ESC United is in Malmo to cover the Rehearsals and we will keep you updated on how it went as the press is not allowed to record any of the first rehearsals during the first four days of the contest. The 8 countries to set foot on the stage today are Latvia, San Marino, FYR Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Finland, Malta, Bulgaria, and Iceland
Check back and refresh as we will update this article as the artists perform one after another.
Latvia – PeR – Here We Go
The boys come on stage with their outfits from Dziesma 2013. They have an additional “musician” on stage. I say that in quotes because he’s actually carrying what looks like a guitar but with two iPads attached to side-by-side as the body. One iPad with the Latvian flag on it, the other with a guitar app going. Oh yeah, nice shout out to Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message” at the end, but not sure if they can get away with that in the live show since it’s copyrighted lyrics.
ZACK: Sounds a lot better on the Eurovision stage versus Dziesma 2013. This is what a semi-final opener should sound like! I still doubt it will qualify but I appreciate all the work put into the song. BTW, we have Barbara Dex Awards finalists #2.
MATT: The camera work was awful. They need to do some more work with that. The performance was very close to what we saw in the National Final. It sounded a little more full with the additional backup vocalist.
ROY: I like the costumes and the instruments are very eye-catching.
San Marino – Valentina Monetta – Crisalide (Vola)
Valentina starts seated on the main stage flanked by two backup dancers. There’s no lighting except for her lighted globe from the music video. When the dance music kicks in, the stage is lighted up in a red hue and Valentina reveals her red dress also previously seen from the music video. In the second runthrough, Valentina stops midway through the first verse. It seems she forgot the words. She is very nervous.
ZACK: This was my favorite song prior to the rehearsals. A classic Eurovision throwback. However, this first rehearsals worry me a bit. I wonder if it falls too close to the music video and does not provide anything new. Otherwise, Valentina sounds great and she’s another one of the great voices this year. What makes her stand out is that she projects so much emotion through her singing. She’s not just a “Poupee de cire”! But girl, calm down! You should be relishing the fact that you’re a favorite, not freaked out! I want her to qualify and do well! Love her!
MATT: The staging is very similar to the music video. She did well though she seems a bit nervous. Hopefully she’ll get more comfortable during the next few rehearsals.
FYR Macedonia – Esma and Lozana – Pred da se razdeni
Well Lozano is singing in English in the first run-through. He switches back to Macedonian in the second run-through. Otherwise, Esma is getting it in. Singing and dancing. They have two backup singers to the backright. There’s not much for choreography at this point. At the end of the first rehearsal, you can hear someone on a mic saying “The last position, we need to work on the last position.”
ZACK: They need to work on more than just that last position. If they aren’t careful, this could be just as messy as Bulgaria 2009. Nevertheless, Lozano has an amazing voice. But he is completely oversinging. Actually all of them are oversinging, backup singers included. I prefer the non-English version too.
Azerbaijan – Farid Mammadov – Hold Me
Farid starts seated on top of a glass box about his height in length. Underneath him inside the box is a male dancer. The dancer climbs up inside and becomes inverted so he is mirror image. Farid moves to the side of the box and the dancer is now his mirror image. At the second chorus, a dancer in a red dress comes out. Her dress tail must be 20 feet long.
ZACK: A good example of throwing a lot into one performance but not making it destroy the song. Farid sounds good. The performance is well-rehearsed.
MATT: Oh, oh…..we may be going back to Baku. Farid’s performance was flawless and visually breathtaking. Some may think it’s over the top but it’s incredibly entertaining nevertheless
Finland – Krista Siegfrids – Marry Me
The background has a giant Las Vegas sign that says “Welcome to fabulous Ding-dong Krista.” She has more or less adapted the Finnish national final choreography. In the first run through, she couldn’t get her veil on and she shouted out, “Shit!” and at the end, plants a full kiss on one of her backup singers!
ZACK: Love this girl. So much energy. This is why I love Eurovision. It’s ALL about the performance. I could see people loving or hating this one.
Malta – Gianluca – Tomorrow
The Stage is all in Green and Yellow and the same people from the preview video are on stage with Gianluca who is wearing brown pants, a white shirt and a black vest. His backup singers are scattered around the Stage. At some point he starts walking around with the rest of the group gathering in what seems to be resembling a park bench (just like in the music video) to sing the final chorus. The backdrop displays the lyrics of the song.
MATT: Cute but unremarkable. It’ll all come down to if Gianluca will be able to charm the viewers and juries as he has this likability factor that nobody can deny.
ZACK: Very cute performance, tepid performance from the press. I fear it may not qualify.
Bulgaria – Elitsa and Stoyan – Samo shampioni
Elitsa and Stoyan are joined on stage by the bagpipe player from ESC in concert. They have three female backup singers in traditional garb, which add more vocals and depth to Elitsa’s vocals. At the final chorus, the bagpipe guy puts the bagpipe down and carries around a giant mask
ZACK: I myself enjoy the song, but the performance of it. But I think Elitsa’s vocals sounded very rough. If this qualifies, it will be because it barely scrapes on by the cut off. Nevertheless, two talented percussionists.
Iceland – Eyþor Ingi Gunnlaugsson – Eg a lif
Eyþor stands center stage in a white blazer and black pants. The backdrop is a night scene with a quiet town in the background and a couple stars in the middle shining brightly. In the final chorus, the four backup singers come in plain sight.
ZACK: A nice song and a nice performance. The backdrop, like all Icelandic backdrops, is gorgeous!
MATT: Beautiful backdrop. However, I don’t care for the Ott Lepland impersonation at the end (where he’s running through a series of notes). Sometimes less is more.