Turin, 04 May 2022

The second run of rehearsals have kicked off in Turin. Since these rehearsals are the first open to the public, we’ll be able to give you a detailed report on what you can expect of all participating nations.

Note: Images and videos will be added once they go online on the official channel. 

Country: Albania
Act: Ronela Hajati
Song: “Sekret” (The secret)
Semifinal: First (10/05/2022)
Position in Running Order: 01/17

Albania’s Ronela Hajati opened the show. Due an online press centre error, we weren’t able to see this one live, so we’ll go off the descriptions Matt made in the press centre. Our report will be limited, as a result.

The Albanian diva went for a provocative choreography that really clinches the sentiment of succumbing to desire. Dressed in a sparkly maillot and a white silken coat, Ronela looks both stunning and enticing. She’s flanked by four shirtless male dancers dressed in little more than skirts and baby oil and a female dancer with whom she has a few suggestive exchanges.

The camerawork looks a bit strange however. For song about intimate desire, do we really need any far-away shots?

However, the vocals sounded strong and confident. Ronela’s delivery of the high note may not have been perfect, but it was competent, definitely on the level where a rehearsal ought to be. “Sekret” looks like a promising opener from Albania, whose odds of qualification appear higher this year than they normally are.

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Country: Latvia
Act: Citi Zeni
Song: “Eat your salad”
Semifinal: First (10/05/2022)
Position in Running Order: 02/17

Latvia’s vegan comedy funkers were the second to rehearse. Citi Zeni opted for a colourful stage show, with each member dressed in bright colours, and the background being a bright yellow, with a pattern cyan and magenta coloured fruits. Pollapönk is probably the closest analogy you can make to this visual spectacle.

Unfortunately, “Eat your salad” is screwed over by the defunct stage, as the dark arch breaks the immersion.  Loads of wideshots only further emphasize this. The sanitized first line of their song is not as impactful of an opener as they might have hoped.

None of this is Citi Zeni’s fault however, who are bringing crisp vocals and playful energy. The floordrop is used to project several key words to further accelerate the funky vibe. The middle-eight is used to showcase the slick saxophone player during his playbacked solo. The performance ends, just like the Supernova performance did,

It is our opinion that Latvia would have had an easier path to the finals if the stage had worked as advertised. However, they’re still in it with a shot.

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Country: Lithuania
Act: Monika Liu
Song: “Sentimentai” (Feelings)
Semifinal: First (10/05/2022)
Position in Running Order: 03/17

Lithuania’s Liu was the third act to take the stage today. Monika is the axis around which all of “Sentimentai” spins. There’s a lot of focus on the Lithuanian singer, including various close-ups and spin-arounds as she pulses around like a glamorous mermaid. Her vocal delivery is crisp and on point.

The performance itself was very reminiscent of the one we saw in Pabandom is Naujo. The gimmicks are limited to two mirrored shots, with Monika selling the rest. The camerawork, however is not quite as good as it should be. This is expected, as Lithuania are overhauling their staging, but some of the intimacy is lost by the camera’s being positioned suboptimally.

Lithuania don’t appear to be bothered by the stage’s dark arch, as “Sentimentai” is more of a melancholic song rather than a cheerful one. Their qualification odds appear decent enough. The only thing they need are small adjustments that force the audience to pay more attention to Monika. She is Lithuania’s biggest stratagem, and the more focus she receives, the better.

All-in-all, a good rehearsal.

Once an official video has been posted by Eurovision, it will be embedded into this post !

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Country: Switzerland
Act: Marius Bear
Song: “Boys do cry”
Semifinal: First (10/05/2022)
Position in Running Order: 04/17

Fourth to rehearse today is the Switzerland’s representative, Marius Bear.

Darkness is the key word for the Swiss performance, as the act attempts to use it to nail its intimacy. Switzerland fish for sympathy using clever light projections. Marius is flanked by a light screen on his left (our right), on which shadows are projected (including one of a boy with a paper aeroplane). A stylized broken heart is projected on his face each time he sings the title of his song.

The camera angles on this one spoil that Switzerland were banking on the LEDs for their storytelling, but the message comes across even without LEDs. As with Lithuania, “Boys do cry” is not a cheerful song, and the darkness suits it.

While the staging for Switzerland is attempted to be subtle, the imagery can be a bit too cloying at times. With lyrics like that, does the audience really need to be beaten over the head with (sometimes literally) tearful imagery? Another thing that should be called into question is whether Marius’s gravelly voice is a good fit for a sentimental song such as “Boys do cry”.

Overall, the message comes across quite well and Switzerland are looking in the right direction. Whether Europe will buy it, remains to be seen.

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Country: Slovenia
Act: LPS (Last Pizza Slice)
Song: “Disko” (Discoteque)
Semifinal: First (10/05/2021)
Position in Running Order: 05/17

Coming into rehearsals, Slovenia’s biggest issue was an apparently lack of dynamism. Will LPS (short for Last Pizza Slice) have addressed this?

Turns out, that they have! LPS’s performance is significantly better than the ones we saw in EMA. The showstopper for Slovenia is a giant discoball, around which the young Slovenes have positioned themselves. The camera spins around, each member visibly having fun while they enter the frame.

Another thing to note are LPS’s improved sense of fashion. Out are the stiff cocktail party tuxedo’s, in are sumptuous velvet jackets with matching cravattes. It gives the group more of an identity, providing a little boost to their charisma.

Filip the frontman delivers consistently good vocals and has visibly grown as a performer, making consistent eye-contact with the camera.

It’s a simple concept, but one with promise. Two points that need improvmeent however: (1), there are too many wideshots in the beginning, which should be replaces with closer-by shots. (2) the raised platform they put the poor drummer on. It looks impressive from afar, but the scaffholding supporting the platform looks a bit ugly from certain close-ups.

Overall, pretty cool stuff. Might be a shock qualifier!

 

For more coverage, join Matt & C° on the today’s livestream!

 

What do #YOU think of  these rehearsals? Did Albania grip you? Did Latvia excite you? Did Lithuania move you? Did Switzerland make you cry? Did Slovenia entice you to dance? Share your thoughts with us in the comments, on our forum HERE or on social media!

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