Live from Tel Aviv: Second Rehearsals (Day 8)

Today marked the fourth day of the second rehearsals, with today the Big 6 completing their second rehearsals. Today we started with host nation Israel and finished with Italy. Who impressed, and who still needs improvement? Our guest writer Dennis (ESCdaily) gave his thoughts on the performances of the day!

Israel

Starting with a few seconds of a silhouette of Kobi with a dark blue backlight he sings his first verse. Lots of close-ups. He’s wearing a tuxedo and silver bow tie. Behind him a lot of screens like broken pieces of glass on which parts of Kobi’s face are shown.

During the second verse five backing singers join Kobi in a 1-2-3 constellation (triangle). They are also dressed in black and white in gala outfits. A cascading display of pyrotechnics starts when Kobi walks to the bridge and down the stairs to the catwalk. He walks to the point of the catwalk ending his song in the middle of the audience. Closing shot is the silhouette of Kobi’s face, as the lights fade out.

France

France comes with an act built around statements. Starting with projections on Bilal’s face, he walks out of rhythm on stage, dressed in a white outfit with wide shoulders and long blond extensions in a gold, white and purple staging.

We see text in the backdrop: “People judge me on a picture”. A plus size burlesque dancer comes on stage. Text behind her saying “people told me I could never dance”. Another dancer is deaf and mute, as the quotes in the background state. Also a backdrop of her doing sign language.

Remarks on bullying are projected in like newspaper titles on the screens as well. The act is about inclusion, but will viewers buy it or have a laugh? Bilal sings most of the parts not by himself, but the vocals have improved since the French final. Closing shot of the three on stage with “We are all kings” changing into “queens”, in the backdrop.

Spain

Miki starts in a see through dollhouse with 6 rooms, inviting the other four dancers to come out to the street and party. Colourful fireworks in the background. A giant paper robot is moving around on stage and pushes to building over.

Miki takes a small GoPro camera, the dancers in line behind him. A kiss-cam appears behind him on the backdrop. The whole crew then starts walking the catwalk in amidst the audience who obviously will party along. Good fun, and good vocals, when compared to the OT final in Spain.

Italy

“It hurts to be alive when you loose your pride”, “Money cant buy my love”. Those are the quotes the viewer gets to see during Mahmood’s three minute performance. In the backdrops we also see some fragments of the videoclip in black and blue. The song opens with Mahmood, in casual white, walking up the blue lit stage.

The handclapping is captured on spot by the cameras.  Mahmood visually ‘battles’ with three dancers, who portray his father. A small shadow of a child behind Mahmood late in the song, while a grown man’s shadow is behind the three dancers.

United Kingdom

Dressed in black leather Michael stands in the smoke. Some white lines flickering. He walks to the microphone and starts his song. Galaxy stars in the backdrops in black and white, later red, pink and blue.

There is a lot of smoke and golden lights when the five gospel singers in white join him on stage and forming a circle with him. Many close-ups of Michael. All end in the same 1-2-3 constellation Kobi had.

Germany

In a black scenery two girls start far apart from each other. The blonde S!ster starts to sing, The Brunette S!ster answers from the other side of the stage sitting on a block. During the act in black and white portraits of the girls are shown big in the backdrops like many other countries also do this year. During the song the girls walk towards each other on the catwalk and sing in the other ones face from close distance. Some pyrotechnics to close it off.

Conclusion:

The Winners of the day: France has made the most improvements to their staging. The story of the plus size and mute dancers now also comes across. Italy’s clapping for ‘Soldi’ is now actually being filmed as well, which was good fun.

Needs Improvement: Germany still has a lot of shots of the girls filmed on the back of their head. But still, even if it improves, it is a candidate from the last place. Spain remains good fun, something light and uplifting in this years field. The robot pushing a building is still not making any sense and is a distraction.

Middle of the pack: The United Kingdom and Israel have made most out of their staging. The biggest problem is the song, which just couldn’t be saved from the bottom-10 in this years contest.

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