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.
We had technical difficulties yesterday uploading images, so better than never, are pics of yesterday’s performers!
Back to today where we’ll have the second half of Semi-Final 2.
But first a bit of chit-chat. Your editorial team still haven’t seen much of Lisbon yet – most of the day is spent in the Media Centre! The city has a decent metro system – but be careful when purchasing tickets from the machines – you’re usually paying for journeys rather than the number of tickets if ordering more than one, so read instructions carefully. We have yet to experience any proper Portuguese restaurants, but there’s a good food hall in the large shopping centre near the arena.
Before we start on the rehearsals here are a few more highlights from a few Meet & Greets,
Ieva from Lithuania:
The message from her song is to not grow old alone – find someone to share your life with. Has she seen this Eurovision crowd?
Every time she sings her song, she feels the tears coming, but manages to control herself. However, she says it is good to cry as it’s a way of cleansing your heart.
At the end of her performance she meets the man of her dreams – who turns out to be her actual husband. He was a bit reluctant at first, but was persuaded.
She’s now a proud veggie!
Netta from Israel:
Her first rehearsals was more for technical results and she wants to move around a lot more in the next set – as she is obsessed with her visual performance.
She wasn’t expecting such a ‘boom’ and love for her song or at Eurovision.
Though she wasn’t a favourite at her national final, she’s proud that her entry is a favourite here in Lisbon.
She’s attempting to stay super-focused.
The chicken clucks are meant to show independence, empowerment – a bit of an antidote to bullying, which she says comes from fear and stepping on people’s toes.
She doesn’t really need lyrics – she likes making sounds and improvising.
ALEKSEEV from Belarus:
He’s had a wonderful time so far and is impressed by the stage.
He’s put a lot of his personal feelings into his act, which he thinks is a good combination of song and dance.
The bow and arrow and blooded shirt in the act are meant to show that love sometimes hurts. A good example was when his girlfriend at the time gave him an ultimatum – her or his music. He said goodbye to her as his career came first.
He holds a degree in marketing, which he says has been useful in promoting himself.
To relax he likes to watch films and listen to music – and is a big football. And as he is a Arsenal fan I think he deserves to the contest!
Elina from Estonia:
She’s amazed how lovely and nice everybody is.
She fell in love with opera when she was 13, when her mother inspired to aim for the future. Mind you, she originally wanted to be an astronaut as she loved everything about stars and space.
She’s enjoying her experience of trying to mix opera with electro-sounds. She entered her national final to see how far she could get.
The effects on her outfit – she insists it’s a skirt – is to show that something cold like ice can turn to real love.
OK – on stage we have the first act of the day – Georgia where Iriao, the ethno-jazz band, new performing For You. This is such a unique sound for the contest that hopefully it’ll do well enough to get through into the Grand Final. The five singers just stand in a line and sing – though they are making a fashion statement with pulled-up collars on their dapper suits. We do get a spotlight special effect and a rainfall of pyros, but none of that is really needed. It’s the harmonies that will either make or break this performance – and they all know how to sing!
Now for something completely different – a nice bit of electro-pop from Poland. Music producer, Gromee, is on stage tapping away on keyboards and doing wavy-hand gestures when he spots the camera behind him, while Lukas Meijer performs the song, Light Me Up, aided by a trio of backing singers. Hats are the fashion statements in this act – but the up-tempo beat should make this entry a hit. And as the tile suggests, there are lots of bright lights. Lukas has a good voice and tries to make most of the stage. It’s just your standard Eurovision performance, but nicely done. It could very well the club success of the year. Deserves a place in the Grand Final.
Time for Malta where Christabelle sings Taboo. The Maltese have brought along their own LED screens that produce some very interesting effects. Are they perhaps trying to dazzle the viewers to make them forget the song? The song has a great up-tempo beat and Christabelle is a good performer. She looks very menacing in her dark outfit – and to contrast her there’s a dancer in white as a mirror image, or something like that. It’s all very nice and the whole act will better aid the country getting through to the Grand Final.
Next we have Hungary so get ready for some head-bashing As AWS perform Viszlat Nyar (Goodbye Summer). And when I say head-bashing, I mean head-bashing as the lead singer runs around the stage barefoot trying to pull his hair out! It’s nice that his got a lot to spare. Oh, and one of the guitar players jumps into the crowd. As you would expect the act is very loud with flashing lights galore. You either love the genre or you don’t! But the contest can only benefit from the genre.
And for a completely different genre we now have Latvia, where Laura Rizzotto sings Funny Girl. It all mid-tempo with Laura singing away with her long legs wearing a pair of red hot-pants and matching long tail. There are lots of hand gestures – and that’s it really. Red is the colour here.
Sweden is on next represented by Benjamin Ingrosso. He’s a polished performer who’s left his backing singers off stage while he sings and dances in front of flashing tubes of light. Sweden have been a powerhouse in Eurovision for a while now and the trend continues.
Time for Montenegro with Vanja Radovanovic singing Inje (Frost). If you’re a fan of the Balkan sound, you’ll love this. Vanja is joined on stage by a pianist and four female backing singers. There’s lots of angst coming from Vanja, but he does look dapper in his light blue glittery suit! Difficult one to predict.
Slovenia are next with Lea Sirk singing Hvala, Ne! (Thank You, No!). It’s a somewhat different sound – all electro and pop – which contains a ‘break-down’. That’s one way to get your performance noticed – fake a power cut! But it all works. Lea looks dashing in pink hair and her backing vocalists and dancers are best described as sex on legs.
Ukraine are last to perform today, and it’s a good show-stopper. Melovin sings Under The Ladder. Actually the act starts with him under a piano top! A nice bit of mechanism that should be memorable. It looks as if it’s meant to signify being trapped or something. Near the end of the performance we have Melovin playing said piano while the steps below him start on fire!
A nice way to end the show!
Back tomorrow with a few more Meet & Greets.