Today marked the start of the second rehearsals for the semi-finalists, starting with Cyprus through to Portugal. Who impressed, and who runs the risk of non-qualification? Our guest writer Dennis (ESCdaily) gave his thoughts on the performances of the day!
The song opens with very quick flashing camera shots of Tamta in the dark. She is on stage with blond wet look hair and has four dancers in black outfits and black cowboy hats to accompany her on stage. Lots of camera angle changes, in a purple, black and white scenery. In the close-ups Tamta is flirting with the camera a lot.
Perhaps the act is overly sexual? The dancers strip her black and silver outfit halfway the song down to silver only. There are six vertical lighted beams on stage as pillars, which sometimes have full white, or blue/white colours. Full focus is on Tamta, you never get to see the faces of the dancers, but the dance choreography is quite slick.
In theme with the song title they replay some dance routines in slow motion near the end. All dancers drop to the floor on the closing shot.
The song starts with three D Mol members sitting on the staircase of the bridge, before we go to one of the girls on the catwalk, as we move on to one of the guys alone on the stage. The whole group – dressed in white suits with some red scarfs – joins him, as the camera spins around the group. During the instrumental break, we get to see a shot from the ceiling down and a long wide shot of the full arena. The group is not synchronized, as there is no common dance routine. They playfully dance with each other in the end, but it comes across a bit forced.
The song starts with Sebastian on the catwalk and Darude in his DJ booth the background. Vocals are slightly off. We see a girl in a green dress dancing on top of a round white block. She jumps of the block ‘in the water’ and we see a greenish projection of the woman’s face under water, hologrammed all over the backdrop. As Sebastian kneels known on the catwalk, he brings her back on the block with a hand movement. In the closing shots we see the the northern light, as we see a yellow sunrise.
The four women of Tulia are on a rotating square, we see a total shot of them. They are all in big red dresses, their faces covered with a veil, which they take of to reveal their golden head-dresses. In the LED backdrop we see prerecorded shots of their faces, pictured quite large one by one.
We hear good vocal harmonies, though judging their singing style remains reliable of personal taste. Most movement is coming from the variation of camera shots and not from the girls of Tulia, who are static. They leave the spinning square and finish the last minute of the song standing still, clapping and waving their hands.
‘Sebi’ is being filmed in a very static way, as the duo never move their spot for the full three minutes. In an intergalactic backdrop we get to see Zala and Gasper dressed in spotless white clothing; Zala wearing a turtleneck and Gasper just a T-shirt.
Some variation in the camera shots, as we see Zala being filmed over the shoulder of Gasper. The camera then goes round the duo, similar to the filming of the Common Linnets back in 2014. This is being repeated for the full amount of the song, together with some wide shots.
The lively act is in style with their modern and fresh video clip. Yellow sweatered singer Albert, red sweater bass player and the drummer are shown in steel frames used as smartphones in split screens. Halfway Albert has some interaction with the guitarist and the steel frame is used as a front door, while Albert winks the viewer to follow him to the front of the stage. The drummer stays out of sight mostly. At the end of the act all European language versions of the word friend are being projected in yellow on a black backdrop.
Full focus on Papai Joci for the full three minutes, as he is alone on stage. Expect to see a lot of close-ups of him. The song starts with a dark stage, Joci sits in the middle. Some yellow sparks appear behind him and they grow into more and more yellow lighting. Long arena shot to the stage for the first chorus, we see faces of old people on the backdrop. Joci walks barefoot on a yellow road on the LED on the floor. As we get a golden lit stage for the final 30 seconds of the song.
Belarus brings a multicoloured act, with heaps of flashing lights, light beams and smoke. There are equipment boxes on stage, which gives the performance a modern MTV vibe and a matching teenage dance routine. In the first minute we see a large open head, with a bird flying out of it, in the backdrop.
Zena is joined by two male dancers who also vocally support. In the end two additional female dancers also appear on stage and close off the song together with Zena. The slick MTV performance could speak to the young televote generation. While it could still be vocally impressive for the jury.
On a blue ice cracking LED-floor Nevena wears the same black outfit as in the national final. The camera work is exactly the same, switching between wide shots and close-ups where Nevena connects to camera very well.
Nevena makes an arm movement for the instrumental break, and we get a blue in-screen projection of a blue whirlwind. The starry backdrop changes to a subtle golden swirl. It comes across very strong. Vocals are on pitch and we see some pyrotechnics in the end, supported by yellow sparkles on the floor.
Dark stage, with red lighting for Eliot. We immediately see drums on stage, which the backing dancers are drumming on. The singer is looking a bit uncomfortable and the vocals are a bit weak and thin. There is not much going on during the three minutes other than the regular switching between wide shots, a few close-ups and a spin around the singer towards the end.
Dark shadows walking in a blue backdrop behind Oto, as ‘Keep on going’ starts. He is walking over a bridge on LED floor, mountains behind it. The camera is spinning round Oto as the stage turns red and blue. Backings standing behind him as the spinning camera round Oto continues to move again. Strong camera connection, despite have a terrifying look in his eyes.
Near the final we see a lot of fire and flames in the backdrop. Visually strong entry, raw vocals and much impact for the final seconds of the song. Lightning and flashes, smoke and pyrotechnics are used to upgrade the visuals. There is a wind machine blowing Oto’s black clothing. The closing shot is a pictured handshake in the backdrop.
Close opening of Kate in a white princesses dress. Wider shot with two other females in dark blue dress. All three sitting on a pole, as we see a globe of planet Earth beneath them (visual on-screen projection). An intergalactic clouds of stars is used as backdrop.
All three woman are swinging from left to right, as if there literally is zero gravity. A visual stunning performance, though the vocals sometimes suffer a bit from all the requirement movements.
There is a cage on stage, with someone with a sledgehammer on top of it. All performers are dressed in BDSM clothing. We see red chains in the backdrop, sometimes a few flames, and a lot of flickering camera shots to increase the visible impact of this song. The opening shot is a body laying backwards bent over a bridge as if slaughtered. Sometimes the falsetto singer Clemens is off key.
End pose: Matthias putting his foot on Clemens (lying on the ground) and holding a backing singer who’s head is bent down in the neck.
Performance starts with a shot of Crone from behind. Yellow clouds as a backdrop when we see his face. Vocals are off-key way at the start of the first chords, way up to the end of the song, which is very troubling.
Shots of the crowd behind him for the second refrain, and then the camera spins around him. In the end we see a lot of thunder and clouds projected behind Crone, who turns around in slow motion, when we find out it was a hologram, because he re-appears with a guitar to finish of the song.
Opening up close with Conan in green. Then a bit wider as well see a big red rose in the backdrop. Wide shot when we see Conan dancing alone and the other guy looking at him from a small black staircase. The dancers joins him after a minute. Same dance routine as in the Festival da Cancao final. So the dancer drops to the floor, right before the close-up closing shot of Conan.
The Winners of the day: Australia, Czech Republic, Serbia, Iceland, Hungary and Georgia again made good impact, both visually and vocally.
Needs Improvement: On the other hand, Estonia, Montenegro, Finland and Belgium did not make a lot or impact, or had very weak vocals.
Middle of the pack: In between are acts like Cyprus, Poland,, Belarus and Portugal who had things going for them, but also against them.
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