Polish rehearsal had to be stopped after a few seconds. It seemed the camera work was all over the place. It's also the 2nd rehearsal I noticed they are using the wrong flag, specifically the flag of the country that is to perform afterward. The 2nd attempt was better. There are a lot of zoom in shots on the band members and the camera also cuts to the audience in the part of clapping. I love the song! but will admit it lacks an extra oomph to stand out.
Poland first rehearsal. The foursome goes on stage with traditional customs in shining red, wearing head-veils and golden crowns. The veils are being removed and the girls are standing on a rotating small stage. The color is mainly red, with white triangles in the video art, showing the girls' images. Have to say I didn't care too much for it, and it's a shame since I really like "Pali się". We saw them live on other occasions and I know they can be amazing. I believe they'll get better. On their second attempt, they already sound much better. Still, I think this might be borderline in terms of qualifying for the final.
Poland is a revelation for me. Angelic image, zodiac signs in the backdrop, and Kasia looks classy in a white dress. She is wearing little make up and it just works perfectly. Fragile, innocent, this has so much improved from National Final performance. Poland has really gone up in my estimations today.
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.
Donatan and Cleo scored a monsterhit with 'My Slowianie' last last year in Poland. Now they're about to do it all over in Europe with their Eurovision edit of the song. Enjoy the overview of their live rehearsal.