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Eurovision 2017 Rehearsals: Day 3 Review

We opted for the taxi again this morning. By we, I mean the escinsight crew I’m staying with in Kyiv. It was a white knuckle ride through a deserted Kyiv city centre hurtling past various landmarks and Eurovision selfie points. Mini buses aren’t designed to go that fast over cobbled streets. I’m not sure if we qualified for the next stage or not, but we were all nearly reunited with our breakfast.

Serbia kick off the day’s proceedings with a similar, watery/bubbly staging concept as Ira Losco last year. Tijana is also joined by an interpretative dancer for the middle eight. It wasn’t a perfect vocal performance from Tijana, but like Demy yesterday, she did have to get up at 5am to prepare. I think today was all about trying things out, and by the final run through, Serbia did start to show promise, albeit limited to sneaking through to the final and holding around 16th-20th. Dress rehearsal will be key here, because In Too Deep does sound very borderline.

Nathan Trent starts sat on the end of mirrored, waning crescent moon dressed in white with Nadav Guedj’s silver lamé, winged trainers. The backdrop morphs between pink clouds, a stormy sky before ending with stars. Nathan isn’t vocally perfect, but throws everything into the visual performance of Running on Air. It’s a bit too stage school for my liking and Nathan appears somewhat self-absorbed in his presentation, rather than playing it smiley and natural like Gianluca Bezzina, which is what I think people are mistakenly comparing this song to.  Austria definitely affecting Serbia’s qualification chances.

Jana tries to channels Jamie Lee Curtis in the famous, True Lies slut-dropping striptease scene. As highlighted at the various pre-concert events, Jana lacks the natural rhythm and charisma for an upbeat song, so rather than invoking her inner Jamie Lee Curtis, she’s instead projecting a slightly tipsy Janice from accounts at the office party. During the “I’ll bring the fire and feel the heat” line, Jana squats down, opens her thighs and and basically says “here’s my growler”. Sex doesn’t sell at Eurovision, so if sexy is to remain a fundamental part of the presentation, FYRoM need to tighten up the erratic nature of Jana’s moves and minimise the brief ‘bitch face’ glimpses to camera. On the positive, the staging is actually better than expected with a cityscape backdrop and satellite screens showing scenes from the official video. This is surely too amateur to qualify?

Away from Jana’s red-light district window performance to the more reassuring, Celine Dion-esque delivery of Claudia Faniello. Breathlessly is dated, but Claudia is sincere and authentic in the way she performs the song for Malta. The staging is blue and the camera angles are intimate and complimentary. A slow-motion video of Claudia is displayed on the backdrop. I feel there should be a curtain of sparks during the climax – maybe they’ll add this for the jury final given Malta are operating on a reduced budget this year.

Romania quickly cured the post Lunch malaise with a dizzying display of colours and butterflies on the backdrop. Two mirrored cannons are wheeled in during the middle eight and Alex rides onboard with the chamber between his legs. Alex got overly excited during the final run through; nearly running over Illinca and falling off in the process. We think they will employ pyros at some point. The difficulty for Romania is that Yodel It won’t delight the juries in the same way that Playing With Fire did in 2010, when Paula & Ovi finished third on the jury split. Even so, this will perform incredibly well on the televote and is a dangerous prospect in this Contest.

Netherlands‘ staging wasn’t as blatantly sympathy inducing as rumoured. The trio perform in black, sparkly outfits against a funeral pamphlet backdrop. By that I mean the backdrop shows various imagery one might find in a undertaker’s brochure or the sort of generic stock image used for the front of an order of service. I have never been a fan of this song, but it is performed brilliantly by the girls – they are the strong point. The juries will rank this fairly highly, so it will depend on the national commentators to motivate any potential televote support. I’m not as keen as some on the top-10 prospects, but it could get close, I guess.

Origo is the cult fan favourite this year, but Joci lacked the essential camera connection to propel Hungary on to the sure qualifier list. It’s a dark, brooding song, so I guess a certain about of darkness and disconnect is fine, but I think non-diaspora voters will need more persuading, especially when it comes to the lengthy rapping section. Otherwise, the staging is competent in its national final guise, apart from dove motifs on the backdrop and the violinist performing from the satellite stage. Fire jets were around the perimeter of the stage during the dance segment.

And as we progress to the latter part of this half, Denmark ask all sorts of questions of the Dutch package; Anja matches OG3NE’s vocal proficiency and nails them on chart-ability, visual impact and star quality. It gets a bit shouty towards the end, but her conviction and no-holds-barred delivery of Where I Am has won over this former critic.  The staging is more golden than at DMGP and features swirling LEDs during the middle eight when Anja kneels down and emotes like her heart is about to be ripped from her chest. Strong top-10 potential here!

“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…” like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, Brendan is catching the first balloon out of here. Brendan stands on top of a basket platform with a red and white hot air balloon above him. The connotation with the balloon, Brendan’s voice and helium will no doubt do the rounds on Twitter during the live semi-final. The staging is mostly red and the greatest criticism of Ireland here is the lack of progression in the lighting and staging narrative. As ever the vocals aren’t perfect, so this Daniel Radcliffe lookalike will be needing an expecto perfectum charm before next week’s semi.

About Gavster

ESCtips Owner   I’m a qualified designer and dedicate a lot of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.


  1. Most interesting day betting-wise till now. Managed to get some good odds at the bookies for Serbia, Macedonia and Ireland ntq, and Holland tq.

    Think Ireland is still way too short, even after the drift. Really can’t see this qualifying….
    Amazing staging? No.
    Amazing voice? No.
    Amazing charisma? No.
    Amazing song (in this field)? No.
    Reason to vote? No.

    For the rest it’s hard to really comment on articles like this, you really need the camera-footage to have a proper opinion, so can only go on what you hear and the small bits you see…

    Looking forward to tomorrow. Norway has been looked over a bit imo, backed them at 10+ for top 10 earlier (just like Austria), and hopefully it will turn out well tomorrow. Can’t wait to see Croatia as well, there will almost certainly be a drop or a drift in the odds…

  2. Why no one sees how dated Netherlands are???

  3. I think Gav was pretty clear in his reservations MirrorMan. I personally find it dated and dreary but a performance song in a live TV show, it works a lot better.

  4. Serbia dissapointing. Looking at similar result to last year – borderline in still but wouldn’t want to back it either way.

    Austria have put themselves closer. Still think it won’t hold attention enough but its borderline.

    Fyr Macedonia – Always get at least one of song, singer and staging wrong. A bit of the later two this time around. 5th consecutive nq.

    Malta- Never qualifying on televote. Depends on jury. Wouldn’t be surprised if they have her 5th or so and pull her through. Still have as nq for now.

    Romania – Easy qualifier. Feel like copying and pasting their 2012 results as a prediction: low top ten televote in final, bottom ten with jury, left hand side finish.

    Netherlands- Probably through but look a little short. Right hand side in final though.

    Hungary – I don’t think he’s winning over neutrals or juries here. Borderline again.

    Denmark – worth opposing. Song still crap and non descript. Can’t see it making televote top ten and similar stuff from Switzerland to come. If it makes the final will do well to make top 15 yet alone top ten.

    Ireland – At least they have a concept this year but its not strong enough. Nq

    • Phew, someone shares my problem with Denmark.

      One of my few confident lays this year for top 10. I dislike the positive write ups due to this! It’s so shouty and a non song. Be lame if it were to grab top 10, surely not?

      • I share your doubts about Denmark – right from the reprise of the national final = I hated it. But I’ve come round to qualification as it sticks in your head and goes round and round in a Mariah Carey kind of way. Add to the mix her strong vocals and I think it’ll just crawl over the line.

  5. Serbia – Our fears have been confirmed, she really is struggling to sell this song and singing first I really am struggling to see anything other than Serbian diaspora saving this.

    Austria – Austria has really improved their chances but I still do think with the hand they were dealt in regards to running order I’m still unsure if it has enough going for it to qualify. Juries will go crazy for this so it will depend on on how much damage is done in the televote, this will come extremely close to qualifying.

    Macedonia – Did Sasha really stage this? This is Samra 2.0 with a weaker song and without the brown envelops. Shouldn’t be qualifying.

    Malta – Did very well but this will still need a lot of brown envelops to get it over the line I feel. I heard from someone that the reason why Malta’s bribing might not be obvious this year is with Malta getting a new CEO there is a doubt that he will know exactly who to contact. This is still pretty chancless I’m afraid.

    Romania – Amazing, with this I’m less confident for Moldova now in the final as this is a more polished and more accessible party song. Certain top 3 in the semi and should bring Romania back to the top 10 for the first time since 2010.

    Netherlands – Very good but I think with Denmark later on I feel they will need to get every possible drop out of this to qualify, until next week I’m still unsure but it should be touch and go at worst.

    Hungary – Copy Paste the NF performance, still not sure about top 3 in the semi but qualifying without question.

    Denmark – Done very well with what I consider a pretty basic song, still not a fan of her outfit but that’s just me, could be top western country in the semi and qualifying top 3.

    Ireland – Being Irish I have to say I’m overall a little disappointed with the whole package. Unlike the last 3 years I do think the song can be saved as I do quite like the concept of the staging but the lighting really needs to be changed and I would quite like it if the backing singers would be present during the key change. Until I see the 2nd rehearsals I can’t call its fate but if it stays the way it is than I would have to say no. Also as always those vocals need to be improved on.

    • Malta television’s former CEO left amid a financial scandal and the new CEO is there to calm things down. MESC 2017 was stripped down to one grand final and no jury to save money, and there are rumours that the Maltese tendency to *schmooze* other countries is also getting cut to save euros.

      But by all accounts, “Breathlessly” might end up being jury bait that will get votes on its own merits, without any envelopes required.

  6. The problem here is that on one hand bloggers and punters are rating 14 or so songs for possible qual, and then knocking most of them down. It’s a most confusing semi! (and it was said this was the easiest semi to qual from)..

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