Yesterday we had the first day of rehearsals in the International Exhibition Centre in Kyiv. The first nine contestants from the first semi-final performed their songs for the very first time on the Eurovision stage. Here are my thoughts about the rehearsals:

SWEDEN

I don’t really know what to say about this. It’s the same staging as in Melodifestivalen. It’s a good staging though, there’s nothing wrong with it. There just wasn’t much to be excited about, since I already knew how the performance would look like. I think the projections are very nice, especially when they are walking on the treadmills. I still think they have bad luck by performing first, I really think that can make Sweden not be the winner of this semi-final. It’s definitely a qualifier but I think the expectations are higher than what the final result will look like.

GEORGIA

I don’t really like this staging. I mean, the part in the video is actually the ending of the song so the staging there is the build up towards the finale. For the rest of the staging, I’m not really blown away by it. In the beginning she wears this red cape and then at some point she decides to take it off but there’s nothing going on for her to take the cape off, there’s no real purpose. The song itself is very dramatic and the staging kind of still needs that drama. I believe they can still uplift the song but I don’t think the qualification is achievable.

AUSTRALIA

I was expecting a lot more from Australia. In the video below you can see Isaiah on stage with the projection of his own face. I don’t like that at all. I think it’s a cheap way to create a video effect. There’s nothing interesting about seeing him on stage and then watching him again on the big screen. I don’t really get why Australia would do this, since the song isn’t that popular. I really believe Australia will have difficulties qualifying with this type of staging and song. But this video is just a small clip of the song and I haven’t actually seen the entire rehearsal so I’m still hoping for something impressive from Australia.

ALBANIA

I wasn’t expecting to see the videoclip on the big screen. It’s nice, the video was impressive and it gave the right feeling to the song. I don’t really get the placing of the background singers. I would prefer it if Lindita was the absolute center of this song, now I’m just distracted by the other singers. I have the feeling that this song is becoming more and more popular and that it actually has a change at qualifying. I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

BELGIUM

People are calling this a huge disappointment, but I don’t think it was that bad. I mean, my expectations weren’t very high to begin with. I knew from the start that comparing the video to the live version was going to be a disaster. I think her nerves aren’t the biggest problem here because I believe that nerves can actually be endearing. That could really earn her a lot of sympathy votes. But it’s just her presence on stage that bothers me. I don’t like looking at her. She doesn’t look like she’s enjoying it. And that has nothing to do with nerves, in my opinion. The staging is okay. I wasn’t really expecting big things on stage, since I know how the Belgian delegation likes to stage. I think they want to go back to basics and just show her alone on stage, to make simplicity really stand out but it just doesn’t work. The performance is too boring because there is literally nothing going on.

MONTENEGRO

I don’t know what is going on here. He’s so weird but it really looks like he’s having fun. I think this is the type of performance that will change everytime, because he’s so spontaneous. I’m not going to say anything about the vocals for now. I was not expecting him to be alone on stage. I mean, it’s obvious that he’s a massive diva but I was expecting dancers and singers on stage. I would be so surprised if this qualifies because I can’t imagine juries voting for this. That’s just impossible. It is a lot of fun, though.

FINLAND

I was so pleased that this performance turned out to be this good. I just think they are an intriguing duo to watch. They don’t really have a show or something but it’s still so interesting to watch. I think it was clever not to project any objects or clear things, it just looks like smoke in different colors. I think that’s very nice, because the attention has to be on the performers with this song. I really hope that Finland qualifies with this song because I believe it will be impressive to watch it live in both the semi-final as the grand final.

AZERBAIJAN

A lot of people seem to like this. I don’t really know what I think about it. I have to say that there absolutely is a performance. Things are happening. But maybe too much? I mean, it’s only about 30 seconds of the song and we’ve already seen so much. I think this could either look great or just too messy. I don’t get the horse at all, and him standing on that ladder doesn’t make any sense for me. At some point in the performance, the chalk boards fall down but I don’t know how this will be filmed and how it will look like. It’s actually just the backings that take them away and then Dihaj “jumps” on one of those boards. I don’t get it at all but with the right camera angles it could look great. So I’m excited to see how everything will work out for Azerbaijan.

PORTUGAL

As announced Salvador Sobral will arrive on the 7th of May and his sister Luísa is in charge of the rehearsals until then. In the video below they don’t really show anything. I really makes me wonder how the entire thing looks like. In several reviews I have heard that the singer stands on a special island, so not on the big stage, in the middle of the audience. The projections represent a forest and I really think it suits the song. It’s supposed to look like the singer is surrounded by the audience and I think that will give such a magical effect. But for that, we still have to wait until the semi-final when Salvador is in Kyiv.


So overall I think Sweden has the most clever performance, and Portugal has the most moving one. Azerbaijan looks promising but needs more work, such as Albania. Finland has a simple staging but it suits the song amazingly. Montenegro is just 3 minutes of fun, regardless of the vocals and the staging. Australia, Georgia and Belgium still have a lot of work to do if they want to make an impression on the Eurovision-fans. This is my top nine of the rehearsals, not taking the songs in consideration.

  1. Finland
  2. Portugal
  3. Sweden
  4. Albania
  5. Azerbaijan
  6. Belgium
  7. Montenegro
  8. Australia
  9. Georgia
Advertisements