Day 5 – Sinplus Receive An A+

May 17, 2012 by

Day 5 – Sinplus Receive An A+

Right, day 5 and the fog is starting to clear now. Firstly, to clarify for readers regarding the OGAE scoreboard at the back of the press centre. Accredited individuals get to vote for their 10 qualifiers in each semi. Being here it is obvious this is about as much use as a chocolate teapot. It incorporates partisan home country support not to mention media hype. So it is skewed beyond belief. Thorough and objective analysis has to be minimal among most of those who bother to vote. Do not include it in any of your betting calculations.
Today’s post will attempt to unravel semi 1 a little more as we get to see the first 13 nations in semi 1 rehearse for a 2nd time. After the 1st rehearsal we’re happy to discount Montenegro, Latvia, Belgium and San Marino. No matter how well these 4 songs are performed on the big 2 nights ahead on Monday and Tuesday next week they look out of it on our calculations. Is there a value lay on Betfair among those 4? Possibly Belgium if it drops below 3.
So, as we see it, there are 14 nations fighting for 10 spots at this stage of semi 1. Comments regarding these 2nd rehearsals will focus on what we see or hear that’s new…
Rambo enters the stage wearing a wizard’s tunic and delivers a strange cackle. Is it a song for these recessionary times? Anti-capitalism maybe? Economic banners are unfurled. A bloke is wrapped up in one of these and carried. A wooden horse, some break dancing. He pulls out empty pockets at the end. Baffling.
Jonsi sounds a little off today in Iceland’s routine. Staging is good. The camera work is decent – plenty of close ups of the pair, they smile and they ‘give good camera’ (now Rob’s patent). they join hands towards the end. There are 2 follically scary looking guys among the backing singers and it’s a little distracting – one has hair like Dougal from The Magic Roundabout.
Ahh, we have a different backdrop for Greece and it looks much better. Yes, I get it, an oyster shell is the image in play – an aphrodisiac. Oyster shells set against a blue ocean. Nice visuals here. Eleftheria smiles throughout and really sells it dancing with her troupe. It’s fun and cheeky, cheeky veering towards sexy the way she shakes her booty, which is obviously in keeping with the song’s theme. Her voice is a little breathy but it is passable. We are still happy having earlier advised Greece to beat Cyprus in head-to-head betting.
Latvia remains utterly lame. It starts like Latvia’s answer to ‘Loose Women’ – a coffee morning from hell. It is called ‘Beautiful Song’ which has to be ironic. Horrible backdrop in keeping with the tune. You cannot polish a turd like this. Next.
We didn’t hear Rona in the press centre today and saw her perform on screen in mute. We already know what she’s about. She could do with opening her eyes a whole lot more. She needs to save her voice for next week. Hopefully she is saving the make-up and a nice dress for the big nights ahead too, having previously advised Albania to qualify at Evens, as today she looks like a bag lady.
Mandinga have just gone through the gears and this looks much better than 1st rehearsal. Bright, colourful backdrop – lots of different images projected throughout including banging drums. The band are in striking white outfits smiling away, Elena looking smoking hot wearing a very short orange skirt and black vest top. Dancing fun. It has a party vibe alright. Vocal fine.
Switzerland – superb. Best Swiss song in years. Liking this one’s chances more and more. Some consider it weak; would disagree vehemently. It’s easily accessible commercial rock done well. Excellent lead vocal, he uses all the stage the way a good rock/pop lead singer should. Band encourage the audience to clap along at one point – they should do. I want to clap and I am seated in the press centre which, on reflection, would look stupid. The band behind him look cool. Loving the rock chick on guitar. Some great camera angles and interplay between the band members. Lighting of green and black in large part. Switzerland is 10th in this semi on voting power and the draw of 7 is not ideal but this beats Hungary on staging right now.

Following Switzerland, Belgium is dreary and wet. This is going to require a massive jury leg up to sneak in. It is like something out of Hannah Montana. ‘Any other guy would do’. The emotion Iris tries to elicit comes across as saccharine and feeble. This is a really mediocre pop ballad. Belgium is 18th and last in this semi on voting strength and it’s nil point from this jury.
Finland is an altogether classier presentation. An under-stated joy. Utterly beguiling. Juries will love this. This remains a very conceivable qualifier. Finland has more voting strength than Belgium, a better draw and is infinitely superior as a song. It’s a dreamy delight. She has a flowing train on her dress which adds to the gentle, flowing lullaby quality. We know juries lap up well-executed, quality solo female ballads, and this is one. This could and should be towards the top of the jury vote along with Denmark, Albania and Iceland. Beautiful canvas of colours behind Pernilla.
Wow, this semi is so competitive as Izabo have just delivered a very competent performance. The clock backdrop really is a triumph. Nice close up camera angles, good interplay among band members and backing vocalists on walkway. Maybe not as impactful as Sinplus earlier but still very decent. They are a ragtag bunch and not as telegenic as the Swiss band. Israel starts the 2nd half of this semi and is 9th on voting strength. It remains a borderline qualifier. Could go either way.
San Marino – sorry, do not have the will to add anything more about this. A crime to music. Will not qualify. Next…
So on to Cyprus… A far, far less convincing vocal than first time around from Ivi. Actually, I’d go much further than that. I wrote that within the first minute. She is horribly out of tune virtually throughout. She cannot deliver this tune at all. Four run throughs, all equally poor. This shows how deceptive it is to watch performances in Crystal Hall. If you recall, when returning to the press centre I mentioned her ‘bum notes’ during 1st rehearsal. Well, those bum notes continue for 3 minutes here. And my earlier hunch… Ivi looks uncomfortable on stage. Also the lighting, as stated in that 1st rehearsal post, is too plain and there is not enough bright colour going on for this upbeat tune. They all wear pale dresses. Her dancing and all the choreographed moves look clumsy as hell. This is by far the worst vocal performance heard all week.

And following the Ivi horror show, Soluna Samay looks and sounds so impressive. And the entire staging of Denmark looks far more professional. A field of poppies at sunset for a backdrop at one point. It’s a brightly-lit set throughout. Her garage band look the part, having fun jamming together. This remains a contender for the win in this semi. No change there.
So, in summary, Cyprus may have just fallen off a cliff today. But Switzerland takes the main plaudits for a much improved showing.
Rob Furber

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12 Comments

  1. Bruce

    Thanks for the speedy site updates. Just wanted to say how much I’m enjoying reading the rehearsal comments.

    FWIW I’m finding myself much more in agreement with you than a couple of sites who seemed to agree Norway was vocally poor yesterday and didn’t see any improvement in Greece today.

    Loving Romania still 🙂

  2. Rob

    Hi Bruce,
    Every day they get behind on the scheduled times here so the clock ticks by frustratingly. Trying to post as speedily as possible following last rehearsal. Glad you are enjoying reading. It’s great fun writing and highly informative being here. I’m so busy writing, not got round to reading most of the other ESC bloggers’ views.
    Norway was excellent yesterday. Watched it on the tv monitor in the press centre. Tooji is more than capable and the staging is very good.

  3. Bruce

    Rob, a quick question for you as its not one I have found the answer to readily online.

    When will the draw for the final running order take place?
    ie will there be a draw after semi final 1’s result is known for those 10 qualifiers OR after semi 2 for the 20 qualifiers?

    Thanks in advance

  4. steve

    Ive always doubted the ability of Cyprus to deliver a live performance and its fairly obvious you get a better idea of the quality being there. A seed of doubt was sewn when AKOE gave Cyprus a positive review but then it does appear she is a friend of the AKOE blogging team, so happier having read your review Rob. Where are Romania on your famed list of voting allies in this semi they now have the look of heat winners to me.

  5. Rob

    In answer to Bruce first – after Tuesday night’s 1st semi, after the 10 qualifiers are announced, there will be a press conference at which the 10 nations will randomly draw final positions. So this will leave 10 slots for the same procedure following Thursday night’s semi. Sweden backers will be hoping plenty of the slots from 21-26 remain after Tues night’s draw.

    Steve – I’ve got Romania as 1st in terms of historical voting data in this 1st semi. I wonder if AKOE are basing their Cyprus appraisal on being in Crystal Hall to watch the performance. This is clearly very deceptive.

  6. dicksbits

    My thoughts today are:

    – Cyprus. I agree that the dresses are too pale. I’ve never really been convinced by this song or the singer’s vocal capability. I agree that Denmark looks much more the part coming straight on after this cheap and cheesy tune. I maintain that Cyprus will not qualify for the above reasons and the historical voting data, despite Greece being able to hand her 12 points.

    – Switzerland. very positive review today, but I still wonder whether they can make the final considering there are so many bands performing in this semi. Along with Hungary, ‘Unbreakable’ seems too goo for eurovision, and along with the Swiss track qualification record, I still have doubts that this will pass.

    Rob: Do you have a list of the voting strengths that you mention for each country, or is that like revealing the crown jewels? AKOE did an ‘allocation draw analysis’ a few months ago, and that’s all I’ve had to go for in terms of who historically votes for who.

    cheers.

  7. Rob

    Hi dicksbits,
    I base figures largely on the historical voting data found on this excellent site:
    http://www.kolumbus.fi/jarpen/
    Click on the ‘Analysis’ link and the info is all there.
    Agree regarding Switzerland. Semi 1 remains a very difficult puzzle to solve but Sinplus certainly looked the part in 2nd rehearsal.

  8. Henry VIII

    I agree with your 4 no hopers Rob and I much prefer Finland to Belgium, but do you think there’s a possibility that the pesky juries will make Belgium qualify on the back of her great voice and the song’s earnestness?

    There are a number of fans that get accredited to see the rehearsals; do these fans get to vote on the OGAE scoreboard? (I accept what you say that its nonsense, I guess the press on their own are partisan).

  9. Rob

    Hi Henry,
    I am struggling with the whole Iris’s vocal is great and Belgium is a more ‘contemporary’ song than Finland angle. All these things are subjective and we are trying to read the minds of juries but when you look back at the amazing jury score achieved by Lithuania in its semi-final last year… that Lithuania solo female ballad was the most old-fashioned thing you could ever hear. Iris is not especially telegenic either. People claim that as a negative for Finland’s Pernilla, but the way Iris extends her jaw is deeply unflattering, and Pernilla looks fine on camera to me.
    Yes, all accredited individuals, including fans, get to cast a vote on the OGAE scoreboard, so it’s not a reliable barometer at all.

  10. fiveleaves

    Hi Rob.
    I nearly always trust you’re judgement, but for me Ivi does a great job of selling the cypriot song. Both in terms of vocal and energy and personality she puts into the performance.
    I also find the whole staging very striking.
    Video from yesterdays rehearsal.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMMV5gIyFe4
    The fact that AKOE love it is a worry 😉 , but for me this sails into the final and is still a decent bet for top 10.

  11. Rob

    Hi fiveleaves,
    Cyprus may well sneak in but at the current price it looks a qualifying lay to me. Ivi sounded very iffy yesterday. Maybe some improvement on later run throughs. A key thing is, what you see and hear on the tv monitor in the press centre is very different to what people witness in Crystal Hall, which is where AKOE are most of the time.

  12. fiveleaves

    Hi mate,
    Thanks for the quick reply.
    I take your point on stadium v tv feed and I guess until I see and hear it on tv you have the advantage on me.
    But for me she has much greater depth to her voice than the Greek totty and altho her vocal might not be technically perfect, to my ears it’s more than good enough to carry this very excellent song of it’s type.

    The staging looks classy. It has a feel of ancient Greece with the marble coloured background and outfits.

    A stark contrast to the rather tacky looking multi coloured Greek offering.

    I guess we’ll just have to disagree on this one.

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