After last night’s San Marino party, Lithuania were just the tonic I needed this morning. Monika & Vaidas tried one or two new camera shots, and at the end of the song, they now stand with their back to the camera with the audience cheering behind. I can’t see Lithuania not qualifying.
After Lithuania’s exuberant display, Ireland came like a rain cloud on a sunny day. Molly continued to evade the cameras and has even started to look quite slappable. When she does bother to throw a glance our way, it’s more like a “what the f*ck are you looking at” look, rather than one of affection. Even the backing singers look glum with one hunched over like a Skeksis from The Dark Crystal.
At last night’s San Marino party, Michele performed famous 70s funk hits right up to more recent songs like Happy and Uptown Funk. Having to sing this sugar-coated-turd of a song must be absolutely soul-destroying for him! Last night revealed Anita to be the weaker vocalist of the two. We also learned that Daniel Gould is a demon on the dance floor!
Montenegro continues to look strong, but given Adio’s slow build up, I’m struggling to add Knez to my list of qualifiers. With Malta and Norway following, I think Knez will be bottom of the ballads.
Amber has reigned in some of her superfluous, overly rehearsed hand gestures, but there are still subtle diva moments. Amber does have a tendency to overcook the “break through the silence” line on the run up to the climax, which is something to lookout for during the jury rehearsal. I think there’s enough from Malta for jurors and televoters to enjoy.
On Wednesday, I wrote a brief email to the Norwegian head of delegation highlighting the strengths of the MGP national final performance, in the hope they’d revert back to the circling camera and stronger climax lighting. Their Eurovision staging is far too beige and it misses that nuclear explosion of white light during the most important part of the song.
Norway could still make the top-10, but I feel that’s their ceiling this year.
Leonor Andrade rehearsed straight after lunch for Portugal. The big news story of the day is the removal of the backing-singer’s hats. Ha Um Mar Que Nos Separa is like an audio sleeping pill.
Another song that leaves you reaching for the nearest razor blade is Marta & Vaclav’s Hope Never Dies. I think coming after a prolonged glut of dull or slow songs, viewers will be growing increasingly restless, which will count against the Czech’s chances of qualifying.
Boom! Israel hits the reset button, which definitely spells danger for those nations in the first half lacking allies.
Nadav suffered a few false starts today, but this lively package is starting to look dangerous in a number of markets.
Aminata was sporting some tattoos today, which was the only change to this classy musical package. Netherlands was the standout stage package last year, but Latvia has every right to claim that prize in 2015.
Azerbaijan has taken great strides forward with their vocal layering and staging. Elnur works the camera better and I think TV viewers will react more positively to what is a complex song. Having been an early backer the outright, like Norway, I think top-10 is the ceiling for Azerbaijan.
Maria Olafs, joined by Hera Bjork on vocals, was much stronger today. The choreography has changed and features Maria performing a few half-spins in front of a steady-cam. Maria was visibly shaking throughout rehearsal, so the jury final might see some cracks in the Icelandic package.
Måns Zelmerlöw was at his usual confident best. No problems with delivery, but maybe setup. There was a 15-minute lull between his first and second run-through due technical issues. I think it’s likely that Sweden will be positioned after an advert in the final.
Talking about the final, one person who probably won’t be there is Switzerland’s Melanie Rene. During her first two run-throughs, her vocal wondered off key and the visual performance lacked the determination we’ve come to expect. Melanie might be another to watch out for during the jury rehearsal.
Flushing Switzerland down the memory hole is Cyprus’ John Karayiannis, who is making a strong top-3 finish shout for the semi-final. Boylesports are the only high street firm offering 3-places. If this goes big in the arena, one could see a price crash to around 20/1-30/1.
Slovenia made some slight lighting changes today that freshened up the overall impression of Here For You. The addition of white accents during the chorus adds energy and should make Slovenia a more solid qualification prospect.
Poland ended the day’s rehearsals on a slight high. Monika gave us a few breathy moments during the first run through, but the latter rehearsals were much sharper. One change: Monika’s wheelchair is now in shot from the start.
We’ll be back tomorrow morning with a review of the automatic-qualifiers’ first rehearsals.