A Note To Fear For Amir?

May 6, 2016 by

A Note To Fear For Amir?

Round 2 of rehearsals for semi 1 contenders today, plus a first chance to see France and Spain.

Very brief notes for 2nd rehearsals: Finland – Sandhja struggles vocally when she makes her walk to the satellite stage. Still wearing awful blue romper suit.

Greece – A very professional and very Greek presentation. Start is so good, but you sense the song tails off somewhat after that.

Moldova – Lidia has added a French verse in a transparent bid to appeal to French voters.

Hungary – ‘In a world where the poems sound fake. And the love is replaced by the fame.’ Freddie is still garbling the verses. Difficult to understand much of what he sings to be honest.

Croatia – Nina looking uncomfortable in that monstrosity of an outfit. Silvery dress revealed underneath, with large tattoo exposed on her back. Backing singers in monks’ tunics. and all the attempts to do hand gestures look awkward and unnatural.

Netherlands – This has tightened up. Nice moment towards the end when he presumably will get the audience to singalong and he reaches down and holds out a hand to one or two of his adoring fans by the stage.

Armenia – This track offers up a powerful sonic landscape set to dramatic lighting, dry ice and pyros, and Iveta owns it performance-wise. Vocal good given the difficult nature of this song.

San Marino – Disco ball images added and his dance troupe more engaging with them huddled together at the outset, then snaking around as Serhat croons away.

Russia – This really is a serious assault course for Sergey but he copes admirably. He has to get everything perfectly timed with his movements and makes Mans routine last year look easy by comparison.

Czech Republic – Still a few too many long shots for Czech Rep. Gabriela is a beautiful looking woman and she should have more chance to be seen in close up giving ‘good camera’.

Cyprus – They have ditched most of the previously interspersed wolf video segments. A good idea as this makes you focus totally on the band on stage rocking out.

Austria – Zoe smiles coquettishly during this. She is likeable and the song has its charm. They have decided to pitch this as fairy godmother on the Yellow Brick Road and this at least gives it some identity for televoters.

Estonia –Juri has a look in his eyes that would scare small children. Vocally he is solid but charisma-wise he is not doing so well.

Azerbaijan – They have drowned Samra out in the mix, to try and conceal her vocal weakness. That weakness still comes through at times. This will be one to watch closely during the big jury rehearsal next week. Catsuit for Samra definitely one for the dads. She clearly doesn’t want to be upstaged by Armenia’s Iveta. The hint of a cold in her vocal.

Montenegro – Black shorts and knee-length boots for Montenegro’s sexy rock chick/dancer/vocal accompaniment. Grown to enjoy this song. Lead singer joins dancer towards end on satellite stage. Like all of this year’s ‘rock’ songs it is well presented.

Iceland – Greta sounding one of the more vocally competent today and the staging very much as was in the Icelandic NF and looking tighter today.

Bosnia & H – Ana Rucner is a big bonus for Bosnia. Very animated, captivating cello playing; she helps bring this to life. Gold basque for Ana and stockings with suspenders… all done in the best possible taste by Bosnia here. This is batsh*t crazy for non-Balkans but sung well.

Malta – This has improved with watery blue visuals utilised throughout. Ira’s face appears writ large on the stage floor at the start. She is wearing a flowing black dress which is much more suitable. Her vocal remains a bit iffy in a few places when she doesn’t have support.

Right, the big one in terms of today, France. Drum roll…

It’s a really beautifully lit stage for this throughout. Amir bends down on one knee in a surfer’s sort of stance as a starry galaxy flies by him on the stage floor.

Without an audience to connect with and feed off, it is hard to fully assess how well he will sell this but there is no invitation to clapalong during this first rehearsal. He has a charming smile though and nice roving close-ups are used.

He leans back for an overhead shot of planetary visuals, then stands on a lunar moon. He struggles with the same note on two run throughs which is clearly at the tipping point of his vocal range. On third run through he negotiates it slightly better but the last minute remains problematic for him. It remains the only song this year that makes me want to tap my foot.

Barei takes a fall but apparently this is intended and will be part of the routine. Her vocal is iffy throughout despite the presence of 4 female backing vocalists. They are actually contributing to some off-key moments here.

She does her hot shoe shuffle, the song stops after she falls, before she takes up the slack again. There is a split screen effect so we see 2 Bareis at one point. If France had produced staging like this, it would now be trading at 50-1. This isn’t quite Samra car crash territory but a pile-up nonetheless.

So, Ukraine has now gone 2nd fav behind Russia and it looks like a Rus vs Ukr battle is emerging as one of this year’s big narratives.



  1. Cathal

    If Ukraine get a second half draw I think the contest is theres to lose, not only do I get Russia 2015 vibes but I also get Austria 2014 vibes from this, not a great song by any stretch (one of my least favourites if I’m being totally honest) but there is something there to engage the tele vote and jury whereas Russia will do well to finish inside the jury top 10, Sweden may get lost with 9th in the running, France is a FanW flop etc so at this point in time I’m on the Ukraine bandwagon.

  2. apleximus

    Hi Rob, managed to actually get a decent sum on Ukraine for top 4 at Evens this afternoon. Do you reckon that’s a got a good chance from a value perspective? Thanks

    • Rob

      Hi apleximus. Yes, I have been monitoring the price on Ukr for top 4. You could get 6-4 earlier today. Now it’s Evens with Betfred and I think you are still getting a bit of value there.

      My reasoning, Ukr around 6-1 for the win. If you back e/w, that is 6-4 for a place in the top 4, but with an e/w bet there is the risk of losing your win portion of the bet which, if you do (& Ukr finishes 2nd, 3rd or 4th) means you are making much less than you are having a straight top 4 bet at Evens.

      Certainly if you have Ukr nicely covered for the win already, Evens for top 4 is the way to go for a value top up. Good luck 🙂

  3. MGR

    At least France is still better than Sweden.

    • Cathal

      Not a hope, that French FanW— has got nothing on Sweden and that will be reflected in the final score saturday week.

  4. Who do you think will be in the TOP 3 of semi final 1 Rob?

    • Rob

      Hi Gert. For me, the 4 atm fighting it out at the top of semi 1 are: Russia, Armenia, Netherlands & Czech Rep.

      Russia looks hard to beat but stranger things have happened, & there is always room for surprises.

  5. MGR

    Russia and Netherlands have big projects (whole stage is filled, pasted and sealed) and they are obvious favorites to top 3. Sweden looks much more trivially and dimly, Ukraine and Australia do not even need a comment. France and Italy can make positive surprise, because it may be very elegant, simple, direct and accurate (three shots like Mans Zelmerlow or Il Volo). Similarly Lithuania and Latvia can be dangerous. Sweden, Norway and Hungary are ruined, Spain and Germany never had potential in reality. Denmark and UK should succeed, because duos and trios always work well in the ESC. I hope jury will not vote for Sweden and Russia only just because they are Sweden and Russia. This should be not enough, but they may be afraid and brainwashed.

  6. MGR

    OMG I have read eurovicious and these facts are new for me. For me Sweden is clearly blown up on this stage, but of course this song is very popular because of performances in Melodifestivalen. Then it was very deep, addictive and engaging. Now it will be very dull, shallow and unproductive, but this popularity on spotify is extremely giant for me. Ukraine always was and always will be dead, but Sweden not yet.

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