Israel, the host country, my country, is now on stage for its first rehearsal. Kobi wears a black suit. He's surrounded by big a-symmetrical screens that show images of him from the video, there are also lights across them, which gives them an old school theatre vibe. 5 backing singers stand behind him in the first chorus. He leaves them and walks on the catwalk. The backing singers each stand in front of one of the screens. The colors ruling the stage are black and white. He sounds amazing, I would dare to say like in the studio. However, the staging is underwhelming.
Yom HaZikaron is the Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism. It's an official memorial day that was enacted into law in 1963. It's the day when Israelis stops and honor the fallen soldiers of the country. Since Jewish tradition sees the day starting from sunset to sunset, the events of this day will started on Tuesday evening.
A few things that you should know (and probably already noticed) as tourists:
* There are two sirens heard; the first at the preceding evening at 20:00, that will last for 1 minute. The 2nd on Yom HaZikaron day at 11:00, and this one is 2 minutes long.
* In the preceding evening all stores and restaurant are closed. Grocery stores and supermarkets will be open on Yom HaZikaron itself. Restaurants will still be closed.
* There will be no rehearsals for Eurovision on Yom HaZikaron. That is why rehearsals started a day earlier this year.
* In addition, radio will play only sad songs from Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening. TV will air special programming at the same time.
And then things take a drastic turn. On Wednesday evening Yom HaZikaron ends and the Independence Day begins. It "is the national day of Israel, commemorating the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948" (from Wikipedia). It's a day of ceremonies, celebrations and parties, and you'll notice Israelis tend to party hard. This will take place from Wednesday evening to Thursday evening.
A few things that you should know as tourists:
* Grocery stores and supermarkets will be closed early on Wednesday. Restaurants are supposed to remain open and will probably be packed.
* There will be road blocks on Wednesday evening. It's not only for security reasons; Throughout the evening and the night there will be shows going on, known in Israel as "Bamot Bidur" (Entertainment stages). There will probably hundreds of them throughout the country. These shows are free and open to all. If you'll go to one of them you'll see insane amount of people attending, including families. The performers are usually Israeli biggest music stars. Check out who's performing in your area.
* Rehearsals for Eurovision will go on regularly on Thursday.
* most grocery stores and supermarkets will be closed on Thursday, but you might find a handful of AMPM stores open.
Picture by Ishai Parasol
Let me show you Tel Aviv.....
Twas the night before Eurovision and all was quiet down Clapham way, until almost like a whisper Better Love started - Greece are back with a bang this year, despite what the nay sayers think….May is here, Eurovision is here and Tel Aviv here we come….
It’s been a long year since Netta won over Europe’s hearts with her Toy(s) and, even though it was, at times, in doubt, the gathering perfect storm that is the Eurovision circus two weeks in Tel Aviv is almost upon us. Less than 12 hours before most of the ESCKAZ.com team arrive there and we’re sat at home, looking at the luggage and thinking just how the hell are we going to get all that on the EasyJet flight - opps
Tel Aviv has really stepped it up gear these last few weeks, with preparations in full swing in the Arena, The Press area, Euroclub, Eurovillage, Eurofancafe and around the rest of the city, for more information please visit the ESCKAZ.com event page here for the in depth coverage of all that side of the contest http://esckaz.com/2019/event.htm
This is not our first time in Israel, having spent some time there at the first Israel Calling Event in 2016, but this time we plan on trying to see a little more of the place, with a side trip to Jerusalem. We’ll bring you all the news from that, the tourist side of Eurovision, as we can…
So what are we expecting from Eurovision this year? Well aside from the big favourites from The Netherlands, Russia, Italy and Sweden, there are some really cracking songs this year - some standouts for me include Azerbaijan, Albania, Greece, Spain (!!!!), North Macedonia, and for all you Euroclub banger-freaks out there, Norway Cyprus and Finland should light you up, the BDSM crowd have Iceland, and for all the ballad lovers there’s a few to choose from too. Like Latvia. No really!
On the down side there are some real turkeys too, Australia slipped up this year, Belarus should try a bit harder, and that infectious “I need this song to go away now” slab from San Marino….
All that said I am sure you all have the songs you love already, the ones you skip every time and the ones that you still, even now after 50 plays, cannot remember the name of, or who actually sings it, without checking.
Still Mr Handsome from Spain will make it all better :-)
Hi guys, it's Eran again, here's some info and tips for people visiting Tel-Aviv for Eurovision.
About Tel Aviv
Here’s some info about the real star, the host city of this year’s Eurovision, Tel Aviv, or officially Tel Aviv-Yafo. It’s a rather young city, only 110 years old, also known as “The First Hebrew City”, “The White City”, "The City That Never Sleeps" and “The Capital of Cool”. It’s the 2nd largest city in Israel after Jerusalem, and considered to be its younger more modern little sister.
What to see in Tel Aviv?
For those of you coming from Europe, you might think the city is too Americanized, and you won’t be so wrong about that. Tourists have said it remind them of Southern California. Unlike a big European city, you won’t come across historical monuments that often, we’re writing history right now. Every neighborhood in Tel Aviv offers a different vibe and atmosphere. If you want to walk through the old neighborhoods and explore some of the city’s history, you can start at Jaffa’s Old City and Port, and have a visit at the flea market, or tour the Neve Tzedek neighborhood. Check out Tel-Aviv beaches and the beach promenade if you’re looking for some fun in the sun. If you’re interested in art, you can pay a visit to the Tel Aviv Museum, Nahum Gutman Museum of Art or the Eretz Israel Museum. There’s also some great shopping in Tel Aviv, visit HaCarmel Market and Levinski Market for grocery shopping. Azrieli Mall and Dizingoff Center are both of Tel Aviv most popular shopping centers. For those looking for more luxury boutique items, TLV Fashion Mall boasts some of the hottest brands in fashion. If you’re rich - you can go straight to Kikar Hamedina (wink, wink). Two of the biggest parks around are Hayarkon Park or Gnei Yehoshua, where you can jog or just lay in the sun.
For more information on current events and other recommendations, please visit Secret Tel Aviv (https://www.secrettelaviv.com/).
I really like the first 30 seconds of Feel Alive's staging. Imri has the superstar looks and introduces himself with some very polished camerawork, from two different perspectives.
Unfortunately it falls apart a little after that. It seems like he's not getting enough vocal backup. And the choreography isn't anything special, which is unfortunate because he is clearly a very good dancer.
Hovi from Israel is slowly but surely becoming one of the acts, fans genuinely want to qualify this year.
Israel is most certainly in with a change this year. As I said before this is easily the best staging we've had from Israel in a few years. Add to that the power vocals of Hovi, and you have a very pleasing package on offer.
So last night was probably the busiest night for the parties so far
First up was the Italian party in the smaller venue at Euroclub, hosted by the ever helpful and upbeat Italian delegation....
Emma performed a long set of her music and rocked it up on the stage to a packed crowd of gathered press and local VIPs.
Video clips available on our normal youtube account......https://youtube.com/user/EurovisionKZ/videos
Next up was Ireland......as always seems to be the case now this was hosted in the local Irish Bar, The Shamrock Bar in central Copenhagen....
Massively crowded but anyone who has ever been to Ireland will totally understand that this is just how thing's are in Ireland so we all felt totally at home....
Food was provided and a free bar for the delegations....
Performances from Malta, Norway and of course Can-Linn and Kasey Smith....https://youtube.com/user/EurovisionKZ/videos
Final party of the night was the huge open to everybody Israeli Party.....Mei Fingold and her delegation threw open the doors of the large venue in Euroclub and welcomed anybody who wanted to celebrate on the eve of their Independence Day today.
Euroclub was packed to the rafters with hundreds of people who came to see not only Mei but performances from Georgia, France, Austria and Malta.....
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.
The expectations for Israel's Mei Finegold are high. Her Eurovision entry 'Same Heart' is already a fan favourite for many. So let's have a look at Israel's first live performance.
Non-surprisingly, after rather cold reviews yesterday, delegation of Israel has changed the background and lights. Now it is blueish light, red dresses which look great, and the stage show is now looking almost perfect. The only chaotic part is when Daniel is playing piano, it didn't really fit the screen broadcast. It is the best song of the contest, and as it starts delivering as it should - it looks very dangerous.