Eurovision 2016: May 8 rehearsals

Just the second rehearsals of the automatic qualifiers today, so a much shorter article than usual. Indeed, one main point of interest – the draw to see if the Big 5 will get a first or second half draw – now takes place at the welcome ceremony this evening.

We know what we’re going to get from Sweden’s Frans – something very close to the Melodifestivalen final performance, with a catwalk finale. The teenager was reportedly unimpressive in rehearsals throughout the Swedish competition, and came into his own with a live audience. But it felt like there was nothing wrong with his run-throughs today.

France’s Amir improved on his first rehearsal, but still has some way to go. His team have addressed concerns that he looked static by letting him occasionally move around the stage, and also use the catwalk at the end. When he gets a break in the song, he’s smiling more; but he remains tensely focused otherwise, which is not allowing his charm to shine. Vocally, the backing singers are wisely doing extra, but once more Amir failed to finish the same early sentences, and missed the first line of freestyling on each occasion.

Spain is not getting any better. The backing singers have dropped half a key, which means they are less likely to miss the notes, but diminishes the impact of their crucial part in the song. Barei’s pratfall is quickly followed by total darkness, so there’s not even a brief sense of “what’s happened?” – it’s clearly meant at the moment it occurs. The dark staging with neon triangles doesn’t really fit ‘Say Yay’. On this evidence, it’s heading for a bad result next Saturday.

There’s not so much to add about Germany, the U.K. and Italy. Jamie-Lee is hitting the cameras more effectively but her outfit is incongruous in the darkness; whilst Joe and Jake continue to show a natural likability and camaraderie on stage. Meanwhile, Francesca changed her outfit but little else, and is still coming across as charming.

Do keep your comments coming below, and stay posted for the 7pm welcome ceremony that includes that first half / second half draw for the Big 5.

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82 comments to Eurovision 2016: May 8 rehearsals

  • Cathal

    My worry for the UK is Bjorkman has already said he doesn’t rate the UK entry which means SVT will likely do no favours for the UK in terms of the draw. If the UK want to do well they need a second half draw I feel.

  • If UK get first half, Joe and Jake are an obvious, upbeat, fun “start the show” kind of number…especially after all the positives over the weekend rehearsals. Still, Brotherhood of Man won in 1976 from slot ONE!!

  • My first response to the UK was that it was generic pop and they didn’t seem good live.
    Seems they’re fine live, and the majority of this year is generic pop, so I’d guess the UK actually scores a respectable score, without troubling the left hand side

  • Henry VIII

    WTF was Amir doing running around the stage like he was demented, and adlibbing? They should be perfecting what happened in the first rehearsal, not trying something completely new.

    Frans looks assured but I prefer the MF performance. Difficult to say though without seeing the broadcast edit.

    Rob – Interesting about that EU-Ukraine referendum. I didn’t know about it. Why are you sure Sweden want to win? They are being very cost conscious and tight with money this year compared to Malmo. It doesn’t look like they want to host again.

    Ande – why should Russia “be weak with juries”? It’s by far the most exciting show. It takes ESC staging to a new level. Also Sergey is one of the best vocalists in the competition. There aren’t that many stunning vocalists – opera trained Jamala of course, and Gabriela. And Sergey.

    • Hippo

      Bjorkman wants to win. Svt and Sweden itself is different though.

    • Ande

      Sweden wants to win because Bjorkman said so. He had difficulties finding new goals and motivation after Euphoria but now has newfound resolve in trying to break Irelands record.

      The Russias song is weak with juries because it’s outdated and facile but still recent and shallow enough to not be retro. The effort put into the technical staging masks this somewhat but I’d still be surprised if Russia ends top 3 with juries without landsliding the televote.

    • Henry VIII

      I find that jury analysis is the least scientific and most erroneous of all pre show analyses. I think it’s wishful thinking to think Russia will do badly with juries.

      • Ande

        I’m not saying the juryvote will be bad, but relative to the televote it shouldn’t be impressive. Do you have any example of a non-contemporary style over substance act doing relatively well with juries?

    • Corbyguy

      There is nothing stopping Sweden wanting to win again (even this year) on the basis that they will not be able to host again (next year) due to finances etc. should they win this year.

      If a country does win and they do not have the necessary finances to host the contest in their country the following year the EBU will probably step in to help out financially with a loan if not then the EBU will open a bidding process to all of the 40 something countries to allow them to host the contest in their country.

      Monaco won the contest in 1971 but due to not being able to meet the demands of hosting the contest the following year the UK stepped in and hosted the contest in 1972. So there is precedence that if a country does win and is unable to meet the demands of hosting the contest the following year for whatever reason then the contest is then hosted in another country.

      Monaco isn’t the only country to decline hosting the contest the following year due to not being able to meet the demands of hosting it for which the UK then stepped in and hosted the contest.

      If Sweden does win this year and hasn’t got the finances to host next year and the EBU doesn’t give them a loan to help them out financially and there becomes a bidding process for countries willing to host the contest instead the following year then i wouldn’t be surprised if Russia will be first in the queue with a bid to host the contest.

      • Montell

        I think Sweden would be ashamed to announce they don’t have the finances to host again so instead they would rather not win at all although I really wish they do their best to win this year.

    • Corbyguy

      In addition to my comment.

      Luxembourg won the contest in 1972 and then they hosted in 1973 where they won again and on home soil so would have hosted the contest again in 1974 but declined to do so on the grounds of expense of hosting the contest for a second consecutive year so once again the UK stepped in and hosted the contest for 1974.

  • I think western juries especially will have Russia quite some way down their list. After Mans, what Russia has done hardly feels “state of the art”…after 2015. He does sing well, but a lot of the jury marks are about artistic composition…..need I say more?

  • Hippo

    France 100% out of it. 1st half draw

  • Hippo

    France isn’t memorable enough though- no bearded lady or stickman (which was only third public anyway) . He’s not winning the public vote from there or juries as he’s messing up his notes.

    • dash berlin

      Wouldn’t have won with a plum draw anyway, I’m not disagreeing, just saying the draw barely affects it’s chance

    • Milton

      Hi Hippo, have enjoyed your posts throughout this season, definitely one of the most perceptive contributors imo. I appreciate the point you make about Austra and Sweden winning with USPs that overcame an unfavourable draw, but to flip it around are there any acts you feel would have won, but didn’t because they were drawn first half?

      • Hippo

        Thanks Milton. I think 2005 is a potential one. Malta received 192 points from third and came second to Greece who received a pretty low winning score of 230 from 19th. I think if these would have swapped places Malta would have won. Malta may have won from seventh onwards even.
        Like Black n Blue says though 2011 is the obvious one and the running order affected a lot of the results that year. Bosnia or Greece may have won too if swapped with Azerbaijan, maybe even Italy. But Sweden from 15th or later would have cleaned up.
        In 2012 the Babushki would have likely won the televote swapped with Loreen or from anywhere in the second half but Sweden would have still won overall.
        The impact has been lessened since the juries came back though.

        I’ll just clarify my comment on France. I was around 50% sure it was Fanwank and wouldn’t win going into rehearsals. Once he was alone on stage I was 70% sure he wouldn’t win. When it became clear he’s still not getting that last minute right vocally my confidence France wouldn’t win moved up to 90%. Now that I know he’ll have at least 13 countries after him that was the final nail in its chances for me. It wasn’t the only factor I took into consideration but it’s one hurdle too many in my opinion. There’s no coincidence there’s been only one televote winner from the first half in the last 12 years.

        • Milton

          Ok that makes sense, so you were looking at the prospect of him getting really lucky with the draw as being the only thing that could revive his minimal chances. The failure to get that was the final nail in the coffin for you. Not sure I agree with you, but I understand your thinking. Thanks for explaining.

    • Black n Blue

      I’m sure Hippo will have views on this Milton, but I reckon had Sweden in 2011 been placed deep into the 2nd half of the draw, there may have been a sufficient point swing to win.

      • Milton

        Thanks for the reply BnB, I agree, that’s a good example, but he sang 7th, not 12th or 13th which realistically is where Amir is likely to sing. I wonder if there are any other examples.

  • Ande

    Italy first half.

    Spain second half, Barei is difficult to place for me.

    UK second half, will probably come top 20 now.

    Germany first half. I guess that means bottom 10?

  • RonH

    If I could bet France will be singing later in the show than Frans, I would put my money on it.

  • Chewy Wesker

    Does anyone know what time the full draw will be made? Last year we had the draw soon after semi final 2, but the year before I think I was very late into the night before they released them.

  • Well, I took the liberty of predicting the qualifiers already in my article:

    Qualifiers Semi Final #1:

    Qualifiers Semi Final #2:

    Ranking Big 5 + Sweden from best to worst chance of success:

    Some clarification:
    – Behind every country you’ll find a green diamond. I expect those countries to be on the left hand side of the scoreboard (TOP 13) upcoming Saturday
    – If one of the 9th or 10th qualifiers won’t make it, then I think one of my four ‘shock qualifiers’ could sneak in
    – I think it’s safe to say that the Big 5 + the organizing country are strong this year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see three of the five Big 5 countries back in the TOP 13
    – Semi Final #1 seems to be the weaker semi final
    – I already took into account the draw for 1st or 2nd half for the 6 finalists

    • Ande

      I don’t totaly disagree with any of your picks in the first semi final. Bosnia is the most dificult one to evaluate as they have such a strong diaspora vote and draw but such a dated and disjointed entry.

    • Montell

      I like your predictions. They are similar to mine.

      Semi 1. I think Hungary or Croatia will qualify instead of Bosnia. I agree that Azerbaijan is a borderline qualifier. Samra is beautiful girl but cannot sing.

      Semi 2. I think Lithuania will qualify. Lots of friends in the semi. I hate Donny’s haircut, though. I cannot see Norway, Slovenia and Macedonia all qualifying. At least two of the three should fail. All three are very borderline and will fight for qualification with Georgia and Poland.

      Big 5. I would only switch Sweden with France.

  • TommyBarnes

    I think Australia have pulled a masterstroke in their staging by recreating the Morecambe and Wise, Shirley Bassey sketch. I really hope this is the final version and not just a dummy run.

  • Apparently ALL televoting results will be announced from 26th place until 1st place:

    The results from the televoting from the countries that are placed 26th until 11th will be announced a bit faster. From 10th until 1st place the televoting announcements will be accompanied by camera shots from the greenroom.

    My God, I’m already biting my nails….

  • Alpie

    which songs are more likely to be Top10 ?
    Malta, Israel, Cyprus, Belgium?

    • Montell

      I agree with Songfestivalwerk! I took Belgium Top 10 before rehearsals when’t its price was 3 times bigger. I have Israel Top 10 as well because staging is very promising. I wouldn’t involve myself betting on Cyprus or Malta.

  • I’d say Israel and Belgium are almost certified TOP 10 (TOP 13) countries. I’m not a firm believer of the qualities of Malta and Cyprus.

  • Alpie

    @Johnkef, if u’ve made up your mind could u share your opinion for top 10 with us?

    • johnkef

      I can tell you the 10 countries that i believe that will be at the Top10 but since i’m not in Stockholm and i don’t have any access to the televised product i honestly can’t say for sure my verdict for the final. Definitely after 2nd semi when the running order will be revealed i’m gonna know for sure.

      For the moment my thought’s are

      Russia, Ukraine and Israel are definitely after the win, followed by Australia, France and Armenia.
      And then there’s a group for countries fighting for the Top10. My 4 picks for now are Serbia, Italy, Belgium and Latvia.

      As for Semi 1 there i have made up my mind

      1. Russia
      2. Armenia
      3. Netherlands
      4. Czechia
      5. Malta
      6. Cyprus
      7. Iceland
      8. Bosnia

      these are my certain qualifiers and then i have to pick

      9. Estonia
      10. Greece. here i have to explain myself. I’m Greek i hate the song and i don’t care how Greece performs in Eurovision. I like the contest and not my country in particular. But Greece has many allies in this semi and if the previous 8 countries gather all the big scores like last year in the final. Greece can find the points that it needs from Cyprus, Armenia, Montenegro, Russia. The pontian verses will also motivate diaspora to vote for it,

      11. Croatia. I don’t write it off but Croatia always finds a way to disappoint with the staging.
      12. Azerbaijan. That’s gonna be the strike 3 for them. They don’t deserve to qualify.
      13. Hungary. Still has a slight chance but it’s too boring

      and the no man’s land

      14. Austria
      15. Finland
      16. Montenegro
      17. San Marino
      18. Moldova

      I’m 100% sure about my first 8 picks and my bets on this semi are

      Estonia Q (the one that makes me nervous now)
      Bosnia Q (around 1.75)
      Croatia NQ @3.20
      Azerbaijan NQ @3.75

      and some minor others, including Greece to Q

  • Montell

    My Semi 1 prediction in order of confidence level:

    01. Russia
    02. Netherlands
    03. Armenia
    04. Czech Republic
    05. Malta
    06. Cyprus
    07. Iceland
    08. Estonia
    09. Croatia
    10. Azerbaijan
    11. Hungary
    12. Bosnia & Herzegovina
    13. Greece
    14. Austria
    15. Finland
    16. Moldova
    17. Montenegro
    18. San Marino

  • Ande

    I’m contemplating Azerbaijan qualifying here. In which scenarios will they avoid getting crucified by juries?

  • Daniel: noting the backfire on the Netherlands “silent moment” and lack of uptake. Do you think they’ll:

    a) Chicken out
    b) Risk it
    c) flock the stadium with groupies to make it work???

    • RonH

      From what I heard in the Dutch media Douwe Bob was not realy waiting for a sing along moment. Those rumours at least were not spread in the Dutch press. Douwe Bob said he chose to create this (call it awkward if you like) moment during which the audience could be silent, applaude, boo or whatever they feel like. Just because it fits the song to take that little break.

      If this is a good choice I doubt. Unless you believe it is better to be talked about than easiliy forgotten. Chickening might be difficult as I suppose the recorded music can not be changed anymore tomorrow or saturday.

    • Ben Cook

      It doesn’t look or sound that bad. The crowd cheers a bit. It’s just a bit pointless rather than backfiring.

  • RonH

    Ps, I had hoped for some crowd surfing, but that was apperently overly optimistic 🙂

  • Some may be interested in this. Russian jurors watching NL and Armenia’s semi performance tonight!!

    • Disgraceful. This is a flagrant disregard for the job and a breach of trust by showing her score sheet in progress. They should be getting in trouble for this.

      Having said that, Armenia looks pretty cool, but I feel sorry for Douwe there! Looks like something went wrong. He should shout out to the crowd to sing with him.

    • Rob4

      i would have thought it would be better if each juror watched in isolation and filled out a scorecard and then they could be combined afterwards. idoubt any of them take the job seriously and just look it as a jolly.

  • RonH

    I did not see a score card in progress. I saw a bunch of uninterested people half watching and mostly busy with other thinks and I saw an empty sheet of paper, as if the final result had allready been determined. May we know by whom?

  • Are the performance starting times available anywhere for the semis? If they are, I can’t find them.

    I want to schedule a push message to go out when a certain performance starts – I could estimate a start time based on the running order, but an exact time would be great if anyone has it!

  • I don’t see all the Czech love myself, espcially at the prices. Sandwiched between two songs that are better I thik that it will be forgotten. Think it’s nearer the 2.00 markt o qualify and have/will be layign it at 1.2x or backign not to qualify if I can find Sportingbet or Boylesports accounts.

    I’ve got Iceland and Malta in my win book and am looking to add Belgium and Bulgaria. Russia just have to be opposed at the prices, and although I like the Ukranian song it’s now got too short on what we know (imo)

    if you want to read some incoherrent bable, I’ve put down some wies here.

    • I agree about the Czechs being too short, it’s unlikely to get a lot of televote support – especially following Russia. In the arena last night, people were still talking about Russia a minute into the Czechs song.
      However, it is a good song, that should receive plenty of jury support – so I think it probably still qualifies..

    • Czech Republic is nice to listen to but very dull to watch on the TV feed. If I were to pick a shock non-qualifier across both semis, this would be it. Also, don’t waste your money on Bulgaria outright. This one looks really tacky on TV and is another that could struggle for support. It’s a huge staging disappointment.

  • RonH

    These is my prediction for qualification tonight in alfabetical order:
    Czech Republic

    This leaves one place, which I find harder to predict. In order of estimated likelyhood:
    Netherlands (best song, would be a shame if it fails)
    Greece (never failed to qualify and 12 points from cyprus)
    Bosnia (perfect ranking order)

  • James

    Daniel, what do you think are Austria’s chances of qualifying tonight?

  • Russia is alarmingly short on the Betfair exchange outright today (2.18 at time of writing.) I read the TV footage leaked but I haven’t seen it, so I’ll be watching on TV tonight. Mind you, with no apparent major competition for the trophy in SF1, looks like it’s gonna be an easy semi win for Sergey tonight, so the odds may not move much.

    What’s more crucial is seeing what happens after the previews of France and Sweden.

    My final qualifier predictions for SF1 after tonight are:
    Czech Republic

    It’s probably wrong but Greece, Estonia and Azerbaijan just don’t convince me, and I’d rather Bosnia didn’t qualify on this occasion. If they don’t then it’s probably Azerbaijan going through as a vocal car crash counterbalanced with a crowd-pleasing song, (La La Love anyone?)

    Hope everyone enjoys tonight!

  • Black n Blue

    I scribbled down my ten a week ago, then I threw my list out, then came another re-write, and now I have a re-write of a re-write of my ten qualifiers for SF1.

    As follows they are:
    Czech Republic
    Bosnia & Herzegovina

    Croatia haven’t looked convincing all week, and I can’t see them pulling through. It’s a tossup between Greece and Azerbaijan tonight, I’m not expecting both to qualify, but I’m giving the nod to Greece by virtue of them adapting a so-so song excellently to the stage. Betting aside, I’m looking forward to the postcards and some Petra time! The Swedes are among the best at scripting live TV.

    Thanks to everyone for keeping the build-up period entertaining so far, and enjoy the show tonight!

    • Montell

      I love Petra Mede! She was the best presenter in 2013.

    • eurovicious

      Having read reports but not seen anything from rehearsals (not even the Youtube clips), my call for tonight is the same as Black n Blue’s but with Austria instead of Czech Republic. Reasons: every year punters write off a kitschy semifinal entry (Romania 2013, Iceland 2014, Serbia 2015) that goes on to qualify quite easily by virtue of being fun and standing out. Similarly in recent years, punters have predicted that the buzzkill ballad following the big uptempo number (Moran Mazor straight after Alcohol Is Free, Axel Hirsoux straight after Tick Tock) would qualify and been caught out. I figure Czech Rep has less voting power and a worse track record than Austria, is disadvantaged by being straight after Russia (as pointed out by Dash Berlin), is too bland and isn’t connecting visually/emotionally (apparently not enough close-ups), and doesn’t stand out from the field as much as sunny, loveable Austria does. So:


      Could all change once I see the show of course…

  • Thomas Cromwell

    Well I’m going on Sweden to win on the nose at 14\1.
    The Russian song is pants and won’t win.
    Ukraine not good enough and the political bias will cancel itself out.
    The French have no chance as long as the sing in French- they were red t favourites the other year if your remember, sang in their native tongue and bombed.
    Sweden it is.
    Netherlands Top 10
    UK to bomb as usual

    Good luck all

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