Today marked the second day of the second rehearsals for the semi-finalists, starting with Greece through to Austria Who impressed, and who runs the risk of non-qualification? Our guest writer Dennis (ESCdaily) gave his thoughts on the performances of the day!
Greece goes pastel colours lilac and yellow and we get to see a lot of blossoming flowers. There is not much lighting, making the performance a bit dark and intimate. Katerine and her 5 dancers/backings are standing with their back against what looks like a big decorated chapel.
Three dancers have pastel yellow shoulder-skirts which make them look like little chickens when they raise their arms. The other two left over dancers wear sabels to do some fencing sport. A girl comes walking in with a huge ball and throws in the audience.
The chapel is turned around and is filled with flowers. Vocals are good, although some added squeaks are not really adding value to the song.
All persons on stage are dressed in white and dance on a disco square in pink lights. Serhat has his hand in his pocket and stands in a white suit on a podium with a rectangle arch. Two male dancers in white shorts, t-shirts and jacket join him there.
On the backdrop we see the lyrics of the song, pretty large letters. Colours are white, pink and yellow. Backings grab traffic cones to use them as megaphones. Other than in his studio recording Serhat now counts to three in Turkish (Bir Iki üc) before the chorus.
The song opens with a shot of Srbuk from behind, raising her hand. We switch to distorted camera shots of her face. Black backdrop with red lines in it. A big white ‘door’ is opening and we get to see her better. She is alone on stage, dressed in black clothes but a golden drape over her shoulder.
A lot of wide shots towards the end, when Srbuk kneels down we see the glass on the LED floor break. While Srbuk sings her high note kneeling on the floor, the camera catches the audience behind her. We see shattering glass full screen in the climax of the song and a big pyro show is added. Vocally this is an impressive performance.
Sarah comes walking in from backstage, and stands in front of a pop-art backdrop with numbers 22 and hearts, She sings at a Miami beach ’60’s bar set, two milkshakes on table, as she is joined by two other female pink dressed dancers. Sarah herself is dressed in a red dress and she sits at the bar, lays down and walks around a bit.
The act is very colourful, with red, light blue, yellow and pink everywhere. Vocals are often off key. Sarah turns her back on the cameras for almost half of the performance, which makes it hard to connect with her.
We start with a close-up of the backdrop, where we see a big fish. It is revealed it has been made by a sand artist, who makes alterations throughout the three minutes. Anna is standing in front of the table of the sand artist in a big white dress. Shots from the floor down, and close of her face.
Anna and the sand artist touch each others hands, as we go the final part of the song and a key change. A rose is being placed on the table, just above the word ‘Stay’ in red, which we see in the backdrop for the closing shot.
The Swiss song is broadcast in a black boxed 16:9 screen, giving it a cinema feeling. There is a plain red background and Luca is wearing a sleeveless black top and black shoes with white laces. The dance routine with two male and two female dancers is slick and professional.
Opening shot is fine: Luca walking slowly towards the camera and we see the four dancers as silhouettes. In the choreography during the intermezzo, Luca shakes dust off of his shoulder. Then there is a stage jump the five make. Vocals are ok, not perfect, but acceptable. The backing singer who also does the ‘rowdy’ and ‘Oh-ho-ho-ho-ho-wo’ is out of sight.
End position is a classical end pose with Luca in the middle of the bunch while the smoke machines have done their work and all five slowly lower their arms they just lifted.
Carousel opens their act in the same cinematic 16:9 way, but they pan to full screen after a while, except for some close-ups of the lead singer later on in the song.
Sabine is wearing a green hat and a white dress. The rest of the band members are dressed simple and a bit Americana country style. Slowly the backdrop changes from a starlit sky, to a full sun with yellow radiance. It’s has a bit of a campfire song vibe. Cosy but lulling. Black and white effects used during this performance.
There is an ancient building in the backdrop for Romania. The act starts with a lot of distorting shots and then a guitar player in the shadow. Ester is sitting in her pink chair, wearing a black jacket and a white blouse with sharp collars. The building is turning into a Dracula’s castle at night (blue backdrop). Around Ester we see dancers in leather strip tops. Bats flying around in the backdrop, towards the ending of the song the backdrops turns into flaming. There is also a pyro waterfall.
Leonora opens the song in close-up. Red lipstick, a smile now and then, wearing a white blouse with suspenders. She starts in front of two doors behind her opening, so you see the audience with waving flags behind her. On stage there is a huge chair which she climbs by a ladder. Two backings join her. On the backdrops are a blue sky clouds drawn in a child’s way. In the last minute, two other backings join and with the five swaying together high on the big chair.
Catchy and a little more light than during Melodifestivalen. But most of the shots, dance routine and colours are the same. The backing singers now are dressed in glitter instead of dark blue gospel gowns. Backdrops form soft yellow pillars. The chemistry is prefect, so are the Gospel vocals. They still use the stadium light prop, but in a different shape compared to Melodifestivalen. Towards the end of the song, the stage is much more lit. Because the stage is a tiny bit smaller than in Sweden, the group stands a bit closer to each other for the finale of the song.
Song starts with Paenda sitting on something all alone. Then close-up of face and shoulders. Stage is all dark, except for a beam of light on Paenda. For the chorus we get a bit more light.
We see a shot of her from the back as she stands up and we get nice white flashes in the backdrop. Very intimate staging and camera work. Vocals in style of Kate Bush, all on spot.
The Winners of the day: Sweden, Switzerland, Austria all can look back on a good rehearsal. Though Luca Hänni cancelled all his interviews, due to feeling ill.
Needs Improvement: Ireland and Romania seem to be in serious trouble when it comes to qualification. Armenia, which is new, also gives several people in the press centre second thoughts, whether it will make the cut or not. Vocally though, Srbuk should make at least the jury top-10
Middle of the pack: Denmark, Latvia and Moldova have come up with visually good acts, but if it is enough to save their songs, remains to be seen.