Golden Retriever

May 14, 2015 by

Golden Retriever

A chance to see the nations competing in the 2nd half of semi 2 for the first time today, and the composition of this section is all about the solos – 5 females, 4 males, if we cunningly re-package Maraaya as Marjetka who is very much the focus for Slovenia.

Israel’s Golden Boy offers this semi a much needed wake-up call. His vocal is fine and there are some excellent moments of dancing from Nadav and his backing crew. Nadav is sporting blinged up gold lamé trainers. ‘And before I leave let me show you Tel Aviv’ has to be one of my fave lyrics of ESC 2015, along with the way this song finishes, ‘ok, got to go, 3 minutes, bye, bye’.

He could do with finding the camera more and smiling more but like Molly yesterday he is learning on the job here and improves on each run-through. Clever overhead selfie image of them all climaxes the song, lovely bright orange colours and plenty of pyros in this.

The backing singers are spoiling an otherwise good first rehearsal from Latvia. It sounds like they are wailing when they join in taking away from Aminata’s vocal. Some excellent lighting effects throughout this, spotlighting Aminata and helping her performance resonate more powerfully. Fabulous red ball gown for her. This is very FKA Twigs and should be acknowledged by jurors as a quality song and vocal.

Very ‘Twilight’ for Azerbaijan at song start. Lovely blue backdrop with eclipsed sun and dark branches. He has two dancers crawling around on the stage floor and doing various ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ moves. They are possibly meant to be wolves because the song title is ‘Hour Of The Wolf’.

It is reminiscent of Tanya’s ‘Amazing’ staging from last year. Not sure if a bare-chested guy in a dog collar is a good look. Colours change to red at the climax. Visually this is nowhere near the ingenuity or impact of Farid’s reflective man in a box. Elnur’s enunciation is better than expected. His vocal is cleverly aided by backing singers.

Gold feet for Iceland’s Maria. She must have tried on Nadav’s trainers backstage. She is a magic barefoot fairy as there is some gold dust that falls on her and she wears a fairy dress. She leaves gold footsteps on the stage floor. Gold ripples and a field of gold beneath her and a golden sunset for a backdrop.

She looks a little lonely on that vast stage. She sits on the stage floor at one point, she twirls, she turns to look at the camera at song end. If Hera Bjork is there among the backing singers she must have had a face transplant as none of the three women look like the Hera of ESC 2010 – ok, apparently Hera is poorly and not present today.

Sweden is very much as was MF final. Other more observant souls can give you the tiny detail changes. The betting community knows everything there is to know about this entry as it has been scrutinised over extensively for a long time now. Impactful, memorable but are there one or two with the potential to topple it? Sunday may tell us more when Italy and Australia rehearse for the first time.

Melanie has four female drummers behind her while she stands on a podium in a black cloak before throwing it off to reveal a very nice flowing white dress. Her vocal is good and together with the backdrop it helps to elevate this song.

Well dressed in a smart suit and white shirt, John starts spotlit in black and white before the stage transforms into colour. Nice explosions of colour on the ‘I should have been there for you’ line. They have wisely kept this simple in its execution. John connects with the camera well enough. It feels warm and intimate but could still do with a few more close-ups of him.

Maraaya are perfectly competent. Marjetka has the most piercing blue eyes. Headphones, tick. Air violinist. Tick. Miss Haversham dress. Tick, but maybe less dowdy than the Slovenian national final. Competent vocal. Nice orange lighting that works well as a backdrop to Marjetka’s auburn hair. Some nice camera angles and close ups when she gives good camera. This is quite well polished already.

Nice floaty backdrop for Poland’s Monika and colour scheme of pinks and whites. She is wearing a beautiful white dress which drapes itself across her wheelchair. There is a pianist. Vocally fine. She is helped by backing vocalists in parts.

There is a real likability factor here and a dreamy warmth. It starts with a focus on the pianist then switches to Monika from the chest upwards. Then the camera sweeps out to reveal her wheelchair. If national broadcasters explain the circumstances of Monika’s paralysis this will be a televote boost. And there is a video projected at one point showing Monika when she was younger. And she blows a kiss at the end.

Well, this is certainly a strong 2nd half to this semi-final. That’s all the semi-finalists now seen. We will return to semi 1 tomorrow and see them all doing their 2nd rehearsals. Thoughts? Feel free to comment below.

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