It was a shorter day for press and punters but an intriguing one: our first sighting of the automatic qualifiers. Spain’s ESDM have a nice blue and gold backdrop. There’s a nice blurry opening and a nice bit near the end on the satellite stage: the nice arena lamps have been lowered, and Raquel nicely touches one, turning it to the yellow colour of her nice dress. So yes, it’s all very nice in a way that may have rather little impact. Having said which, there’s nothing wrong with the way it’s being staged.
Meanwhile, France’s Amandine Bourgeois rocks out for her performance of ‘L’Enfer et Moi’ though the gold staging is a little light for me given the brooding subject matter. It’s a very French take on Eurovision: we’ll do our own thing; you can take it or leave it. There will be a lot of positive reviews for Amandine this week, and whilst I think she’s great too and juries will agree, it’s debatable how much that will translate into televotes, especially if stuck in the first half of the draw, which now has a 60% chance of happening.
I think Germany’s ‘Glorious’ will be getting plenty of televotes based on this rehearsal. The staging is as in the national final, only the dress is different – a more flattering gold number here. Natalie starts atop a flight of stairs which she descends after the second chorus. For the climax she strides down the catwalk with more conviction than anyone else I’ve seen so far this week, and she’s only going through the motions.
They’re using the version of the song that was revealed at the Echo Awards show, which means that the verses have been cut in half, but they’ve kept the totality of the choruses and bridge, which is the right decision. It does mean we get to that chorus damned quick, but a pretty powerful affair it is, with Natalie vocally excellent and harmonising well with the two backing singers.
Sweden’s Robin Stjernberg has gone all Japanese in his styling with an asymmetrical white apron, grey top and trousers. The backing group look like they’re at an Issey Miyake show too. Against a red backdrop it’s not a visual feast, and I’m not a particular fan of the new feature which looks like a molehill. Whilst Robin was yodelling his way through it pretty effectively, it’s still a grower rather than a show-er for me.
Bonnie Tyler was perfectly competent for the first UK rehearsal and they’ve got the staging right here. She starts out on her own, then interacts with her band – three guitarists and the keyboard player were doubling up as backing singers, and there’s a drummer too.
Towards the climax of ‘Believe In Me’ Bonnie uses the catwalk and the satellite stage rises up at the end. The only disappointment was a lack of pyros at any point. The vocals sounded fine – Bonnie’s in better shape than Engelbert in this respect – and she worked the stage well. Overall, this was much better than I expected.
Italy’s Marco Mengoni is ill at present so we shouldn’t judge his vocals too much based on these run-throughs (they were relatively fine anyway). The staging here was very low-key, another one to opt for blue and gold. Marco is the male equivalent of Anouk, singing in his own determinedly casual way. He used the catwalk for the climax in the third and fourth run-throughs. I’d rather wait until Marco is at his best to judge this.
Let us know what you think of today’s rehearsals below. Who was your best of the ‘Big 6’?