Image: EBU / THOMAS HANSES
Good afternoon! It’s my time, it’s my time again, to take over from Shi (who covered the rehearsals from Georgia to Bulgaria this morning).
I’m ready to blog about the first rehearsals of Finland, Latvia, Switzerland and Denmark.
Remember to refresh this page for new updates over the course of the afternoon.
In the first few seconds it’s hard to figure out what’s actually happening, as the camera rotates and turns everything upside down, which was previously already upside down, as you then recognize. I don’t know what this was, but it was irritating. The backdrop shows people (?) which are just as unidentifiable.
The guys wear black and aren’t very detectable on the already dark and massive stage. That’s not a wise choice.
We get a lot of upside-down imagery on the backdrop, and the point of the whole show is: messing with your sense of direction.
The vocals, taking the style into account, are solid and as expected really. The lights alternate between blue and red, with white beams of light on top. In the next run-through, we’re also getting pyros.
Even though I didn’t like Turkey 2010, I had to acknowledge that their staging was top notch. This can’t be said about Finland 2021. Viewers who don’t like the song won’t change their minds here. They do what they do. Nothing to praise here.
If Eurovision is all about selling your song to an audience that isn’t already into your genre:
This wasn’t good. Not at all.
In the beginning, Samanta is standing between green light beams emerging from the middle of the backdrop. She’s in a green dress, just like her dancers, who wear green visors over their face. The screens show an always changing kaleidoscope of golden material, probably jewelry.
In the chorus, violet lights are added. Towards the end, hands on the backdrop rise to form a crown.
And other than this, not much is happening here. If her performance of her 2020 song in Supernova was giving you migraine, if the video of “The Moon is Rising” was bad for your blood pressure, then this is the decaffeinated, very safe version. Fans of the “Queen” won’t like this: The staging is way too boring for this kind of song, and she is appearing a lot more friendly than what was communicated before. No shocks, no striking shots. No fierce queen of the night, really. This was mild… and actually quite boring.
Her vocals are alright, there are a few moments, in which she can make that specific timbre of her voice shine. But it wasn’t impressive, let’s put it this way.
I can’t stop thinking about the staging though. The song and its lyrics have so much to offer to create a striking staging from, beginning with the title that would suggest a “moon” being an element for the staging, but no. Green dresses, jewelry backdrop, and a tame Samanta Tina. Borderline – or less.
Gjon stands in a white structure, which reminds a bit of those impossible shapes and concepts by M.C. Escher (Dutch graphic artist, by the way). The LED screen provides an iridescent white background, and Gjon stands in bright spotlight.
Everything. is white and black in the first parts of the entry.
In the second verse, he walks to the edge of the structure and shows us some robotic move. As the song builds up, he’s moving more and more, showing his dancing skills and it fits.
It’s all kept very simple, but also very captivating. At some point he’s standing on the narrow side of the structure, as his face is lit by pink light.
In the last chorus, we’re getting a thunderstorm of bright lights and quickly changing shots.
The bright light on Gjon’s face has a bit of an unflattering effect though, this is the only thing that they maybe could improve, but maybe it’s not that important.
Overall, this was very convincing, and if I fall into a time hole and end up in June, and learn that Switzerland has won, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.
And I used the last run-through to just lean back, sip my coffee, be grateful that I can watch these rehearsals, and enjoy this outstanding performance of the person who will probably hand over the trophy in 2022.
At first, we just saw a very short part of it, not sure whether it was a mistake and we got to see the run-through that was supposed to be hidden, or whether somebody was late at switching the buttons. Anyway, it didn’t take long, until Jesper pointed out that something went wrong.
Jesper and Laurits are placed exactly like in DMGP.
The backdrop – how could it be any different – features a pink grid and turquoise squares. Not much of the staging seems to have changed compared to the Danish final, but we are of course hearing the studio version of “Øve os på hinanden”, which is unfortunately not as charming as the one with the live orchestra of the Danish final. A lot of vibe gets lost there, in my opinion, but what can you do.
However.: It’s remarkable that we – in 2021 – see three actual backing vocalists. Whether they sing – that remains a question, but at least they do the famous handclap.
In the middle eight, Jesper walks towards the satellite stage, dances a bit, and runs back to the main stage. At this point of this run-through, we learn that there is still pretty much “camerawork in progress”, for sure there were some shots and movements that weren’t supposed to be, but they got it already fixed in the last run.
Overall, this is exactly the cheerful, colourful performance, that we were expecting. I see from the press chat that it finaly won some people over, and who knows, maybe the energetic and joyful number at the end of the show does the same to enough televoters to make a qualification happen. No disappointments here.
And this was all for today! Thanks for reading us. Shi will take over again tomorrow morning, when the first semi-finalists get to rehearse for the second time.