Montenegro

The Netherlands Reception

Desiree on Sun, 05/07/2017 - 08:22

The Netherlands Party

Yesterday the delegation from The Netherlands held their reception at the sophisticated Premier Palace hotel in a nice atmospheric restaurant at the roof. The splendid weather and the attending delegations added all that was needed to make it a great evening. OG3NE really took their time to speak to all the press, both national and international as the sunset made the view from the rooftop even more stunning than it already was.

We also met with Slavko from Montenegro, Brendan Murray from Ireland and Martina Bárta from the Czech Republic and spotted Lindita from Albania who joined Slavko to sing for the birthday of Itai Eithan Shamir.

All in all a wonderful evening and we'd like to thank the Netherlands delegation for inviting us.

Check all our photos here!

The Netherlands Party

Montenegro second rehearsal

Desiree on Thu, 05/04/2017 - 11:18

A similar looking rehearsal for Montenegro. Moving spots all through the hall again make for a great atmosphere, the backdrop of a 'galaxy of stars' is of course very fitting - only what actually happens on stage might be a bit too much, or too little at the same time. The performance is of course there, Slavko knows how to grab attention with his grand movements and braid waving / throwing through the air, but he's also just there on his own on stage, no backings or dancers visible.

Once the chorus moves in however, Slavko is his own backing dancer(s) with images of himself on screen, braid and nude upper body included. Then during the second verse we get the zoom from above while Slavko is moving on the floor (still the same over the top image with way too much lipgloss), this image is not visible for the audience in the hall unless they watch the screens in the hall (2 on each side as I mentioned before).

I like the song, it's something different in this first semi-final but at the same time I have mixed feelings about it. I'm afraid it could be a bit too different/strange/weird for the average viewer.

Haven't mentioned the vocals so far, but in the hall we can notice again that Slavko is a better dancer and performer than singer.

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!

Montenegro first rehearsal

Desiree on Sun, 04/30/2017 - 12:50

Well, that was definitely interesting. Slavko starts his performance with a huge blue skirt that obviously gets ripped off at some point and then reveals tight black glitter pants!. He's alone on the stage so more hidden backings.

There's a lot going on so I don't even know where to start, especially as there have been only two runs. At some point the stage is filmed from above and we see Slavko's face on stage with some very bright pink lipstick. I'm not really sure the waving with his large braid does this any favour.

And I should mention, this song got the first round of applause in the press centre. But then it was the first up tempo song of the day, and the first real show!

Montenegro 1st Rehearsal

ChrisB on Sun, 04/30/2017 - 12:39

Slavko is alone on stage and giving full effort in glitter pants and swinging his ponytail.
I don't know if the staging is spectacular enough to make it to the final, neither is the rather pedestrian song.
So the only thing REALLY spectacular here is Slavko himself.

It's entertaining, but the camp presentation might really struggle with jury points.

Semi One predictions from Daniel and me

Mike;

Finland No
Greece No
Moldova Maybe
Hungary Yes
Croatia Yes
The Netherlands Yes
Armenia Yes
San Marino No
Russia Yes
Czech Republic Yes
Cyprus Maybe
Austria Yes
Estonia Maybe
Azerbaijan Yes
Montenegro No
Iceland Yes
Bosnia and Herzegovina Yes
Malta Yes

So someone will miss out from my predictions, and sadly I think it will be Austria

From Daniel;

Finland No
Greece No
Moldova Maybe
Hungary Yes
Croatia Yes
The Netherlands Yes
Armenia Yes
San Marino No
Russia Yes
Czech Republic Yes
Cyprus No
Austria Yes
Estonia No
Azerbaijan Maybe
Montenegro No
Iceland Yes
Bosnia and Herzegovina Yes
Malta Yes

Some slight disagreements here, but more or less we agree this year

Anyway what the hell do we know.....though we usually get 7-9 out of 10

Press Conference for Montenegro

Liza on Fri, 05/06/2016 - 16:22

Highway found the second rehearsal perfect. They talked about being in X-Factor, and how it is similar to the Eurovision. It all depends on the live singing. The group talks about that they have had time to enjoy Stockholm. They like the city and would like to buy a house here - or maybe a boat. However a house costs 4 million dollars, so if they win the Eurovision, they hope, they could make enough money for a house.

Review of the second semi-final by Keith Mills

I decided not to hang around for the qualifier press conference tonight as I have a pretty hectic day tomorrow, but I have now caught up with the halves of the draw that the ten countries will perform in. It really has ended up as a show of two halves with most of the uptempo songs in the first half and the ballads and slower moody songs in the second.

Overall I think tonight's show was far better than Tuesday's. The songs were better, the pacing was sharper and there was less of last year's winner, though still far too much. The camerawork was also improved, but the issue with flags blocking the screen is still a major problem and has to be sorted on Saturday.

As for the seven songs that went out, only Switzerland and Ireland can feel hard done by and Poland qualifying was a bit of a shock. Some are suggesting it was a sympathy vote, but it was also helped by the draw so perhaps not totally unpredictable.

My thoughts on the seven that went home;
IRELAND: I think Molly performed well and for once I liked the Irish staging. However I thought we were probably doomed on the day we were given the awful #2 draw and so it came to be. I may sound like a broken record here but once again can I suggest RTÉ looks at its selection process. The current formula is giving is the worst set of results we've ever had in the contest.

SAN MARINO: Dreadful patchwork of a song and no amount of youthful enthusiasm can replace a lack of stage craft. It was always a no-hoper. It deserved to finish last and being honest, if this is the best that they can come up with, San Marino has no place in the contest.

MALTA: A much better performance by Amber tonight but there was far too much going on to distract you in the presentation.It was as if no lessons were learnt from Olivia Lewis in 2007. The song was always too weak for this semi, but might have had a chance in the first semi. No surprise this lost out.

PORTUGAL: The Portuguese chose the wrong song in the Eurovision selection, it's as simple as that. No matter how good Leonor was tonight (and she was very good), the song was just poor. Like Ireland, Portugal needs to re-think its selection process. There's enough talent there to do very well in the contest but RTP are not tapping into it.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Whoever decided to add the ridiculous shoe throwing to the act should never be allowed near the contest again. Until that point the performance was solid, even if the song was always a little dull. I fear that we may never see the Czechs back in the contest.

ICELAND: Not only the worst vocal performance of the night, one of the worst of this century. It was always a big heap of nothing of a song, with basically a repeated chorus and no verses but everything about this was absolutely dreadful from he staging to the costume, but especially the off-key performance.

SWITZERLAND: I really feel sorry for Melanie, because this was a terrific performance and hugely improved on the national final. Switzerland just doesn't have friendly neighbours or a diaspora, but if Austria can win, so can they. Really disappointed not to see this in the final.

The following countries are in the first half;
 Armenia
 Australia
 Belgium
 Cyprus
 Estonia
 France
 Israel
 Lithuania
 Norway
 Serbia
 Slovenia
 Sweden
 United Kingdom

That's a lot of up-tempo and mid-tempo songs. Personally I'd probably open with United Kingdom, then go with Armenia and Sweden, for contrast. I would have Israel at #13

At #14 it's Austria

In the second half you have the following countries;
 Albania
 Azerbaijan
 Georgia
 Germany
 Greece
 Hungary
 Italy
 Latvia
 Montenegro
 Poland
 Romania
 Russia
 Spain

There's no up-tempo song in there at all, but Georgia, Germany and Montenegro are at least mid-tempo. Hungary, Greece, Russia and Spain need to be kept apart. The director will certainly earn his money tonight.

Tomorrow I will review the running order, as I fly back to Dublin.