Animated Aminata

May 16, 2015 by

Animated Aminata

The 2nd rehearsals for all nations competing in semi-final 2 today. Lithuania much as before. The Vaidas kiss lingers uncomfortably long for this viewer. Surely it needs to be a light and breezy peck not a full on smooch. Vaidas winks at the camera a couple of times. Monika skips around the stage, they hold hands. Vaidas gives it the ‘Come on Eurovision’ line and goes for clap-along encouragement.

Bear in mind you are reading the thoughts of a miserable curmudgeon who has a very low threshold when it comes to all things ‘cute’: that little kid in the NatWest ad in the garden in his wellies… when he whispers ‘So they could have me’ it makes me want to tear him limb from limb.

They create the atmosphere of the song beautifully with the lighting and set design for Ireland; where it is failing is Molly’s inability to engage the camera enough and with the right sort of poignant looks inviting the viewer to feel the emotion of the song. Her backing singers do not help either as they look like they are attending a wake.

‘No’ says Michele at song start for San Marino. A favourite song moment of ESC 2015. And the first 30 seconds or so of this encourage intrigue, but then… Still find myself buying into this duo more than Lithuania as they are so charmingly innocent, and hapless, whereas the former is so forced and pre-meditated.

Lovely dark blue lighting for Montenegro at song start and shimmering blue water as stage floor. Balkan dancing moment cranks up the authentic ethno quotient. Knez is a solid vocalist. This looks and sounds highly competent.

No backing vocal support for Amber and you notice in places. She has something of the diva about her in the sense she comes across as a bit too ‘look at me’ starring on the karaoke machine. This will be one to monitor closely during the jury performance.

‘Honey, I’m telling the truth’. Such a brilliant and compelling opening line of the Norway song… but they haven’t really progressed things, staging-wise, from 1st rehearsal. Same clothes, same uninspiring backdrop. They seem to have got the sound mix much better though for when Debrah comes in and the harmonizing at the climax. It just feels like this is not what it could have been. As a song though, its quality still shines through.

Portugal’s Leonor sounding more vocally assured today. A perfectly acceptable performance and ballad. This song maybe isn’t the forlorn hope it’s largely being portrayed as. There is a moment towards the end where there is a risk of her going off the rails vocally but she is fine today.

Marta and Vaclav are such a likable duo performing this. Excellent vocals from both of them. They break into smiles at song end. They really should keep this in as it’s incredibly endearing. Marta still tosses her shoes off after a struggle. Is this like Cristina Scarlat’s wig toss last year for Moldova, tossing away any chance of qualification? As a male/female vocal masterclass and as a song this is much stronger for me than Lithuania which is essentially a re-imagining of Malta’s song last year. But can jurors be relied upon to agree and give it the love it deserves?

Nadav and his crew really working hard on this. A terrific burst of energy and fun at this point. Tighter today but Nadav suffers Molly’s problem in not finding the camera nearly enough. Still concerned the camerawork for this is a bit chaotic in parts.

Credit to the Latvians for having a clear idea on how to stage this. A little bit like Georgia’s Nina, Aminata strikes a really strong, evocative pose with excellent lighting effects. Henna tattoo of a bird on her upper chest.

Azerbaijan’s stage effects are also striking. The interpretive dancers still feel superfluous. Nothing wrong with Elnur’s vocal. Are the student masses with SIMs amassing on various Eurovision borders this year and if so, and perhaps more importantly, is Digame ready to fend off the ensuing pincer movement? Just putting it out there.

Nine ‘One step at a time’ lines in ‘Unbroken’. Just saying. Maria sounding better today. Not sure if this is the ‘Hera Bjork’ effect as Hera can be spotted today among the backing vocalists, back from sick leave.

Mans is as Mans does. He is slick. He’s slicker than slick. He’s slicker than Tom Slick the winner of last year’s Mr Slick competition.

Melanie not as strong vocally as first rehearsal. Improves on last run-through but she will only have one chance to shine in front of the juries. Really not sure if this song is remotely strong enough to ‘shine’ either in this strong 2nd half of semi 2.

Nice moment after one minute of a spotlit black and white lounge bar John switching to full colour John, timed to perfection. He comes across as a very cool customer. Accomplished vocally every time.

Familiarity can breed contempt being entrenched here at the press centre hearing the songs and seeing them performed so many times. It is important to try and guard against that. Marjetka always delivers and finds the camera better today. Slovenia is ready for the big nights ahead.

They have changed the camerawork at the beginning of the Polish song so you see Monika in her chair immediately. Her vocal isn’t entirely secure in places but improves on each run through. Images of her performing on stage when she was younger are projected behind. Floaty visuals and a blown kiss to camera at the end of the song leave you feeling a lot of warmth for Monika which is where this has a possible edge over the likes of Malta and Switzerland, along with its running order position and Monika’s back story.

A first chance to see the 7 automatic qualifiers tomorrow with all eyes on Italy first up, and Australia last up. Before then, what are people’s thoughts now on the 10 qualifiers from semi 2? Please feel free to comment below.









  1. hemsby

    Thanks for all the reports Rob….greatly appreciated.

    I have 6 qualifiers I’m reasonably confident on …Norway,Israel (he hopes),Latvia,Sweden,Slovenia & Poland.

    I have 4 non- qualifiers ….Ireland,San Marino,Portugal & Switzerland.

    So 4 to progress from Lithuania,Montenegro,Malta,Czech Rep,Azerbaijan,Iceland,& Cyprus.

    …I’ll go for a few shocks and say Czech Rep,Malta,Azerbaijan & Montenegro to progress.

    Personally hope Lithuania misses out….an awful tune,perhaps the worst in the competition.

    • neomichael

      here is my estimation:
      1 Sweden
      2 Cyprus
      3 Switzerland
      4 Poland
      5 Azerbaijan
      6 Norway
      7 Latvia
      8 Israel
      9 Slovenia
      10 Iceland
      11 Malta
      12 Lithuania
      13 Ireland
      14 Czech Republic
      15 Portugal
      16 Montenegro
      17 San Marino

      It’s pity Norway didnt’t even copy their national final staging. This song deserved more and could have easily have won this year’s eurovision.

  2. Gert

    And again, my ranking/qualifiers for semi final 2. I think Latvia and Cyprus could surprise us (not me though 😉 ):

    01. 100% Q-chance, SWEDEN:
    Nothing to add. Has been a contender for the victory ever since it won Melodifestivalen. Interesting to see how Sweden is mastering the art of creating a live videoclip.
    02. 100% Q-chance, LATVIA:
    Has been too low at the bookies for months, while the impressive total package was already available from the NF. France 1991/Albania 2012 meets 2015. Goosebumps.
    03. 100% Q-chance, CYPRUS:
    These simple songs have an advantage: They are easy to stage and therefore easy to score with. This is reminiscent of Tom Dice. But in the final it needs a good draw.
    04. 100% Q-chance, NORWAY:
    Personally, I love the song. Like “Birds” the song lyrics are quite heavy. I just think it’s a bit too complicated for televoters. Hence maximum 9th or 10th place in grand final.
    05. 100% Q-chance, AZERBAIJAN:
    Like Norway a huge pre-contest favourite, but therefore a bit too “fan-wank-ish”. From all ballads it’s simply a bit too complicated next to Italy, Austria, Cyprus and Russia.
    06. 100% Q-chance, SLOVENIA:
    This song is simply too good to not qualify. It will qualify only for that reason. More close-ups really help, but the overall total package is not screaming “winner”.
    07. 090% Q-chance, ISRAEL:
    This up-tempo song comes after a string of rather mediocre slow-tempo songs; songs that we’ve seen already too much. Has Greek/Turkish vibe that helps.
    08. 070% Q-chance, CZECH REPUBLIC:
    This duet has got “X-Factor”. They have stage presence and charisma. And they are fun to look at, unless many other duets in this contest.
    09. 055% Q-chance, POLAND:
    Pleasant, though a bit dull ballad helped tremendously by….a story. And that will especially help from that very last running order grid. Staging here really works.
    10. 050% Q-chance, MONTENEGRO:
    Pleasant enough Balkan-ballad, but it’s nothing new. Wunderfully and intimately performed/staged. I do think the battle for 10th place will be fought with Iceland.
    11. 050% Q-chance, ICELAND:
    I could see this go to the final as well, but then one country from 8th, 9th and 10th place in my list needs to be sacrificed. Also the running order draw might not help.
    12. 045% Q-chance, LITHUANIA:
    From all Baltic nations this is the weakest entry this year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes through on charisma and great interaction of this boy and girl.
    13. 040% Q-chance, IRELAND:
    Though lovely staged, I heard Molly doesn’t engage with the camera enough. But I also must say that I don’t understand why ORF/EBU has put this entry on 2nd slot!
    14. 040% Q-chance, MALTA:
    Good enough entry that has been helped by a better remix. But it also feels a bit forgettable, even when that Conchita-esque staging is added. Still could be a surprise.
    15. 035% Q-chance, SWITZERLAND:
    I’m afraid that after Sweden this falls flat. Not only that, the songs that come after the Swiss entry have IMO a better shot at qualification.
    16. 000% Q-chance, SAN MARINO:
    It’s a pity that small nations like San Marino don’t get plenty enough guidance in selecting a song. Look at the Monegasque entries from the 1970’s. It IS possible!
    17. 000% Q-chance, PORTUGAL:
    Portugal needs to quit that contrived inclusion of pseudo-fado and the Portuguese language in their entries. Like Netherlands, they need to choose internally first.

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