Wednesday, 10 May 2017

[LIVE] Semi 2 : Dress Rehearsal 1 - live reporting

That's it for this rehearsal, people!
Was really fun to see how everything clicked together.

Me signing off!!

The 10 winning songs are being shown once more.

and finally...

Volodymyr announces Jon Ola Sand as the Mr. Miyagi of Eurovision. Does that also mean he can catch flies with his chopsticks? Before Eurovision once again turns into a cut-throat business, Volodymyr reminds the performers how amaaayzing they are and how great it is that they were allowed to perform in Kyiv.

The interval act is something dance-y. It's all very interpretative but looks slick because everyone is wearing black clothes with some red ribbon accent. In background of the predominantly percussion backtrack you can hear female voices singing Tatar-style melodic lines. Ukrainian horns warn us of Ruslana's arrival, but luckily for us, for the time being, she's not showing. Then it all ends.
Before we are officially introduced to the leftover finalists for next saturday, Timur gets to chat to Belarus.

'They say time flies when you're having fun' Time was very slow today, I felt. Maybe there's a button to speed up time in a special app. The Eurovision App isn't the one though. After the countdown, they're talking to Macedonia.

Just before the second reprise Poland is being interviewed. Nothing earth shattering happening here...

VERKA II - The Rise
We now see Verka and mom live the independence of Ukraine, Dana International and eventually her taking part in Eurovision. Again, some of the years mentioned in the captions don't add up, but don't let that spoil your fun watching this.

Oleksandr and Volodymyr are bantering away as their life never depended on it. In any way the reprise soon follows.

O.Torvald are bringing their show with gusto. They really enjoy performing out there. A bit screamy here and there, but I'm glad this type of song is in this year's final.

Same story for Germany in the camerawork department. But at least it starts really interesting enough. Sadly it quickly descends into dullness. Although I really like the stark architectural backdrop they've gone for, I feel a splash of ONE extra colour could've lifted it a bit. In this run there was new pyro too.

Alma is a bit breathy in the English bits during the first chorus. I feel that the camerawork could've been much tighter on Alma. The graphics are impressive in themselves, but do nothing to emphasize or help how amazing the song is. Instead it's almost off-staging the French entry.

Imri's big hurdle throughout all of his rehearsals has been getting the vocals right. In this rehearsal he's much more in key. Occassionally 'just' getting away with sloppy singing. But dancing and singing at the same time is a challenge after all. If he repeats this in 6 hours, he'll be qualifying with ease.

What can I say, I love the 80s throwback. Koit seems to have finally mastered his cues and the entire thing is, to paraphrase mister Sofabet, a Telenovella fest. And they'll all repeat it on Saturday.

Victorija is wearing very long razorsharp white fingernails. If she would have a blackboard she could torture us all by scratching those of it. Instead she's singing her song. She sings it well though, and it's well performed. Well, as in, fully committed to annoy us for three minutes.

I wish Kristian would stop hiding his mouth behind his microphone. Just keep it a tad lower. Still not sure of the line graphics that appear on-screen. I don't feel they add much. The more I hear the Bulgarian song, the more I feel it's a dull dirge. But he's quite good, being such a young singer.

The sound mix is off here once more. The male voice sounds much clearer. Kseniya is also a bit more shaky on the vocals. I would so love this to qualify, but they will need keep everything much tighter.

Timur again singing his prepared script.

That yellow... thing. Someone get me a bucket of anthracite gray paint now. Vocally she's fine, though in the high notes she clearly lacks power. Or confidence. I like this song in fact, but the dress isn't helping her. After the bridge, she tries channel Mariah, but sadly only Isaiah shows up. Luckily only us press center fanalists are the one subjected to it. Gosh. Not sure about this one.

Joust and his song 'Grab The Moment' is of course the streetcred that Eurovision has been craving ever since the mid 70s. However after Croatia it just seems a bit too mellow. The boys themselves are doing it fine, but I feel myself getting annoyed by the long fast sweeping cameracrane shots. Also not helping Norway's chances is the mumbling during the bridge. At this point in the show, it comes across as filler.

If San Marino was the appetizer in the car crash department, then Croatia is a full-on three course meal. But I adore it. Hope it qualifies, because I feel saturday night needs this. To be honest, I don't think Croatia's camerawork has improved since the last rehearsals. Still Jacques pulls it off. What 'it' is exactly, still remains to be determined.

They are very good! 'Nuff said.

Brendan is not doing well vocally. He sprinkles his performance with singing 'just' under the melody. The backing vocals are also all over the place. He was MUCH MUCH MUCH better during last rehearsal session. At least he's a way better body language performer than some of his age cohorts in this competition. It felt as something was wrong in the sound mix.

The backing vocals open the song a capella and the vocal balance is not there. The female voices in there just sound too shrill. Anja is moving professionally on stage, selling the song well. A bit slippery on some of the end-notes, but she's a great singer anyway. Songwise it's such a shame, just because she is so great. Pyro-curtain to end off the song.

Joci Papai still looks a bit 'Blanche-y' when he starts his song. But I feel that he, just like Blanche, seems to have found his comfort zone on stage. And at the latest by the rap bit he's actually winning me over with his performance. Happy for him, but not feeling the song. But that's only me.

Gosh. Timur's English is horrible. As he rambles off his Eurovision facts, he sings his phrases in a totally artificial manner. Luckily his bits are being kept to a minimum.

Talking about vocal powerhousing. Although one of the sisters starts a bit early. The trio seem a bit more nervous than they have been throughout rehearsal week. And it's a bit audible in the voices. By the bridge they've all composed themselves and are vocally back on track. I seem to have noticed a few faintly flat notes. But nothing to be worried about.

Finally! It's Romania. And nothing too soon. Not really fond of Alex's sleeveless jacket. Nor am I wild about the child letters that spell 'Y - o - d - e - l - i - t' on the big screen. It's harmless, unpretentious fun until the bridge, where they show that vocally they mean business. This is sailing through.

We got the wrong credits. Those of Romania.
Claudia still has her breasts projected on the gigantic videowall behind her. This is Slovenia 2017 territory. Competent, yet somehow sleep inducing.

Macedonia's postcard has a bit 'NOT FOR AIR' message slapped over it, meaning this isn't the definitive version for the show tomorrow.
Backings aren't pitch perfect, but to the untrained ear they'll sound okay. I think Jana is doing well in this rehearsal. The entire package isn't in the top tier though.

Nathan is his impish self throughout the entire performance. I feel that he'll go full on energizer bunny once the arena is filled with a responsive audience. For now the rehearsal is almost faultless. A bit slidey on the wailing, but apart from that smiles all round.

Tijana starts and the sound mix in the press centre is off. The music sounds way too harsh. She looks great this rehearsal. I wonder if the hair will stay the same. Vocally on the cusp of being shouty, but still powerful enough. Ok, now she does cross that line into shouty territory. She ends her song with overemphasizing the last 'p' in deep.

The host boys are on stage now. Oleksandr takes the word. And again the guys try to be funny. They'll get it right by tomorrow evening. Also, they're still heavily relying on their cue cards.

Next they 'freestyle' with some musical instruments. Oleksandr is quite good with his flute. Volodymyr likes to handle an accordeon.

Hahaha! They're Ukrainifying some of Eurovision's best known hits. :-)
Awww... a glitch in the sound tape and they have to restart. Volodymyr calls out for his accordeon. Henrik keeps his cool as always. They restart.

Oleksandr's flute is called sopilka. Whatever you say Oleksandr. But keep playing it please.
So, the Eurovision hits... first Euphoria, which is actually quite nice and epic in traditional music style. Next up is Fairytale, which already sounded quite folksy. So not too much of a stretch there. Third hit is 'My Number One'. Think the male choir in 'Moja Stikla'. That kind of singing.
Wow. Even 'Rise like a Phoenix' gets a treatment. It's nothing short of impressive! I like!

As this is the first dress rehearsal, they get to do this intro act a second time. As the production team sets everything up for the second go, Oleksander occupies himself with the logistics of swapping his musical instrument with the cue cards. Quite ingeniously he suggests that one of the Ukrainian grannies has them stuffed in their skirt. It sounds more ridiculous than it is, really.

During the second go, 'Rise like a Phoenix' gets pyro during the final.
A few more hiccups in the transitions - The choir has to leave the stage immediately. But that's what rehearsals are for. Did you know that you can vote using the Eurovision App? It's like a Eurovision party.

The show starts with traditional dressed young Ukrainian ladies similar to Semi 1. I 'think' they're different but I can't be sure.

Still waiting. What did I rush for?

Right. So a bit later than usual.
I'm by myself this afternoon, so it won't be a verbatim report. Only the stuff worth mentioning.
Think performance, camerawork and the likes. For a description of the postcards, well, you'll have to wait for a bit more than a day.

How did we do?

After predictions come results. And after results come "ha ha ha I told you so" etc. 😉

So how did we get along on this blog with last night's qualifiers? Fairly well, in fact.

Sam - 8/10
Roger - 8/10
Sild - 7/10 - 6/10

Haiku #10

Blackbird won't sing now
Like others it's lost in space