Ab Fab Gab

May 3, 2016 by

Ab Fab Gab

Day 2 starts with the mysterious Czech artist Gabriela Guncikova who is this year’s Eurovision Lord Lucan – disappearing during the pre-ESC concert circus and no reported sightings of her on tv singing ‘I Stand’ in full.

She looks angelic in white and there is no faulting the quality of her vocal. It could do with more intimacy with too many long shots at the moment when the camera really needs to be swirling around her in close up instead of panning out. A lovely start as Gabriela walks towards the camera, and a very nice finish as she lets her hair down before gazing yearningly into the camera.

Two guitarists and drummer behind bars for Minus One. Wolf video image appears at various points. It’s a proper rock presentation with fast camera cuts and dark strobing colours. This is very much a work in progress and will improve. Big question is, how were they allowed to incorporate the wolf video segments?

No travelator for Zoe. Maybe that will come later. It’s all very rainbows and fluffy, bouncy bunnies as a backdrop. Zoe at least gets the swirling camera close-ups Gabriela did not get earlier.

Juri is trying to improve the pedestrian nature of ‘Play’ by performing a card trick. ‘Play’. He wears glasses that don’t really suit, a suit that doesn’t really suit, and as hard he tries to engage the audience with this, he doesn’t have enough charisma to elevate the song. He pulls quite awkward facial expressions throughout; at one point it would best be described as a ‘vinegar strokes’ face. Card imagery on the stage floor.

Samra just caused a ripple of stunned murmurs in the press centre, as she delivers a hugely off-key 3 minutes. This isn’t entirely surprising as previous live clips suggested vocal frailty but you expected Azerbaijan to do a good job covering her up. Samra later claimed illness was the cause of her very lacklustre vocal.

The mix will no doubt change but even so, she may well be exposed singing this live next Tuesday as there was a sense of nervousness in her voice too. She struggles with the basics of stagecraft, unnaturally moving her arms, revealing her inexperience.

A spotlight beams down on her. She comes in at song start quietly because she doesn’t have the vocal power. Four dancers join her two of which are female and mic-ed up. Are those mics turned on? Pyro sparks rain down on her at the climax.

A foxy chick stands on the satellite stage at the front rocking out with Montenegro’s Highway. It’s very dark with beams of light raining down and strobing effects. They sell this quite well for what it is. They are a telegenic band and the song has its moments.

In a surprising turn of events, Iceland is virtually identical to what we saw in the Icelandic NF. We have another song here that is all about the visual show. It will tighten up but it looks so contrived and like Russia yesterday you wonder if the ‘Mans Effect’ hurts it.

A barbed wire fence divides Deen & Dalal while Ana Rucner is wrapped in baking foil. Yes, I did just write that. Apparently, it’s the same fashion designer as Nina’s dress for Croatia so it’s making slightly more sense now.

Deen’s hand gestures are very over-done while an initially seated Ana Rucner strums away erotically with the big instrument lodged between her thighs.

Ana dispenses with the London Marathon finisher blanket and charges out to take a position centre stage. She stands playing her cello passionately when the rapper comes out and raps around her, unlike the baking foil that wrapped around her previously.

Malta has an open goal to impress now after today’s largely underwhelming rehearsals. And, and… oh dear. This is just another overblown pile of nonsense really.

Projection effect on Ira’s face initially (think Holly in Red Dwarf). They have copied the Tinkara whirlpool effect Ira stands on at one point and personally wouldn’t mind if it was an active whirlpool. A male dancer flops about like a wounded seal throughout and it doesn’t really hang together very well.

Ira wears a less than flattering brown cloak which is apparently the subject of advanced 360 degree projection mapping technology. Different lighting effects reflect off this cloak before it is ripped off late on.

She finishes maybe how she should have started in a simple black dress after her dancer awkwardly removes the cloak from her. Contrived, calculated, derivative, desperate. The watchwords of ESC 2016.

Frans uses the satellite stage towards the end of ‘If I Were Sorry’. Surly youth in a beany hat, talking his way through a track, some of the words of which appear in neon behind him.

Presumably the staging will improve because this is very dark and the lighting is minimalist, and there are some strange long shots. For this viewer it flatlines throughout. Less could be more this year, but maybe not this type of less.


  1. Henry VIII

    Frans seems to have underwhelmed all. I can’t see a repeat of MF, more likely the kid gets forgotten about with the majority of songs following him

  2. Montell

    I like Czech Republic a lot but they perform after Russia and that’s what worries me. If you looked at last year’s semifinals you would notice that countries that performed after the hot favorite did pretty bad. Denmark finished 13th preforming after Russia while Switzerland finished 17th (only 4 points) performing after Sweden. But then again I think Russia this year is weaker than Russia or Sweden last year and Czech Republic is better than Denmark or Switzerland last year. So hopefully Gabriela will get what she deserved and qualify to the final.

    • Henry VIII

      Czech maybe lucky performing after Russia because it is a complete contrast and will stand out. They mainly fish in different ponds for votes I would say.

  3. Way way too early to make a TOP 10 list of qualifiers for semi 1. I find it very difficult. The 2nd set of rehearsals will tell more.

    If I have to call out something, I would do it like this:

    Almost certain qualifiers (in descending order of probability):
    –> Russia
    –> Armenia

    Also close to qualification, and could even become better during 2nd set of rehearsals (in descending order of probability):
    –> Iceland
    –> Cyprus
    –> Netherlands
    –> Czech Republic

    In the mix, but they will have more trouble reaching the TOP 5 in this semi. Possible borderliners (in descending order of probability):
    –> Malta
    –> Azerbaijan
    –> Hungary
    –> Bosnia-Herzegovina
    –> Greece
    –> Estonia (why ditching the top-notch staging from Eestilaul )
    –> Finland (despite what people say its quite lively)
    –> Austria

    Possible no-hopers and probably won’t improve enough to become a borderline (in descending order of probability):
    –> Croatia
    –> San Marino
    –> Montenegro
    –> Moldova

    But to call out 10 certified qualifiers is way too soon. And Malta will probably change everything. One thing is for sure for me: Semi final #1 won’t give us the winner of the 61st edition of Eurovision.

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