Eurovision 2013: The dress rehearsals

Before the circus gets going today, a few general words on the dress rehearsals. There are three for each semi and final: the important one that the juries vote on is the second of the three, held exactly 24 hours before the event is beamed across Europe. 

For the jury rehearsal, I will be tweeting about each performance as it happens (so follow us on Twitter if you don’t already). I intend to indicate how well it went compared to previous run-throughs for each country, so you can expect analysis along the lines of “as before”, “improved from before”, “worse than before”. 

Even though the jury rehearsal matters, readers and punters should keep their perspective. For example, last year I thought Cyprus looked ragged in the first semi dress rehearsal and Lithuania under-performed in the second semi dress rehearsal compared to a brilliant performance just a few hours earlier. The former managed fourth in the jury vote and qualified with ease; the latter managed a surprise third place overall.

Slovenia won its 2011 semi jury vote depsite missing a line, and Loreen smashed the 2012 final jury vote despite coughing on a snowflake. Also in last year’s final, France and Azerbaijan had what were generally perceived to be poor performances for the jury rehearsal, yet still managed good scores with the constituency. As with everything related to Eurovision rehearsals, it’s a very subjective business.

Nonetheless, it is of course best if an act can bring their A-game to this performance. What I’m saying is that if they don’t, it doesn’t necessarily mean disaster.

The less important first and third rehearsals are interesting affairs. Quite a lot of emphasis is placed on the first one since it is the first opportunity to see the show as it will be the following night. No more multiple run-throughs and polite gaps between acts. We get to witness the entries back-to-back in quickfire succession on the Eurovision stage, and it’s easier to make points of comparison.

Because it’s in the afternoon rather than the evening, there is actually more blogging of this first dress rehearsal than the jury rehearsal. I intend to post a summary of it after it has finished.

As for the third and final dress rehearsal – a few hours before the televised event – that can vary in how useful it feels. It sometimes seems that certain acts are saving themselves and merely going through the motions to iron out any previous hitches. To reinforce this idea, occasionally they’re not even in costume.

Finally, compared to all the rehearsals that went before it, the televised event can bring out the best in some performers and make others wilt. This may partly be the reason why bloggers are accused of overrating and underrating how certain acts have been rehearsing previously. Although it’s by no means our only excuse!

Do keep the excellent comments coming below.

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19 comments to Eurovision 2013: The dress rehearsals

  • DashBerlin

    Do you recall any particular acts having a poor jury dress rehearsal and getting a low mark (from previous perception that they would do well)?

    • Daniel

      Hi Dash, Slovenia last year comes to mind. The backing singer absolutely murdered her solo wail and it never really recovered from that point onwards.

  • Alen

    Another one: UKs Blue had a terrible jury rehearsal I’ve heard in 2011 and they did get very low scores from the Jury.

    • DashBerlin

      Blue had a pretty bad performance both nights didn’t they?

      • Ben Cook

        The jury performance was pretty much the same as the TV one, except Lee got slightly behind the music at one point and murdered one of his scream notes.

        • I meant to add in my point below that the uptempo boyband schlager of ‘I Can’ wasn’t exactly jury-friendly in the first place, especially with the horrendously bad staging it ended up having.

  • DashBerlin

    Trakshittaz must have had a bad jury rehearsal last year, only theory I have to explain such a poor points haul!

  • Tim B

    What I would say about these jury performances is that sometimes too much importance can be placed on the vocal aspect by bloggers. Sometimes I think they are just voting for the song. For example, I reckon the excellent Sabina singing the excellent ‘When The Music Dies’ for Azerbaijan at 70% of her ability probably sounds better than 90% of the field performing at 100%. So it has to be taken into context. Similarly, Cyprus had a reportedly poor performance in the jury semi final 1 last year, yet was ranked 4th. The thing is, semi final 1 was terrible quality last year and so ‘La La Love’ was actually one of the stronger compositions there.

  • I’ve just posted my analysis on Semi Final One if anyone wants to read it.

    (I’m Richard, Eurofriends – My “speciality” is the X Factor, but I’ve grown more interested in Eurovision over the years!)

  • Simon le chat

    I have listened to the top 10 of the bookies fancies and rate 5th fav Azerbaijan’s Farrid Mommdov singing “Hold me” as comfortably the best song. At the time of posting it is still 20/1 with Ladbrokes who are unusually out with the other bookies. Am helping myself while the price lasts. Very confident.

    • Roach

      It’s certainly a big chorus, Simon. Has very interesting staging too, which you may or may not know at this point…

    • hansenus

      Thanks for the tip. However EW is just 1/4 for 3 instead of 4 like other bookies. And with the strong denmark around… It is just very interesting if you believe it can make a top 3 but it can easily land on 4th and make you lose all.

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