Police, Camera, Action!

May 11, 2015 by

Police, Camera, Action!

‘This means nothing to me. Oh, Vienna!’ Actually, Midge, it means everything to me for the next 2 weeks as it does all serious ESC investors but still, a cracking tune for its time.

Day 1 of ESC rehearsals 2015 is a potentially informative first day especially in regard to Estonia and Belgium, 2 entries that have largely disappeared off the radar during the pre-ESC promotional merry-go-round. But we start with Moldova…

… First guilty pleasure of ESC 2015. This is fun. The gyrating police woman in short black pvc shorts and shades will be ‘one for the dads’ next week as she does an impressive standing leg split of Olympic gymnast standard at one point  while 2 male cops join Eduard dancing away. They look like extras from George Michael’s ‘Outside’ video. So, something for everyone you could say.

Eduard performs an impressive somersault. Yes, you could argue it all has undertones of a police-themed porn video but some small good news for Moldova in that the UK is not voting in this semi so no chance for prim jurors to rank it last like they did Poland last year. Certainly memorable.

Some nice camera angles already for Armenia. It has a certain mystical feel with (probably) an apricot tree as a backdrop and they are all outfitted in dark colours, the four female singers in ethno cloaks.

The long-haired blonde woman to sing has a slightly scary Helen Lederer stare. The main female vocalist, Inga, is excellent and holds it all together. When the six of them harmonize it is better than expected. Overhead shots are decent, a map of the world projected at one point. Pyros at the end look superfluous.

Talk of Witloof Bay, who represented Belgium in 2011, being the backing vocalists for this but if it is Witloof Bay I want some of what they have been taking as they appear to have undergone some magical age reversal technique especially the three women who look qualified to take part in Junior Eurovision.

This youtful troupe join fresh-faced Loic on stage front and centre. They carry out various robotic moves, in time with the staccato beat, and lie on the ground for the mandatory overhead shot. Loic does a pirouette. It’s maybe just me but when he looks at the camera his stare borders on the psychotic. It is a very minimalist set and comes across, at least at this very early rehearsal stage, as rather cold and sterile.

A strange lace mask on Trijntje’s face at the start, and a startling, plunging black dress showing a fair amount of her ample bosom. Her backing vocalists are dressed in black and white outfits that look like a graffiti artist has thrown up all over them.

In between takes Trijntje has a face like thunder a-aa, beating like thunder… Lovers kissing in silhouette is a nice backdrop and Trijntje certainly has a great set of lungs but no shoes on final run-through. She gives good camera to be fair.

Vocalist Kari Aalto rocks his head and upper torso as he sings the Finnish song, but doesn’t ever find the camera with his eyes. It is a simple rock band presentation, lots of dry ice with no gimmicks. Does this coalesce the punk fans, how much of a sympathy vote will it generate and perhaps more importantly, will politically correct jurors rank it more highly than it possibly deserves? Those same questions will remain all the way until the first semi-final a week tomorrow.

After Finland, Greece feels soft and welcoming. Maria wears a plunging but tasteful shimmering silver gown. A wind machine allows her dyed blonde locks to flow behind her. She is joined on stage by a solo pianist. Solid vocal.

Estonia have a staging concept which uses their shadows on the stage floor and it needs a lot of refinement yet in terms of camera angles. Stig improves on initial run through but his vocal remains a little off.

He finds the camera well when he is alone though, then Elina arrives and the performance level immediately goes up massively. The glances between them, Elina’s longing looks to camera… She sells this about as well as a duet performer can sell any song offering up the smokiest of looks and vocals.

FYR Macedonia has gone all Backstreet Boys with Autumn Leaves. You could re-name the group Blackstreet Boys as Daniel is, of course, joined on stage by Blackstreet. They go through the textbook synchronised boyband moves with accompanying hand gestures, sways and foot shuffles. It tightens up over course of rehearsals but looks and feels a bit incongruous.

That’s it for day 1. Feel free to share your thoughts below.

6 Comments

  1. george

    Netherlands like a bad Natalia Imbruglia B-Side

  2. Rob

    But I imagine the Geordies love it, George – ‘why-y-y-y’. A shame for the Dutch the UK is not voting in semi 1 🙂

  3. Ben Gray

    Hah, it’s not all of Witloof Bay backing Loic. It’s just Nicolas, the once-was-black-haired youthful frontman, but he’s bald now. I recongised him in Loic’s “Voice” performance.

  4. Geoff

    Hey Rob, great coverage as usual. One question regarding estonia, I read that stig leaves elina on stage alone for the last part of the song,but I havent really seen anyone go into much detail on this, is it quite a big emotional moment? Does it look good on camera? Or just very subtle? Thoughts on this very much appreciated

    Geoff

    • Rob

      Hi Geoff. They had so many technical issues and problems with camera angles it was difficult to assess its effectiveness but Elina is definitely alone on stage at the end.

      For me, she emotes superbly throughout the whole thing. Some very powerful & poignant glances. Stig still needs to up his game both vocally and visually, but he was starting to find the camera much better in the later run-throughs.

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