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Semi-Final 2, Jury Rehearsal: Live Blog from the Press Center

by | May 15, 2019

Semi-Final 2, Jury Rehearsal: Live Blog from the Press Center

by | May 15, 2019 | escgo at Eurovision, Eurovision, Featured |

Welcome to the live blog of semi 2’s jury rehearsal! This post will be updated every few minutes, so make sure to refresh for updates!

And we close with… well, actually, we close with Martin writing on Shi’s behalf as she had to make a mad run for a shuttle bus and has no internet access while doing so. Thanks for following her live blog of tonight’s 18 songs in the jury voting show!

Azerbaijan: As it often is with the more WTF stagings, watching audience seeing it for the first time is kinda fun! Vocally, this has been steadily good all the way through rehearsals, and it did the same today too.

North Macedonia: Another professional who went on stage and got the work done. Nothing left to say about this one, really.

Netherlands: Let me be clear about this. I love the song to bits. Duncan sings it amazingly every single time. And I have no way of knowing that this wouldn’t work beyond my own feeling that establishing a connection with the audience is important, even with a wonderful song, and that this doesn’t do it enough. In terms of camera work, it’s pretty much the same it has always been – 50 seconds to the first close up, and majority of long shots of dark blue. The lamp has made it, and it now comes down from the ceiling, participants in one shot and then goes back up into the ceiling. I know the song too well to have any sense of how this will work on people who don’t know the song at all. I hope it does work, because it’s a wonderful song, but I just personally feel they have made life harder for themselves than they should have, and that if it does manage to win it will be in spite of the staging, and not supported by it.

Norway: I tried to write that Fred sounded alright for a change, but my blog wouldn’t have any of it and just decided to delete it and paste Albania instead. Anyhow, I felt it didn’t work as well as I thought it would with the audience.

Albania: Oh, Albania. Not that you were every very close to qualifying from this semi, but this might not have been the best place to have your only off vocal performance, Jonida.

Russia: I like this song but I think I have hit my capacity watching this performance – it’s really not meant for anything beyond that first and second impression at Eurovision. It also sounds like Sergey has screamed a lot in the past week, and while he stayed in key the entire time he sounded like he was about to go off more than once. The crowd loved it, obviously.

Another break!

Lithuania: He came, he sang, he had a bunch of lights behind him, he left and is probably on his way to the hotel to prepare his suitcases for tomorrow.

I feel bad for him, because he’s lovely, but there’s just nothing for anyone to notice this tomorrow.

Malta: Hmm, so somehow the Maltese changed pretty much half of the camera angles and effects. This meant a few missed camera shots and Michela less comfortable than she should be for this because everyone had to remember all the different things they have changed in the last 2 hours, apparently, and it also meant Michela delivered one of her worst vocal performances, having to once again concentrate on so many technical details. Trust the Maltese overcomplicated something that was working in a really nice way to begin with.

Croatia: A great vocal performance to THAT song. There are also angels and golden wings and lots of lava and a lot of subtle representations of heaven and hell, and seriously I can’t really deal with this.

Austria: The greatest asset of this is the direct connection Paenda has with the viewers and how well she transmits the fragility of this. They have changed the staging from the black-and-white-to-color versions they used in earlier runthroughs to color all the way through, and I preferred the former, but it might be one of those “you won’t miss it if you never saw it” things. Her vocals were beautiful and raw in the right amount.

Sweden: John did his John thing where he just will not ever have a bad rehearsal, and the hair straightener stopped being a diva after its first rehearsal dramatics. Strong as expected.

Denmark: Much like the earlier rehearsal she still sounds like she’s battling her voice, but saving it in the first rehearsal allowed her to get the vocals right, and there was a very relieved smile there at the end.

Green room break!

Romania: Apparently Romania’s approach for last minute staging changes is that no amount of pyros is too little. Earlier in the hall it actually gave me a heart attack every single time. Otherwise: good vocal, and overall as it always was.

Latvia: I already came into terms with this not being noticed by anyone, juries included, but it sounded as lovely as it could, really, and I do maintain a slight hope it made a difference for some jurors.

By the way, for whatever reason there’s no opening act so we go straight into the songs. It’s kind of weird, mostly because I feel like the rest of Europe deserves to have an impressive opener as well. But I suppose at least this semi’s songs are stronger.

Switzerland: I don’t know if I just got used to his vocals or that they improved at this point, to be honest, but it sounded good and looked as good as it can be considering they spend much of this wearing red against a red backdrop.

Moldova: If you heard the press center clapping and shouting in any of the live streams, let me tell you that I have no idea what it was for. Clean performance for a song with little substance.

Ireland: There’s not much to write about this, really. Sarah is lovely and it was vocally fine but this song is hard to impress with, especially in the context of this semi.

Armenia: The presentation issues aside, Srbuk did what she needed to do for this rehearsal and nailed her vocals.

A look back at semi 1: As we still have a little bit of time to go before the beginning of the jury rehearsal, I found myself reflecting on last night’s first semi.

Oddly enough, more than anything, it reminded me of my years as a full time sportswriter: you’d follow a team or an athlete throughout a season or preparation period ahead of a big event, and still there were always so many unknowns. They would have a terrible run-up to their big game and somehow wake up on the day of the game and have the best day of their career. They would have an excellent string of friendly matches only to have a day in which nothing came together. They would peak too early. They would crumble under the pressure or they find reserves they didn’t know they had and thrive on it. They would have the luck of their rivals just being worse on that day.

Slovenia looked pretty much dead every time they performed. Not just in terms of chances, moreso that they never were entirely in it, and that made the staging that was supposed to bring their chemistry and connection across not work. There was no better day for them to get their best performance where everything clicked last night, and in addition they were helped by that semi going in flames around them.

Hungary had amazing first rehearsals – they actually had considerably different camerawork and some effects that have since been removed. With each rehearsal they took something away, to the point that I assumed that the fact I wasn’t entirely in awe when watching the staging was because I got used to it. Only last night I realized that they have been slowly changing what they had – perhaps they started doubting themselves – and by doing so they have not only taken a particular element that was a goosebump moment, they ruined the entire visual flow this performance had.

Belarus, well. Their stage is still a result of a person sitting in stage control and trying random buttons, but apparently sometimes being a talented pretty girl singing an easy-to-listen to song can take you far, especially in this semi.

Or being Victor Crone, for that matter.

Sometimes your best is not enough – although it should be said that last night wasn’t Oto’s strongest performances, but the combination of his jury rehearsal and this one were a big effort, but at the end of the day some things can only go so far, no matter how impressive their performance is.

The others, for the most part, kept doing exactly what they were doing until that point, and did everything they could do on the night. Which is all you can ask for, really.

Then there was Eliot, who was actually getting to the right place by the end of the runthroughs, but the inexperience and nerves caused a weak jury performance, and my guess is that knowing that put an extra pressure on him last night which he just couldn’t handle, causing everything to fall apart.

And turns out the only way to really fall apart and still qualify is being Serhat, but let’s not talk about that.

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