Day five of rehearsals delivered us a marathon 13 performances to wade through. With impressive performances from Iceland and especially that stalking dark horse Romania, today proved that Loreen has not won this thing without a fight.
Rambo Amadeus entered the stage dressed as the spectre of doom sporting a remarkably similar beard to the one witnessed during the Icelandic national final. The message of the song will surely chime with a proportion of Europeans, just as last year’s ‘protest’ song from Portugal did and narrowly missed out on qualification. Unfortunately, so many aspects of Euro Neuro are too disjointed and messy to appeal to even the most militant of Eurovision voters. Non qualifier.
There are differing opinions of Iceland depending on which source you visit. What I have learnt, is that Jonsi varied his register between the two performances, with the latter being the best. Never Forget was already a polished and well-presented entry, but today, it took another leap forward displaying slightly rejigged choreography that draws on the emotional drama between Greta and Jonsi.
Greece’s Aphrodisiac was another entry that moved forward, albeit with tiny little baby steps. With a reworked backdrop of shells and what I believe to be a dancing clam (look for it), the stage presentation represents a major improvement. The next step is to work on the wretchedly lazy choreography and poor vocals from Eleftheria Eleftheriou. If this were any other nation but Greece, it would be odds-against to qualify. Greece however, are in a tricky situation, with both Romania and Cyprus draining any potential support. Backing non-qualification could be an option after the second dress rehearsal.
Dated and frumpy were suitably accurate adjectives used to describe Latvia today, where Anmary’s strong vocal was hampered by a wardrobe faux pas. To compound the situation, the backing singers resembled the UK’s finest tarts staggering from a £1-a-drink night at their local Yates’. All that was missing was the odd park bench for them to pass out on, or door way for them to throw up in.
Albania’s Rona Nishliu looked uncomfortably perched on the stage as if she’d be on the receiving end of a practical joke involving trainers and glue. It is unclear whether or not she was wearing her intended outfit on stage, but if I were to once again offer my polite and considerate fashion advice, I would suggest a drastic change. The luminous green dot on her chest only provokes those viewers with access to laser guided missiles to take aim and end the excruciating pain. In those three minutes, Rona inflicts more pain on more people globally than most rogue dictatorships. In the wise words of Arnie… “Pull de trigger!”
Mandinga are clearly on a higher plain of existence – as if Zaleilah needed any improvement at all! Nevertheless, the Romanian delegation have freshened up both the stage graphics and choreography to blisteringly good effect. Romania are not only favourites for the semi-final win, they are now being touted for the Eurovision crown!
Switzerland was very much the finished product on day 1 of rehearsals with very little room left for improvement, but since Sunday, they’ve worked on the stage visuals, which now convey even more impact. Switzerland is certainly a strong contender for qualification in this surprisingly tight semi-final.
As mentioned in the day 2 review, Belgium is all about fluffy bunnies, first dances, first kisses and emotional insecurities. Iris nails ‘Would You’ both vocally and visually, which was undoubtedly assisted by an above-the-knees dress. Belgium will attract a decent amount of jury votes, which is why I backed it to qualify today.
On current form, the Belgium verses Finland bout has been convincingly won by Iris. Personally, I’d have preferred it to have been fought in a pool of mud, but no doubt Pernilla would have made that look dull too. As you may have guessed, Finland was unchanged from first rehearsal and remained in its gloomy, undistinguishable and immediately forgettable format.
Israel have reorganised the position of band members on the stage and visually, the new dynamic works well. I feel that ‘Time’ has reached its peak, but there’s still a risk that Izabo’s sound is too quirky for some. Israel’s progression rests entirely on the juries.
San Marino turned up in full costume today, and by costume, I mean they raided the props department rather than purchasing actual outfits. Valentina is joined on stage by a doctor, a cheerleader, a girl playing the guitar in an unconvincing manner, an airline captain and what looks like a lady-of-the-night in a long black coat. As a song, it has promising potential… perhaps in weaponised form. As a performance, it’s comedy genius and I salute you San Marino.
Cyprus continues to improve; however, there are some tuning issues that the juries will clearly not forgive. ‘La La Love’ is streets ahead of Greece though, but again, Romania trumps both of them in terms of staging, performance and quality. I’m still far from convinced Cyprus will qualify.
Denmark is handsomely simple, but painfully bland. Soluna Samay is once again faultless in her performance and the close-knit, garage-band staging works well. Denmark are qualifiers, but shouldn’t be considered for the win.
There were plenty of bets discussed in our chat room today. Join us again tomorrow morning at 7:30am GMT where we’ll be digging around searching for more incredible value in the betting markets.