Bildagentur Zolles

The morning after the night before at Eurovision is always a little bit sad, with dejected fans, disappointed delegations, and some oddments of promotional ephemera for the non-qualified artists looking forlorn. I managed to call 8 of the qualifiers, missing Serbia (which I thought would be the Kate Ryan of this year, although she received HUGE support in the hall), and Albania (which I thought would miss out as she wasn’t giving enough to succeed). In their places I had Moldova (which I thought might have just enough cheek to sneak in) and Denmark (which I thought was a dead cert but am very pleasantly surprised at). Congratulations to Darren here though who correctly predicted all 10 under a prediction post yesterday. Very impressive!

I’m thrilled about Belgium and Estonia, both of whom did excellent performances, selling their songs brilliantly. Russia looked and sounded fantastic. Macedonia fupped it up, Netherlands felt better ion stage but still a bit earnest, and Finland will not give us the opportunity to see how it would have fared with a Saturday night audience.

So, another day, another session in the Press Centre. I’m here for the second rehearsals of the automatic qualifiers. And I’m blogging tonight’s show too, That Phil drives me hard. I might have to nip for a nap in the afternoon… Italy’s been on already so more of that in a moment.

A quick trip to EuroClub after the event last night, but it was rubbish. One exceptionally hot room open with a big band playing non-Eurovision music. We positioned ourselves outside in the calm after the storm (BIG thunderstorm here last night) and held court with anyone who’d listen. And there were a lot. Well, we’re stars of BBC3 now, you know.

OK, I’m already running late. Italy and Austria have both been on already so just a quick catch up. Italy still has the backdrop but it seems less intrusive now somehow. Perhaps I’m just used to it now. The boys sing it well, I can’t see anything going wrong with that aspect, but I’m not sure the staging or the camera work is as effective as it could be. I like the impact moments where the backdrop changes colour but perhaps the angles are a little too wide.

There’s really little to say about Austria, there’s not much wriggle room in this. A band set up, some close camera work on the singer and near the end he gets up and sings on his feet. No burning pianos today. Very competent. Very, very dull.

Spain. Oh Edurne! This still looks a bit silly. Nothing’s changed really except her under-frock, and the fact that the dancer runs off with her cloak a littler earlier in the song. He’s still parading around in his topless glory. He’s the one, dear reader, you’ll recall I was thrust into a photo with just the other night in the EuroClub. Honestly, I can’t keep ’em off me. It still looks a bit ridiculous, especially where Edurne’s waving her arms about trying to create the image of being a bit mystical. Still a couple of chortles at some of the dance moves, but it’s coming together more. I expect it will be a memorable performance on the night. And that Madonna moment is still on. We told Guiseppe the dancer about this. We think it might have petrified him with the responsibility. It’s a shame really as I like this song, and Edurne’s a great singer but with all the bells and whistles thrown at it I think this probably has bottom half potential.

For Germany, Ann Sophie’s on now. She’s changed her catsuit and is sexing up the moves at the start where she’s looking over her shoulder into the camera which emphasises her silhouette right voluptuously. She smoulders throughout this, it’s very sassy and competent. It’s like she’s gone from being a girl to a woman since the German final. In that it was difficult to believe she’d had the experience behind the song’s lyrics, but now she looks like she’d eat up her man alive. What could have happened after that London party to have made her feel this way? I wish I could remember which singer it was she left about the same time as… Top 10 for this one from me.

The UK is on now. The good news is Bianca’s now sporting a faux-fur bolero trim which hides the detonators strapped around her body. Relax people, the surprise is not an on-stage explosion. There’s a bit more chemistry too, although it still needs a fair bit of work. This is what rehearsals are for though. The LED effect is also on the dancers as well as Bianca (Alex’s hasn’t lit up through). Some camera angles need a LOT of tightening up: they’re catching partial choreography that makes it look a bit clumsy. But Bianca is the least natural performer in the line up and it shows. She just needs to turn on the charm a little more, rather than looking like she’s thinking about her next dance move, which means she both looks pensive and moves a but jerkily. If she can relax into this it would be a much smoother performance. But the real work needs to come from the director to pick up the shots better. The most effective part is the scat, and there are some nice overhead shots. Overall much improved but given a song which relies so heavily on a killer performance there’s a bit to pull together before Friday’s jury final and Saturday’s live show.

Et regardez vous la France. This is what happens when you send an experienced performer to Eurovision. I didn’t get to blog this the first time but my gosh it’s worth waiting for. Lisa starts off very gently, the backdrop showing a ruined village which she evokes through the lyrics. Doves swirl from the debris, indicating a hopeful outcome. It builds beautifully musically and vocally, Lisa really has a stunning voice, probably the best female vocalist this year. Four military drummers enter at the rear of the stage and begin to march forward, whilst the backdrop echoes this with animated figures creating the impression of an entire battalion behind her. As this happens the ruins are rebuilt into a modern suburb, leafy and contemporary with the impression of a vibrant local community. Wow. This is a goosebumps moment for me. Everything about this works, with the one tweak needed in Lisa’s frock now rectified. I struggled to see where this would get votes from but now it’s difficult to know who won’t back it. An excellent example of power chanson. Surely a top 10 finish for France based on this?

And speaking of experienced performers, Guy Sebastian is up next for Australia. I also missed blogging this the other day. It’s very good: he’ sings are performs it with such ease it needs very little more work. Guy is in a shirt and tie with a blazer, and a hat, which is superfluous to requirements. I think he’d be better to ditch that. The stage is lined with giant street lamps and it makes for a simple but nice effect you’ll remember. With the novelty value this should be a shoe-in for the top10 and a win is still not out of the question.