TGIF! Not because the week is ending, but because we’re being treated to the second set of second rehearsals at Junior Eurovision 2016. Australia, Serbia, Georgia, Armenia, Bulgaria, Belarus, Albania, Ukraine and Russia will get a second chance to perfect their acts, unveiling tweaks to their LED, adjustments to their costumes and much more. We’ll be updating this throughout the day, so be sure to check back.
Australia: Alexa Curtis with “We Are”
She says we were given a voice to speak — and she was clearly given a voice to sing! Alexa proved it again during her second rehearsal, oozing the confidence and charisma that led her to win The Voice Kids. This morning she was nailing all of her camera angles, staring straight into those cameras. She looks increasingly confident and really nailed her make-up game.
The 12-year-old starlet ditched her casual wear from Wednesday, glamming up in a thigh-skimming blue dress covered in sequins. It worked well with her LED — particularly the blue supernova-like floor lights. Towards the end of her song the floor features a spinning chain of her song’s title “We Are”. We are and she is — FABULOUS!
Serbia: Dunja Jelicic with “U La La La”
It looks like young Dunja spent Wednesday charging her hoverboard, because she seemed to speed across the stage this morning. More confident in her twists and turns on the two-wheeled contraption, she served more attitude, thrust her hands more forcefully and made us worry she might slide off the stage. But she didn’t. She held her nerve and her vocals. We don’t know what she had for breakfast, but we want it NOW.
Georgia: Mariam Mamadashvili with “Mzeo”
Where there is sun there are flowers, and where there is “Mzeo” there is plenty of LED flora. Young Mariam worked a blue and green LED floor, which at one point featured a massive flower in bloom. She stands in the centre, delivering her powerful Broadway vocals. Despite the massive high notes and power, this somehow retains a quiet, serene quality — in large part to the slow panning and pace of the shots.
Armenia: Anahit & Mary with “Tarber”
Anahit may have been sick during her first rehearsal, but she’s definitely getting better. This morning she pushed herself further than we had seen on Wednesday and there were plenty of good signs that she’ll be at 100% on Sunday. Mary looks to be on great form and the dance routine looks like it’ll be a real crowd pleaser. The dress reveal at the end — where they morph from brightly coloured costumes to all white and silver — is dramatic and helps mix up the final minute.
Bulgaria: Lidia Ganeva with “Magical Day”
We all know the phrase “Keep it cute, or put it on mute.” Well Lidia can turn up the volume! Looking beyond adorable and serving non-stop-kid-friendly sweetness, this is perhaps the most age appropriate act in this year’s contest. Little Lidia sways in place, spins in circles and generally rocks the pre-teen princess vibe. Vocally she’s flawless and mixes power with frailty — it’s perfect for JESC.
Belarus: Alexander Minyonok with “Muzyka Moikh Pobed”
Urban, street and polished, Alex seriously slays! His backing dancers have major hoverboard game, performing spins and tricks, sometimes while holding hands and channeling the great Russian pairs figure skaters of the 90s and 00s. At one point they form a human pyramid, which Alex mounts and then dismounts in an acrobatic flourish. They get it. The white-and-red colouring of the outfits really stands out against the bright backdrop, which resembles a massive moving comic book, and Alex remains in tune and on-point despite all that movement. This is a huge grower.
Albania: Klesta Qehaja with “Besoj”
Klesta’s vocals don’t need much review — they are always stellar and on point. This act remains mostly the same, with Klesta standing centre stage and doing her thing as well as she did previously. The already confident youngster has grown in confidence yet again.
Ukraine: Sofia Rol with “Planet Craves For Love”
Sofia Rol sounded just as good today as she did on Wednesday, and today the visuals improved to match the quality of her vocals. The umbrella she stands in has a glowing handle and its exterior lights up, creating an interesting focal point around which the performance unfolds. The blue lighting, mixed with yellow accents in the trees, makes us think of the Ukrainian flag. The overall lighting effect and LED seemed much smoother and more sophisticated, creating a really elegant and stirring performance. The artist mimes who accompany her on stage seemed more expressive today, and the cameras captured them more closely.
Speaking to wiwibloggs ahead of her second rehearsal, Sofia’s team explained the meaning of the umbrella: “The planet craves for love, peace and concern! This is the main message Sofia would like to convey to all the planet. Children have to build a world where only love, peace and sincerity exist. The main symbol which is used in the performance is umbrella. This is the protection and ship sails, the place of meeting for belove hearts and at the same time it’s a ship for travelling by the river of time. A tender way of Sofia’s performance is underlined in a special way by the mime-actors involved in the performance. They act a story about lonely boy who finds himself absolutely alone in a big and cold world of misunderstanding and alienation…A tiny butterfly opens the door to him to a magic, warm world of goodness and love. He finds his violin-soul there, gets the hope for the better and love is born in his heart… So, all story is about love. Sofia with her song proves it once again and writes her own chapter in the everlasting story.”
Russia: Sofia Fisenko & The Water of Life Project with “Water of Life”
It’s easy to polish a diamond and Russia did exactly that during their second rehearsal. Their already strong performance seemed even stronger, with the girls wearing gorgeous silver crowns that screamed Snow Queen. Sofia Fisenko now stands out more strongly as the front-woman of the group, and she was belting it out. The choreography seemed sharper and the LED was much more dramatic, with a greater variety of water droplets.