Serb-al Remedy

May 4, 2016 by

Serb-al Remedy

A first chance to see how the semi 2 contenders are shaping up with Latvia’s Justs kicking things off and he has wisely chosen a black leather jacket.

Quite minimalist staging for this, with excellent lighting and stage floor visuals. ‘But all the battles are in wain’. Justs poor pronunciation of this word is something of a pet hate.

Some nice moments with roving close-ups incorporated. It’s a very clean, professional presentation and Justs sounding ‘on point’ as hackneyed mentors say on UK reality singing shows.

Michal is wearing a silver jacket that looks like it is made of baking foil. He hammers out this power ballad well. Now he has ditched the bakofoil and wears a black wife-beater on 2nd run through.

Three female violinists, a pianist and a cellist join him up there. His diction isn’t the best. Not sure what look he is trying to achieve with his poodle rock long hair and that vest. It adds to the very dated look and feel of the song.

Rykka, bless her, has decided to dye her hair a purple/blue colour. Vocally she is a little off in places. All we see is her up there and there is smoke rising off her back at song start. Strange outfit. Transparent skirt over black leotard. She is barefoot.

With that hair she reminds me of the labradoodle I have to look after sometimes. She gets the pyro curtain towards the end. That aside SVT has made things tough for Switzerland with this r.o. position.

Israel’s Hovi is in fine voice. This is really nicely staged. Beautiful lighting. A starry feel to it, understandably. Feels intimate. There are some acrobats spinning around in a ring behind him. There is a sense of well-executed simplicity here.

A high-tech hot mess might be a concise way to describe Belarus. Visual effects getting annoying now and still only halfway through first half of semi 2. We get the video segment of a naked Ivan howling with a wolf. He then appears on stage and has holographic wolves surround him.

A holographic Ivan appears playing drums. Thanks Mans Zelmerlow for ruining Eurovision basically. Ivan struggles with the high notes and a baby randomly appears beside him at the end and there are other visual motifs used as well but I was too busy attaching a noose to the light fitting above my seat. I dread to think how much money Belarus wasted coming up with this. Next…

Sanja is a sublime live vocalist. Ballet guy comes charging in and paws away at her and she pushes him away. He then tries it on with one of her female backing singers. In between he does some acrobatic contempory dance. I suppose he is playing the role of the abusive husband/partner here, Sanja and her female friends are trying to ward off.

This is a dark subject matter (similar to Hungary 2 years ago) and it tells the story of the song well. Her four backing vocalists join her in the last minute and power out the climax.

Ireland has gone with red as the predominant staging colour at song start which changes to black towards the end. XF aficionados will take note of that. Nicky has good backing vocal support when they come in. Unassisted, his vocal is very thin.

Drummer, keyboard player, guitarist, 2 backing vocalists. Nicky bounds out to the satellite stage towards the finish. It’s a nice finish but it’s all rather static prior to that and it’s a shame they have the wrong colour scheme for this song throughout with no sense of ‘Sunlight’ whatsoever.

Kaliopi her usual accomplished self, front and centre. Four backing vocalists and a drummer join her but Kaliopi is the star here. This is all highly competent.

It’s really a question of whether Kaliopi’s Balkan voting power will be enough for her to sneak through in this semi. Her trademark screech at the end of this is the only negative. Superfluous and enough to make any nearby dogs run for cover. This is apparently her signature note and will remain.

There is a shot to the audience we think will reveal who ‘Dona’ is when she performs this a week tomorrow, according to a FYR Macedonia source, possibly her mother, so maybe room for a sentimental televote there.

Donny, who famously had a blindfold in Baku, has brought a trampoline to Stockholm. If you recall he gave us a one-handed cartwheel at ESC 2012; must assume he is going to do a big forward somersault next week.

This is looking quite polished already and very similar to the Lithuanian NF in execution. This chancer is clearly in love with himself and has a face not dissimilar to Ronaldo in the punchability stakes. The lighting does help this sparkle though, much more so than Ireland earlier.

Dami is seated on a glittery pedestal looking a bit like a mermaid at song start. She is wearing a very strange shimmering silver dress.

Visual effects in front of her which are trying to convey communication presumably but like a good few others this week it looks like visual effects just for the sake of it.

She gets off her pedestal and walks forward towards the end and gets some good close ups. She has changed this up and trys to freestyle to give it more oomph but Dami’s vocal is far from note perfect when she does this. Her overall look is maybe a bit alienating. The market is not impressed as Australia drifts.

 

8 Comments

  1. Henry VIII

    Interesting review as always. But I don’t feel so negative as: “Thanks Mans Zelmerlow for ruining Eurovision basically” LOL. ESC has always been a visual feast, the “vision” being key. I think projection is an exciting development. It’s got to be better than that long period of camp. Of course some countries will get it wrong in these early years of new tech.

    • Rob

      Problem is, none of it has been visually impressive and most of it has looked low-tech. I think Malta has already ditched Ira’s dress. It was all PR fluff by SVT. The focus on visual gimmickry has been to the detriment of many songs this year and the reason is, they are all copying Mans.

      • eurovicious

        Dinna wreck the light fittings Rob. SVT will bill your corpse.

  2. Cathal

    Ireland seriously need to add gold/yellow to the background, if they do that and Nicky’s vocals are in check then it could still be very good. From what I hear there was supposed to be an extra male backing singer present but he couldn’t travel wight he rest of the team as his father is ill so his inclusion can only help surely. The biggest thing we learned today is Belarus are officially out of the running and its between 8 songs for 6 spots or so #Bloodbath!

  3. James

    Hi Rob. Do you think Sweden has the ‘top Scandinavian’ market wrapped up, or is there some value with Iceland at 12/1?

    • Rob

      Hi James. I’m still of the opinion there is room for Sweden to massively under-perform. If I didn’t know any better, yesterday’s Swedish rehearsal hinted they really don’t want to win this year.

      It looked and felt very lacklustre, lots of unnecessary long shots, poor visuals on the words of Frans song… made me think of Robin in 2013 when they greyscaled his performance in a way that suggested they were ensuring he didn’t win.

      This ESC has felt very low budget so I do wonder if Sweden really want to be hosting again in 2017.

      My opinion on Sweden seems a bit of a lone voice though. Another problem is, I think Iceland might be struggling to hit the top 15 imho. But value is value and that might be worth a speculative flutter, like Georgia at 1000-1 on the Outright 😉

      • Cathal

        All this talk that Sweden are a super rich country is just propaganda ( A Norwegian girl I know was telling me about this) the truth is they struggling to fund a lot of things that are much more important such as schools etc. based on that I feel the only person in SVT that wants to win is Bjorkman.

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