but it looks very good.

Автор Россия

Armenia, Netherlands, Finland, Romania

Andy onMon, 05/12/2008 - 15:28

Next part of rehearsals coming.
Armenia is not impressive at all. With this my dream to stop Russia from winning dies. The choreography is typical Mandrik's which means a lot of movement around without any specific reason. It however applies to most choreographies this year. So, Sirusho has 3 guys with whom she interacts and 2 backing singers. Vocally it is not perfect, escpecially synchronization with backs. It will have pyros, which were not there today.

More photos: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/esckaz.com/ArmeniaFinlandRomania

At press-conference Sirusho performed duet with Hayko

Netherlands plays basicly on the same field with Armenia and is better. It is good vocally, however the routine is useless again. The gimmick is lighted microphone holders for backing vocalists. It will also depend on Hind's dress at final and the ones shown today weren't perfect.

Album: http://picasaweb.google.com/esckaz.com/VD20

Finland is typical Terasbetoni, so there is not many changes in performance as well as vocals. This is typical Iron Maiden parody and all depends whether you realize it is parody act or not.

More photos: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/esckaz.com/ArmeniaFinlandRomania

Romania is perfect in everything and is dead certain qualifier. Enough said.

Poland & Ireland & Andorra

Andy onMon, 05/12/2008 - 10:26

That was bad start of the day. Isis was dressed in short white dress, though there still is chance it will be even more shorter. There are pianist and 4 backing instrumentalists, sitting with violos and violins on chairs. When Isis moves to catwalk 2 backing singers stand up just to sing backing vocals. And they are pretty bad and disorganized. Overall, absolutely not impressive.

Ireland looks dreadful. Especially on screens. And those backing vocals were awful as well. Dustin himself looks good, but you can not see much of him. The dancers chaotically move around the stage and it is impossible to understand what they are singing. It may just qualify, but it was worse than Estonia.

Andorra is standart. It is silly Swedish dance routine with 4 dancers around Gisela. Vocally it is perfect, but not enough. The first semifinal looks incredibly dreadful.

More photos:

Round up of day 1

Andy onMon, 05/12/2008 - 06:51

Round-up with materials from other ESCKaz team members

The day was opened by Montenegro with a pretty confident rehearsal, ranked very high by ESCKaz team. Stefan is joined on stage by backing vocalists Ana, Amira and Martina, who were on stage with Claudia Beni in 2003, and Martina was on stage with Alenka Gotar last year. A new Beauty Queens is coming? The gimmick is in red gloves, with which girls embrace Stefan leaving prints on his T-Shirt.

More photos:

At the press-conference they've admitted that they are looking for neighbours support, thus preferred to perform in native language. Interestingly, main favourite of Stefan is Dima Bilan.

More photos:
Israel was next and it was pretty messy rehearsal. It seems we're yet to see the final dance routine, but the main gimmick here will be vocal of Boaz, admitted by singer as well. We agree...


At press-conference Boaz admitted to be fan of hard rock, Irish dance and electronic music. We're expecting Dana Int to arrive later.

More photos:
Estonia was missing one of the 3 members of the team but that was not reflected on the performance at all. It looked and sounded absolutely the same. There are rumours that he will arrive at the second rehearsal. One of singers also missed preview recordings in Estonia, so they probably consider it as a good sign.

The press-conference was extremely boring and was closed after just 2 questions.

gallery: http://picasaweb.google.ru/esckaz.com/VD09