After a longer pre-rehearsal period than usual, the press gang were chomping at the bit for today’s action. And action was what they got with Moldova’s first rehearsal.
Carrying on the concept of the video, Eduard was the cheeky criminal surrounded by police in PVC shorts. The female officer flashed her bum cheeks, the two men thrust away in their fetish outfits – there was something for everyone. As expected the choreography, involving a T-shirt ripped off and a back-flip from a multi-level platform, was well worked out. Eduard’s vocals didn’t suffer either. It looks like more of a televote song than a jury one.
I expected Armenia to be more of a work in progress given the need for six of them to figure out choreography and perfect the sound mix. But there had clearly been lots of preparation, because they arrived with a reasonably slick show. Vocals were generally strong, with Inga a particular highlight. The purple staging, like the song, is designed to appeal to the diaspora, with ethno elements and a few nice overhead shots.
Belgium benefits from coming next, given that ‘Rhythm Inside’ is as contemporary as ‘Face The Shadow’ is cheesy. Loic and his backing group sound great; the choreography and camera shots required practice, and were only coming together by the last run-through. The robotic and arty staging should cement jury respect for the package, but this and the monochrome concept could be a little clinical when it comes to televoters.
Netherlands’ ‘Walk Along’ is a bland, repetitive song that needs lifting in its staging. Unfortunately, Trijntje’s slutty widow outfit, with face veil ripped off part-way through, is distracting in a negative way. There’s only one camera take here, not dissimilar to what they tried successfully last year. But it’s unnecessary for a solo act, and only cements a rather static presentation.
Finland is as was seen in the national final, with dry ice and a backdrop which suggests PKN are playing a gig. Camera angles captured the guttural feel of the song. I remain rather uncertain as to how viewers and juries will react without any useful precedent.
Greece provides us with something far more conventional by Eurovision standards. Generally, this rehearsal was an exercise in how to sell a ballad of this ilk: keep it simple and classy. A blue “eye” backdrop didn’t need to be watchful of Maria Elena’s vocals, which were on point. If there was one criticism, it’s that ‘One Last Breath’ needs pyros or a colour change for the moment it morphs into a Bond theme tune.
Estonia was very much a rough draft, but showed signs of promise. Retro graphics showing silhouettes at an open door back-light Stig, then Elina when she walks forward to have her say in ‘Goodbye to Yesterday’. Both singers engaged the cameras effectively, which was impressive given that each run-through worked through some very different angles, often oblique to fit the retro mood. Stig leaves Elina alone on stage for the final part of the song.
FYROM is a work in progress too, though I’m not sure the concept is as promising. There’s nothing wrong with the stone-arched backdrop which slowly fills with leaves. The problem lies with the over-choreographed Backstreet Boys-style moves Daniel attempts to pull off with his backing singers. There’s not enough conviction in them, possibly because they don’t really fit the song. Still, the camera angles improved throughout each run-through.
Do look at the clips on the official site, eurovision.tv, and let us know what’s gone up and down in your estimations based on these admittedly early impressions.