Another day, another set of Eurovision rehearsals. Today 15 acts take the stage for their second rehearsals at Eurovision 2018. We’ll be reviewing these in groups of three, kicking off with Azerbaijan’s Aisel, Iceland’s Ari Olafsson and Albania’s Eugent Bushpepa. Let’s review this!
Reaction: Azerbaijan, Iceland and Albania
Azerbaijan: Aisel with “X My Heart”
During her first rehearsal Aisel’s open-front costume revealed the upper extremities of her thighs. She and her team clearly found that a bit too skin-tillating, as they’ve now sewn her translucent cape partly shut. The outfit moves from open-front to simply having a deep thigh split that offers a tantalising hint of what lies beneath.
The first rehearsal, while very sound, did seem to drag at times. Today quicker camera cuts — including more swooping cutaways — give this a sense of pace and energy that it lacked previously. The three minutes just speed by. Aisel, who remains so strong vocally, seemed more confident today. She put real vigour and thrust into her choreography. Luna moon her up!
During the final take, the performance started with Aisel laying amid a sea of fog. It provides an enticing intro that really draws you in. Even more remarkable? The use of on-screen, augmented reality graphics. Her starscape looked more expensive and realistic today, turning her into a mystical queen guiding the stars. This is moving in the right direction and surely further tweaks will take it even higher.
Aisel, “X My Heart”: Performance Preview
Iceland: Ari Ólafsson with “Our Choice”
This felt much classier today. A series of red and golden lights give the performance a much more elegant feel, and they play well on Ari’s red and white outfit. His backing vocalists all arrived in their formal wear, creating a lovely sense of a family gathering. We’re not talking family meal at McDonald’s. It’s more sophisticated Christmas gathering where everyone is warm and cozy.
Ari Ólafsson, “Our Choice”: Performance Preview
Albania: Eugent Bushpepa with “Mall”
Eugent begins his performance bathed in dark blue lighting, which transitions to bright red when he enters the first pre-chorus. At the same time he starts clapping to encourage the audience to do the same. It fits the rhythm of the drums and makes you want to tap and clap along.
Simple does not mean boring. Despite the lack of fireworks, fog, flames and augmented reality, Eugent still keeps your interest — mostly through his voice (flawless) and passion (watch that face, y’all). And there’s also a very effective shot where the lights go black and the camera zooms out quickly. It’s dramatic, spirited and effective, capturing the essence of this anthem in a single moment.
People are whispering that this could be Albania’s best entry ever. It’s easy to see why.
Eugent Bushpepa, “Mall”: Performance Preview
Photo: Thomas Hanses (EBU)