Day 4 – The Ultimate Cesar Salad

May 9, 2013 by

Day 4 – The Ultimate Cesar Salad

Koza Mostra get the day underway with their fun party tune. After Iceland, this could certainly rouse the tv audience watching at home following the interval. Nice slow mo movements by the band before that first change of tempo when they leap into action.

Ilias Kozas, lead singer of Koza Mostra, has a very good voice, able to jig away while producing a note perfect and powerful vocal. He is a charismatic front man who gives good camera. The lads jog down the runway at one point. Like Slovenia’s Hannah, this looks a bit incongruous.

Glow in the dark instruments are a nice flourish at one point. Kilts are not worn today. Will they reappear for the big nights ahead? You would hope so. Agathon finishes the song with a ‘Yamas’ which means ‘cheers’, wiping his tache after he says so.

Moran has an amazing set of lungs on her… sorry, that’s a cheap gag but couldn’t resist. She powers out the lyrics in Hebrew but is in the same dress as the Israel final with her ample bosom showing. This is a concern. It would surely be wiser for her to wear a more conservative dress.

The staging is evocative for this and really helps hammer home the power and the beauty of Rak Bishvilo. It looks and feels more substantial compared to Iceland yesterday. 2 backing singers help Moran out in parts and there is a pianist too. Lovely blue lighting helps give the presentation a classy feel. Heartfelt delivery as she finds the camera well in close up. Moran will have to have a serious off night for juries not to rate this highly.

Armenia have cleverly tried to conceal how untelegenic they are by giving 2 band members shades – the keyboard player and one of the guitarists. This is probably in the hope of making them look more credible too.

Dorians lead singer Gor Sujyan has a good vocal but this presentation feels rather drab and uninteresting. Even the guitar solos fail to inspire, certainly compared to what’s to come from Albania – sorry, another time travelling liability taken there.

Gor joins Lithuania’s Andrius in having a serious eyebrow issue. His are well manicured but they far surpass Liam Gallagher’s (ex-Oasis) and border dangerously on monobrow territory. Like a couple of slugs trying to mate. They get pyros towards the climax on the 4th run through in a desperate and possibly ill-judged bid to try and liven up proceedings on stage.

Alex singing Kedvesem certainly has under-stated charm following Armenia. He is joined by a male guitarist and a solo female backing singer. He’s not a natural on stage; nor are his cohorts. This guy has a philosophy degree and clearly lacks experience in the art of singing and performing live. He fails to give good camera. He is like a rabbit stuck in headlights up there.

Little known fact: my degree was in philosophy too. Philosophy and psychology. Hence a lifestyle as essentially a work-shy slacker who spends his day blowing smoke-rings at the ceiling in between staring at Betfair, being such a natural fit.

The imagery as a backdrop is like the official video. The graffiti squiggles befit the song: kind of like entering a psychedelic dream sequence after imbibing a few too many magic mushrooms. It hints at Sartre and I certainly feel like I’m having an out of body experience while listening to this.

You could imagine this playing out well in student bedsits around Europe but a more mainstream audience on a Thursday night? You have to fear it will lead more to puzzlement or indifference, like Seb Tellier turning up in his buggy in 2008 and using his helium balloon. I personally love it as I return back to my seat after astrally projecting for 3 minutes.

Now for the big one, post-lunch. Come on Marge. Please don’t disappoint… We need to find some challengers for Denmark. Let me amend that. I need you to smash it for the sake of my value-seeking approach to the Outright which currently sees a four figure green residing on a Norway win.

… And she doesn’t disappoint. The power of the song certainly comes through even more sat in a cinema-style auditorium watching her on a big screen. She has an enchanting Scandi twang to her accent.

The presentation is much as we saw in the Norwegian final. Solo male drummer, 3 female backing singers. Marge is in that figure-hugging white dress and the song has the exact same reverb heard in Norway too. Combined with the dark lighting it is an evocative package. She has to negotiate some big notes towards the end but handles them with aplomb on later run throughs. It’s a song that demands a lot of her but she looks well capable of delivering.

Albania is an altogether more powerful and authentic rock presentation compared to Armenia. More active camera work. Lots of different camera angles to capture the band in action. Vocals fine and it works for me. Bledar is sort of like an ageing Bono; a wizened old rocker. Adrian certainly has stronger pipes in his sections of the song, but Bledar is fine.

Dry ice and pyros on last run through. Got to love Bledar’s rock solo as his guitar releases a pyro jet. Yes. ‘Let’s Get The Rock Out Of Here’.  This knocks Armenia into a cocked hat in the rock stakes. The worry here, as stated previously, is what I am going to loosely term the ‘Yuksek Sadakat’ effect. That’s one for seasoned ESC followers.

Now another biggie in Georgia. Nodi and Sophie deliver as we knew they would after seeing them in Amsterdam. Sophie wears a flowing white dress and has a wonderfully expressive, angelic face as she belts out her side of the vocal with a look of sheer joy; a lovely nymph standing under Nodi’s Waterfall.

Nodi has an excellent vocal too and they combine well, climaxing together on that big key changing note – not literally. For cynical old ESC hacks, it is far too calculated but so is Russia, and so is Ukraine, and so is Denmark… This is the year of the calculated ESC entry. And will the casual viewer care? 3 backing vocalists: 2 women, 1 guy (SVT Bjorkman’s partner). They are highly accomplished vocalists and this is a powerful presentation. Blue waterfall effect as a backdrop.

Takasa have their white Sally Army shirts on. No surprises here with the staging. They are still missing an open goal by not involving 95-year-old Emil enough. The song has that great sing-a-long quality and if broadcasters mention Emil being the oldest ever performer on the ESC stage, or the fact it’s a SA band, it could get a significant televote boost. It’ll need it.

This is an ESC classic! Cesar is the ultimate medallion man. Chest showing, wearing a black sparkly number – an OTT all-in-one suit that is sort of Liberace meets Stormtrooper. 3 dancers spring up in front of him from under a vast red veil.

They prance about waving said veil before doing assorted gymnastic moves like a poor man’s Cirque du Soleil. Towards the end they form a platform in front of Cesar and he magically rises up to stand towering above it. It’s the concealed lift effect Aliona Moon also used. Confetti, pyros… you could say this is an enormous Cesar salad of a performance. It is either avant-garde genius or absolute car crash. It’s been a long day so I’ll leave you to ponder over that one.

So we’ve seen all the semi-finalists now. We leave the EuroClub and move on to hopefully more comfy surroundings at the press centre tomorrow, to see the 2nd rehearsals of all of the semi 1 entries.

Are you any closer to figuring out who’s going through from each semi? As always, please do add your thoughts below.


  1. Janeair

    Evening Rob) Russian bookmakers have made a list of top 3…want to know what do you think about this forcast later

  2. fiveleaves

    Evening Rob
    I am glad to hear Georgia had a good rehearsal. It looks and sounds impressive in the clips we have seen.
    At the prices I prefer it to any of the front 3

    Having had a punt on Romania to qualify I am not sure what to make of it. I’m hoping it looks less chaotic on tv than it does in the video.
    It’s certainly going to be memorable 😀

    btw is there likely to be the usual press poll this year?

    • Rob

      Hi fig. Cesar’s performance is certainly memorable 🙂

      No doubt the OGAE poll will start up over at the press centre tomorrow. As you may recall from last year, my view is it’s a very unreliable barometer but it could, of course, have some influence in shifting the market. You can virtually guarantee Denmark will be topping it, unless the more skeptical media here have the chance to sway it. I will abstain from voting.

  3. Roach

    Georgia the value of the frontrunners for me too Mr Leaves, and the only one I’ve backed in the Outright market to date. Hard to tell much or get too excited about today’s rehearsal but the extended clip shown on Swedish TV last week certainly made me sit up and pay attention. Not convinced on today’s showing but for me, is the correct bet at the odds.

    None of the press & commentators watching today seem to fancy them to win the Semi though? Was Norway really that impressive? As great a song as it is, it doesn’t build (whereas Georgia couldn’t build any more) – and I don’t think it works brilliantly on first listen. The jury’s still out for me on Margaret.

  4. Tim B

    Rob, but where do you stand on Romania’s qualification chances? I enjoyed the clip as it seemed you did, but almost everyone seems to be slating this at the moment. If it doesn’t improve, might it turn into a value lay? Also, if Romania doesn’t qualify then I think Moldova will be an excellent bet for top 10 – it’s in Romanian so might attract a hefty chunk of the Romanian diaspora votes, in addition to enough ex-USSR and jury points.

    • Rob

      Hi Tim,
      Romania is a compelling spectacle but possibly for all the wrong reasons. That said, I keep reminding myself of that 18 out of 20 stat. The pimp slot can be a powerful thing. At the moment I am leaving it alone.

      Good point about Moldova possibly getting a boost if Romania fails to qualify. Still think Aliona Moon, even with a late draw, will only be on the cusp of top 10 even without Romania in the final.

  5. Boki

    Didn’t know you are the philosopher Rob 🙂

    Good question about Romania, I don’t dare to commit either way yet (until I see the whole video but for now it looks like a car crash) but I pray it fails to Q because, as Tim says, it opens backdoor for Moldova top10.

  6. Rob

    Breaking news, not yet confirmed on site, that the 5 automatic qualifiers will have the choice of 3 1st half slots & 2 2nd half slots in the final. How this will pan out exactly, not sure.

    This is next Wed presumably, after 2nd rehearsal of big 5, & this will be in individual press conference order of Spain, France, Germany, UK, Italy. So, 5 balls offered to Spain… hmm… 5 1st half balls perhaps. Then France, 4 2nd half balls. Sure you get the gist.

    And this will be after 1st semi qualifiers drawn on the Tues night – will this be same scenario of 5 1st half balls & 5 2nd half balls. Not confirmed. And all 10 are present for this press conference so harder to fix.

    Jon Ola won’t know who’s won the semis is the official line, ahead of final running order being decided. Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?

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