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Rehearsals Day 6 LIVE: First Rehearsals – Israel, France, Spain, Italy, UK and Germany

by | May 10, 2019

Rehearsals Day 6 LIVE: First Rehearsals – Israel, France, Spain, Italy, UK and Germany

by | May 10, 2019 | escgo at Eurovision, Eurovision |

The internet is trying to murder me today, but one way or another this rolling blog and I will be here!

Israel
Also trying to murder me: our own entry. It’s actually staged quite nicely, in black and white light that very much matches the atmosphere of the videoclip, but the song is still the song and Kobi is still Kobi and I don’t think he knows how to not come across not over the top. The vocals are note perfect and he does have a special tinge. There’s some props – geometrical shapes behind him that occasionally show his black and white pictures, but in a much less cringe worthy way than video. and movement but it doesn’t feel like too much or too desperate (especially with that type of song), which I’m actually glad about – it would have been an easy route to pick considering the reaction to the song. It’s what it is and if you like that kind of thing, then this should make you happy.

And appropriately for Israel: there’s a bit of Israeli choreography as at some point the backing singers all walk forward and join him.

France
I’ll say this right away: I have no idea what to make of it. I don’t know if I like it or not. I don’t have an idea of how it will do. But I do now know that the French aren’t going for subtle this year. We start with projections on Bilal’s face before pulling out to reveal a stage with projects of quotes and words about acceptance. Bilal sports a longer blond wig so he can do a hair dance a-la Eleni Fuego, and we have a very overweight female dancer bursting into an impressive sequence of pirouettes, and an apparently deaf dancer doing a bit of a more modern take on the song. There’s a lot of nice gold decorations on the backdrop, although it does occasionally switch into Vegas casino territory, and in other times it displays giant messages like “we are kings” and “we are queens”.

It pulls you right into the discussion of whether featuring an overweight dancer and a deaf one in a song talking about acceptance means that they are not different or further labels them into that place. Some will be touched by this, some will feel uncomfortable with this – and not necessarily because they are not tolerant, just because it’s such a touchy and complicated subject that we each process and deal with differently. It is, however, going to be noticed on the night, no matter what.

THIS IS MEME

Spain
The short version: it’s all the kitchen sinks.

Long version: I don’t even know what I just watched. It starts with a complicated but still nice idea of a house where Miki’s dancers sleep with their eyes covered, and then he goes on to remove their eye covers. So far so good.

Then the rest of it happens, which includes many colorful backgrounds but with a color range of Paintbrush 20 years ago, projected icons, crazy camera angles from afar, choreography stuck into one box so you can’t even see Miki, a robot, lots of choreography that is done on such dark stage you can’t even see it. Then the colors return and it’s even worse, as they create overly ugly shapes and a kiss-cam kicks into action with the screen becoming the backdrop – and honestly, I can’t even be sure, still, that I registered all the details even after three run throughs. It’s basically the staging of Spain 2011 on steroids plus all the props and Moustache‘s color scheme.

Italy
As always, impressions are a result of expectations. Having seen Italian stagings (and also not thinking this is a winner, despite being my personal #1) I mostly wanted them to not ruin it, and they didn’t. It’s tad too dark, but it has a really nice white/blue/red scheme throughout that works well for the layered backdrops. They use segments from or similar to the videoclip with silhouettes in the right places, and the bridge towards the end is particularly powerful.

The dancers help it look less empty than it would have otherwise, although it still needs a bit more work – some shots are smart in the way they interact with the art, and in others they are just sort of in the shot, although thanks to sensible fashion choices it’s not distracted. There are a couple of shots I’d give up on – especially the burning money – and I’d make some shots brighter. I’m also not a fan of text on the backdrop but they picked only a couple of key phrases and use them sparingly. Overall, still needs work, but has concept and fits the song, so they have what to work with.

United Kingdom
I’m fairly certain this staging was taken out of Britain’s Got Talent circa 2007. It’s not bad per se, just useless. He’s alone for much of the song, first in black and white, then in color – an odd choice considering his level of charisma. The backdrop goes into galaxy mode, but looks pretty low tech and the backing singers finally join to make it look slightly more amateur, standing in a circle a-la Montenegro notwithstanding. For what it’s worth, there’s nothing there that will make viewers laugh hysterically. They mostly just won’t notice it.

Germany
Germany, how about calling Spain tonight at the hotel? I heard they have a few extra props and colors they might want to get rid of. The S!sters start at each side of the (dark) stage and walk towards one another, before ending up in the middle and singing uncomfortably close to one another. There’s a giant “SORRY” on the backdrop during the second verse (apology not accepted, Germany) and a collage of sister photos at the end that goes way too quickly to leave any impact – pretty much like the rest of this performance bar the “goes too quickly” part. I adore the girls and they sing well, but these are three long minutes.

And that completes our live blogging for the day. Apologies for the technical issues that have meant our front page has been down all day. Hopefully we’ll get the gremlins out of the system again by tomorrow and the second rehearsals of the remaining contenders in semi 2!

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