Eurovision 2012: May 19 Rehearsals – part 2

This afternoon saw the much anticipated arrival of the automatic qualifiers on stage in Baku for their first rehearsals. Let’s dive straight in.

There’s a very simple presentation for Germany’s Roman Lob who is accompanied by a full band on stage. There’s no doubting he’s a good-looking chap, vocally he was on very fine form, and after the madness of what we had seen this morning, ‘Standing Still’ came across as refreshingly normal. The draw is helping Lob, and this Danish-sounding song is ideal jury fodder too – a full band is on stage to cement that. I’m still not sure quite how much love televoters will give this, but this was a very strong rehearsal.

This is more than can be said for what France revealed, which was essentially homoerotic cabaret. The main show isn’t Anggun, or her two backing singers, but the three musclebound gymnasts who put themselves through their paces in an attempt to confuse the viewer. One of them performs a somersault over Anggun which puts my heart in my mouth every time.

Anggun’s vocals were rather weak in parts and never compelling, but on some run-throughs she was adequate enough. As I indicated in my London Eurovision Party review, I’ve never seen this being a Top 10 contender, and today reiterated what a mountain France has to climb to reach the left side of the scoreboard next Saturday.

Italy’s Nina Zilli, second favourite for the whole contest, was on next. ‘L’amore E’ Femmina (Out of Love)’ depends on Nina selling it, something we know she is capable of. It’s hard to judge its chances based on today, when Zilli was dialing it in. She looked bored and sounded pretty flat for the most part, but it will be about what happens when she puts her lippy and frock on for the moments it matters.

Having said which, the black-and-white backdrop was uninspired and the lack of any instrumentation on stage was also a disappointment. The overall effect at the moment is of a lack of energy with just the lead singer and her three backing vocalists on stage. But like I say, that can all change when Zilli is in the mood.

Azerbaijan’s Sabina Babayeva on the other hand, generally wowed the arena and press centre. The staging here is very atmospheric, though almost as dark as it is for Loreen. The backdrop shows paint hurtling through the air, whilst the largely red and yellow colours used are also projected onto her white dress, which is very effective. There’s a mugam player on a platform just behind her. On one or two later run-throughs, Sabina occasionally held back, but she had already showed what she could do, and it was no surprise to see Azerbaijan’s odds shortening in general after a very solid first rehearsal.

Spain’s Pastora Soler generally gave it full throttle for ‘Quedate Conmigo’ and was another to sound very impressive, but there are some visual issues. The initial backdrop of rain coming down a windowpane is a little uninspired, and this can definitely do without the 80s-style Eurovision choreography from the backing singers who emerge in the final third and completely detract from the whole performance. Pastora looks as pained as ever too, but she’s definitely the equal of this very difficult song.

Unfortunately, Engelbert Humperdinck is no longer the equal of ‘Love Will Set You Free’. Watching him walk forward slowly, whilst two dancers waltz to one side and a guitar player sits on the other side, was a rather painful experience. The UK will be nowhere near a Top 10 place on this evidence.

Let us know your thoughts on these rehearsals below.

21 comments to Eurovision 2012: May 19 Rehearsals – part 2

  • Chris

    I’ve been putting my money on Italy to win the contest but I’ve got mixed feelings from watching the rehearsal. On the one hand, I think Italy’s staging seems low budget or minimalistic at best. I was also hoping for some instrumentation. On the other hand, I think good camera work (the close-ups) and a great performance would make Nina Zilli the act to beat. Her voice certainly is good and I think that this song will stand out next to France.

  • Soley

    I found Italy, Azerbaijan and Spain the best live performances. Italy just needs to add something to the performance (I find it too plain). Sabina sang pretty well and the light reflections on her dress looks fantastic! Pastora was simly amazing, what a voice!

    I was dissapointed with Engelbert’s voice and I agree with you, it’ll be far from the top 10 next week. Germany’s performance was just ok, can be easily forgotten when it’s time to vote.

    After this first rehearsal, can you see Spain after so many years in the top 10?

  • henna

    Being a Roman fan i went round on all sorts of blogs and forums, looked at various uploads of his rehearsal and checked the comments(a bit obsessive, I know, will get help, promise:D ). I am under the impression he enjoys a general approval. His puppy dog face seems to do it’s job. With a bit of luck at what gets drawn to the slots after him I think he has a real chance to do really well.
    I am very curious how loreen will do. She is looking more and more like the girl from the movie The Ring and I don’t think that’s a very good thing. Her odds are ridiculously low. Maybe because it’s because it’s hard to pinpoint anyone else as the winner?

  • Johnny Roastbeef

    Hi Dan! Great coverage! I’m curious if rehearsals have made you rush online from your seat in the arena to place any major bets before clips of it reached Youtube? I mean, to pay for your flight&stay in Azer you need to take advantage of the advantage of being present at the arena. Ukraine Top 10 and Azerbaijan e/w were for instance great bets for you guys at the arena and they did shorten considerably before those two acts greatness became common knowledge. Are you to blame in those cases maybe? 😉

    • Donald

      Hi Johnny, I’d say top 10 money maybe placed at really fancy prices on Ukraine. That song has been more than the outsider it was made out to be from day one in my books.

      Shame the market so biased at the front, can we play it to our advantage is the big question.

      When it takes an outsider to become a small springer in the market doesn’t say much for the rest really.

      Well spotted advantage.

  • Donald

    Spot on re Spain backing singers as I posted earlier they killed it.

    Same re France it’s not a circus.

    Watched Ukraine from yesterday, those 4 screens are well good behind. Looses it last 30 secs on what I watched crowd dancing not remotely as effective as the graphic effects. Some of it is well good overall must say. Shame it not getting kicked home especially with Gaitana getting it there. I wonder can they sort that?

    At 40/1 plus in places at the minute not a bad way to get the ball rolling proper have to start somewhere.

  • Tim B

    Azerbaijan’s rehearsal was just phenomenally good. The moment it finished I topped up at 51.0 EW. It’s the standout ballad of the year imo, and also the one with the most potential. Now I’m struggling to see how it will not be top 4 at least, and with such doubts about Loreen now I think it’s a strong win contender.

    • Johnny Roastbeef

      I agree 100% Tim. Did you bet big? Cause I wonder if I open a fresh account at Willhill, how much will they let me wager at current odds of 41? Would the online system accept £200 e/w (£400 total) you reckon?

  • Tim B

    Johnny, I have £55 EW on Azerbaijan at 50/1. Most of it is Ladbrokes and the rest William Hill.

  • Johnny Roastbeef

    Ah ok Tim, cheers. I wonder if Willhill will accept £200 @41 and thus risking to have to pay out £10400 to a single client.. 😛 It’s a shame Willhill doesn’t let you check the maximum allowed before placing the bet. I hate transferring funds and then when I try to place the bet I only get to wager a small part of my deposit. But I guess they do it on purpose, hoping that you’ll bet the rest on the Champions League final or something else without value whatsoever.

  • Johnny Roastbeef

    £200 e/w

  • Ben Cook

    I also thought Italy desperately needed a band. It doesn’t look very impressive – and I still think it doesn’t have a memorable lyrical hook to win enough televotes.

  • Chris

    What about the Italian staging? Does it strike you as low budget or minimalistic? Do you think it fits with the retro style of the song?

    In the rehearsals we don’t really see any of the closeups so it difficult for me to say how effective the song will be on TV…

  • Bexley

    I feel like giving the Italy backers at this price a good shake to hopefully get some sense back 🙂 But hey we all rate the songs differently I appreciate that.

    Good enough singer, dull mish mash of a song, very boring presentation for me and a poor draw.
    Are people factoring in a runaway jury vote as last year?

  • tpfkar

    I’ve found a bet which matches my thinking for the contest exactly: Winner from 2nd semi at 2.04 on Betfair.

    My list of who can win looks like 1. Serbia, 2. Norway 3. Turkey, and of course Sweden are hot favourites. And this bet covers all four. Risks as I see it are Denmark from SF1, and Germany from autoquals, but this seems like great value to me.

  • Some people tend to forget the close-up shots from Germany. I think the German delegation only wants to focus on Roman’s cuty face. And that works on screen. Saying that Germany will be easily forgotten is too farfetched, especially after this first rehearsall.

  • Donald

    Know it’s Eurovision but little note on X-Factor auditions, Robbie Williams a guest judge in Liverpool on Wednesday.

    Their hardly setting up a duet already.

    Anybody on here going on Wednesday?

    Back to BAKU.

  • Boki

    After the 1st rehearsal I thought Slovakia is a NQ due to the very static performance but today the singer suddenly started to move around a lot (while singing stays ok) – no bet for me.

  • justin

    Slight improvement from the Hump today from the video I just watched. But you get the feeling he’s at full stretch to perform just at this just adequate level. My opinion is that he is very vulnerable to finishing in the bottom 10 particularly if something with a bit of oomph – say Romania, Ukaraine or Norway – are drawn immediately after.

    • tpfkar

      Yes, agree sadly. Charming though the song is, I’ve thought ever since it was released that it was a bottom 5 contender, and the draw and rehearsal footage only confirms this.

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