Eurovision 2017: May 3 rehearsals

It was guilty pleasures morning in the Eurovision press centre. San Marino offered a stage with stripes and shapes in rainbow colours. Jimmie and Valentina were both in black for ‘Spirit of the Night’; he removed his jacket near the finale, though Valentina didn’t do the same with the handbag she was wearing. There was nothing wrong with the vocals or chemistry here.

Croatia’s Jacques Houdek was also in black, in front of a utopian landscape that included sunflowers and rainbows towards the end. He had two men on strings join him for the middle eight. There were also three backing singers who grouped around in a friendly manner at the end. Jacques turned from one side to the other depending on which of the two voices he was singing, and he had no problem pulling the “duet” off.

Norway’s JOWST gave us something very similar to their national final performance on a purple and white stage. The sampled vocals in the bridge were included as before, but this time there was also an added hidden backing singer. Aleksander was relaxed in white top, black trousers and hat.

We only saw part of one run-through for Switzerland’s Timebelle. But that was enough to see Miruna starting on a plinth in a yellow bride’s dress. There was a purple and yellow pastel colour scheme throughout, from yellow plinth to purple piano. She came down the stairs during the middle eight, and wandered around a little aimlessly before and after her big note.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it was Naviband on a flying white boat, as they were propelled at altitude in front of a blue cityscape and night sky. Both dressed in white, the prop they are stood on tended to limit their movement, and any visual development, but they were enjoying themselves, and in fine voice.

Bulgaria was keenly anticipated, and carefully thought through. Kristian was in black and white, like his stage. The LED panels previously utilised by Slovenia surrounded him initially. There were some scribble effects on the screen as seen in last year’s Italian performance, and brief moments when the camera wobbled like there’d been an earthquake. For the finale, the backdrop showed diagonal white rain. If I had one criticism, it was that like Ireland yesterday, the stage could do with a change of colour at the big moment, or indeed any colour. The vocals were excellent.

Lithuania was much like we saw in the national final. In other words, the longest three minutes ever experienced on the Eurovision stage. Fortunately, the Estonian duet were on hand after. Laura was in a stunning, backless, white gown with a mic pack on her wrist, Koit settled on a leather jacket with slacks. He entered on an emerging white stripe on the LED floor, but initially got a little lost (in ‘Verona’) trying to find his marks. But it had become much more polished by the final run-through.

Israel’s Imri showed off his arms in a sleeveless black top. With a red and black stage, he was joined by two backing dancers in white after the first chorus. The three backing singers came forwards for middle eight choreography that was the same as the official videoclip. There were a lot of pyros, and Imri ended the song alone. He was not entirely secure with the vocals and dance moves, but the camera loves him.

Second rehearsals start tomorrow, covering Sweden down to Cyprus in the first semi. Do keep letting us know what you think below.

15 comments to Eurovision 2017: May 3 rehearsals

  • Very disappointed to be missing out on being there this year.
    After seeing all the qualifiers perform live, how strong/weak do you think this year’s contenders are compared to the last couple of years?

    • Hi Dash, we haven’t seen the runaway favourite yet (nor one of the joint second-favourites in Portugal’s Salvador), but there hasn’t been a rehearsal “moment” like we got in 2014 (Conchita and The Common Linnets) and 2016 (Jamala). 2015 arguably had a stronger set of pre-rehearsals entries (Sweden, Italy, Russia, Australia etc).

      • niko

        This is a good point and I think it might give us a clue about the winner. If we look at the last five years, the winner has either been the outright favourite before the rehearsals or an entry which wowed people during rehearsals. We haven’t had that wow moment and the other direct qualifiers are too far behind to contend for the win. I believe there are only two possible winners now: Italy or Portugal.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Stretching this excellent line of thought probably to beyond breaking point, I’m wondering if it’s possible that the under-the-radar French participant has an outside chance of charming its way to a seat at the top table? A possible contender? From a while ago, I have good prices for it to finish Top Ten but I’ve not considered it as a contender for the win. A faint possibility?

          • niko

            I actually thought the exact same thing when writing my comment. But I don’t think it’s realistic to imagine France have any chance of the win, they are not going to come with something amazing staging-wise and even though it is a fine little tune, I really don’t hear it as a song that is going to make people bombard the televote.

        • What happens if neither Italy or Portugal provide a moment either though? I think this year is very open, and far from a 2 horse race

          • niko

            Well, then Italy wins by default 😉 There are just no songs to me other than those two which has the feel of a Eurovision winner right now looking at the hype surrounding the songs. If someone else is going to win it, we’re looking at a year like 2011 where the big favourite fails miserably on the night and the points get spread a lot. This year, that would also require Salvador to not enchant Europe. Of course, it is a possibility, but I don’t find it very likely.

  • Ben

    Bulgaria definitely has the winning staging to take it this year.

    First rehearsal so far, where you get the feeling of a winner…..this is top 3 material minimum, and could go on for the win.

    Really impressed

    New to betting…… could anyone advise me on this bet I am thinking of placing.

    £500 E/W Bulgaria = £1,000 bet @ 8/1

    I cant see them coming any less than 4th, so will get my money back, but really think this is the standout song/staging for me this year, and think odds will fall massively once this is shown on SF2 live.

    • John

      Hmm, it’s tricky. You may want to wait until you know their draw before you place in case they get a bum deal. If Italy, Portugal and one of the former Sovs are the top 3 then there’s only one place left for Bulgaria.

      But then I never bet big so what do I know? 🙂

    • Mark

      Ben. I’m a big fan of the song but you’re in a minority with reaction to staging. Most people were not that taken. So pre rehearsal talk was possible Bulgaria win and now that’s being discounted. I’d say top four is fifty fifty. That’s a big bet on fifty per cent chance. But maybe you’re more confident…??m

  • Montell

    Daniel, how Norway is allowed to use sampled vocals? Isn’t that against the rules?

  • The second semi final is so low on quality, I can’t remember one SF being this bad before

  • The good version of Serbia (as a piano ballad in Serbo-Croat) came out:

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