The final day of rehearsals for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 saw the six already-qualified countries take to the stage for the second time, perfecting camera angles and experimenting with different effects to take their song to the next level. So here is my ranking of those six performances, based on the thirty second clip released by the official Eurovision YouTube channel and other information we know about the staging.
6th – Germany – S!sters – “Sister”
Germany are bottom of this rank but it is not looking like an awful performance. The pair sound very good and they are really trying to convey the message of (non-blood) sisterhood. It is my number six out of the automatic qualifiers because it is quite forgettable in terms of stage presentation, removing the only memorable thing in the shape of the rotating table. That, combined with the slightly confusing message being shown on the backdrop, means it’ll be hard for this country to escape the bottom three.
5th – Israel – Kobi Marimi – “Home”
It was very hard to place either Israel or the United Kingdom above one another, as they are both bringing very similar packages, both in terms of staging and song message. The reason Israel is placed fifth is because there is less urgency and emotion in his voice (at the moment!) It could really come alive when performed in the Grand Final, but at the moment it all looks a bit ordinary.
4th – United Kingdom – Michael Rice – “Bigger Than Us”
Talking of the United Kingdom, this may be another country that could struggle to break out of the bottom part of the leaderboard. The backing singers sound and look great, as does the swirling space images on the LED screens at the climax of the song. Michael is singing every note really well also, but there is nothing too unique about this performance. In terms of the Lundvik songs the Swedish presentation feels more soulful, whereas this feels more like a pop ballad. We will see if the UK can do better than last year on the night.
3rd – Italy – Mahmood – “Soldi”
Italy has probably got the best overall package in terms of presentation and meaning of their song. In terms of the staging, there are some fun interactive moments to be had with the backing singers and the double clap. The emotional message is also displayed on the LED backdrop. There is still a question mark for me as to whether the European televoters (Eurofans aside) would completely get what they are trying to do here, because there are no fireworks in this performance; it is all about Mahmood.
2nd – France – Bilal Hassani – “Roi”
If the staging for the Final of the French national final was relatable and heartfelt, this presentation is taking that to a whole new level. Instead of using “Roi” to highlight his own personal struggles growing up and his determination to rise above them, he is now using the song to show how many people have related to the lyrics ever since the song has been revealed. We have a plus-sized backing dancer and a deaf performer on stage, who uses sign language live and when she appears on the backdrop. It is definitely a great message to highlight and one that will resonate with Europe. It isn’t completely successful, the song still plods slightly, but this will do well with the televoting especially.
1st – Spain – Miki – “La Venda”
Spain are really bringing the party to Tel Aviv this year! Unlike a lot of this year’s more contemporary dance songs, who have the staging based around them, this feels like Miki is inviting all of Europe to dance with him. The backdrop is very colourful, the energy is high and the crowd are definitely going to be jumping when the performers run along the catwalk at the close of the song. There may be one too many elements (the GoPro isn’t as successful as it could have been) but this is going to finish Eurovision 2019, and in fact Eurovision this decade, with a Boom-Bang-A-Bang.
So who do you think has the best live package out of the automatic qualifiers at Eurovision 2019? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below and I hope you all enjoy watching the Grand Final of the show tonight!