Say Lay Lay Lay!

May 8, 2016 by

Say Lay Lay Lay!

Sweden’s Frans is going through the motions in this second rehearsal. There are a few quick cutaways at the start which don’t really work. The twinkly lights in the background look better than they did at Melodifestivalen, and are now less gold and more yellow. The catwalk finale is the only real change though, and will probably be very effective in front of the home crowd. This is good to go for Saturday but all of its potential red flags still remain.

Amir is alone on stage for France, but this isn’t a problem as there’s so much going on here visually. The staging has lots of planetary imagery straight from the Syco playbook. Like Ukraine, the images on the screen and floor constantly developing and keeps you interested throughout. The shooting star effect at the beginning is particularly impressive. Amir has plenty of charm, but still isn’t strong enough vocally in the final minute. Nonetheless, this is a very positive three minutes overall.

I wouldn’t normally notice something like this, but Barei’s hairstyle is all kinds of awful. It actually looks like a squirrel died on the side of her face. Her singing isn’t terrible, but the backing singers are most definitely dragging it down. The staged fall in the middle of the song doesn’t serve much purpose, and won’t be fooling anyone. There are some nice split screen effects towards the end of the performance, which is probably the nicest thing I can say about Spain at the moment. Say lay lay lay!

It’s Halloween week on The X Factor, and Jamie Lee from Germany is favourite to be eliminated. The morbid staging from the national final remains, but now includes some green lasers and a finale on the catwalk. The performance ends with a whimper, which doesn’t leave a very favourable overall impression. Jamie Lee’s OTT manga headgear is beyond ridiculous and distracts from the quality of the song. This is finishing nowhere near the Top 15.

In stark contrast to Germany, Italy is a staging triumph. The visuals are stunningly beautiful and succeed in holding your attention for the duration of the song. They have created a ‘timeless dream state’ and it is truly magical to watch. Francesca is very sweet and gives great camera. I’m not really a fan of the song, but this staging and performance have won me over. I’ve added it firmly to my list of potential dark horses. There are perhaps a few too many sparkly visual effects appearing on screen at the moment, which are distracting.

Another pleasant surprise this year is Joe and Jake for the UK. The staging is very credible with two drummers and a lot of lights. The boys are very telegenic and interact so well with each other and the cameras. It’s a confident and professional performance that tv viewers back in the UK will be proud of. Like Italy, it’s difficult to predict quite how this will do, but it deserves to do well and it would not come as a surprise to me to see it on the left hand side of the scoreboard. Pyro bursts were added for the final run through at appropriate moments which contributes to a positive impression overall.

We have just been informed by Sietse Bakker that the Big 5 will draw first half/second half during the Red Carpet live official opening of ESC 2016 event this evening. It should be streamed online by SVT.


  1. hemsby

    Thanks for the write-up Tim ….an enjoyable read.

    Obviously watching the vids at home we are at a huge disadvantage to you guys at the coal face,however in general I’m in agreement with your assessment.

    The one I differ on is Italy.I personally love the song,but am disappointed with the staging.Its such a classy tune,but gravity defying carrots and other various random objects seem incongruent to the actual message of the song.

    Lots of negativity around regarding the French entry so refreshing to read perhaps a more balanced opinion.

  2. Henry VIII

    I haven’t watched them yet but the still photos from Italy made me think wtf, so good for them if the video doesn’t look so bad.

    I hope Joe and Jake don’t show fear like that fan fav UK girl Molly a few years ago, but it’s a big possibility with inexperienced performers. Many ESC performers are youngsters but earned their place through XF, The Voice or a proper National Final series, so will have dealt with nerves on the big stage.

    • Alice

      …but Joe and Jake were both on the Voice, so by that logic they won’t be nervous either

  3. Well, I took the liberty of predicting the qualifiers already in my article:

    Qualifiers Semi Final #1:

    Qualifiers Semi Final #2:

    Ranking Big 5 + Sweden from best to worst chance of success:

    Some clarification:
    – Behind every country you’ll find a green diamond. I expect those countries to be on the left hand side of the scoreboard (TOP 13) upcoming Saturday
    – If one of the 9th or 10th qualifiers won’t make it, then I think one of my four ‘shock qualifiers’ could sneak in
    – I think it’s safe to say that the Big 5 + the organizing country are strong this year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see three of the five Big 5 countries back in the TOP 13
    – Semi Final #1 seems to be the weaker semi final
    – I already took into account the draw for 1st or 2nd half for the 6 finalists

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