Eurovision 2015: May 12 rehearsals

Today saw the second half of the first heat have their initial run-throughs. We started with Serbia, where a frizzy-haired Bojana in grey sequins pleased the fans with her message of ‘Beauty Never Lies’. A staging description of her backing singers discarding their white masks, cloaks and flags for an amateurish dance-along may scare off punters as well as jurors. Televoters could see it as a welcome injection of fun.

Hungary also have a message to convey, and Boggie does it much more tastefully. A black-and-white solar system backdrop is followed by a monochrome tree of guns, that morphs into a colourful, idyllic countryside scene. There’s no problem with the vocals though I’d like Boggie to be a bit more expressive.

Uzari and Maimuna are alone on stage for Belarus, and early run-throughs saw ‘Time’ sit heavily on their shoulders. Uzari’s vocals settled down in later run-throughs and Maimuna started smiling a bit. However, the staging still felt very vanilla for a song which not only needs a concept but easily allows for one.

It was quickly overshadowed by a very strong Russian rehearsal. They’ve gone down the credible band route for the staging of ‘A Million Voices’, which makes more sense as the drummer is singled out for the line, “Your heart is beating like a drum”. The two female backing singers and two male guitarists provide good vocal support, which allows a white-clad Polina to show off her excellent range. The floor and wall graphics only enhanced the sense of polish and professionalism. The whole thing felt like an X Factor winner’s single performance.

Denmark didn’t surprise us, with a facsimile of their national final effort. I wasn’t totally convinced by the lead singer’s vocals there, but they were secure here. You would assume Danish competence would be enough in a semi-final of 16, though this is not a very western semi, which is where you expect ‘The Way You Are’ to appeal.

I wasn’t convinced by Elhaida Dani’s performances at the Amsterdam and London concerts. To be fair, she looked like she felt the same way. It started off that way today, with a ropey first run-through of ‘I’m Alive’, and the golden staging was also too busy. Everything improved with each run-through, though I think the problem remains a song that lacks hooks and is better in studio than on stage.

Romania was very polished in comparison. There wasn’t enough development in early run-throughs, with a brightly-lit backdrop of open suitcases showing clips from the official video and some of the Romanian lyrics, matched by suitcases on stage. The decision to plunge the first verse into relative darkness before revealing the backdrop was a definite improvement.

Georgia was strikingly staged, with Nina Sublatti determinedly alone, for the most part carrying ‘Warrior’ with a fierce performance. The backdrop, dry ice and her black animal-skin bird outfit create a wonderfully gothic atmosphere. For the most part it’s very convincing, although without anything going on around her, the instrumental break is the weakest link.

With all the first rehearsals for the first heat finished, Russia clearly offers the most polished and compelling package at this stage. The rest are playing catch-up. Let us know your continued thoughts below.

11 comments to Eurovision 2015: May 12 rehearsals

  • Chris Bellis

    Interesting. I have thought Georgia’s entry somewhat under-rated. I put a modest amount on it some weeks ago. I would have put more on but was confused by too many “warriors” in this contest.

  • 01. RUSSIA: Solid, simple staging devoid of cheese
    02. ESTONIA: Room for improvement, but wunderfully staged
    03. GEORGIA: Wunderful camerawork, unique entry
    04. ROMANIA: Best band in this semi final
    05. GREECE: Bond-esque, makes the most of the weak song
    06. DENMARK: Underestimated, fun and catchy, 60’s vibe
    07. BELARUS: Fun but not special song, nicely staged
    08. ARMENIA: Only song that’s elevated by staging
    09. BELGIUM: Room for improvement here in next rehearsal

    Last ticket:
    10. NETHERLANDS, FINLAND or HUNGARY: Hungary was helped by its staging, but the song still is forgettable, Netherlands has room for improvement, the dress discussion is a bit exagerated. I could see Finland go through, though not sure.

  • Chris

    Not sure about Belarus and Denmark. Hungary could possibly make it but I also see Serbia advancing. The song is camp and fun. It will stand out. You’ll love it or hate it but at the end of the day, it should garner enough televotes.

  • Dash Berlin

    This SF has become a bit more cloudy for me, with first run through’s being weak for a couple I liked. However, overall it doesn’t sound like there is much excitement in this SF.
    Macedonia were my biggest disappointment, really like the song and thought it could be some nice value, but that run through didn’t make me feel very good.

    I think it’ll be easier to find 7 certain qualifiers, than picking through the rest and punting

    On a side note unrelated – anyone that is in Vienna at the moment, is Betfair exchange usable? I seem to remember Austria used to be a banned Betfair country

  • Donald.

    Talking point after today already is Russia, the rehearsal certainly gained Polina some initial momentum. Wait until public get to see it on Tuesday. Being a talking point won’t do it any harm. Gives a stand out news story in a crowded space next week. (marketing value of that ?) Long way to go though.

    Let’s see what second semi rehearsals brings. First half of that should be interesting….

    • Alen

      It will be also very helpful for Russia that they are not in the second Semi with Sweden….as I do think it will be the standout performance in Semi 1 so the press will report about it for 2 days.

  • sonovox

    Agree this semi is a bit cloudy. Can’t quite fathom how Denmark is buyable at 1.84 when five of the first seven songs seem to be trading at shorter prices. Be pretty surprised if all those five made it through and Denmark missed.

    • Dash Berlin

      The running order certainly gives Denmark a good chance. The negatives are its a very eastern SF and cheesy boy bands don’t do historically very well here. I don’t have any time for the song itself. However, the fact that bad songs drawn late qualify in the SFs cannot be ignored.
      I wouldn’t back it at 1.84, but I wouldn’t lay it unless it hit sub 1.5

    • john kef

      My stats suggest that a country needs 22.5% of the maximum points to qualify to the final. It could be less ( minimum 20%) but with 22,5% is a certain qualifier.

      That 22.5% in the 1st semi is translated in 51.3 points. For the sake of our conversation let’s say 50 points. In a semi final foul of eastern countries i can’t figure out how Denmark could amount more than 40 points.

  • Given how ordinary-looking Bojana’s 4 backing singers/dancers are, the ordinariness of what they’re wearing under the cloaks and the disjointedness/amateurishness of their dancing, I wonder if these aren’t the final costumes and they’ll be in their underwear for a “normal bodies” message…

  • Donald

    There could be some validity in that thought Eurovicious, see re colours of flags here at 12:14 .

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