Eurovision 2014: April 29 rehearsals

Today’s programme straddled the two semi-finals, with the last six from the first heat followed by the first five from the second one. Whilst there weren’t as many big hitters in the win market featured as in day one, there was intrigue aplenty.

Moldova’s choreography is reminiscent of what they gave us last year. Four dancers dressed in black made wild silhouettes behind Cristina Scarlat. A brooding forest backdrop matched the brooding vocals, and ‘Wild Soul’ stays on the right side of the qualification borderline in my current calculations – just.

Valentina Monetta was modelling herself on Botticelli’s Venus, as the pearl in the shell of ‘Maybe’. The lighting was flattering and San Marino’s most prolific Eurovision entrant gave it her all. I still think it may not be enough, but they’ve given themselves as much chance as possible with this dated song.

Much the same can be said for Portugal’s ‘Quero Ser Tua’. It’s my guilty pleasure this year, and the staging reinforces this: breezy, bright and colourful with Suzy giving good camera. I’m not sure whether the whole effect is just too amateurish to survive the jury rankings, but it’s three minutes of cheesy fun you can shimmy and clap to.

Following it up, the quality of the Netherlands’ entry was immediately apparent. They’ve got the staging right too, that was also clear as soon as The Common Linnets came into shot – face-to-face with a two-headed microphone, standing on an open road. Vocally and visually assured with plenty of looks to camera, this was the best rehearsal of the day for me.

Montenegro had a more complex concept, so it was a less polished affair in its first outing. Sergej was joined on stage by an ice skater making pretty white trails in the LED floor. His vocals were good for ‘Moj Svijet’, but it felt like the skater had little connection to the song, and her failure to interact with Mr Cetkovjc only reinforced that. He was joined by some backing singers for the climax instead.

Hungary is ‘Running’ with the subject matter of child abuse – giving us a dance interpretation of the story. I was impressed with the visual progression displayed here: Andras gets up from his stool and runs down the catwalk for the first chorus, and as he walks back the piano player becomes a dancer who acts out the rest of it with a male protagonist. There’s a speed motif in the LED floor. If you’re a fan of the song, you’ve every right to be pleased with how it’s presented on stage.

Starting off the second semi, Malta’s Firelight brought warm bonhomie to the stage with ‘Coming Home’. There’s a nice backdrop of poppies and blue skies that works better than the initial selfie stuff. This was pretty much as expected, and there were plenty of winning smiles for the cameras.

Israel’s Mei Finegold cemented her fan favourite status with a Beyoncé-inspired routine for ‘Same Heart’. She was joined by two female dancers and all three strut around looking fierce, finishing the song at the end of the runway. Her vocals are great, especially as it’s just her, but this kind of routine is slightly swallowed up by the vast stage.

They’ve improved the visuals for Norway’s Carl Espen since the national final. The addition of four violinists who become apparent for the second verse are a good idea. Otherwise, you know what you’re getting with Carl: the tattoos and deadpan look of a serial killer. I jest. His vocals improved with each run-through today.

Georgia remains as leftfield on stage as it is in studio, with a drummer bearing a parachute in reference to the “sky-diver” line. There are some good vocals from all concerned here, but ‘Three Minutes To Earth’ does feel like three songs in one. That didn’t do much good for Macedonia last year.

Finally we had Cleo, without Donatan, representing the Slavic girls for Poland. The staging is as the recent spoiler indicated, with a buxom washer woman scrubbing at the end of the catwalk (and making use of the water feature) as Cleo and her ethnic-attired backings twirl on stage. It’s all very Warsaw stag show – the gays in the press centre lapped up the smut.

Once again, videos of all today’s rehearsals can be found on Eurovision.tv. Please continue to give your thoughts below.

21 comments to Eurovision 2014: April 29 rehearsals

  • dicksbits

    Does anyone really believe that ISRAEL will come top 3? Odds narrowed today off the back of her first rehearsal, but I just can’t quite see top 3….

  • alexxc

    not alone can it top 3, Israel could win with a very late slot in the final…total contrast to any other song.

  • dicksbits

    I was thinking top 3 in it’s semi final…

  • Heyy

    Interestingly, Malta’s odds have been slashed since their rehearsal this afternoon, and is currently sitting in 16th overall, while 6th in Semi 2 winner and to qualify. Any pointers?

  • Montell

    So what is everyone thinking about Israel now? IMO jury should award Mei. After today’s rehearsal I’m thinking Mei is a very good vocalist and she can handle with her performance really good. What do you think? Are there any reasons why Israel could not qualify this year?

  • dicksbits

    I maintain that Malta is still way over rated by fans.

  • dicksbits

    Israel is a great contrast to Malta.. Definite qualifier

  • So is Carl looking and sounding less nervous than in the NF? Amazing to see how far that has crashed so far.

    Good to hear on you on today’s ESCInsight.com daily podcast Daniel!

    • Daniel

      Thanks Ben. Carl got better with every run-through today, and finished off sounding slightly more vocally assured than he did in Oslo. You still only get one facial expression from him though.

  • ronny

    love the netherlands 😉

  • chewy wesker

    I’m interested in knowing if Andras still has the embrace with the young girl at the end of the song? Also does she still run towards him, or him towards her. Not much to go on with youtube clips at the moment.

    • Daniel

      Hi chewy, song ends with both dancers coming at Andras from different sides and he shields the man from the woman as he embraces the latter.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Personally, I find Conchita confusing, unsettling, interesting, odd and to be with a terrific bone structure (partially obscured by the beard) and a fine voice. But this is predictable and ridiculous…’hotbed of sodomy’ (Lol!). Exactly the countries you would expect.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/eurovision-2014-conchita-wurst-faces-transphobic-backlash-for-unnatural-lifestyle-9296690.html

    • Chris Bellis

      There’s a correlation between homophobia and strongly religious countries. When I was in Russia recently I visited various Orthodox churches and was surprised how full they all were. Many decades of communism swept away, taking Russia from one form of authoritarian regime to another. The Orthodox religion does not approve of homosexuality, and Russia now is a virtual theocracy. Nevertheless, plenty of gay bars in St Petersburg and Moscow. Rural Russia is very different – no gays in any of their villages.

    • eurovicious

      Even you Guildo? I don’t get what bothers people about her.

      • Montell

        The beard mostly 🙂

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Hi eurovicious,

        Partly it’s a category placement thing with me. I look at Conchita and I don’t know what she herself is projecting about herself. How does she herself -an artist, a performer in show business, a singer on a Europe-wide television show- want me to perceive her? If she doesn’t care what I, a viewer or perceiver think, then that’s that. If she is aiming at a juxtaposition that challenges the viewer, the perceiver, then she has succeeded. She has succeeded in confusing me. If I was speculating I would say that she is aiming to challenge the negative associations around the old ‘circus bearded lady’ figure of fun / derision. If she is simply expressing who she is; then I am simply expressing my reaction. I like to understand; I don’t like being in a state of confusion. I find it unsettling. that’s a part of my make-up.

        Partly it’s a attraction placement thing. She’s a divine-looking creature, with gorgeous (typically female) facial characteristics, yet has a full, black beard. I’m not hard-wired to fancy females with facial hair. Women themselves don’t find facial hair (or even under-arm hair,or even hairs on their legs) attractive. Indeed, there are sections of the “beauty” industry dedicated to the removal of body hair (for females). Yet, despite Conchita’s full black beard, I have to say she is attractive. Her charisma, confidence and terrific voice also add to her appeal. Hence, I’m unsettled. I would liken it to being served a drink consisting of Bovril and dandelion & burdock. I love dandelion and burdock, but hate Bovril. So I’m partly attracted to the drink but I partly couldn’t bear the thought of drinking the bovril to get at the d&b. Looking at the drink, I ‘d find my poor taste buds wouldn’t know what to think.

        Attraction isn’t a choice; likewise, the opposite of attraction isn’t something that can really be re-programmed. If you’re a guy who likes guys – that’s your thing. If you’re a guy who like females – that’s your thing.

        Similarly, if you fancy women with long black hair and gorgeous facial characteristics then that’s what you fancy; if you don’t fancy women with beards, then you probably never will.

        Feel compelled to add I don’t like her nose.

        I find the information in the link re the ‘hotbed of sodomy ‘ disturbing for obvious reasons. What sexual orientation has to with anything is beyond me. And given the foundations and history of the Christian churches, that they are still using the word ‘Sodom’ and its derivations is both deliciously ironic, and sad, blinkered and nasty.

        I’m entitled to my confused reaction to her but appreciate that she is a challenging individual and a pusher of boundaries, who makes Eurovision all the more colourful and interesting.

        To put it more straight-forwardly: as Montell puts it, it’s ‘the beard mostly’. I’ve never kissed a woman, to find my lower face being slowly exfoliated by her beard.

        I don’t ever want that experience, either!

  • dicksbits

    Conchita will cause enough of a fuss next week in the press, that with a half decent song, she will not only qualify but could be knocking on the door of the top 5, if enough Western Countries back her.

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