Jonida Maliqi is now. She's wearing a black and golden dress, a modern dress with some ethnic elements. She stands at center stage throughout the entire performance. The main colors in the performance are gold and silver, with glimpses of red and black. At the end of the performance, there's a big black eagle flying. His facial expression made people giggle... In addition, her dress had some lights in it, which lit towards the end of the song. She sounds well, and so did the backing singers, but I doubt this has any chance of qualifying.
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Sergey Lazarev got on stage and gave a rehearsal that you would easily think is his live performance in the final. He was perfect vocally and everything was produced to the mill second. On stage, it appears that Sergey stands when behind him are 7-8 mirrors. We soon find out that it's actually recorded versions of him being screened. It's the first twist of the performance. There are a few of them. Behind Sergey and the "mirrors", the LED screen shows falling stars, giving a sense of movement. Sergey moves in and out of the light, sing in front of a window with raindrops on it, etc. The final shot makes a very effective zoom out from Sergey to the big stage, it makes it look huge. It looks expensive, but lack a bit of soul...
Jurij Veklenko stands with his mic stand the whole performance. There's no movement, much like in the national final. The video art is mostly in yellow lights and some red ones, which goes on and off, creating a dynamic atmosphere to go with the song. There's a lot of camera work to add to that dynamic. I got flashbacks of Sweden 2016 in a way. Is this enough to make the song qualify? I'm not so sure. He's charismatic and has a great voice, but the live seems to lack something.
One of the favorites to win this year, Luca Hänni, is taking the stage now! The Swiss performance is spot on. Luca wearing a sleeveless black shirt with 4 backing dancers dresses in red. The video art is mostly red with some nice effects. It's extremely polished, with intense choreography. It reminded me of Sweden 2018 in terms of camera angles and playing with the background. It sounds like a hit and looks very stylish.
Zana goes on stage with a tight colorful top and a torn up white trousers. She looks good and sounds well. At first, she's accompanied by two male dancers, that gives the performance some urban vibe. They're doing some flips on stage. The props are big boxes on wheels, that also supposed to add some more urban feel. With the colorful somewhat artistic video art it seems too much at times. The eye is always busy. Toward the end of the song, two female backing singers/dancers join her on stage. I will say again she sounds very good vocally.
Welcome to Israel guys, my name is Eran, I’m 37 years old (quite old, I know), from Israel.
I’ll be joining the ESCKAZ team this year for the coverage of the 64th Eurovision Song Contest in Tel-Aviv, Israel.
So you know my age, what else do you want to know? My Eurovision background is it? I’ve been watching the contest since 1989, when Gili and Galit went out of tune on the stage in Lausanne. I’ve been watching the show every year since then, with some exception of puberty years in which I thought I was too cool for Eurovision (I wasn’t). I attended two contests so far: 2008 in Belgrade and 2018 in Lisbon, where the excitement was real for me as an Israeli.
Nowadays I’m one of the managers of the Israeli fan Facebook group EurovisionIL and having my own blog for the past 3 years now called “EurovisionMadrich” (in full Hebrew).
I love Eurovision since I see it as an escapist entity, which we’re guaranteed once a year. Every Eurovision that you go and re-watch is like a time capsule and it’s fascinating to see how music, style and fashion have changed. I’m old school, so you’d catch me watching some old 60’s Eurovisions every now and then. Also love statistics and the voting gives us some more of these every year.
I think this year is one of the best years of the decade, songs quality wise. The diversity is amazing and I feel the contest has opened up to new musical concepts and up-to-date musical styles. I have a few favorites this year: Portugal has brought an amazing eclectic piece. "Telemóveis" by Conan Osíris blends a lot of genres, from Portuguese folk to Mediterranean vibes and elctro and techno sounds. The Icelandic entry, "Hatrið mun sigra" by Hatari is a “in your face” type of song, angry Industrial Metal, with angelic chorus, that keeps you wonder are they real or are they trolling? Slovenia is sending one of my favorite Slovenian contemporary artists, the duo Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl. “Sebi” is an enchanting ambient-pop track with superb sad, yet optimistic lyrics. Then there’s also Austria, The Netherlands, Georgia (yes!), Hungary, Armenia, Italy and Spain. Love them all for different reasons. My least favorite song this year is the song from Croatia. I’m afraid “The Dream” by Roko is not really my style, a bit old-fashioned and probably too dramatic for me. Nonetheless, he’s a very good performer. I would mention also the songs from Germany, Moldova and Montenegro as songs I would not put on my playlist, no offense.
We're heading toward a really interesting and exciting event, and I wish all of you who are coming a great stay and a wonderful Eurovision experience. For all of you that will be watching the show from home, I hope the Eurovision vibes and excitement will shine through the screen.
Watch out for my next post, coming up in a few days, with some tips for visitors.
See you soon :)
Finland not making it to the final has been a big surprise - if not shock - for many, including quite a few of the team of ESCKAZ didn't see this coming and/or hoped otherwise.
Despite the disappointment, not long after the semi-final finished, Norma John already showed up in the press centre to give some words to mainly the Finnish press. I also spoke to them for a few seconds (not on video, sorry everyone..) and they didn't seem too devastated. Lasse told me that it's always hard to compete in music.