We’re up to Day 3 here in the press centre for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, and over the last two days we’ve seen all 19 competing acts in the first semi-final take to the stage for their first rehearsals. Today, we’ve got the first half of the second semi-final, starting with Norway and ending in Australia! Follow the action here with us at Eurovision Union!
They’re often a hit amongst the voters, but the party seems to be nearly over for Russia, who pulled out of last year’s competition, and are back with Julia Samoylova. She was meant to perform last year, but due to primarily political reasons, we didn’t see her live out her performance. After the first rehearsal, we could be seeing Russia fall.
As expected, we’ve got Julia Samoylova at the top of a prop mountain looking majestic. At the beginning of the performance the camera angles used don’t elude to the height of the prop, but it is then revealed not long into the performance.
They’ve featured three backing vocalists on stage, which are clearly in view on stage, and two dancers who dance with each other through the performance. As the performance continues the prop mountain becomes illuminated much like the dress of Estonia’s Elina Nechayeva, but primarily geometrical rather than the floral designs we saw with Estonia. In the middle of the song, the stage is illuminated as well in white to continue the illusion of the mountain being bigger than what it is, and with the right camera angle the illusion is successful.
From my impression whilst watching the performance, the dress that Julia is wearing definitely looked white with accents of pink, but looking through the photo gallery, it’s actually multi-coloured with pink, gold and mint green. With the way that the stage is lit, it’s actually hard to distinguish these details. As in the promotional pictures, Julia also has jewels on her face, and her hair features one or two dreadlocks.
In the context of the performance, it feels that costuming is incredibly insignificant, as the focus is definitely more on the props, and the questionable vocal performance.
And that leads us onto the vocal performance, which as expected left a bit of an unsavoury taste in the mouths of the press today. If we are comparing it to her Moscow performance, her Eurovision performance is a definite step up. She definitely shines more in the verses, and the choruses still remain a bit of a struggle to reach.
The biggest vocal surprise however is in the final choruses, where we see that the backing vocalists actually take the lead of the song, while Julia actually sings the backing portion of the song. This is definitely a strategic move to create the illusion of strong vocals, but in that sense the illusion doesn’t work. It’s very clear that she is dropping to sing the backing vocals herself, and even still doesn’t do so in the strongest manner.
It’s a definite step up, but still a long way to go.