Reporting for OGAE UK and Vision magazine we have Hass Yusuf (words), David Ransted (photos), and along with Robin Scott who’s helping us out, especially with any videoing. This blog will be updated throughout the day.
This is going to be a rather sparse blog today, as I’ve had to go back to London for the day – but back in Lisbon, the arena for the second set of rehearsals has opened up. That means David and Robin will be standing there all day photographing and filming, the endeavours of which will be revealed tomorrow and on the website and Vision magazine.
So how are things here in Lisbon? Well to be honest, there’s doesn’t seem to be any sense of excitement. Maybe it’s because the press area isn’t full up yet with that special buzz full of ‘experts’. Many journalists are blaming the rather lackluster stage. It does look impressive, but just having loads of lights seems a step backwards. I guess all those fab LED effects that we’ve had in most years this century have spoiled us. But hey, at least it’s better than that dull offering in Oslo!
As usual a lot of songs that were thought of outsiders are now extremely popular by the press – Hungary’s AWS being a good example. The group knows how to perform live and it shows. Some acts are replying on their own props to give them that little edge. Semi-Final 1 is considered the tougher semi, which means that many good acts will not make it though – it usually happens to my favourite song. Sorry Albania! But hopefully the ones that get through will be on merit. Luckily we’ve been devoid of any politics this year – though of course there is still a lot of attention regarding Russia’s Julia.
Personally from what I’ve seen so far, I still expect the Czech Republic to win – apologies for the kiss of death Mikolas – who by the way is on the mend and will be rehearsing today I believe.
Some acts are using props to the best effect. The ones that come to mind are the little bots that play an important part in the act from San Marino. Not that it needs any help as I think it’s the best entry the country has ever had. Hopefully it’ll surprise us and get through to the Grand Final.
Sweden has bought along their own light tubes to make the most of Benjamin’s act. The Swedes will undoubtedly do well again.
The opening piano top gives the impression that Ukraine’s Melovin is an awaking vampire – especially with that weird contact lens. But setting the stairs on fire might be a bit OTT. But then again, remember the burning piano a few years ago?
Slovenia to get them noticed have a technical failure halfway during their act, so the audience is expected to replace the music.
One of the best props is the opening doors and windows from Moldova – it’s very clever and excellently tells the story of the song!
Another good story-telling act belongs to Malta and the effective way they show mental illness as something dark and fierce that cab eventually be cured.
As usual there are a lot of messages in this year’s acts. The viewing public of course will have no idea what’s going on unless the commentary gives them a clue, but it’s good that the performers have sometime to focus on.
Some acts will need more work – such as Australia. Jessica’s song is one of the best in the contest – as is her performance – but the act is just uninspiring. While it’s true that a great performance can bring out the best in a song, this is still a television show that demands a bit of spectacle. I know that the Russians weren’t that pleased with their first rehearsals, so we can expect a few changes next time.
Tomorrow we’ll see the first, but closed, rehearsals for the host country, Portugal, and the Big 5, UK, Italy, France, Germany and Spain. And this year all of these are top-notch! Germany and France are expected to do really well – and SuRie’s performance, on previous experience, is going to rock Lisbon!