Andrius Gives ‘Something’ Extra

May 10, 2013 by

A new home. The spacious surroundings of the impressive press centre next door to Malmo Arena. Shame there are some serious teething issues with broadband connection, the big screens not being synched up with the smaller tv screens closer to where we work at our desks, and the live rehearsal feed often not starting until well after the start of each song. The air con is set to far too cool a setting. This is Malmo not Miami. Hark at me? Toys scattered everywhere.

Slovenia starts today which is also annoying as it means that semi 1 will not be heard in order. Much more polished this. This has an MF choreo feel about it. Hannah is in fine voice. Still slightly wobbly when she walks back from sat stage to main stage. Otherwise, very good.

Dry ice and wind machine added to the lovely Birgit’s staging for Estonia. 3 backing singers join her in parts. We know what we will get here. She has a great vocal.

5 backing singers form a circle with Natalia at one point. She wears jeans and white blouse, confirmed as her final outfit. This performance looks and feels a little lifeless despite Natalia hitting all the notes, and finding the camera well enough. It is maybe more that I feel a bit lifeless after very little sleep last night.

Only thing lacking from Croatia is some pyros at the end. This might be added later as the suggestion has been put forward to the Croatian delegation apparently. Staging gimmicks aside, these guys are vocally flawless. The Zeljko Joksimovic of this year’s ESC. Times 6. Or maybe 5 and a half. The little fella doesn’t join in as much.

Emmelie just went through her paces. Does this give off the scent of a winner? In a word, not really. I know that’s 2 words but the expression is ‘in a word’ so what could I do? She has a pyro backdrop and a pyro curtain and there will be confetti falling on stage so it will have all the paraphernalia that says ‘winner’ and Denmark are already planning hosting duties for next year.

Dina sounds good today. Slightly different use of balls. Very wisely, she no longer cups them. The 2 male backing singers show off their balls instead before launching them into the arena. Not sure exactly how this will pan out on the night but it seems a superfluous element. They all hold hands and raise their arms aloft at the end like they’ve just helped save the world. Ah, ok, have just heard audience members will wear glowing bracelets for this on the big night, apparently.

Zlata is wearing a rainbow mermaid’s dress. The giant is kitted out too in a strange tartan cape. It looks like he has a couple of pheasant feathers in his hat. He moves with all the natural grace of a fridge/freezer unit before placing Zlata on her rock. We have a magic forest for a backdrop with butterflies. She really does over-sell things. A small pyro effect at the end has about as much impact as a cheap firework bought in the corner shop.

Anouk is on the satellite stage, bringing her closer to the audience and viewers at home. Three female backing singers appear behind her on the main stage. It’s like an intimate cabaret performance. Simple and effective. Hopefully she covers up her tat on her right arm on the big nights ahead. You sense she is not bringing her a-game here and is mucking about riffing in parts.

Who See have a nice slow mo effect at the start of Igranka as they emerge from green smoke in their space suits. Nina powers out the notes doing robotic movements. It’s a genius juxtaposition between the fembot belting it out and the rapping spacemen. The last barked notes by the guys are also a brilliant touch.

Andrius has had a rocket up his backside and is selling the song much better today. Mind you, his efforts in the first rehearsal were so limp it is hard to imagine him being any worse. He toys with the camera, a cheeky glint in his eye. The blurry effect remains while Andrius offers up a zombie stare.

Alyona has upped her game too wiggling her charms in a short dress combining blue and silver tassels. Tabloid readers would see her referred to as ‘top ESC totty’. Of course, I’m more of a Guardian man myself and would rather focus on Alyona’s fine vocal today. This presentation just rose a notch.

Aliona has certainly found her mojo singing in Romanian. 3 dancers add to the visuals. There is a peculiar start with 4 guys sitting on piano who lean to face the camera. This is rather overkill like her self-raising, multi-coloured dress.

One of Ryan Dolan’s oiled up drummers, the frenzied one on the right, has an uncanny resemblance to Keith Flint from The Prodigy. Just thought I’d throw that one in. You’ll see. Next Tuesday night. His contribution is not that of the Firestarter, sadly. He has a role exchanging ‘love’ with Ryan as he points his drumstick at him as if to say, ‘You’re the man and I love to be loved too’. Let’s be honest, we all do but those heart-shaped hand signals have to be one of the most nauseating gimmicks spotted this year.

Cyprus’s Despina has apparently been under the weather according to a close source so rehearsal 1 was possibly not a clear indicator of her true vocal ability. She struggles on some notes here too. It’s a very classy presentation aside from that with a nice halo effect at the start of the song, framing her like an angel. She needs to get well quick to avoid Soluna Samay-style under-par efforts on the key nights ahead.

Belgium’s Roberto is giving better camera with his big, doleful eyes. His female dancers look like they are trying to tease him into action but he is rooted to the spot. Vocally fine. His backing singers help out well in parts.

Finally, Serbia. This is the most interesting rehearsal today in some ways as we are intrigued to see if Moje 3 have taken on board the advice of a certain fashion correspondent who has contacted them via their Facebook page. Oh, that wasn’t very interesting after all. There is nothing new to see here. It at least looks less messy on stage but it remains difficult to follow the story playing out without the imagery seen in the Serbian final.

A rather underwhelming day 5 but perhaps more due to fatigue setting in. Anyone see anything especially informative or exciting today? Please do share your thoughts below.

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4 Comments

  1. Bruce

    How is Russia looking on the monitors Rob?

    The videos on youtube look a bit ‘peachy’ like her dress and a bit too dark lighting wise. The balls on the plinths do get brighter and build towards the finale with some background visuals also at the end but it just looked a bit underwhelming to me.

    I’m pleased to read about the bracelets but again the throwing of the balls just looked superflous, no tie in to the song. I’d be wanting multiple illuminated globes not 2 grey looking footballs as a supporter of this in the market

    • Rob

      I, too, have felt a bit underwhelmed by the Russian staging, Bruce. Still cannot fathom what they are aiming to achieve with the balls which miraculously appeared today before, very soon afterwards, being tossed away. Must tie in with the audience members’ bracelets. You would hope for something more spectacular next week. Maybe jury rehearsal will reveal more.

  2. fiveleaves

    Always good to read your views Rob.

    I am happy to see my man Andrius is still in with a shout.
    He did look much better today in the videos I’ve seen. He appears to have full control of his eyebrows now 😀

    I was impressed with what I saw and heard of Ireland today and give it a much better chance of qualifying than Belarus at a similar price which I find rather cheap sounding.

    Belgium to qualify is the my main play so far in this semi.
    I don’t really like the dancers. I don’t see what they add.
    I’d rather have Roberto alone on stage looking a little lost and women wanting to mother him.
    It’s a catchy number though (I woke up singing it this morning) and am generally happy with what I’ve seen and heard.

  3. Rob

    Yes, I struggled to see what Roberto’s dancers were adding too, fig. The staging of Belgium is missing the target & not purely because of his lack of stagecraft.

    If both Belarus and Ireland are getting through, that may make life difficult for Roberto. Personally, would be very happy to see both Montenegro and Belgium progress having taken the value Q prices on both. Starting to fear at least one will miss out, possibly both.

    Andrius definitely sold the song better today but the blurry face effect looks a mistake.

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