Lovely Luca

May 10, 2019 by

Lovely Luca

With 17 songs squeezed into one day, the press centre is eagerly awaiting second rehearsals and the arrival of the Big Five. There will be a lot to write, so don’t be surprised if I give Latvia short shrift.

Greece

A great start for Katerine. The staging probably still has too many elements, but now there is a much greater sense of development. As the song swells, so too does the performance and faith is restored in the various markets, with Greece matched at 2.06 for top 10.

San Marino

After the Florence and the Machine stylings of Greece, Serhat is channelling something a lot less jury friendly. For me this still needs a lot more fun, but the pimp slot means he is not totally chanceless and he is matched at 3.8 to qualify.

Armenia

Semi 2 opens with Armenia. The styling is different – the long jacket and thigh-length boots replaced with a demure trouser suit. Vocally this is excellent, Srbuk owns the performance, but the plain background leaves her a little exposed on such an empty stage. This might need a stronger visual hook to stand out.

Ireland

Amateur hour returns with Sarah who inexplicably remains locked in a deserted American diner. This should be cute – channelling the spirit of Sandy in Grease – but instead Sarah stumbles around the set, wittering on about lost love. This should be seriously challenging for last place.

Moldova

Anna begs us to ‘Stay’ and after Ireland that is a big ask. For those of us who remain, we get the same show as last time. A pre-recorded sand artist creating a series of random images, most of which fail to communicate any part of the song. Last matched at 4.7 and one to monitor in running if the UK public lose their minds over a gimmick.

Switzerland

Switzerland looks sharper today and Luca is in fine form. The staging is slick, and Luca is a voteable presence with a winning smile. This is one that might have legs once the general public see it next Thursday.

Latvia

They have softened the lighting for Carousel and the mood evoked is vastly improved. This now has a summery feel and, for the first minute, is quite enjoyable. The last two minutes, however, feel like an eternity. The atmosphere in the opening bars should be enough to keep it safely above Ireland.

Romania

Though wonderfully sung, Romania looks a little less compelling today. Ester was a tour de force in first rehearsals, brilliantly acting her part in this gothic tale. Today, they seem to have stepped back from that, and this remains a borderline proposition for qualification.

Denmark

This remains as divisive ever. Some of the traditional Eurovision fans will love this as an ode to better times, but for the rest of us, this is a sickly-sweet nursery rhyme, sung by a scary-looking woman, sitting on an oversized chair.

Sweden

Sweden has got its spark back, with vastly-improved lighting to introduce the gospel singers. The market is looking for a contender and this triggers a crash in its Outright price. It justifiably overtakes Russia.

Austria

Austria is boosted by following Sweden. Paenda offers genuine emotion following the slick Swedish package and this is another song that maximises wonderful lighting. With enough jury love, this feels like a potential shock qualifier. The market agrees and this is matched at 3.5 – a full two points less than the previously available 5.5.

Israel

We get to hear the revamped Israeli song and this feels like the typical host nation affair. A well-sung piece of musical theatre with no relevance to the modern competition. Bar points for the vocal, this is meticulously designed for a graceful non-challenge.

France

The press room goes predictably mad, as do the BF markets, France’s Outright price dropping to 15.5 at one point. The top ten market drops to Evens, but this is uncomfortably preachy. What could have been empowering and nuanced, is instead, sledgehammered into the dust.

Spain

Spain has a feel-good song and as it so often does, has thrown a number of ideas at the screen, in the hope that some will stick. The inevitable Fokas boxes and the giant wicker man are obviously redundant, but at least, among it all, Miki remains a charismatic presence. The market reacts to the lack of clarity and Spain drifts to 170 for the Outright.

Italy

Italy is today’s loser in the market, drifting from being matched at single figures 24 hours ago to 20s moments after rehearsal. Mahmood’s flat delivery is only equalled by the flat staging.

UK

Michael sings ‘Bigger’ 35 times in three minutes – a ratio of one every five seconds. The fact that I counted tells you everything about this generic effort.

Germany

S!sters close proceedings on a day even Jack Bauer would consider long. Germany has the good grace to apologise for the staging – the word ‘Sorry’ appearing on the backdrop as the two ladies come together. They then sing intently at each other, totally isolating the TV audience in a glorious bid for the wooden spoon.

Rob returns tomorrow with his write up on the close of SF2.

1 Comment

  1. Burlington Bertie

    Great write up Matt. Your comments re The Big 5 had me laughing, whether that was your intention or not. I often wish there was no Big 5. I don’t think it does any of them any favours to automatically qualify and this looks like another year of most of them hanging around near the bottom of the scoreboard in the final shake up. Whilst the UK song isn’t the best of the bunch, I’m pleased to see that they’ve kept it gimmick free. It’s also a bonus that we get to see Michael’s backing singers during these years when the norm is to shove them off stage. If I had the balls, I’d be whacking a handsome sum on The Field in Big 5 vs The Field bet @ 1/14.

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