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Rehearsals Day 2 LIVE: Belgium, Georgia and Australia

by | May 5, 2019

Rehearsals Day 2 LIVE: Belgium, Georgia and Australia

by | May 5, 2019 | 2019 Rehearsal Liveblogs, escgo at Eurovision, Eurovision

Welcome to the second day of rehearsals in Tel Aviv! It’s super hot outside, so I’m looking forward spending the day in front of the big screen and with the air conditioner on…

Not being a morning person, I was grateful that with one less rehearsal today we are starting late rather than finishing early, and Wake Up is an appropriate title to start the day with! Belgium went with a minimalistic color palette of black, white, gray and red with some blue touches, and two drummers, one at each side of the stage. I spent a good bit of the first run through trying to figure out what he’s wearing – it’s a black top with some red decoration, but it looks like he’s about to go rock climbing rather than perform at Eurovision. Or an alternate at Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

There are a lot of intentionally slow movements in the first section of the song, which get faster as the drummers desert their drum posts and stand next to Eliot performing some drumstick choreography. They then return to their drums for the bridge. There are backing singers somewhere in the mix, but they are nowhere on stage, and might as well be singing from the garage because that’s as much as I can hear them. Eliot is sweet and sympathetic but his shyness still gets in the way of forming a connection with the audience.

They have quite a bit of discussion going on with a crew, discussing specific camera angles and pacing of movement. I get what Belgium is trying to do with this, but it feels like an idea that is halfway there – having a staging that evolves throughout is the right direction, but if you were going for a dynamic then it’s not dynamic enough yet. It feels a bit empty and the African drums feel like a bit of a mismatch.

It’s always tricky when you have songs that you know are really hard to sell to a wide audience but then they come and do absolutely everything to make it work. So let’s say this: if/when Georgia don’t qualify, it’s really just because there’s not enough audience for this kind of song. But we’ll get three stunningly intense three minutes. They use the high quality screens to the max with endless combinations of fire, ice, and storms. The LED floor sports a bridge over a very stormy sea, the camera work is clever and enhances the drama, and my favorite bit is a small section where Oto turns to his backing singers and it’s a nice touch of interaction we don’t usually get to see.

It’s very big and very dramatic and could have easily been too much, but they manage to always just match Oto’s intensity of vocals and presentation without ever eclipsing it. Like it or not: you’ll have a very interesting three minutes.

I feel like it’s dangerous saying it when I still have Iceland, Portugal and San Marino to come, but this one has been one of those “I don’t know what to do with this information” performances.

When Kate said her performance will be different than the national final’s, I assumed she meant we’ll have a different concept, not that they will just supersize it. Now we get to dementors flying around on sticks, Kate (as Gliinda from Oz – seems to be a recurring theme) on a taller stick in the middle (Luke from ESCXTRA asked what happens if she drops the microphone in the middle, and I now can’t stop thinking about that). There’s a giant globe on the LED floor and galaxy skies on the backdrop, so the camera work is supposed to make them look like they are flying with zero gravity, obviously. Except it looks a bit amateurish and just too much.

It does have that “ooh, this is the kind of crazy we come to Eurovision for” thing that televoters seem to like, but it’s like they didn’t know where to stop. Kate is an amazing vocalist, but it’s such a circus act there’s very little room left for connection with the audience or letting the audience know there’s some actually serious idea behind all the crazy.

Also, the setup for this is taking forever every time, and the triangles on the ceiling that so far have done an amazing work showing off the countries’ flags at the beginning are still not quite getting how the Australian flag actually looks like…

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