Good morning! This is already the sixth day of rehearsals for the Eurovision Song Contest 2021.
The schedule is a bit weird today, as we’re beginning with Malta as the last song of semi-final 1, and then get to the rehearsals of the second semi-final. Since we want to avoid any of our editors covering a given country’s rehearsals twice, to ensure different perspectives on each entry, we decided to begin the day with Shi writing about Malta, then Felix will be taking over again to blog about San Marino, Estonia, Czech Republic and Greece.
Remember to refresh this page for new updates over the course of the morning.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome… the winner of the Eurov… (sorry wrong show)
Shi, your turn!
Malta: Yep, I have a date with Destiny. Why someone thought it made sense to have just the very last entry of semi 1 the next day I don’t know, I guess they don’t blog very often.
She is wearing a silver dress this time, with the pink boots, and I’ll get back to it in a bit, but as I never saw the performance before, first things first.
This is fun! The photos and the previous video bit didn’t really capture this, but it has a really cool and clever choreography which keeps the interest throughout and interacts well with the backdrops and stage elements, and Destiny looks really comfortable among the dancers as she really nails her vocals.
I love that even though we get more neon colors here – it’s a theme this year, isn’t it – they are not shy about using them, and some of the color changes reminded me of what they were trying to do with Chameleon back in 2019. I’m told that some of the colors and graphics are new additions – so, well, I’m glad to report they work.
The visuals of the bridge really do the job – not that it was ever going to struggle, but this is definitely memorable.
Now, the dress. For full disclosure, I liked the pink dress. I have very little memory of the cut or shape of it, but the color worked well for her, and seeing the rest of the performance, it was clearly meant to work with everything else.
The silver? Not so much. Not only literally every other singer wears it this year, the silver doesn’t connect to anything else on stage, and I’d go as far as saying that it’s even distracting. I had to force myself to not get distracted by it and focus on the rest.
One of my issues with their 2019 performance is that the Maltese delegation could never quite make their minds up, and ended up tweaking all the way until the end, which made it really hard for Michaela for no good reason. This is a bit of the same. You already picked a dress, and a color. It works with your vision. You also see how mean and cruel a lot of the response is to Destiny. Have her back! If she feels good in that dress that you already decided on, giving in, changing it to something that doesn’t work basically helps affirm a lot of the negative response. And if you don’t get it… how will everyone else?
Back to you, Felix!
And yep, now it’s me again, Felix, to take over the blogging for the next rehearsals.
So, that was my first time seeing San Marino on stage. Well.
Senhit wears the same mask in the beginning, that has already proven to be iconic, but this time, it features photos of Flo Rida and Senhit. I preferred the kitsch version. I think that they replaced some “disks” in the second and third run, but I can’t tell for sure, because they reflected a lot of light. Not easy to see. Some had question marks on them, and I think one showed the name “Flo Rida”. Which photos or graphics we will see in the end, that will probably remain a secret until the show.
Speaking of the rapper: We’re again getting No Rida here, or Faux Rida, whatever you wanna call him.
“Adrenalina” on stage is not as crazy as I thought it would be, but at least it’s the colourful staging that I would have expected for Moldova.
However, I think that too much time is spent on the spinning “compass needle”, and that it lacks a bit of dynamic. The whole show is not over the top enough, if that makes sense.
I feel we’re getting too many wide shots, and not enough time for Senhit to interact with the camera (the viewer), because she’s often covered by the creepy dancers, when they are on the spinning platform. Vocally, it’s quite messy and shaky, but that shouldn’t really matter so much, because this one is more about the fun. Especially with added pyros, this is a great opener and will entertain for sure.
Estonia brings another solid male solo pop number to the Eurovision stage.
Uku stands there with the upper part of his shirt opened, and what appears to be an opened a bow-tie hanging around his neck. That had to be googled, and I really don’t know whether I find it interesting or irritating. Probably the latter. I really like some parts of the music, especially the chorus is very radio friendly I guess.
Uku is vocally flawless I think, and the camerawork is tight to the music, but in some points, I would have timed the cuts differently. However, especially after the first chorus, this piece also becomes a bit boring, and likability around Uku isn’t immense.
The red version of the thunderstorms in the last chorus is quite effective, though. All in all, there’s nothing to complain here, it’s a simple but rather effective staging, but also quite boring, and it’s not going to be enough to make Uku the lucky one “enough” to sneak into the final.
Benny wears a glittery yellow jacket and questionable glasses. Not sure if these help. He walks through the opened centre of the backdrop and gets joined by two dancers in black outfits. The stage is way too dark for this one, and so the dancers are just barely visible.
Camerawork and choreography aren’t a match at all. Everything is random. The choreography probably isn’t, but it isn’t captured well enough. The least random, and best match we get in the whole package is Benny’s voice – perfectly aligning with the targeted notes.
We know from the video that Benny’s facial play can be so expressive, but we don’t see anything of this, because he hardly communicates with the camera. Again, the hipster glasses don’t help there.
In the second verse, two more dancers appear, one of which is presenting her strikingly neon pink bikini, another very questionable moment of the whole performance.
Oh good, we get a last run without the glasses. Much, much better. Phew. Now his charisma comes across, he smiles into the camera and seems to have a lot of fun, and this is so important for this performance. This was a good run, until the end. But one of the big problems remains – there isn’t enough variation and dynamics with the lighting or the backdrop.
I always thought the song was underrated, but considering the rest of the line-up of this semi-final, and how many striking stagings we yet get to see, this – even with Benny’s charisma on – is in trouble.
Greece is the last semi-finalist for today that I haven’t seen rehearsing so far, and I’m especially curious about this one. Will I like it? Let’s find out!
Wow, okay. This is of course a very surprising way to stage it. Apparently they use those green stairs, that I have already spotted in a documentary about the 2021 props, as a greenscreen, to make them appear invisible on TV, when Stefania climbs them. I assume the dancers wear partially green, too, before they apparently change their clothes for the last part of the song.
That makes one wonder why nobody has ever thought of using a greenscreen effect before, being a rather long established television technique. I previously wondered which country would use those green stairs, and now I’m surprised to find out that Greece is using them – in this way. Very effective, and no rocket science. However, there are a few very notable artefacts, the technique apparently isn’t always working perfectly. It’s not 100% clean.
Stefania however is vocally absolutely brilliant. The violet glitter outfit suits her very well, and it doesn’t look that inappropriate for her age, either.
With this staging, a different aspect of the song is highlighted. I miss a bit of the epicness that the video suggested, but instead, they now focus on the “dance” topic, and the pop side of the song. Okay.
I think there’s something missing in the whole package, it especially lacks a striking highlight towards the end, and – despite the initial “wait, what is happening?” effect with the invisible stair – it isn’t spectacular as a whole, for three minutes, without much variation in colour (because they have to avoid getting even slightly close to “green”, that would ruin the effect).
But maybe it doesn’t need “spectacular”. A good song, and a strong voice, should be enough to ensure Stefania a safe place in the final, and that’s a given.
That’s all for now – Shi will be back soon to launch a new post about Austria, Poland, Moldova, Iceland and Serbia.