Eurovision 2013: May 10 Rehearsals

Dear reader, I’d love to tell you that there were earth-shifting changes in the quality of today’s rehearsals that opened up new betting vistas. Unfortunately, it would be a lie. For the most part, entries settled into the groove established after the first rehearsal, with an extra patina of polish as camera angles improved and kinks were ironed out.
 
Austria will be first up next Tuesday night, and it’s getting harder to see what would motivate viewers to pick up their phones and vote for it. Natalia Kelly’s rendition isn’t terrible by any means, it just doesn’t ‘Shine’. She does some plodding around the stage, but there’s no sense of excitement generated – including a lack of pyrotechnics. It’s in desperate need of something, especially as the show opener. 
 
Estonia at least provides some nostalgia as a warm, old-fashioned Eurovision ballad that’s well sold by Birgit Oigemeel. Whether that’s enough is open to question as it too will struggle in the televote, coming on early with a slew of female soloists to follow. It may be getting the most jury love among the first three entries, however.
 
That’s because Slovenia’s Hannah Mancini continues to struggle with her vocals when she struts down the catwalk and back. They tightened up many of the camera angles involving the three dancers today, but there was still an obvious missed note or two every run-through.
 
Croatia remains a far more solid vocal affair. The staging is pretty static for ‘Mizerja’ – the lead comes out to the front and is joined by the second lead, before they rejoin the other members. They remain still for the instrumental bridge as the camera swirls around them. Less is probably more here, and its qualification chances look better than the three preceding it. I just wish it was on slightly later.

Emmelie de Forest was finding the camera more succesfully today. This helped ‘Only Teardrops’ progress towards the kind of stirring staging with which it won DMGP. The Danish delegation have ensured the backdrop’s been changed to a curtain of fire before the actual curtain of fire duly appears, so there’s a veritable thunderstorm of golden teardrops for the finale.

There wasn’t much change for Russia’s Dina Garipova, except she’s no longer cupping the balls of her male backing singers; they still throw them into the crowd rather pointlessly for the key change, however, and the way the balls changed colour as this happened suggested these were the actual props. It’s not adding anything to matters, but otherwise ‘What If’ provides a very solid performance and vocal.

Ukraine’s big ‘surprise’ of the day were new costumes for Zlata and her giant; she looking like a rainbow-coloured mermaid and he a bronzed medieval knight. Visually this was a smoother set of run-throughs today, perhaps aided by the fact that Zlata had tied her hair back. It was lacking some depth vocally thanks to the absence of backing singer Cleveland Watkiss (due to illness), but Zlata was in fine voice as always.

Anouk did her thing, which is to stand there and sing her song with no bells or whistles. This comes as a relief given what’s come before it, but the danger remains that she doesn’t engage with the camera enough for ‘Birds’. She may well be wearing the outfit seen today and in the first rehearsal, which is as understated as her performance is. Vocally it sounds lovely, with the backing singers harmonising well.

Montenegro’s Who See continue to be the jokers in the pack. In a Eurovision context, this is a very leftfield act, and that makes ‘Igranka’ a risky proposition. I stand by the fact that Nina Zizic’s vocals are coming across well on the TV feed. One danger here is that the wandering astronauts aren’t always easy to catch on camera, though this improved with each run-through.

Lithuania’s Andrius Pojavis was more animated than yesterday but no two run-throughs are the same. The blurry shot for his “yeeeaaahhhh” note isn’t worth the effort, and reiterates a low-rent feel to the staging, but I still thought this was an improvement on Tuesday’s first rehearsal.

Alyona Lanskaya was in a sparkly flapper dress with a very short hemline, showing a lot of leg in the process. This was a good enough rehearsal for Belarus in the sense that the dance routine looks increasingly slick and the vocals are not a problem. Unfortunately, I don’t think ‘Solayoh’ is a great example of the ethnopop genre, and it’s a genre that juries have become increasingly immune to – especially perhaps when accompanied by this kind of look.

It was another strong rehearsal for Moldova’s Aliona Moon, a repeat of Tuesday’s effort. This seems to be increasingly well placed. Ireland’s Ryan Dolan isn’t convincing everyone but I thought he was solid enough for ‘Only Love Survives’ today. The cheesy pointing at his cohorts gets a bit tiresome for those watching each rehearsal; it won’t be as irritating for those seeing it with fresh eyes.

Despina Olympiou hasn’t been well, and she was patting her throat in between takes. This may explain why she was still struggling with the big notes. As a result, it’s not looking that promising for Cyprus despite simple staging and lighting that works really well, but it may be worth seeing if she is back to 100% by the jury rehearsal.

I was slightly underwhelmed by Belgium’s Roberto Bellarossa too despite or perhaps because I believe ‘Love Kills’ to be one of the best straightforward pop tunes of the contest. His stagecraft still leaves a lot to be desired, and some of the choreography is a little too jarring. I don’t think the song is being done justice, but it still has plenty to offer juries in particular.

We ended a long day with Serbia’s outfits unchanged and still a talking point. Actually, once I got over the costumes, I realised that Moje 3 were delivering an entertaining performance. Let’s hope the Tuesday night TV audience realise the same thing in good time. 

What did you think of today’s rehearsals? Let us know below.

46 comments to Eurovision 2013: May 10 Rehearsals

  • Alen

    So I’ve read Moldova wasnt happy with their TV edit and boycotted the press conference which could lead to problems? Did you think the edit was bad?

  • Justin

    Dan, there appears to be quite a lot of praise for Croatia and I know you mentioned it as under rated previously. I have it as a fairly safe qualifier now but I think the draw may well scupper its podium chance – I just cant see the their televote being quite strong enough for an overall top 3. My lists have it top 4 with juries and around 9th in the televote.

    What are you thoughts given their impressive performances?

    • Daniel

      Hi Justin, my thoughts given the draw and the nature of the song are that a podium finish is still unlikely. I think the value has gone from the qualification market too. Having started at a much better price, I don’t think it’s one I’d want to keep chasing, but that may be because I still feel a bit timid in this semi.

  • Justin

    Great thanks Dan.

    My only other comment today is I am becoming very aware of Russia. Its looking highly professional and competent, has huge friendly votes and Western appeal. At present I think it will be thereabouts in the final.

  • I don’t think my opinions have changed much in semi 1 from what I wrote the other day. I love Moldova more probably, Russia a bit more and Belarus a bit less to scare me away from putting a chunk down on her to Q
    Still think Netherlands won’t Q as the surprise….which I wrote way back ages ago

    Anyone got any no Q thoughts apart from the obvious ones?

    • john kef

      I believe that there’s also some value in Ireland not qualify. I have a feeling that Montenegro is gonna steal the ticket to the final from them. I ‘ve already bet some money for Belarus not to qualify @ 2.80

      • I had Ireland down as a NQ from 1st rehearsal, looks better in the 2nd rehearsals without those huge celtic symbols. I think its borderline, so may well lay at 1.5. Ireland have a habit of picking up small points from countries, which might be enough to get it through. I doubt it gets much jury love

        • john kef

          With only 15 other countries to vote i believe that more or less everybody is gonna vote the same 5-6 countries (Denmark, Ukraine, Russia, Netherlands, Moldova, Serbia, Croatia) and the other 4-5 scores will go to the neigbours or diaspora so a 12 a 10 or an 8 is gonna make the difference

  • john kef

    I think that it’s gonna get lots of 2-5 points from many countries. Anouk is a known name in Europe and juries might be affected in a way and give a higher score than usual. I expect Netherlands to get a total of 25-35 points from Belgium-Denmark-Ireland-Uk and a little something from everybody else. Remember Carolla back in 2006? she came 4th with just 2-3 tens and 2-6 from almost everyone else

    • Maybe, Anouk hasn’t had much chart success though outside of Belgium/Netherlands. I expect 12 from Belgium for sure, but elsewhere, the staging is so boring, it could easily get forgotten

  • chewy wesker

    The market has fallen out love with Austria, and Croatia has shorten up to qualify. I must say Estonia has been over looked, and I’m fascinated by Lithuania, both odds against to qualify.

    • Austria really looks like a NQ from the 1 trap and such a static performance. Estonia I really like to get through, a very solid performance will pick up jury points and has the ally points to Q. Lithuania, I’m torn on, they have a very good record of qualifying, the song is fine, the staging isn’t great and you have to think it won’t score high with juries.

  • john kef

    Maybe but i believe that all the commentators will say something about her big hit in the past and make a comment about it or they might comment the simplicity of the staging and that’s what music is all about blablabla and i believe the same will happen with many jurors. It is boring but i can’t immagine many people either that they ‘ll pick the phone or send a message for Estonia, Austria , Lithuania, Belarus or Cyprus.

  • Hi Daniel, thanks for your daily reports. I realise that you, Gav and Rob are all saying Alyona from Belarus’ vocals aren’t a problem, and having listened to them in rehearsal videos, I agree that the vocal delivery is about as good as it can be given the 6 person limit. Unfortunately, I think it still puts the studio version to shame and comes across weaker than it should. The whole act also just smacks of cheapness to me. Any further thoughts?

    • Daniel

      Hi Ben, I’ve always thought the song was pretty cheap to begin with, so I don’t disagree. The question is whether a catchy song and a few friends will be enough despite this.

  • Omg. Who did the choreography for the Belgian dancers? Honestly, that looks like a parody. Poor Roberto, already struggling with his own moves.

  • eurovicious

    Amused by the unexpected sight of Ukrainian host/commentator Timur Miroshnichenko swaying away onstage as a stand-in for Clement…

  • I should start with the disclaimer that I know little about Eurovision, whilst I enjoy it, I’ve never found a decent site that can help with customisable voting stats!

    On semi final one, the market seems to have nine clear qualifiers (can’t say I agree with every single one of them) and then you perm one from maybe four others.

    My “one from four others” would be Montenegro at 2.7 on Betfair. Their song seems a bit more current and I feel might just get bumped up the jury lists. Reminds me of this. http://bit.ly/rk26ZH She’s also a great vocalist and based on what I’m reading, plenty of gimmicks. However, I have staked a full £3 on this one… which shows just how certain I am!

  • Mr Joe Black

    This comment doesn’t pertain to this particularly blog however given that this is the most active board today I thought it most likely to be responded to here.

    Also, this may have been answered elsewhere but…

    It strikes me (as a long time follower of the ESC) that very few countries are in a position to win the competition – given the withdrawal of a number of nations earlier in the year and the current financial instability across Europe.

    There is no question that the production values and quality of Europhia in 2012 were miles ahead of the chasing pack, as such they were a run away winner. However, it is surely worth considering that Sweden were one of very few countries who could afford to host the competition in 2013.

    Some of the entries this year (including the offering from the UK) are questionable, to say the very least. Is this not indicative of merely a token effort rather than any serious attempt to win – therefore these can be easily discounted. Although in the case of the UK I wonder what influence last years Olympics might have to improve upon our recent nil point efforts… alack, alas, the song is drab and pulling Total Eclipse of the Heart out of the crypt isn’t likely to help matters!

    To conclude, I’m a greater believer that the ESC is most often won by the best song with decent production values – however if you were to draw up a list (in this case epitomizing the word shortlist) of countries who could actually afford to win and cross referenced this with a credible song… I would imagine that you might not be far away from the winner.

    • eurovicious

      Agree, but token efforts are nothing new. A lot of countries sent any old shite for decades; this year represents a return to the years of wall-to-wall euroballads that represented the contest’s nadir.

  • KeyChange

    Hey, Joe Black, don’t sully the image of the UK’s efforts yet further by referring to “our recent nil points efforts”. In 57 years of the contest the UK scored no points once and that was 10 years ago now. We have of course been in the top 2 on 20 occasions, a record no other country can match, so the picture isn’t as bleak as people perceive. Okay, rant over!

  • eurovicious

    So, I just put my first-time viewer hat on and watched all of the May 10 rehearsals in show order. Here’s my “ordinary viewer” stream of consciousness watching SF1. (Apologies that this isn’t in my usual “voice” but I think it’s a worthwhile thought exercise.)

    [Loreen opener, nice foreign host, familiar commentator makes it all seem less strange, business as usual]
    Austria: fine but boring
    Estonia: boring
    Slovenia: finally the kick up the arse the show needs. (As the only proper uptempo song in a soporific first half and far more contemporary and pumping than Denmark, Slovenia is now a value back. It should certainly not be the least favourite to qualify from SF1 and will have far more impact on viewers than Estonia.)
    Croatia: Boring at first but actually nice/rousing as it blossoms; more USP, memorability and warmth than Austria/Estonia. Nice men.
    DenmarK. good song, hooks, babe, good on-stage dramaturgy, good chorus. She’s a bit shouty in the bridge. The small drums are fine, the big drums are OTT/unnecessary, looks like Jodrell Bank; the pyro curtain seems too dramatic for the nature of the song and doesn’t accompany any real musical climax but just another repetition of the chorus and thus seems forced. Liked this though, it was alright and had a tune.
    Russia: dangerously generic/forgettable; we’re back in the same musical territory as Austria/Estonia. Piss break. Vocally not standout either. Viewers in every part of the continent have heard this before.
    Ukraine: contrary to what I was expecting, this does kill Russia before it. Better looking lass in better dress (wow), better vocal, more memorable staging, more dramaturgy, song grows and climaxes continuously. It’s full of power notes that Russia lacks. Song still not amazing though, but it actually memory-holes Russia, and to a certain extent everything before it. Whoever said it’s not a ballad but a sort of performance-based ethnic vocal show is right. It doesn’t come over as a ballad given what’s come before it.
    Netherlands: Dour; initially very dark after uplifting Ukraine. Dislike. She looks a bit rough, the dark eyeshadow isn’t flattering. Final minute more pleasant but this isn’t very nice. It’s cold and creepy and she looks like Iggy Pop.
    Montenegro: Racket. No. What is this? 3 minutes of rapping in a foreign language communicates “I am not the target audience for this” to the rest of Europe. Shouty and gimmicky.
    Belarus: Tacky and nothing new, but does what it does and is what viewers in Western Europe expect from Eurovision. Fun throwaway beach stuff. Something about it is a bit forced, unlike the genuine uplifting feel of Denmark, Ukraine, Slovenia, Croatia; lots of drama but doesn’t communicate joy. A fun interlude but I don’t think it engenders sympathy or makes you want to vote for it. (It’s exactly like something that would have gone out in the semi of Eurovision 2005.)
    Lithuania: Finally something with musical edge, that’s simple, has a good tune and performed by someone who doesn’t look like a Eurovision performer but is endearing. I like this, it sounds like a radio song, like a real non-contest song, proper music. Most attractive man so far; likeability, want to mother him. If your daughter brought him home, you’d approve and be slightly jealous. Good one and you can tell he wrote it himself and it’s not some generic mass-produced, studio-polished effort.
    Moldova: Oh, not another ballad. She looks like Diane Oxberry. I’m about to put the kettle on. Is her dress changing colours? Neat but seen that before. Dancers distract/add nothing. Haha, her dress has gone really big! Still boring but nice/memorable. I like her hair.
    Ireland: FUCK YES. This for the win. Thank goodness for this, it’s been a dull show, I love this and it’s what I’ve been waiting for. Exciting drumming, nice looking dancers, a nice lad and he’s likeable/motherable and can really sing. Song has a great tune, superbly structured, builds and builds; pumping, stirring, crucially has the darkness than a great uptempo song needs. Very good synths. Another “non-contest” song that could easily be a radio and chart hit. Doesn’t put a foot wrong. Dubstep breakdown is effective and doesn’t seem forced. Eric Saade 2013. Highly competent. I’m voting for this.
    Cyprus: We’re back in the balladsphere. Older woman singing in foreign language = “I’m not the target audience for this”, but it’s nice. The most dignified of tonight’s ballads and she holds those long notes nicely, it’s actually quite lovely and not trying to bang you over the head with how impressive it is unlike Russia/Ukraine/Moldova. It’s actually alright. Also the warmest ballad of the night. She seems sympathetic. Don’t know whether I’d vote for it; maybe. Aw, that was lovely. Reminds me of unspecified Mediterranean foreign holiday with family/friends.
    Belgium: Nice lad, love his eyes. Sounds like a radio/non-contest song. Good but slightly boring. No real climax, just stays the same for 3 minutes.
    Serbia: No idea what this is; song and performance are all over the place. Are they lesbian? Lots of hand-holding and face-touching going; bit shouty and foreign. Don’t know what’s going on. One of them just slut-dropped at the other. Dislike. Left-of-centre. Serbia is bad. Where’d she get those leggings? Song not for me.

    What I liked and remembered: Ireland, the Cyprus lady, Ukraine; oh, and the Lithuanian lad. Netherlands was a bit dark. When I see the recap I realise I’ve already kind of forgotten the first half and am reminded that Slovenia and Denmark were good too, Ireland is the most exciting and credible/contemporary song and ticks the most boxes. *phone-votes for Ireland*

  • Nitro

    Thanks, haven’t even considered Ireland before your post. It will attract a decent number of televotes for sure.

  • Ben Cook

    Oh my goodness Azerbaijan is looking and sounding amazing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSWzACo7IiA

    Glad I got a decent each-way bet at 30/1 on this. Will surely be in single figures come next Saturday. Back to Baku?

  • Short remark about Azerbeidzjan: Will sail into the TOP 4 of the final, but it’s by no means a candidate for more than 300 points in the final. 240 points at maximum. Why? The song. Everything is perfect, except the song is still a bit dated.

    I still have Norway as a potential winner here.

    Now I have a question for Daniel, regarding ‘looking into the camera’, selling your song for the tv-audience. How literally should we take this? I read criticism regarding this song on certain entries this year.

    But I have been rewatching Norway 1995, Belgium 2010, Italy 2011 and Albania 2012. One thing that strikes me with these entries, is the fact that the performers of these countries weren’t interacting a lot with the camera. On the contrary, I saw more side-shots and close-ups of the performers squinting their eyes.

    So, yes, they could have looked more into the camera’s. But, no, it wasn’t truly necessary. I have a theory that with these moody, atmospherical numbers, the tv-audience don’t mind that at all. They actually love observing artists who get passionate while they are singing.

    At least, enough to get a minimum amount of points from televoters. Hence the 6th place for Belgium in 2010, the 2nd place for Italy in 2011 and the 5th place for Albania in 2012.

    What do you think Daniel?

    PS: Great to hear your view on Netherlands in our video ‘De Tweespraak’ :-).

  • My qualifiers are truly shaping up now:

    Semi 1:
    01) Ukraine
    02) Denmark
    03) Moldova
    04) Russia
    05) The Netherlands
    06) Serbia
    07) Belarus
    08) Croatia
    09) Ireland
    10) Cyprus or Estonia

    Semi 2:
    01) Norway
    02) Azerbaijan
    03) Georgia
    04) Finland
    05) Greece
    06) Israël
    07) Bulgaria
    08) Malta
    09) Iceland
    10) Hungary, Macedonia or Albania

    Funny thing though. From both semi finals the starting grids 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 will most likely all qualify. Means the first half of both semi finals are the strongest parts.

  • I’m not sure about both 10th places yet -semi 1 and semi 2- so be easy on me please hehehe :-P. But on both TOP 9’s I’m pretty sure.

  • Henry VIII

    Just a thought to add the Azerbaijan discussion above: Azer have done well from the Russian diaspora countries but, in the four or so years I’ve been watching, their ESC contestants have actually all been ethnic Russians. Now they’ve sent an Azeri boy. Anybody got views on whether that will dull the support of Russia and her diaspora?

  • john kef

    My estimation about the 1st Semi-Final

    1.Denmark 150-160 pts
    2. Ukraine 120-130 pts
    3. Russia 105-115 pts
    4. Moldova 85-95 pts
    5. Croatia 80-90 pts
    6. Netherlands 70-80 pts
    7. Serbia 70-80 pts
    8. Ireland 55-65 pts
    9. Montenegro 45-55 pts
    10. Estonia 40-50 pts
    11. Belarus 40-50 pts
    12. Lithuania 35-45 pts
    13. Slovenia 30-40 pts
    14. Cyprus 25-35 pts
    15. Belgium 20-30 pts
    16. Austria 10-20 pts

    I believe that we have 8 certain qualifiers and Montenegro-Estonia-Belarus and maybe Lithuania will struggle for the 9-10 spots.

    I think it’s gonna be Montenegro because even with the new system the ex-Jugoslav countries vote for each other so it has 26-28 guaranteed points and is looking for another 20-25 points from 15 countries and Estonia cause it might be boring etc etc but receives points both from ex-soviet republic block plus from the nordic like Denmark and Sweden.

  • john kef

    1.Denmark 150-160 pts Actual scores: 167 +7 Rank: 0
    2. Ukraine 120-130 pts 140 -10 -1
    3. Russia 105-115 pts 156 +39 +1
    4. Moldova 85-95 pts 95 0 0
    5. Croatia 80-90 pts 38 -42 -8
    6. Netherlands 70-80 pts 75 0 +1
    7. Serbia 70-80 pts 46 -24 -4
    8. Ireland 55-65 pts 54 -1 0
    9. Montenegro 45-55 pts 41 -4 -2
    10. Estonia 40-50 pts 52 +2 0
    11. Belarus 40-50 pts 64 +14 +4
    12. Lithuania 35-45 pts 53 +8 +3
    13. Slovenia 30-40 pts 8 -22 -3
    14. Cyprus 25-35 pts 11 -14 -1
    15. Belgium 20-30 pts 75 +45 +9
    16. Austria 10-20 pts 27 +7 +2

    3 spots on target, 4 -/+ 1
    9 scores -/+ 10 points. Totally missed Belgium, Croatia, Serbia, Belarus. Better luck next year

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