Day eight of rehearsals marks the end of esctips’ coverage in this all-day format. There will no longer be ‘open rehearsals,’ but we will instead bring you all of the commentary from sources within the arena in blog form. Furthermore, our chat room will be open for debate.
Running about 40 minutes late, Estonia’s Ott Lepland delivered a much stronger performance of ‘Kuula’ featuring a series of vocal flips and flourishes. The Estonian delegation are clearly sensing the threat posed by the subsequent lively acts consisting of Slovakia, Norway and Lithuania. Is this a display of desperation from Estonia? Even after Bosnia’s sleepy ballad, Ott’s emotive song still remains a distant memory.
I was praying for a massive improvement from Slovakia and I got my wish. In short, Slovakia rocked! Max Jason Mai sauntered on to the stage in tight black jeans and a leather jacket, deliberately left open to expose his highly sculpted torso. His hair was big and blond and a sure-fire tribute to def-leopard. What ensued was an extremely dramatic and memorable performance that was both vocally and visually spectacular. Max has also dropped the vocals from the bridge in favour of a more suitable guitar solo – it works a treat!
Norway headed into day eight with mounting pressure to get it right. Despite some early wobbles, Tooji and his dance posse looked more assured and certainly cast aside any doubts concerning their progression into the final. There are however, some nagging doubts in my mind regarding ‘Stay.’ To me, the whole performance is balanced on a knife-edge and with the added pressure of the watching juries; coupled with a rigorous dance routine and demanding vocals, Norway definitely has the potential to fall apart.
Bosnia & Herzegovina are ideally placed in semi-final 2 for qualification. Just as well really, because ‘Korake Ti Znam,’ whilst pleasant, is a 3-minute borefest. The Romanesque graphics have gone in favour of gradient colour-fills, though they are similarly as effective. There is so much more they could have tried here, but Bosnia should just qualify while potentially killing off Slovenia and Croatia’s chances.
The United Kingdom were first up for the Big-5 in what was another do or die rehearsal. Yesterday, Englebert took to the stage resembling an overworked Harold Steptoe and missed nearly every note ‘Love Will Set You Free’ threw at him. Today, the Hump sounded much better, but there’s no escaping the fact that the UK face an uphill struggle to register in anyone’s memory after all 26 songs have been performed.
Anggun was vocally better for France, but their inappropriate gymnastic themed stage show remains. I’m afraid it’s painfully apparent that France are only here to make up the numbers this year.
Nina Zilli returned for Italy today and again delivered a blistering performance. Zilli was dressed in an equally stunning blue dress against the same monochromatic background as yesterday. There’s still a sense that something is missing, which was touched upon in yesterday’s review. Another complaint that surfaced today was Nina’s ‘clap your hands’ gesture to the crowd. That should be dropped, as it is cliché and not for the Eurovision stage.
Azerbaijan was another unchanged performance and vocally, Sabina was right on the money. Azerbaijan is still underrated in the betting markets, which for a country with that amount of voting support, 41.0 is a massive price. Remember, this is a country that has never finished outside of the top-10.
Pastora Soler was again vocally strong for Spain. The visual presentation has taken a major step forward with the watery backdrop having turned blue from yesterday’s muddy brown. I’m surprised it took the Spanish delegation that long to realise that brown hasn’t been seen on TV in the western world since the 1980s. The backing vocalist’s introduction to the stage has also been improved and is not as intrusive and detracting as yesterday’s bizarre choreography. Pastora still looks in pain though, and during that big note, it’s like she’s mutating into a werewolf – still not a good look.
Germany continued in fine fettle from yesterday’s rehearsal. The brilliance of ’Standing Still’ is its blissful simplicity and contemporary sound. There are no gimmicks, just Roman Lob standing very still finding every camera and pulling his finest doe-eyed expressions. Germany could do very well indeed; in fact, we could be in Berlin this time next year, yet there is one nagging doubt in the back of my mind. Will Germany’s televote be affected by the Euro-crisis and their enforcement of austerity on struggling countries? How do people view Germany right now? I don’t like involving politics at Eurovision, but we must all be in agreement that it plays a major part every year. What do you think?
As previously mentioned, this is the last day I will be reporting in this lengthy format. The blog and chat room will be open during all of the dress rehearsals, where we will be discussing the unfolding events as we hear them. Join us all here again tomorrow at 14:00 GMT for the first and second dress rehearsal of semi-final 1.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a great video that was sent to me by one of our increasing number of followers…