Eurovision 2013: May 11 Rehearsals

I still much prefer the second semi. For example, Latvia makes a great starter as the PeR quartet jump around the stage in their glittery disco suits having the time of their lives. As he did in the final run-through in the first rehearsal, Ralf goes crowdsurfing towards the end and there’s a nice aerial shot they look up at for the climax. It’s still going to struggle, but there is a point to ‘Here We Go’ in the context of the semi.

San Marino’s ‘Crisalide’ feels rather pointless in comparison, except as a conduit for fanboy hopes. The staging is as before, in other words surprisingly dull, and Valentina is variable in quality during the run-throughs: sometimes she’s excellent; and sometimes she struggles to make the gear change convincing. I don’t think it’s pulling in any neutral televoters, so it’s a question of how much fanboy and jury support it can muster.

Lozano is back singing in Macedonian throughout for ‘Pred da se Razdeni’, which is the third significant change they’ve made in the run-up to the semi-final. He’s in a black suit and white T-shirt with Esma less subtly cloaked in red. The presentation was tightened up today but there’s no getting over the disconnect between the two elements of the song.

Azerbaijan’s Farid Mammadov is looking into the camera at every opportunity and it might well have an Eric Saade-like effect on the voting public. The staging is as eye-popping as before and when everything comes together it’s incredibly effective. There are occasional problems: on the final run-through most of the rose petals failed to get airborne, for example. But there’s no doubting the impact of ‘Hold Me’.

The same can be said for Finland’s ‘Marry Me’. There was confetti for the final run-through and the backing dancers squeal like happy bridesmaids after the lesbian kiss. Krista is enjoying every minute and looks great with her pink shoes and matching lipstick. The backdrop is as joyous as the stage show. Overall, this can’t come across much stronger than it’s already doing.

Malta’s dimpled Gianluca has a winning charm but he still occasionally gets ahead of the backing track on ‘Tomorrow’, possibly as a result of nerves. He missed a couple of notes as he returned along the catwalk for one run-through too, but was much better afterwards. This can appear a little amatuerish compared to what’s around it, the question is whether the public think it’s a knowing amateurishness, which is what it’s trying to achieve. The final thirty seconds on the park bench with his band is very effective though.

Bulgaria’s Elitsa was a bundle of energy for today’s rehearsal. At times it causes problems, such as a dropped drumstick or not grabbing the microphone quickly enough because she’s so into her drumming. Generally her enthusiasm is infectious but it does mean the cameramen have a job on not to make things look too messy. It’s worth bearing in mind she takes a while to warm up vocally and is much stronger by the final run-through. This is the most ethno entry we’ve had since Armenia’s 2009 effort ‘Jan Jan’.

Iceland’s Eythor is not Ott, but he’s doing his very best with the dated ‘Eg a Lif’. He’s still experimenting with a white or black jacket, though the Icelandic delegation have been told what looks best (black). They’ve been working on the lighting for his Jesus pose when the big note comes along, and it’s looking pretty effective by the final run-through. Sandwiched between Bulgaria and Greece, it’s either a nice change of pace or a bland return to 90s Eurovision depending on your opinion.

I was much happier with today’s rehearsal for Greece. The camera angles are far more polished and the Koza Mostra boys have a stronger appreciation of where they need to be on stage at each point. The run to the catwalk creates a nice shot when they swivel their heads and scarper back like the Scooby Doo team, and they’ve delayed plunging the arena into darkness during the bridge to capture the knee raise. A very solid rehearsal.

You know what you’re getting with Israel’s Moran Mazor: a strong, impassioned performance. ‘Rak Bishvilo’ doesn’t get much more geographically or culturally removed from ‘Eg a Lif’ but there’s a sense that they’re fishing in the same waters. We get the same zoom back for a long shot on the big note. This match may be decided by the juries, and Israel does at least have the advantage of not being so obviously old-fashioned.

Armenia’s Dorians do as much as they can with ‘Lonely Planet’. The vocals are good, especially on the last note. Meanwhile the pyros came in earlier for today’s rehearsal and were more effective as a result. After a succession of strong songs in their niche, this falls notably short in its genre, but we have to balance that against the country’s voting strength.

ByeAlex was in his charity-shop chic today. The way that ‘Kedvesem’ is being sold is hopeless in a Eurovision context: the lead singer couldn’t look more awkward. That’s part of its charm, of course, along with the fact that the song is eventually persuasive to those open to it. The question is whether three minutes of it will persuade a watching audience who don’t understand the words. It’s a tough ask.

There was sharp disagreement among bloggers regarding Norway’s first rehearsal. There seemed greater consensus today, and it was highly positive. Not much had changed for me: visually and vocally this is still coming across very well, with Margaret owning the blue and white stage; it’s just a case of whether the dark electropop of ‘I Feed You My Love’ will catch on with a mass audience on the night.

Albania were in their stage get-up, and it’s not particularly flattering. There are too many close-ups of guitarist Bledar during the first minute, although his stint on the satellite stage with his pyro guitar is also the highlight of ‘Identitet’. This is still a borderline case for me. It has echoes of Turkey 2011 and Albania are relying on a similar number of allies, admittedly from a better draw.

Georgia, on the other hand, is pushing all the right visual buttons, as it did in the first rehearsal. ‘Waterfall’ was coming across as well today as it did on Thursday though Sophie has to be careful with how shouty she gets in that final minute. Otherwise the vocals are excellent. They’ve improved some of the camera angles, notably for her lean on Nodi. This is still looking strong, it’s problem may be that it’s Eurovision-by-numbers in a year full of them.

Switzerland’s Takasa still look like the school Chemistry department putting on a show at the school fair. It’s really very amateur looking and sounding compared to what comes before it. There was more focus on 95-year-old Emil today, but I’m not sure even that’s going to save ‘You and Me’.

Romania was more polished today but it would be hard to get any more chaotic than what we saw at the first rehearsal. The backdrop is less heavy on the red and the camera angles have improved hugely. But Cezar still spends the entire song looking like he’s got a terrible case of trapped wind, which helps explain the way he rises in the air from the bridge onwards. The contemporary dancers struggle with the tarpaulin and each other in a very distracting way. Basically: still a dog’s dinner and unintentionally hilarious.

Let us know what you thought of today’s run-throughs below.


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25 comments to Eurovision 2013: May 11 Rehearsals

  • Justin

    Dan, how do you think San Marino will do with the juries having seen the rehearsals? I find the song a bit neither one thing or another – with the change in pace coming to far into the song. The staging is not doing much to assist from the footage I have seen.

    My concern in dismissing it is that the Social Network Song managed to get 42 jury points from somewhere in its semi last year and Crisalide is far superior to that.

  • Justin

    As a follow up on San Marino I can see big points from Albania and Malta then mid-range points from Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. Probably not enough on its own but its a head start.

    • Daniel

      I think you’ve got a good handle on it Justin. It’s worth remembering that the new system for allocating points not only affects a previous diaspora televote 12 if it falls down badly on the jury rankings, but also a previous jury 12 if it falls down badly on the televote rankings.

      • eurovicious

        This is a really clear, easily understandable summary of the new system. The old one rewarded difference – songs would receive high points if they did well in either the televote or jury vote, irrespective of the other – but this one rewards agreement. I’ve done a mockup of what last year’s top 10 could have looked like under the new system:

        1. Sweden
        2. Serbia
        3. Albania
        4. Azerbaijan
        5. Russia
        6. Germany
        7. Estonia
        8. Italy
        9. Moldova
        10. Spain

        (This is based on combining the final overall jury and televote ranking rather than those of individual countries, so is not a reliable guide – in fact, with points being combined at the country level, agreement will be rewarded even more and countries with high disparity will receive even fewer points than the above suggests. So Russia, Italy and Spain would feasible be significantly lower than in the mock top 10 above.)

        As we’ve already discussed, the new system also means that unlike in previous years, jurors will be thinking not just in terms of the best songs, but in terms of the worst ones, ie. what to put at the bottom of their ranking. While I think San Marino will escape this fate in SF2 as Valentina is vocally strong, I can see many jurors sticking Finland in 17th. It has less jury appeal than perhaps any other song in SF2. Of the other likely non-qualifiers, PeR have the stagecraft and live performance skills, Valentina has the voice, Esma and Vlatko similarly have the pipes and ByeAlex has artistry and originality. Even Takasa (who I also think will be v low in jury rankings, likely in the bottom 3) play instruments on stage. By contrast, Finland offers nonsense lyrics, a frivolous, gimmick-laden performance, and a highly repetitive song that doesn’t allow Krista to demonstrate vocal prowess at any point. I suspect a lot of jurors will react to it the way I, Rob and many others did.

  • Justin

    Yes, timely reminder. Thanks Dan.

  • Daniel

    Some breaking news: rumours that Marco Mengoni has been feeling unwell were just confirmed: his meet and greet with the press tomorrow has been cancelled. Organisers appear to be expecting him to still show for the first rehearsal. Do remember that he only needs to be 100% next Friday and Saturday evenings.

    • I may be alone, but I feel Italy have been massively overrated in the markets this year

      • Chris Bellis

        It’s a matter of taste. I love the song, and the way he sings it. I won a load of money on something similar from Italy a couple of years ago when the betting was odds on for it to come in the last five. That’s why I’ve got money on it.

  • dicksbits

    Romania is very disappointing. What a mess on stage.

  • Here’s a question from a simpleton. When the jury rehearsal takes place, do the jury:

    – Watch the stage performance, but have access to a monitor with the mixed TV feed.
    – Watch the mixed TV feed.
    – Stay in the arena and watch only the stage performance?

  • Montell

    Do the jury give their votes during the saturday night like televoters or before the real broadcast?

  • Montell

    Hm, didn’t know that. So this means that half results are already known before the actual show. Thanks Dash.

    • No, the jury votes are not known to anyone until the televotes are announced

      • eurovicious

        They’re known by the higher echelons behind the scenes and are fed into a computer program to generate the voting order on Saturday night. Individual jury results are also discussed informally among delegations – people saying “You won our jury vote!”, that kind of thing, nothing untoward (and obviously no-one at delegation level has a complete overview). One commentator I worked with in 2011 already knew on Saturday afternoon that his country had received multiple jury 12s just from chatting with colleagues.

  • Horrified that my favourite, Sweden has been red and blacked. It’s the sort of thing the X Factor would pull out to get rid of Nu Vibe. He sounds superb though.

  • Chris Bellis

    Thank you Daniel (and eurovicious). Some excellent and helpful analysis here. I still want Romania to get through, but for all the wrong reasons. I feel ashamed of myself.

  • I find the Iceland vs Israel match really interesting. To be honest I’m not a big fan of “only one out of these two/three can make it” statements, as I think they’re mostly bull, but it’s still a comparison here to be made.

    Both are obviously very competent sung. Not really possible to determine a winner there, I guess? Both also have somewhat of an image problem: Iceland with all the hair, and Israel with a terribly unflattering dress. Israel still might have the visual edge due to the piano. The two countries’ draws are also very even – close in the running order, and with 2/3 friends each.

    As for the songs, they are of very different styles. While Iceland is old-fashioned and takes ages to get going, it’s also very hummable – Israel will imo be almost impossible to hum for anyone having heard it for the first time. Israels is more contemporary, and very typically Israeli. However, Israel’s less traditional structure comes at the price of a less effective climax – it kind of drowns, whereas Iceland’s climax is as clear as can be, and powerful (but, as said, late – they’ll have to hope that viewers haven’t switched off attention by then).
    I’m getting the feeling that Israel has a slight advantage with the juries (as it’s not so dated), while Iceland has it with viewers (easier to remember).

    All in all, I think they’re very even, and can’t see how the current pretty marked difference in qualifying odds would be justified. I also find it more likely that both will qualify, than that both will miss out. Consequently, I’ll be laying Israel somewhat, and backing Iceland a bit more.

    Any thoughts on this analysis? Cheers!

    • DashBerlin

      I have them both qualifying, fwiw

    • Boki

      I missed this post before, but basically agree. Had Iceland as a NQ first with nice odds but hedged it since it’s a borderline case which might sneak through. Didn’t touch Israel but it’s high on my list of possible surprise NQ.

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