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Meet and Greet with Justs from Latvia

Liza on Wed, 05/04/2016 - 11:36

Wow! Justs blew my mind away with an acapella version of his ESC entry. And I'm rather sure, I'm not the only one. However when he sings: "Feeling your heartbeat. That's what I want", it sounds more like: "That's what I won't". He said that he enjoyed the first rehearsal. He was comfortable on the stage. In fact he was more freaked out by facing all the press and fans at the Meet and Greet.

First Rehearsal Latvia

Kicking off day 3 rehearsals is the ever so charming 21 year old Justs from Latvia.

Just like the Czech Republic yesterday, Justs is treating us to an absolute power vocal on 'Heartbeat'. You can not fault him there.

The overall staging is kept pretty simple, staying true to the feel of the national final. Dark blue colours, with hints of red during the chorus, set the atmosphere for this uptempo start. Justs is also appearing on stage alone. A little change in the outfit however, as the brown jacket has been swapped for a black one.

The negative is really the camera work at this stage. There's too many strange side angles, especially first verse, which I hope the Latvian broadcaster will make SVT aware of. Im also not very sure on some of those long shots, as it really puts an emphasis on Justs being all alone on that big stage.

Not that that should be much of a trouble, Justs is a great performer and throughout the runs, he's proven to have pitch perfect vocals and fantastic stage presence.

Great first rehearsal!

2nd run through from Latvia.....

Well I am feeling his heartbeat

Love this song from the very beginning, even though we are to realising anything on stage that is different too much from the National `Final or the promo tour

Nice leather jacket, colours work on stage soooooo much better than the Estonia mess from yesterday. Full use of the stage and delivering the energy of this song perfectly with a mean and mood stare right at the end to finish off the whole thing...

Sailing through this semi....

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;
 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;

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.

Latvia- Second Rehearsal

CostasP on Sat, 05/16/2015 - 14:21

I thought that the Latvian song was too weird to qualify till now but after what i've seen i am changing my mind.Some really impressing lighting with red and white backdrop that changes with the melody of the song. I have an issue generally with her voice but that is just personal taste;i think she really delivers for those that liked it all along.The dress does seem a bit odd, however there is use of it in some amazing camera angles with the floor from above.So yeah,i do feel it's a qualifier afterall.

Latvia First Rehearsal: Aminata - Love Injected

Latvia are bringing one of the best current tracks in my opinion and they've chosen a very effect staging for it as well.

It's very similar to the way it was staged in the national final, so we're seeing a pretty static Aminata performing in front of a microphone stative. She's joined on the stage by three backing singers who are all in black. Aminata herself looks the absolute part in her figure hugging red dress with mermaid tail made of tulle.

Vocally she's par on, she sounds great. If I have to look for a minus point it would be engagement with the viewers at home. The overall staging is also red with white, red and black beams coming from the backdrop. It has a bit of an alternative ice queen feel to it and it's totally up my street.

The thing that's however really distressing, is the fact that ORF are testing recorded applause through out the song, and that's just really annoying because Latvia's song really doesn't lend itself to applause. So it spoils the mood a little for me, however that's not something that has anything to do with the Latvian performance.

Great start for Latvia, and my highlight so far.

Huit points!

Latvia - First Rehearsal

Another alien for me apart from Loic Nottet. This is my type of music; I could listen to it for hours.

Aminata is dressed up in red fitted dress from the top and turning into a long tutu. There tree backing vocalist on the stage as well, helping to produce unique voice combinations and effects.

The background is bright red focusing on Aminata only. I wish she gets high results, because she deserves it.

Best of luck!