After yesterday’s day off, the pace picks up and days get longer as we enter the second rehearsal phase.
Just a warning to those ruling out acts based on extremely short first rehearsal footage: lots can change over the next two days as delegations adapt their concepts and potentially unveil new elements. I know of at least one country with more to show.
Tamta was first up this morning and we finally got a sound feed. The vocal mix wasn’t as sharp, but this was first thing in the morning. Everything was sorted out for the final run through. Cyprus is looking sharp on screen, though I would still have to concede that Replay is no Fuego.
We tried to go to the arena for Montenegro but gave up in the end. They’ve managed to make D-Mol appear even more desperate to camera. The whole package is painfully amateurish with each member of the group looking as simple and naive as Michael Rice.
Finland’s staging is lighter, but unfortunately for Darude & Sebastian they remain lumbered with a dated horror of a song. Finland are finished.
Poland have improved their visuals with the members of Tulia showing much stronger camera interaction. The staging is also brighter and the vocal mix clearer. This isn’t a friendly semi for Poland, but at least they’re doing everything possible to qualify.
Zala Kralj & Gašper sound and look even more uninterested for second rehearsal. There are minor tweaks to the lighting which have made Slovenia drift backwards in my opinion. Somewhat forgettable.
We didn’t see the rehearsal of Czech Republic, but we were reliably informed that their vocals were stronger.
The staging for Hungary seems to glow more. It looks far more impressive on stage and Joci is positioning himself as the main ethno act in this semi-final, especially with his new Jamala-inspired tree. Also vying for that accolade is Serbia who continue to grow with improved swirling graphics. The latter benefits from a lot of televote power in this semi and could be value in various markets. Before Serbia Belarus also showed signs of improvements with changes to the backdrop and better vocals. Like It remains a tough sell for the juries.
Opening the second half of the first semi-final, Belgium is in much the same form as first rehearsal. Eliot looked a tad nervy during the first run through but settled for the final two, even taking time to show some personality for TV viewers. Important marginal gains.
Oto Nemsadze is as strong as ever for Georgia, though I question who will pick up their phone to vote for what is quite a dark performance, especially being followed by Australia. There are one or two visual changes, but it still suffers from a surprising lack of movement once the beat kicks in. Australia are doing enough to qualify. Beyond that I believe their options are limited.
Iceland has managed to close down the gaps on the stage so is delivering more impact compared to last rehearsal and it’s on a par with their national final performance. Some of the aggressive sexualised choreography has returned, which will probably count against the group in the more orthodox nations. There is an audience for this sort of music, I just question their numbers and whether they will be watching Eurovision.
Victor Crone looks like one of those X-Factor auditions that tries way too hard to get the crowd going. It looks way too desperate and sickly when there’s barely any audience in the arena. Storm looked fine in national final form, yet feels rather flat straight after Iceland. Estonia were backed for qualification during this rehearsal, yet I couldn’t work out why based on what I witnessed.
Portugal ended the day and are very much in first rehearsal form with no discernible changes or improvements. Conan will need to convince many more people to secure enough votes to qualify.
All videos can be found on the official Eurovision.TV YouTube page.