Turin, 06 May 2022

Buongiorno everyone! For the final time, several countries have taken the stage for their second rehearsing runs. Today, it was the Big Five’s turn to fine-tune their staging. Let’s tell you what you can expect from France, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Spain.

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

Country: France
Act: Alvan & Ahez
Song: “Fulenn” [The spark]
Assigned Semifinal: First (10/05/2022)

France opened today’s rehearsals, with the Breton electro-folk song “Fulenn”.

“Fulenn”, which means “sparkle” in Breton, lives up to its name. The French performance is reminiscent of the one we saw during Ce Que Vous Décidez – A highly energetic spectacle laced with sharp camera cuts, with both Alvan and Ahez as equal partners during the performance.

France invested heavily in immersion with their staging. Green lights pulsate through the stage, and the floor LEDs are adorned with a giant green Celtic triskelion. If the language and the music weren’t an indication by themselves, the visuals emphasize the origin of this year’s French entry even further.

Minor points of improvement however: Alvan’s single lines (specifically the Tan de’i) aren’t correctly timed. Secondly, while “Fulenn” does have pyros, most of them are at the back of the stage, which is less impactful. It is strange that a song, effectively about fire, doesn’t make appear to me use of the front-stage pyros during its act.

Over the past few months. France have been riddled with sound issues during the national final and the subsequent pre-party performances, but they got their harmonies together today, with all four vocalists delivering consistently powerful vocals.

“Fulenn” makes for a fun three minutes of extraverted chaos in the field of sad ballads that will likely be making up the bulk of the finale.


Country: Italy
Act: Mahmood & Blanco
Song: “Brividi” [Shivers]
Assigned Semifinal: First (10/05/2022)

The second act to rehearse were the host entry, “Brividi” by Mahmood and Blanco.

Italy’s stage show is very simple, it’s just Mahmood (dressed in black), Blanco (dressed in white) and a piano player on the side. The song opens with Mahmood singing into the camera, remaining mostly stationary for the rest of the performance. Blanco is more mobile, walking around the stage, sitting on the piano, alongside looking at Mahmood with intensity.

It is Italy’s intent to keep things simple, and have the song sell itself. However, this isn’t working out for them.

All three takes were largely marred by sound issues. During the first two runs, Mahmood and Blanco sing out of key at times (especially Mahmood during the falsetto’s) and only sort of recover during the third run. The harmonies sound off as a result.

Furthermore, the stage’s dark lighting actively undermines Mahmood & Blanco’s ability to make eyecontact with the camera and with each other. As the intimacy and interaction between the two singers is Brividi’s biggest selling point, this creates an issue that should be addressed ahead of next week’s Grand Final.

It is strange that the host entry, one with minimalisic staging no less, still manages to experience technical difficulties at this stage of rehearsals.

Italy have their work cut out for them.

 


Country: United Kingdom
Act: Sam Ryder
Song: “Spaceman”
Assigned Semifinal: Second (12/05/2022)

Now here’s a sentence you don’t read often: Italy’s middling rehearsals were immediately upstaged by the UK.

Ryder is positioned on a small, circular white platform in the middle of what appears to be white scaffholding in the shape of an egg. The lights bounce off the metallic beams, creating a cool sparkling effect throughout the performance. Light’s built into the space egg pulsate throughout the peformance, making it more dynamic.

The British TikTok star is wearing a silver-studded glam rocker outfit, a clear reference to David Bowie’s character Ziggy Stardust. His vocals are consistent and impressive, and he sells the song with all his might.

During the bridge portion of the song, the egg opens up, changing colour from white to yellow and red. A guitar solo has been added near the end, underlining that this song is basically one big tribute to the late David Bowie. Even though this is very corny, it works.

It’s an impressive rehearsal from the UK, all in all. There is one big point for improvement though: the cosmic egg needs to be opened manually, and right now the stagehands are prominently visible when doing so. The UK needs to figure out what the optimal camera angle for this is, but that’s what the third rehearsals are for.

It would not be surprising if the UK wound up near the top of the scoreboard for once.

 


Country: Spain
Act: Chanel
Song: “SloMo”
Assigned Semifinal: Second (12/05/2022)

After the UK, it was time for Spain’s Chanel to have her rehearsal time.  The Cuban-born Spanish star performs the same choreography we’ve known (and loved) since Benidormfest.

However, many small adjustments have been made. Chanel’s outfit screams pure matador, a black unitard adorned with swarovsky crystals… and little else. (Chanel arguably shows more skin than Ronela did earlier). After the dance break, Chanel is given a red fan, which she uses for some extra cool.

The soundtrack trashes the paparazzi snap shot sound effects for a trumpet solo. The soundtrack itself sounds less like a J-Lo reject, and more like a genuine bachata track. Two high notes have also been added during the final chorus.

Spain have embellished their live with these small changes, and it has made the whole performance even more busy than it were before. Whether this is smart, remains to be seen, it’s made “SloMo” more entertaining at the least.  All this moving around is physically taking its toll on Chanel who sounded out of breath by the third run. Spain needs to be careful not to tire her out needlessly during the live shows, as she is the glue holding everything together.

 


Country: Germany
Act: Malik Harris
Song: “Rockstars”
Assigned Semifinal: Second (12/05/2022)

The final act for today was Germany’s Malik Harris. His performance was very similar to the one we saw during the Vorantscheid (national selection) earlier this year.

The young singer is positioned on three dusty carpets, around him several instruments: We see a synthesizer, a set of drums, a suitcase, old-fashioned loudspeakers, and a large piano, amongst other things. Malik walks around the items, and mimes playing a few throughout the act.  The miming is a tad too conspicuous however.

The centrepiece of “Rockstars” has always been its second verse. The long spoken word monologue is shot in one take, with the an unsteady camera focusing squarely on Malik as he delivers it. This is indisputably the strongest part of the whole performance.

Germany have tweaked their lights and camera angles throughout the rehearsals, indicating that they’re not fully certain how to best frame “Rockstars” for the upcoming Grand Final. It is therefore difficult to make an assessment, as these bits are still prone to change.

 

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

What do #YOU think of  these rehearsals? Did France fill your heart with fire? Did Italy make you shiver? Did the UK take up to to space and back? Did Spain pause the video to watch her in slow motion? Did Germany rock your stars?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments, on our forum HERE or on social media!

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