Eurovision 2017: May 4 rehearsals

Second rehearsals mean getting more judgemental about an act’s progress. Sweden improved on their first effort: Robin Bengtsson had no vocal issues at all; and the shot from the rear during the bridge has been reinstated. There was also a small, positive change from Melodifestivalen – at the start of the second verse, Robin now has a brighter, different-coloured spotlight to his backing team.

Georgia’s ‘Keep The Faith’ is a standard Eurovision ballad, and staged as such. Dry ice opening? Check. Garment discarded and microphone thrown to floor after first chorus? Check. Pointing meaningfully at camera? Check. Fire-jet pyros? Check. Tamara was in good voice today, all in red to match the backdrop.

Albania was again brought forward, but it didn’t feel like enough progress had been made from its first rehearsal. Lindita is a futuristic bride in chiffon and sequins. She wasn’t sounding as good as before, which with so many long notes to get through, wasn’t ideal.

Australia’s ‘Don’t Come Easy’ is dividing the press room. There are more close-ups of Isaiah which makes the LED images of him on the backdrop less intrusive. There’s a big fire curtain for the big note, and Isaiah plays around with deviating from the melody, all very effectively. It’s the epitome of professionalism, but it’s also leaving plenty of those watching cold. This could be reflected in its jury and televote scores.

Belgium’s Blanche is still looking like a frightened novice. The camera angles have been tightened up, but the white prom dress is a little incongruous with the subject matter. Her nerves show in the forced choreography, and occasionally the vocals, especially for the climax where she now goes up in register. At this point, she raises her arms to the air in the quick, wooden manner of an American Football referee awarding a field goal.

Montenegro’s Slavko is going down with hair braid twirling. They’ve given us more of his topless dancing on the backdrop. He’s showing even greater confidence in his choreography, and has wisely dropped the falsetto. But it currently feels like only weeknight Eurovision entertainment.

Finland’s Norma John continue to show how it should be done. When the lovely instrumental middle eight ends, there’s a change of colour from blue to red, and the lighting rig raises spotlights to create a suitably impressive moment. Leena was totally secure in her vocals, and always engaged the camera.

Azerbaijan have made some visual and vocal improvements since their first rehearsal. It’s more polished in both respects, and Dihaj is trying to soften her voice, though can be rather inaudible in the verses. She was followed by Portugal, with Salvador’s sister still standing in for a facsimile of their first effort.

The problems with the first Greek rehearsal were still evident in the second: the notes being biffed were most often the big ones, and the waterfall projection isn’t showing Demy’s image properly. These issues were starting to improve by the last run-through, but more is required.

Vocally, Poland’s Kasia Mos wasn’t in such good form today, which meant ‘Flashlight’ was a long three minutes. To qualify, it feels like it’s relying on diaspora votes and jury recognition – should Kasia bring her A-game when it matters.

Moldova is the same well-executed fun as before. There are more recurring images of the band on the backdrop, and they’ve decided on the reverse Buck’s Fizz – the black skirts of the backing dancers were untied to reveal a longer white dress.

Talking of outfits, Svala was in a new latex top that showed off a prominent chest tattoo. Her hair was tied right back and she was wearing platform shoes, as in the Icelandic national final. The outift seemed to make her swagger more in a self-involved way than we witnessed in the first rehearsal.

Our tolerance for lone females on stage singing something slow has come to an end by the time the Czech Republic’s Marta comes on stage. This was as before, and thus still doomed.

On the other hand, Cyprus is coming together nicely. Hovig is getting more of his balancing tricks right, staring at the camera in the right way, and is vocally sound. The concept staging is a relief given what’s come before.

Let us know your continued thoughts below.

20 comments to Eurovision 2017: May 4 rehearsals

  • Jack

    I just finished watching the short ‘exclusive footage’ videos of today’s rehearsal’s. I love the stage design but am very shocked the singing quality/ability of a lot of performers was so bad.

    Maybe the sound mixing will be a bit different during the life shows when you hear the audience? I was positively surprised by Greece, Iceland and Finland. Azerbaijan looked interesting. While Georgia is a standard staging package it looked and sounded better to me than Czech Republic, Albania or Poland. At least Georgia is more memorable because of her hair. That’s a gimmick y’all.

    Australia and Sweden sound ok to to me. Moldova sounds fun but appears to be a bit of an amateur performance. Cyprus looks like the most modern package to me.

    Belgium what happened??? She looks so scared and nervous and awful in that dress. I love the song but I think this was the worst performance today. Montenegro is a hot mess but at least it’s funny. Belgium should look sophisticated.

    Can’t wait to see the snippets of semifinal 2!

  • The only thing I can say after watching the official rehearsal footage is: Finland :-).

    And it actually bothers me that so many people on these blogs were not convinced by Finland’s chances. The national final performance completely speaks for itself. The biggest USP of this particular entry is the actual music/instrumentation. It’s fierceful, very dreamy and celtic, yet straight-in-your-face.

    It actually reminds me of ‘Den Vilda’ (One More Time, ESF 1996), ‘I Evighet’ (Elisabeth, ESF 1996) and also ‘Nocturne’ (Secret Garden, ESF 1995). Ballad-wise, Finland is therefore also the most unique entry and fiercefully competes with Portugal.

    I had this high in my pre-contest lists. And here we are now. A valid TOP 10 candidate for the final.

    • niko

      Totally agree, just backed it for top 10 after seeing that clip.

    • I think those dates you mention, 1995 and 1996 are the reason why many have been reluctant on Finland. No one doubts the integrity and artistry…..just depends if you think ESC music is “timeless” or not. If you think this sound, however beautiful, is dated, you will not rate its top five chances. DEF Q in my opinion.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Anyone know what times Italy and also France will be rehearsing tomorrow? Also, will Salvador be performing tomorrow?

    I see his story is beginning to gain traction:

    Was intrigued and amused to listen to 2 colleagues earlier today, with little knowledge or interest in Eurovision, report that they have bets on Portugal to win this year. Neither has heard the song (!) but both said that they had backed the “sick guy.”

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Ha! Just a video I stumbled across on YouTube. The Italian nuns, I noted, feel happy (they sure seem uninhibitedly delighted) to perform for this (whatever it is!) without need of a gorilla figure substitute / mock-up to enter (complete) the scene.

        This video (there are others) seems suggestive to me of OK’s cross spiritual popular appeal and suggestive to me that OK’s music and dance movements could be approaching that signature recognisability of Psy’s Gangnam Style music and moves (obviously I’m exaggerating here, but there is that flavour in the air). You hear the song; you have to have a go at the accompanying moves. But with OK’s routine, you can recognisably perform it even at an advanced age, even if you are sitting down, on a wall (as with the nuns), or on your sofa, for example, as you watch Eurovision…

        It could be argued that this is only (faintly) indicative of an Italian cultural phenomenon – which is not a substantial diminisher, nor an argument against the potential for other cultures to respond in exactly the same way. The textual understanding is irrelevant re this video’s visuals, I note.

        Plus: it just made me smile, as OK always does. Plus: I always have a soft spot for singing or dancing nuns:

  • You don’t seem too impressed with Azerbijan Daniel, if I’m reading between the lines, is it as strong a thing to Q as it’s price suggests?

  • Mark-Jay

    Hi all, and thanks Daniel for all your updates. Can anyone direct me to who are offering odds on the Top 10 Market. So far Paddy Power / Boyle Sports and Ladbrokes are all not willing to open it up. Any help would be great.


  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Am confused why Armenia is @ 38 on betfair, since its rehearsal show has received rave reviews? It seems to be drifting in the outright market. Odd.

    • Problem I have with Armenia is the opposite of the “can’t get it out of my head” syndrome…after multiple listens I can’t get it INTO my head. For all the slick visuals and artistry, it remains for me, a triumph of form over content. It’s visually striking but musically failing to make a mark…..I think explains why it’s locked at fourth/fifth favourite but may have hit its ceiling?

    • Chris Bellis

      Guildo – it’s in the fan bubble, that’s why. 38 is a good price though, imo.

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