Image: EBU / ANDRES PUTTING
Good Morning, and Happy New Eurovision!
Welcome to our liveblog for the first rehearsal day at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in Rotterdam!
We are connected to the venue via the Online Press Centre, and over the next two weeks, this will enable us to blog from our home offices in Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Remember to refresh this page for new updates over the course of the morning. Later today, there will be a new post covering the rehearsals of Australia, North Macedonia and Ireland.
Today, it’s me, Felix from Germany, watching the rehearsals live, and reporting “from” them as they happen.
So many things are new: We’re in a new decade, there’s a new Executive Supervisor, a new (one-off?) rule concerning pre-recorded backing vocals, and – for the first time – an Online Press Centre. We’re curious how this all will work out. Let’s find out!
I’m already logged in to the press centre and ready for the first rehearsals, with my cup of coffee. I’ll need it after a night with little sleep. So far, there hasn’t been any of that typical first-day-chaos yet, but we will know later, whether it will stay like this.
It’s 10:01 and at the moment we’re only seeing the animated logo and the sponsors logos, on repeat. Everyone in the Online Press Centre Chat is obviously excited and wondering when it will finally begin. Welcome to the typical first rehearsal day madness!
Meanwhile, it’s 10:10 and still nothing. Rumour is that the first run-through isn’t public on purpose. Whether it’s this, or the typical hickup, we’ll probably find out, sooner or later. Stay tuned. 😀
And we’re off – without sound. The Roop are in their typical yellow outfits. And now there’s sound, but no picture. I’ll resume as soon as there’s both.
And we’re now having both! Hooray!
We’re first seeing Vaidotas, the lead singer. The other guys are first introduced via split screens, and before the first chorus, they are uniting in the centre of the stage. There’s not that many changes compared to what we already know. At this moment, they look a bit lost on the massive stage, which comes across quite sterile at this point, but it’s probably taking a bit to get used to it. The run-through we saw just now was a solid one, apart of some technical hick-ups that apparently are also happening in the venue, as Vaidotas asked in between: “Where is my spot?”
While Ana is indeed having her first run-through behind closed doors (we just got this confirmed), and my neighbour is mowing his lawn, we’re hearing a meditative music and the words “one – two” on loop. Very relaxing.
Now we’re seing Ana, with an outfit similar to what she wore in the video.
The stage is drown in golden light as soon as the first chorus begins. Her voice is okay in most parts, but she appears to feel rather uncomfortable.
After the second chorus, she’s now walking down the catwalk towards the satellite stage, and has some problems with walking in that long dress. I’m one of the few fans of this song, but this run-through left me rather unimpressed.
Meanwhile, after Lithuania, the watermark we’re getting on the stream was replaced by a much more obtrusive one, making it harder to build a proper overall impression.
However, what I could gather after Slovenia’s first public run-through is this that there’s still a lot of work needed to not make her look that stressed, lost and uncomfortable. Denmark 2002 vibes at this point, but just from the visual impression. Her vocals are fine all the way.
In the next run-through, she seems to grow into it. Her vocals have been impressive all the time so far. The stage (Planet Earth is seen in the backdrop) is now making use of the semi-transparent LED screen, as she walks down the catwalk, now this is an effect that’s for sure leaving some impression!
Yes, now we’re more confident about this one. Being the only female power ballad this year, and a very solidly performed one, my hopes are higher again to see this qualifying.
Manizha is beginning in a huge Russian dress, but soon comes out of it in her typical red outfit. The first “dress change” of the year! And now it’s really Eurovision. The four singers are standing around her like in the Russian final. Manizha is interacting with the cameras, and very good at it. In the chorus, we’re seeing some kind of orthodox saint figure covering the backdrop, but I’m too uneducated in iconography to know exactly who or what. Parts of the lyrics are flashing up on the screens. The general energy is awesome. Towards the end, we’re seeing lots of women in the backdrop, which Manizha is singing to.
In the second run-through I’m watching, we’re also seeing fire fountains. We’re unfortunately having quite some buffer issues with the stream on this run-through, but from what I can see, Manizha is playing with her charm, just like in the Russian final. Overall, this is the best so far, and gets lots of positive feedback in the OPC chat. It still has room to become even better, but we have no doubts that this is a safe candidate for the Top 10 in the final. It’s Eurovision, it’s fun, it’s good.
After Russia, I quickly looked at Lithuania’s Meet & Greet, in which The Roop talked about the creation process of Discoteque. We also learned that yellow is a symbol for hope. Very lovely guys. Anyway, now it’s time for Sweden.
Tusse wears a sleeveless red outfit, and black gloves (?) with lots of glittery applications. If anyone wonders how his voice is: I find it even better than in Melodifestivalen. The stage is very dark, framing Tusse and his dancers very well, and avoiding that impression of feeling lost on this massive stage. There are a lot of prerecorded voices heard (a milliion?), but the overall performance and staging is absolutely strong. Very, very well done.
Here, we have the same flashing lights to both sides of Tusse and his dancers, that we’ve already seen in Melodifestivalen. In some parts, the backdrop shows additional dancers, so that it gives the impression that there are more than 6 people on stage. Not sure whether this is a good idea, though. In this run-through, Tusse’s voice gets into real problems on the higher notes, crackles and lets us hope that they will be alright by the time it counts.
The next rehearsals (Australia, North Macedonia and Ireland) will be covered in a new post.