ESC semi 1 – Jury Performance (rehearsal)

May 21, 2012 by

ESC semi 1 – Jury Performance (rehearsal)

Just to clarify, this is purely a practice run for tonight’s jury performance so nothing’s riding on it. Potentially the most insightful element of the rehearsal of this semi 1 jury performance, is how the songs come across next to one another in the running order. Who gains? Who loses?

Rambo Amadeus is like the cabaret act before we get going properly with Iceland. But Iceland is a little underwhelming. Sound not as boomingly dramatic here. Maybe a sound issue in the press centre.

The party truly begins with Eleftheria from Greece shaking her booty, flashing her sequinned knickers. The winner so far this. Bright, fun, energetic, big smile. Vocal acceptable.

Latvia is so weak following Greece. Only gets going in about the last 20 seconds. Not sure this saves it. Now Rona. She’s sporting her long dreads. Not a good look with her hair – it wraps round her neck like a snake. Very peculiar looking dress – much like the one in the official video. Rona alone on stage. Staggering vocal. The one big concern now with Albania is the off putting visual Rona strikes throughout. Nice little push from the presenter to support Albania afterwards – pointing out ‘what a vocal’ and ‘Albania failed to qualify last year’ painting Rona as an underdog.

Here come Mandinga. Just bags of fun this song and routine. Looks great aided by the stunning Elena. Sinplus hit their straps. Lead singer really nails the vocal on this run through. They look and sound good here.

Iris… wearing an unattractive puffy short white dress. Vocal is fine but all a bit wishy washy – the song and the staging. Albania’s Rona really does beat Iris hands down. Pernilla’s green dress with its floaty long train is nicer than Iris’s outfit, and the whole presentation is classier with Pernilla joined by the celloist. Subtle and understated.

Israel – big contrast with Finland and starting the 2nd half of this semi. Lady on keyboards offers up flirty moment at start of the song with lead singer. Only trouble is, she looks like a bag lady. They deliver the tune fine, just not sure about their televisual appeal.

One word sums up San Marino: horrific, regardless of Valentina’s best efforts. Now, Cyprus, let’s see how Ivi is coping… This doesn’t sound very good. Her voice is definitely struggling in several places during the song. Not as convincing as Eleftheria in her stage presence.

Soluna and her band give a textbook lesson in proper music. This song is like a shining jewel at this point. This is an interesting psychological experiment… you go into it embedded in what you thought about the songs before. If you’re a good judge, that’s probably a good thing. If not, you could be heading down a dangerous cul-de-sac. Only time will tell.

Babushki… sticking by my guns here in saying this comes across as a very long 3 minutes. Still not seeing viewers rushing to their phones for this.

Compact Disco going through the gears and sounding excellent. Getting themselves in contention here. Happy to go against the grain and say the song is so good it makes up for any staging shortcomings.

Austria is such a fun party tune at this point. So many intriguing changes of pace in this semi. Light show works. Pasha Parfeny has his single file jockettes riding down the walkway at the end of his tune. Not as powerful or memorable a presentation as Austria.

Jedward are wearing the most horrific silvery suits and their vocal sounds bad. Awful blonde quiffs. It all looks o.t.t., cheap and desperate. The Jedward novelty factor is wearing very thin here. Austria is beating this.

So read into that what you will. Maybe a case of seeking to pick holes in those that have unconvinced up to now, while playing down the weaknesses of others you are seeking to attach your financial colours too. The springer here is Austria – got itself right back in the running.

What did we learn from the rehearsal of the jury performance? Semi 1 is an utterly baffling puzzle still with so many confusing changes of pace. Could go any number of ways. Back to 14 contenders. Get this man more coffee. He requires some serious thinking time… hopefully some clarity may arrive later when they try and impress the juries.

Stay tuned… will post again some time after 10pm.
Rob Furber

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  1. Bruce

    Thanks Rob. God knows how you must be feeling with the local time and all the delays etc. I’m a bit frazzled just listening from home.

    I’m finding it difficult to get away from already deeply ingrained views on the likely winner and qualifiers.
    At this stage I’m happy just to know if someone makes a complete mess up for whatever reason at final jury rehearsal.

    FWIW Hungary came closest this afternoon in their performance to convincing me they have a spot in the final. It does have more allies and a later draw than Switzerland.

  2. fiveleaves

    Cheers Rob.
    I was lucky enough to catch a recording of it on the Greek feed. It was inside the arena, but still useful.

    Firstly where I agree. Denmark was as polished as ever and stood out for me. The one song from this semi that could win the final
    Hungary much improved, visually and vocally.

    The rest I’m in pretty much agreement with you. Apart from a few minor excpetions and one big one.

    Israel I enjoyed more than you and the guy was rather more telegenic out of his tight black t-shirt and in a suit.

    Romania is still only 30 seconds of a good song for me.

    Cyprus I thought apart from an iffy bit 2/3 in was much better than Greece.
    The Greek guy seemed to agree as he played it 3x in a row 😀

    Moldova a great fun ‘party’ song (better than Romania imo) and miles better than Austria which is just dreadful.
    I don’t see how rapping and pole dancing can be seen as anything other than a disaster when it comes to pulling in the votes of the public or the juries.

  3. Rob

    Hi Bruce. It is very demanding, mentally and physically but a total adrenalin rush at the same time – very much intend to make it an annual thing.
    I think you articulate the issue we all have – becoming too ingrained in our views. There is a reality bubble that forms here too – ‘definite qualifier’, ‘definitely won’t qualify’… and this all becomes almost accepted wisdom. But this is a complete disconnect from viewers and jurors assessing these songs.
    Couple of bits of info to pass on from this evening – Ott Lepland gets very, very nervous ahead of performing on the big stage – might be a worry for any heavy Estonia ‘to qualify’ backers out there.
    Eleftheria strolled into the press centre cool as cool can be after performing. She was happy to have photos taken with fans, then sat with Greek guys to watch Ivi perform on the big tv screen in here – she is very confident, which certainly comes across on stage.
    Hungary sounded very good. If he can repeat that performance later when it matters, they are strong contenders to qualify for sure.

  4. Rob

    Hi five leaves. Have a feeling the Austrian guys could get a very big televote. It is enormous fun and a catchy, in-your-face, memorable tune, and performance. They are pulling off what Jedward did last year and, for me, totally stealing their thunder.
    The Cyprus vs Greece debate could well go the distance… only to be decided on Saturday night 🙂

  5. fiveleaves

    LOL, yep we’ll never agree on the respective merits of Greece & Cyprus.
    As you say, we’ll see on saturday.

    As for Austria, I see Dan is keen too. Either you 2 have been smoking things you shouldn’t have, or it will prove to be a totally inspired pick. 😀

  6. Rob

    Jury performance on in about 35 minutes… Rather than a full post, I will sketch my thoughts here in the comments section.

  7. Henry VIII

    I’m surprised several have changed their mind about Austria.

    With Cyprus I don’t think the vocals have to be top notch because it’s a fun song and it was never going to wow the juries.

  8. Rob

    Jury performance thoughts:
    Iceland upped their game compared to earlier.
    Greece – Eleftheria got through unscathed though you can imagine juries being tough on Greece this year.
    Rona, Albania, absolutely sang her heart out… spellbinding – this could be pushing for top of the jury vote. I’d be getting my 12 paddle out. Got applause from the press centre.
    Romania, Switzerland – solid enough though I wonder if Romania was slightly below par. Nit-picking really.
    Belgium – Iris, Finland – Pernilla… all comes down to subjective taste here but both delivered vocally.
    Israel lost a little bit for me.
    Cyprus – Ivi hit probably many more than one, but definitely one absolutely horrendous note.
    Denmark – Soluna started nervously but powered through further in.
    After Babushki (who were obviously tuneless dirge, and will be severely punished by juries) they interview Valentina from San Marino – not sure that will help her enough.
    Hungary – he really upped it tonight. A very powerful performance. Reckon Hungary just beat Switzerland in rock head-to-head as solid as Switzerland was. Sometimes with music it is an intangible extra something when a song really clicks. This did for me.
    Austria – gave it there all. Not a jury song, really, but they could do no more.
    Moldova – ok from Pasha, nothing more.
    Ireland – better than earlier, but in context of this semi Waterline is noticeably inferior to many other songs.

  9. Bruce

    Thanks Rob thats broadly in line with other views on tonight relative to this afternnon though if that’s good or not I’ll let you decide 🙂

    Moldova getting more love elsewhere I guess that’s about it

    Could that nervous Denmark start conceivably cost it a semi win or top 3, I wonder?

  10. Rob

    Hi Bruce,
    I don’t think so with Denmark. The song stands out and Soluna was excellent further in. You could pick holes in Romania tonight too. And the grannies were poor to begin with. The only real bum note that made me leap out of my seat and take notice was Ivi’s.

  11. Bruce

    Ok Rob, best not get carried away with minor blips.

    I can guess Denmark may well figure in your betting recommendations for this semi, which I’m looking forward to immensely.

    Ivi appears the clear loser tonight which I’m more than a little happy with.

  12. fiveleaves

    Cheers Rob.

    As Bruce says, much in line with the general view.

    Ivi not great it seems 🙁 but popular at the arena which could help sway the juries.
    Greece a little off too.

    Denmark the big surprise. Andrew on AKOE said she wasn’t on top form tonight.
    It shows the nerves can get to the best of them, as she’s sung it perfectly throughout the rehearsals.

    I agree Albania must be in with a shout of topping the jury vote.
    I just wish she’d worn something more voter friendly, as she does in the video.

  13. Henry VIII

    Finally I’m in. Been having problems accessing this site tonight.

    Thanks for all the observations Rob. Great work.

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