Michela's second rehearsal seems to be not as strong as the first one. She wears her hair down and it seems even some of the choreography has changed. She's not focused throughout the entire rehearsal. In the 2nd and 3rd attempt, it seems to get better and better, and Michela delivers the vocals as she knows. We see the on-screen graphics they're gonna use, like small fishes when the video art shows the underwater and virtual rain when Michela sings she can "change like the weather".
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It's Malta now! Michela and her "Chameleon", one of this year's bangers, took the stage. The video art is quite amazing. The Maltese got their own LED screens, that closes Michela in half a square. She starts off in her room, she opens the virtual door, and the house is flooded. The water is, of course, part of the video art. It changes to underwaters, to a jungle and eventually to an urban jungle. With Michela are 4 dancers in sweatsuits that dance around, looking very urban and chic. It reminded me a bit of Ace Wilder last performance at the Melodifestivalen with "Wild Child". This will definitely rise up in the betting odds.
Claudia's first run through and we can already say with certainty that she is vocally flawless. Not much is happening in the staging and the focus is on Claudia in a white dress. There are quite a few wide angle shots and I can imagine the audience will be waving with cell phone lights to this ballad which should add a nice touch.
After a rather long adventure in getting to the arena this morning, I only just made it for the second run-through of Malta. I am really worried as to how people make it out here and back to the city on the show nights.
MALTA has some lovely backdrops giving an outdoor feel. Firelight are lined up and there are some nice panning shots from the front. It’s vocally perfect, and while I don’t think the photos in the backdrop add anything they aren’t as distracting as I thought they might be. This is very competent and a better show opener than Armenia in the first semi and should qualify pretty easily.
ISRAEL is much stronger than I thought it might be. Mei is a woman of amble thighs and we’re certainly seeing a lot of them in this performance but the semi-oriental staging is fantastic and the choreography is slick but at times not caught properly on camera with too many shot changes. Vocally it’s very strong but something here reminds me of Cyprus 2008 and Bulgaria 2011, neither of which qualified. However with only five songs to beat, this should make the cut. As good as I could have hoped for.
NORWAY is just a perfect contrast to Israel. It’s dark, moody angst-ridden and intense. Carl is good vocally, engages with the camera in a much better way than before and the violinists on the stage pedestal provide some variety of shots. Call me old-fashioned but I’d prefer not to see the tattoo on his arm. I’d prefer more use of the storm cloud motif in the background, but these are all minor quibbles. This should qualify easily.
GEORGIA is not only different from anything today but probably different from anything we’ve ever had in the contest. It reminds me of the folk/prog fusion and bands like Steeleye Span and Jethro Tull from the early 1970s. I’m not a fan of the paracute gimmick but otherwise I really like the staging. The female singer in lurid green is really pushing this up my ranking but I have the feeling that it might just be too different to appeal on just one listening and could lose out on qualifying.
POLAND has gone 100% ethno-pop in the staging and costumes. Cleo looks and sounds great and while I don’t see the point of having two girls doing nothing bar pretending to wash clothes. It’s got a pumping beat and the basic dance moves work very well and while the staging is just too busy in the arena it works on television. I think this benefits hugely from coming after Georgia and it could well qualify.
AUSTRIA is the bloke with a beard wearing a frock that everyone has heard about. The song reminds me of a rejected Bond them from 1974 and the backgrounds has the flame cliché that Azerbaijan didn’t go for. Vocally it’s a little shaky on the chorus and after a 25 second lead in before you see the singer, once you get over the shock value, it becomes rather dull very quickly.
LITHUANIA is another contrast with very minimalist staging and lighting and clever (possibly over-thought) choreography. Vilija is very strong vocally and really looks strong on camera. I could do without the leg wobbles and hands coming through the skirt and the 40 shades of blue staging lacks variety but otherwise I see little wrong with this. This is different and strong enough to sail into the final.
Maltese country folk pop band, Firelight, fronted by brother and sister Richard and Michelle, are the first to take the B&W Hallerne stage this morning. Here's how the first rehearsal went today:
Malta have won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest late last year. Can Firelight, bring the big contest to the tiny island as well for the first time in the space of a year? Find out how Firelight got on with their first rehearsal.