Diva Fever

May 2, 2016 by

Diva Fever

Day 1 at the Eurovision 2016 rehearsals. Like opening the first window on an advent calendar… though Finland feels a bit like Bad Santa got there first and obliterated your favourite festive adornment.

Much like the national final, Sandhja has her five female backing singers/dance troupe helping her out. But it all looks a bit low rent. She uses the catwalk to come out and engage the audience and gives it plenty of sass at least.

Greece has 2 traditional musicians for the drums and strings and the entire group of six create an aesthetically pleasing zig-zag shape on the stage as they stand in position.

Good looking guy goes into some ethno dancing towards the end. It is well staged for what it is and very Greek. Not much more to say here as rehearsals beset with technical issues and loss of sound…

… which continues into Moldova. An astronaut joins Lidia on the stage. Of course, ‘Falling Stars’. He takes off his space helmet for more intimate interplay with her – very wise as it’s always tough to get up close and personal with a goldfish bowl on your head.

He proceeds to sculpt some shapes you used to see at mid-90s raves – big box, little box. To be honest if he ever danced like that at my local nightclub he would never dance again. Lidia sounding fine.

Freddie has a guy helping him who bangs away on a big drum throughout. Three male backing vocalists. Gravelly voice, still hard to understand him in parts. Not a lot happening here. No catwak stroll from Freddie. Eye candy for the ladies though, and he gives good camera on closing shot.

Croatia’s Nina is outfitted very bizarrely. If she is supposed to be a Lighthouse, Croatia better watch out because it is in stormy waters and could be about to hit the rocks or end up mooring itself on a beach like a stranded whale.

It’s a silvery black tent-like structure Nina has trouble moving her hands in to operate the sleeves. It is an inconvenient distraction for her. This gets ripped off and who knows what will lie underneath on the big night. Four backing singers support her but what she really needs is better support in the wardrobe department.

Overhead of a clock face, which ticks away at song start. Douwe Egberts, as he will from this point forward be called, for no other reason than it’s my favourite instant coffee, Continental Gold, gives plenty of good camera throughout including the last shot. He will get the audience to join in at one point. This isn’t on the level of The Common Linnets. More like Continental Silver or Bronze, maybe.

Iveta is in a leotard and tights. Very Madonna in the ‘Hung Up’ video. Presumably this is her big match kit. A sweeping dress might have been a better choice. She creates shapes front and centre with her arms above her head while coping admirably with the song’s demanding structure.

It is certainly a dramatic presentation and feels like the first serious blast of life in this semi. There is a highly effective hologram effect in the last minute with her image mapped around her on the ‘it’s taking over me’ lyric. A veil floats behind her. Some nice lighting effects throughout with dry ice, pyros and overhead shots utilised. You can see the hand of Sacha Jean-Baptiste here.

So, Serhat or Sergey, who is going to wow us the most among the last 2 to rehearse today…?

Five disco dollies join lothario Serhat strutting their stuff. A shame he has dispensed with the monocle. He smiles charmingly but the staging feels too restrained. Not enough disco lighting, not enough disco atmosphere, not even a big disco glitter ball reflecting the fact they didn’t turn this into a more of a dance tune. This song looks and feels like it is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Drama! Sergey falls attempting a Wipe Out-style precarious walk across blocks jutting out. It is a complicated routine in terms of what he has to do physically, making it more vocally demanding for him.

Wings at the start, very Greta Salome. It’s like an assault course up there and the staging gimmicks are possibly over-shadowing the song here. Forget the kitchen sink, they’ve thrown the microwave, the fridge/freezer and the St Petersburg housekeeper at this for good measure.

The Mans parallels could be detrimental as while visually interesting it doesn’t seem to fit together all that well. Overall, it isn’t very coherent and it’s all a bit too busy, but it certainly has impact. So that’s day 1 done and dusted. Sergey probably needs a lie down after that, as I do, as France goes fav on the Outright.

2 Comments

  1. Montell

    Russia’s performance is quite impressive. Watching it I actually forgot how bad the song is. Nevertheless history shows that copying last year’s winner doesn’t work. I don’t see Russia winning.

  2. John

    Finally! Someone does a Douwe Egberts joke! Knew the Internet wouldn’t fail me.

    ~I hope Russia haven’t totally screwed the pooch, if you’ll pardon me, as Sergey seems a nice bloke and more importantly it’ll mess up my books something awful.

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