semi 1 – 1st/2nd rehearsal notes

May 5, 2014 by

semi 1 – 1st/2nd rehearsal notes

A first chance to watch the semi 1 show as you will see it on tv tomorrow night. Here are some brief points worth noting.

You can vote up to 20 times, the presenters tell us. Can someone please inform the students in Lithuania of this?

The light show for Armenia is really something else. This is a powerful audio-visual package. It gave me shivers. Latvia is a ramshackle follow up to Armenia.

There is a fair bit of jeopardy involved in Tanja’s modern dance interpretation with her male parter. One slip and there could be claret on the dance floor during this. Back to her 1st rehearsal clobber which doesn’t look as good as her lycra hot pants.

Audience used during Sanna’s performance, raising their mobiles in the air to add lights which we see when the camera pans round behind her. Known in Eurovision circles as pulling a Bergendahl.

Iceland feels a little cheap and gimmicky following Sanna. A break after Iceland.

Hersi in good voice for Albania on her plinth. Stage colours for this are a bit too timid – her cream dress and that of her backing singers adding to a somewhat vanilla flavour for this.

The Russian twins hit plenty of bum notes during this run through. It is a ropey song and ropey staging. Will Russia’s voting strength be enough?

Have heard Dilara sounding better than this. Is she under the weather? This might be a little too high brow to fully succeed in this semi.

Ukraine’s Mariya is a great performer. She looks like she is going to sell this very well. This feels like it has impact after Azerbaijan.

So many changes of tempo in this semi. Axel drops off a couple of notes during this. He will need to bring his A-game tonight in front of the juries.

There could be a bit of a contest within a contest at this point in the semi as Cristina gives it some vocally, trying to steal some of Axel’s lustre potentially. Not sure throwing off her wig is a good idea though and the song is a real dog’s dinner.

Valentina for San Marino feels a warmer more welcoming presentation compared to feisty Moldova.

The male presenters say how much they both like Suzy. And dads Europe-wide will love what they see here with Suzy in a short red dress that leaves little to the imagination. Sounding mostly in good form here as her vocal can be a little off sometimes. This has impact.

Ilse and Waylon looking ready for tonight as they have done since rehearsal 1. The way this is staged is a textbook lesson in how to stage a slow song well.

Moj Svijet looking and sounding better today compared to previous rehearsals. And ‘Running’ is a powerful finish to this extremely strong semi 1. On the 1st reprisal the 2 that look and sound the weakest to me are Moldova and Hungary. Andras is just sort of skulking around at the end of the runway.

During 2nd reprise of songs, it cuts to each contestant walking back to the green room afterwards. Aram says, ‘please vote for me’, Mariya blows a kiss.

Voting lines are closed before they speak to the artists. Axel and Sanna are spoken to here. Shame for Valentina.

Before the result is revealed we get to see clips of the Big 5 songs and Denmark.

Will be Tweeting thoughts on the key semi 1 jury performance later tonight. Further thoughts on that jury performance will be expanded on below. Any questions, thoughts, feel free to comment.


  1. Anna Bergendahl has given many new phrases to the English language. Like Shakespeare. This from escinsight:

    Bergendahl /ˈbərgənˈdɑl/
    (noun) A shock non-qualifier that leaves swarms of dedicated fans rending their garments in grief. Example: “This is My Life”.

    I think “pulling a Bergendahl” is probably good for Sweden. Shows audience participation. One country, I forget which, gave the audience light sticks (before the days of bright mobiles) and it was accredited as a participating factor in their victory.

    I really don’t like Sanna’s cage of light though. Separating her from me and the audience. X Factor uses the same lighting for acts they want to get rid of. If they use bars for favoured acts they bow the bars early on, with a musical cue, and leave them down. Unlike what happens with Sanna.

    • Rob

      That was my reaction to the Swedish staging first time I saw it, henry. It’s cold, and she looks distant.

      • Rob

        Jury rehearsal thoughts:

        Armenia – Aram a little quiet at start, but fine overall
        Latvia – same old, same old
        Estonia – a dropped note early, recovered well
        Sweden – sounded a little off in places to me, especially the way her voice was not synching with what we were hearing at times. You could see it wasn’t her voice. Problem with a light.
        Iceland – they performed this well & got the crowd clapping along which might have helped it go up on a few jury rankings.
        Albania – a little nervous at the start, a little subdued, but recovered well enough.
        Russia – better than earlier in the day, still felt weak overall & in context of this semi.
        Azerbaijan – Dilara improved markedly on 1st rehearsal, felt impactful.
        Ukraine – Mariya not as strong as earlier but still sold it well.
        Belgium – the best performance I’ve seen him put in for this, putting his heart & soul into it and selling it well.
        Moldova – strange wig-tearing moment makes this look weaker than it already was.
        San Marino – Valentina did a good job tonight, again saving her best for the jury performance. Expressive and joyful with her facial expressions suiting the floaty, dreamy feel of the song.
        Portugal – Suzy sang well tonight, for her.
        Netherlands – As it has been since 1st rehearsal. Excellent interaction with close up camera, and one another.
        Montenegro – Sergej did a good job tonight. This has come together when it matters.
        Hungary – Thought he was slightly off at the start. Not as strong as earlier today. Hadn’t noticed how Americanised he is with some words until tonight.

      • Boki

        Do I sense a slight Hungary shock NQ vibe here Rob?
        Was he wearing a sweater or just a t-shirt btw?

        • Rob

          That would come as a surprise, Boki. I think Hungary is pretty safe from the pimp slot with a jury friendly song.

          • Boki

            I think the same, just wanted to check if you have some weird ideas :). You didn’t answer about the sweater though, I think he looks more competent wearing it but in the 3rd rehearsal he was in a t-shirt.

          • Rob

            sorry Boki, missed your query – t-shirt, wasn’t it. Still can’t decide about Hungary. A lot here are very strong on its chances. Hope semi 1 was profitable for you Boki.

  2. Rob

    Big 5 + Denmark 2nd rehearsals update:

    Germany pretty much as before. Molly didn’t sing on 2nd run through, wisely saving her voice. And for her big night attire, it is very much Raquel Welch ‘One Million Years BC’ meets C-3PO. Gold metallic short dress with fur accessorising on the shoulders which looks like it has been made up from Cristina’s left over wig extensions.

    France is tightening up. This song is a whole lot of fun and after drawing in 2nd half the producers may decide this is a great show-closer. Lead singer Lorent gives the song an intro to camera, encouraging everyone in the venue to get up on their feet to join in with the chorus.

    Italy’s Emma looking pretty hot in a white sparkly dress. Ruth still over-singing and looking like a diva.

    Just waiting on Italy and Spain draws now.

    • Rob

      2nd half draws for Italy & Spain.

      • Rob

        Classic ploy to try & kill off the conspiracy theories by giving both Italy and Spain 2nd half draws but this is part of a much bigger plan…

        • So 4/5 Big 5 are in the 2nd half. I can easily imagine it’s not random. But Rob what’s the motivation? I guess helping the funders could be motivation enough.

          • Rob

            Yep, helping the funders. What they did was have a full bowl so they were (in theory) choosing among 13 1st half lots and 12 2nd half lots.

            My theory is, they were also happy to see 4 out of 5 2nd half slots taken to potentially set it up for the likes of Sweden and Armenia to pull out 1st half slots tonight after they have qualified. Maybe Azerbaijan and Ukraine too. It certainly massively increases the chance of semi 1 qualifiers pulling out 1st half draws.

            So, 8 2nd half slots left, 12 1st half slots. A 60 per cent chance of a 1st half draw for the 1st nation to pick tonight. But who’s to say that bowl that comes out isn’t pre-rigged with more 1st half slots than 2nd half?

            EBU might be eyeing the UK as potentially the ideal host for 60th anniversary of Contest next year – UK did a great job hosting the Olympics.

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