Eurovision 2015: May 20 rehearsals

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.

Do continue the discussion below.

23 comments to Eurovision 2015: May 20 rehearsals

  • Think it’s fair to say with a first-half draw that Nil Points bet looks even more attractive. I honestly think it’s fucked.

  • Mark

    No surprise to see Russia getting hammered in the betting. In my eyes it’s by far the strongest package. Closely followed by Serbia.

    Can Russia overcome the political tensions though? Still extremely happy to lay Sweden to the hills come home. Packs no punch whatsoever.

  • Natasha

    When do we find out what half of the final the automatic qualifiers will be performing in?

  • We are doing currently.

    France, UK

    Germany, Italy, Spain

    we’re wating on Australia’s draw

    • Natasha

      Thank you. If Australia get drawn to perform in the second half then its wide open for the top 4 in the betting then, that is of course if Sweden also get drawn for the second half!

  • Russia are second half too, so if Australia dn Sweden get second half draws (unlikely) it’s wide open and it’s literally anyone’s.

  • Chatterbox5200

    Is there an equal first/second half split for each semi-final, or is it totally random?

  • Daniel

    It’s totally random. There are now 6 places left in the first half and 4 places left in the second half for the second semi qualifiers.

  • Montell

    If anyone is interested Lithuanian news portal 15min created a poll asking what were the best songs in the semi final 1.

    Results from 3649 voters:
    Russia (30% votes)
    Estonia (27% votes)
    Belgium (13% votes)
    Georgia (8% votes)

    The rest doesn’t really matter

  • Anthony

    Eurovision now and then musters a “Waterloo” in every sense of the word. Australia’s entry is definitely bringing the whole contest onto a different level. Imagine if every country tried to emulate this kind of craftsmanship: song, singer and a slick presentation – no trashy gimmicks!

    • I agree. “Tonight Again” has “winner” written all over it, but so does Sweden’s “Heroes”. They’re both really fresh, current songs. The Russian and Greek numbers, whilst also both extremely strong, remind me of a certain other Eurovision winner at the “Titanic” peak of her career… which was 15-20 years ago of course.

  • Steve Donaldson-Brown

    On Germany at 800 do they any kind of chance

  • Anthony

    Sweden’s song leaves me totally cold – too mechanic and manipulative – I’m not sure if there’s any real music there. Then I’d rather go for Norway’s entry as a good number two.

    • it will be impossible to gauge how will Sweden do tonight/tomorrow, because – it will get a huge cheer in the arena, it will propell up the itunes charts and if it gets a 2nd half draw, will contract in price.
      i dont have any time for Sweden and havent invested in it financially, however, on first watch its impressive and will get a lot of votes because of that. yes watching it more than 3 times and all the magic is gone and its looks robotic in its concept and choreography – however most voters will only see it once or twice

      • Chris Bellis

        I’ve seen Sweden’s entry umpteen times and I still like its professionalism. Estonia’s entry is better, but to go against Sweden would be a mistake I feel. Glad I put my money on Sweden before the selection. Glad also I laid the UK entry, despite being called a “traitor” in my own household.

        • In football, the only rule is don’t bet against your own team (my mates wouldn’t let me bet on Suarez to score first when England played Uruguay for example) but, it’s Eurovision and we have our entry handled by the BBC. And I don’t condone their way Auntie throws herself under a bus every year. Until they wake up and send the likes of Emeli Sande or Ellie Goulding, lay away.

          • Chris Bellis

            I’ve also made money betting against England. Sentimental money brings the price down so ideal for laying. I once saw England draw against a team of part-time goat-herders and couldn’t resist. I didn’t even care that Wayne Rooney called me and people like me traitors. If he’s paid all that money and plays like a t**t, he shouldn’t blame me for betting against the team.

          • ^ This guy right here. This is the guy.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    After my costly betting sojourn “supporting” the UK last Eurovision, I think I recall reading and agreeing with a response by you, Chris, in which you mentioned how Team England is often over-hyped and there to be profited from.

    I took the 12s with Hills (with a £25 free bet token) on England to be bottom of their World Cup Finals Group. So, I recouped something last summer.

    Outside of an unlikely and unproveable butterfly effect my small bet had no effect on the results of the England team in Brazil.

    Premier League teams having being able to field virtually entire teams without an English player, the continuation of the birthday effect to marginalise a vast section of budding football talent, the ironic cowardice of English players to ply their trade in foreign football leagues, the Sunday league mentality – these are primer candidates for being treasonable.

    • Chris Bellis

      Very well put Guildo! Betting against England has earned me loads over the years. I’m surprised more people don’t do it, but perhaps we shouldn’t share the secret, although it’s not exactly a secret. One day we’ll have a repeat of 1966, but not until the situation you describe is sorted out.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        We’ll should be alright, Chris. I’m betting the type of punters who have a £100 on Rooney to be 1st goal scorer in Finals matches (and thus make the market) before heading off down the pub / sports bar with the rest of their mates probably doesn’t read this site! (I witnessed a gaggle of lads having this exact bet in a local Ladbrokes, last summer).

        In 30 attempts at winning the World Cup and the Euro Champs, England have won once (in the single actual final they have managed to be in – and that was they played on home soil). And their recent Cup form is awful.

        I would like to know at what prices foreign bookmakers rate England for Major Championships.

  • Chris Bellis

    Hi Guildo It’s a bit like the Libor rate fixing scandal. Gibraltar based betting sites set the rates, which mainly come through English betters when England are playing. In horse racing (I know this from my brother-in-law, who’s a bookie) if a lot of money goes on a horse for a small racecourse like Southwell, they have a man down there to shorten the odds by placing a large (to the on course bookies) sum. Prices shorten and the SP is lower than it should be. Loads of tricks like this go on, which is why Eurovision is relatively safer to bet on ( apart from Azerbaijan until they got caught).

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