Hello everyone and welcome to another article focusing on the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest 2019. Yesterday, fifteen acts performing in the first semi-final had their second group of rehearsals, and the Eurovision YouTube page have released snippets of how the songs will look on camera. It’s time to go through them and rank who has the best entry from the perspective of the TV cameras, baring in mind we know about what the full performances will look like. This is my personal opinion, so please do not be offended if you disagree with my ranking.

15th – Montenegro – D mol – “Heaven”

The stage is very small for this year’s contest and it helps to make this snippet look like a mess, as the six singers aren’t completely in sync and flap their hands in a way that doesn’t look good on camera. It also looks dull.

14th – Finland – Darude feat. Sebastian Rejman – “Look Away”

I must admit to being slightly disappointed, as I did like this entry prior to the contest. I understand why the three performers were placed away from each other but it looks a bit disjointed, lacking energy and very dark for a dance song. The vocals have improved though.

13th – Belarus – ZENA – “Like It”

The performer is making up for a very average song with some decent vocals and high energy, but all of that is offset by the use of way too many wide shots in this snippet. I imagine that they want to get the audience’s reaction but it’s hard to know what’s going on, especially when the staging looks a bit messy.

12th – Slovenia – Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl – “Sebi”

The most marmite entry of the year. A lot of people will see this rehearsal snippet as a masterpiece that will look amazing in the live shows, but it leaves me feeling very cold. It has the potential to be intimate like Lithuania 2018 and camera angles help with this, but it’s not clicking for me.

11th – Belgium – Eliot – “Wake Up”

Another entry that leaves me feeling flat. The song itself gives so much potential in the staging but the choice to use drums and stick choreography with a light background in a darker sounding song just doesn’t work for me.

10th – Portugal – Conan Osiris – “Telemóveis”

I applaud the Portuguese delegation for sticking to their guns in keeping the experimental staging to match the modern and unique flavour of the song. However, next to some similarly different entries in the second half of semi-final one, this falls flat and doesn’t seem to go anywhere.

9th – Estonia – Victor Crone – “Storm”

This manages to do most of the things that I criticised Finland’s rehearsal clip for not doing; it has energy in the performance and feels focused. However, the use of wide shots is a choice considering that Victor is the only performer on stage. Though a special effect will be coming later in the song, this part is nothing groundbraking.

8th – Hungary – Joci Pápai – “Az én apám”

The best part of this rehearsal clip is the backdrop, it is completely gorgeous with the golden tree. Joci sings with passion as always, considering the song’s message is personal to him, so I don’t understand why there are so many wide-shots. Surely the Hungarian delegation would want to keep the stage intimate, so he is singing directly to the audience?

7th – Poland – Tulia – “Fire of Love (Pali Się)”

The ladies are looking fierce and beautiful in ethnic Polish costumes, including stunning headpieces. They are also completely in sync in this clip (cough *Montenegro*). I feel like the use of their faces singing the lyrics in the LED backdrop to be a bit of a cop out, I feel like it was a missed opportunity to convey further the song’s message. Still good though.

6th – Czech Republic – Lake Malawi – “Friend of a Friend”

This is a very colourful performance, thanks for the LED backdrop and the costuming. But it is also a very clean performance. The use of doorways which the band members stand it help to differentiate them and make each performer pop. I’m also liking the energy from this snippet, hope it continues for the whole performance.

5th – Iceland – Hatari – “Hatrið mun sigra”

This is another performance that I think has been harmed by the small stage in Tel Aviv. It is everything I really want in terms of this genre; Hatari are bringing something new to the table and a performance to match. However, just in this snippet alone, it looks a bit messy with too much in one shot as the performers cross over each other.

4th – Cyprus – Tamta – “Replay”

This was leading the bookmakers’ odds in this semi-final prior to the rehearsals and the Cypriot delegation have delivered a professional looking, if slightly middle-of-the-road, performance. I do like the “Replay” effect when the camera replays Tamta’s movements in conjunction with the lyric but it hasn’t got the fire of “Fuego”.

3rd – Georgia – Oto Nemsadze – “Keep On Going”

The song may still be dour in its studio cut, but it is brought to life with this imaginative staging, which takes the audience into the mouth of Hell. The backdrop and LED floor have been used to good effect and I like how the camera angle pans when the backing vocalists are chanting. Georgia have definitely boosted their chances of qualifying.

2nd – Serbia – Nevena Božović – “Kruna”

Another song that has been brought completely to life by its staging. The swirling mystical portal at Nevena’s feet and on the backdrop, aided by the smoke effect, really make this performance dynamic. I put this above Georgia as the song is easier to listen to and feels more multi-layered in the vocal department. This will definitely qualify now.

1st – Australia – Kate Miller-Heidke – “Zero Gravity”

Could it really be anyone else? The Australian delegation have stunned by with this performance and how the LED screens give the illusion that the three performers are floating over the planet. This will wow viewers who are watching this performance for the first time and I can see Australia reaching the top ten at least, combined with Kate’s brilliant vocals.

So what are your thoughts on yesterday’s rehearsals? Who had the best performance from the released snippets? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below and stay tuned for more Eurovision preview articles in the days leading up to the contest!

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