Good morning and welcome to a new day of rehearsals for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019, this year held in the sunny city of Tel Aviv. On today’s schedule we are seeing the second set of countries from the second semi-final perform for the first time. The countries that are performing today are: Croatia, Malta, Lithuania, Russia, Albania, Norway, The Netherlands, North Macedonia and Azerbaijan. Throughout the day this site will be updated with my summaries and also clips of the performances, courtesy of the official Eurovision YouTube page. Let’s hope for a great day of rehearsals!
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10) Croatia – Roko – “The Dream”
The Croatian delegation have brought a similar concept to their Tel Aviv performance but have taken it up a couple of notches. Roko starts singing in English and has a pair of red wings on his back. Two backing dancers (presumably representing angels) come on stage when the song is about to switch to Croatian and straps a pair of golden wings onto his back, before they ascend back to heaven via the LED screens. Smoke in later rehearsals helps to hide the golden wings on the floor and add to the atmosphere, plus Roko’s voice sounded amazing on every run.
11) Malta – Michela – “Chameleon”
The usual layout of the stage has been broken up by the Maltese delegation. They have brought two connecting walls that make a V shape facing the audience. This allows there to be two different visual effects/backdrops occurring at once. The smaller backdrop starts with a shot of a bedroom, possibly Michela’s, before it moves into the jungle and then ultimately the city. There is also the odd chameleon appearing on the screen as well. She is joined on stage by the backing dancers, who are lots of energy to the performance. Michela started off stiff, both in terms of energy and vocals, before steadily improving on each run.
12) Lithuania – Jurij Veklenko – “Run With The Lions”
In terms of the staging, this is probably one of the simplest performances in this year’s contest. In a similar vein to his national final set up, Jurijus is wearing all black and the stage is mainly dark. There is some gold lighting that helps to make a good contrast and the backdrop switch from gold static to gold images, keeping with the concept of the national final. Jurijus sounded solid on all of his runs and I think the Lithuanian delegation have decided on their final product for the semi-final already.
13) Russia – Sergey Lazarev – “Scream”
Russia are really bringing the high production value once again. As in his 2016 performance, a lot of Sergey Lazarev’s staging centres on the use of screens behind him. Instead of just a single screen, there are eight panels of glass. When Sergey walks up to the first panel, it appears as though he is singing to his reflection, before the camera turns to a wide shot and later, some of his reflections start to perform different actions. He then enters into a box that is hidden by a panel and rain falls down the side. The final shot is the glass having a shattered effect on it. Sergey gave it 99% from the first run-through and sounded really great; this will definitely appeal to the jury vote in particular.
14) Albania – Jonida Maliqi – “Ktheju tokës”
For their first rehearsal, the Albanian delegation highlighted their biggest asset in their staging – Jonida’s magnificent voice. She shone in every run through of her performance. She is dressed in a black dress with gold embellishments, looking stunning and traditional. The backdrop is relatively simple, with black the main colour, with red occasionally appearing and the image of an eagle flying through the screen at one point. The simplicity worked for Albania last year though the delegation may be bringing some more visuals in the LED screens/floors and through the use of pyro in their second rehearsal.
15) Norway – KEiiNO – “Spirit in the Sky”
In their Melodi Grand Prix performance, there was a lot going on with KEiiNO’s staging, with drummers and a lot of choreography. For their staging in Tel Aviv, the Norwegian delegation have stripped back all of the excess elements so that the focus is on the three performers. The camera cuts are sharp so that they show each singer when they are having a solo part. The backdrop is mostly dark blue, with shots of the mountains flying past. In the final run, a smoke machine is utilised to cover the performer’s feet, as is some pyro to give the performance that spice.
16) The Netherlands – Duncan Laurence – “Arcade”
This is the pre-contest favourite, and Duncan Laurence did not disappoint in his first rehearsal of “Arcade”. The performance is an intimate one, with Duncan sitting at a modern looking piano for the duration of the song. The camera angles are suitably personal, with slow fade cuts between close-up shots of him playing the piano and wider reaction shots of the whole arena. At the climax of the song, an orb comes down and Duncan interacts with it, before lasers shoot out. Will this be enough to translate the brilliance of the song to the television viewers?
17) North Macedonia – Tamara Todevska – “Proud”
Like several of its contemporaries in this semi-final, Tamara and the delegation from North Macedonia have chosen a simple yet classy staging to showcase the message of the song. Tamara herself looks beautiful in a green dress with a black see through top with sleeves underneath it. She is joined on stage by several mirrors, like with the Russian performance. However, these just showcase Tamara’s back, as though she is a figure of empowerment meant to reflect the struggle of women around the world. She sounded brilliant on every run of the song as well. This is another performance, save from working on camera angles, that is ready to go for the live semi-final.
18) Azerbaijan – Chingiz – “Truth”
Azerbaijan have brought one of the most unique stage shows to grace this year’s contest. Chingiz is standing in front of an upside down triangle with two robot arms beside him, which start scanning him and shooting lasers where his heart is. On the backdrop there are futuristic sci-fi imagery, such as holograms. There is also a very cool effect on camera, involving light beams, which will look really good on the live show. Chingiz himself is dressed in a tunic looking outfit and sounded very good, especially on the falsetto segments. After this rehearsal, Azerbaijan rocketed up in the betting odds. Could this be a good sign for the country’s success in the contest?
So those were the nine acts who rehearsed their entries today. Who was your favourite and do you think any of these will win the Eurovision Song Contest 2019? Comment below and vote in the above poll and I’ll see you all for more Eurovision preview articles in the coming days!