Impressions from the 2nd Semifinal Rehearsals, Part III

May 8.

Slovenia. Just putting the fine polish on here.  Maja is in good voice, the backup singers are slinky and sound good.  They’ve chosen a backdrop with yet more flowers, roses with thorns.  Not much else to say about the package, except that, for me, it doesn’t add up to much.  Until Maja hits the big notes at the end, it’s all very pleasant and without a great deal of impact.

Romania.  I find this rather tragic.   I actually prefer Romania’s song to Denmark’s, which operates in the same space.  However, from the spirograph backdrop to wardrobe to the awful dancing girls with trumpets, Romania’s whole presentation comes off as cheap.

Estonia.  Pause for a deep breath. This is a strong song.  I like the cardboard cutout set and how Team Estonia engages with it.   I also like that they use the catwalk stairs for the a cappella section.  But none of that matters if they can’t get the tone right.   The run-through we saw was very, very cutesy. Unappealingly cutesy. Getter needs to take a careful look at the video footage and dial her performance back.  Time is running out.

Belarus.  Belarus operates in crazy-mixed up world.   The worse this is the better it probably will fare.  So when I say that Anastasiya looks bored with the song and was flat for most of her second runthrough, that’s probably a good thing.

Latvia.  Oh look, the boys are playing rock star.  Look at them try soooo hard to act like cool kids.  There’s been no absolutely growth from the national finals, which in itself gives me pause. Really?  Your performance from February was so perfect you had nowhere to go?  Nothing new to explore?  The whole package is rank amateur and the low point of the show.

Denmark.  As I’ve said before, I believe this song is particularly susceptible to the effects of the draw.  In this semi, Denmark has the best draw of them all, and I believe it will do very well indeed. They’ve got a big stadium anthem and have chosen to perform it with an unapologetic concert staging.  It’s a straightforward but completely appropriate choice for the song.  I like that the lead singer is now using the catwalk to draw people in (and show off his backless top).

Ireland.  Based on this rehearsal, I’d say that Jedward has made it their mission to have the highest energy performance at Eurovision.  The whole package screams savvy. Jedward’s backing singers are doing a lot of the heavy vocal lifting, doubling the twins every step of the way.  That type of support allows the boys to absolutely attack the performance.  The red jackets have outrageously large shoulder pads, putting Alexis Carrington to shame. Yet in this context, they work.   It’s a very strong way to wrap up the night.

What have we learned?  Denmark and Ireland stand out as the strongest from today’s pack.  If Jedward can deliver two performances like we saw today, they will hand Ireland the best result the country has seen in years.  Estonia needs to get their act together fast–right now they look nothing like a Top 10 finisher, let alone Top 5 as was previously thought.  Romania has enough friends to have a good shot at qualifying, but Slovenia is borderline.  Both may make it, but I’m concerned because they occupy the same space as other countries in this semi that right now are putting out better performances. Latvia and Belarus are non-qualifiers.