Alive And Kicking

May 3, 2017 by

Alive And Kicking

Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson are our early morning wake up call for San Marino. This could benefit from being a burst of energy following Ireland, but there isn’t enough in the staging or performance to make it interesting. The concept seems cheaper than some of their other Ralph Siegel efforts, so it’s questionable whether or not he’s been splashing his cash around elsewhere. There’s a lot of goodwill here for Valentina, but ‘Spirit of the Night’ sends me googling, giggling, gaggling round the bend.

Croatia starts with an unflattering extreme close up of Jacques for the ridiculous spoken word intro. He gets a lot of laughs in the press centre throughout this number, with silly arm movements currently looking very out of place. Two fiddlers move across the stage at various moments, one either side of Jaques. Pyro bursts and a fire curtain emerge towards the climax, but the overall impression is on the wrong side of hilarious at the moment.

JOWST well and truly have the opportunity to grab the moment at this point with a contemporary song for Norway. Aleksander isn’t particularly telegenic or charismatic on stage, which lets this one down. The staging has a very modern feel in comparison to many of the songs in this semi, and the lit-up mask will remind viewers of Daft Punk. It’s cool rather than threatening, but as they have kept this one almost exactly the same as MGP, it feels underwhelming.

Switzerland has brought the kitsch for ‘Apollo’, which came as a big surprise following the classy staging of some of its previous performances. Miruna starts on a small circular podium, which she remains on for far too long. She’s in a big yellow dress which is a little distracting and perhaps prone to a wardrobe malfunction. The saving grace could potentially be the vocals, which are perfectly fine, in addition to the singer’s Romanian heritage.

Technical problems in the press centre are starting to grate as Belarus take to the stage. The Naviband duo are on a small boat in the middle of the stage, and are all smiles as you might expect. Various objects float across the backdrop which literally pass you by. There is very nice interplay between the two, but it feels like a very long three minutes. I’m starting to wonder if anything at all will qualify from this lacklustre second half.

Bulgaria’s first rehearsal today was much anticipated, and delayed due to technical problems. It was perhaps more simple than we had been led to believe, and Kristian is alone on stage negotiating some on-screen effects. However, some of the effects didn’t appear and so this one seems to be a work in progress. It’s very classy though, and Kristian looks stylish enough to have lots of appeal to younger people especially. Evidence on the Bulgarian Eurovision Twitter suggests the Russian PR machine could be getting behind this one.

Fusedmarc’s performance was pretty much the same as the national final, but with inferior vocals. A very sparkly Catherine wheel appears on the backdrop, but for far too long. Despite Lithuania’s usual voting power, ‘Rain of Revolution’ could perhaps be the most hopeless entry in the entire semi. I’m losing my patience having to watch this one after all the the technical problems we’ve experienced today, and I’m not the only one.

Estonia has echoes of Denmark 2010’s ‘In A Moment Like This’, although with a more typically Estonian monochrome staging concept. Laura is as weak vocally as she was in Eesti Laul, and Koit isn’t much better. They aren’t the most telegenic pairing either, but there is some nice interplay between the two of them on stage. The overall package is far too dated for my taste, but this has a great slot in the running order and is a fan favourite at least.

There’s quite a lot going on in Israel’s performance. Imri is alone for the first minute, which is all about him and his admirable physique. Eventually he’s joined by backing singers and two dancers who bring good energy along with them. We were treated to lots of pyros for the final run through, which were effective. It’s no ‘Golden Boy’, and vocals need to improve, but there’s no doubt this one will still be alive and kicking on the Saturday night. That’s more than I can say about most of the acts who rehearsed today.

It’s back over to Rob tomorrow for the second rehearsal for the first 15 countries competing in semi-final 1.

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