No rest for the wicked. Hard on the heels of yesterday’s first semi-final comes a day that includes the second rehearsals of the automatic qualifiers, followed by two dress rehearsals for the second semi-final, including the one that national juries vote on this evening at 9pmCET. Expect a quick write-up of the first dress rehearsal and Twitter action for both.
In the meantime, here’s how I saw the automatic qualifiers progressing.
The lighting is improving for Italy. Il Volo now have a darker start in blue with more effective spotlights. Everything else is as before, with the Classical Rome backdrop brimming with clouds as the chorus kicks in. There’s no problem with the Eurovision edit of ‘Grande Amore’. If there’s a criticism, it’s that the boys need to interact more with each other – they only come together at the climax. But they are going through the motions at present.
As indeed are The Makemakes. The Austrian entry is exactly the same as it was before – the stage show was sorted for the national final – with a black-and-white set turning to gold. There were no pyros today, but they’re clearly still intended: Dodo does a magician’s “shazam” gesture aimed at the piano for that moment.
Meanwhile, Spain’s Edurne is in a different slitted gold dress. It’s another corker – though let’s face it, she’d look stunning in a coal sack. Her vocals were slightly off today, but I’ve heard worse rehearsals that have turned around by the time it matters. Ann Sophie also has a slightly different outfit, though still in black. She too wasn’t at her best this morning. I don’t envisage any problems for her when it matters, as she’s proved she can bring it on the live stage.
Oh United Kingdom, where do I start? The bargain basement song, singers without the charisma to disguise it, or the desperate kitchen sink staging? When the two male backing dancers do a back-flip from the top of the stairs, one of them has a crash mat to land on, the other not. That crash mat sits there stage left – often in shot, lumpy and forlorn – a fitting symbol of utter amateurishness.
France’s Lisa Angell joined in the morning’s theme of changing rehearsal outfit, this time in sober black that I preferred to the indigo number we saw her in before. This hasn’t changed a bit with the same evocative background of a war-torn village with rain, doves and drummer boys. I still find the first two minutes very ponderous, though her vocals are undeniably good.
Australia’s Guy Sebastian was modelling a slightly different pair of hipster trousers. The Ozzie team were trying out a few different lighting concepts and camera angles for ‘Tonight Again’, and we’re still not sure what the end product will be. Guy was putting more into the vocals and dance moves this time, at least until the final run-through, and the routine is incredibly slick.
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