Second rehearsals from the first semi-final continue today. Belgium’s Sennek, Czech Republic’s Mikolas Josef — back injury and all — and Lithuania’s Ieva Zasimauskaite took to the stage. Here’s how they nipped and tucked…
Reaction: Belgium, Czech Republic and Lithuania
Belgium: Sennek with “A Matter of Time”
There’s immediate improvements to “A Matter of Time” from the very first shot. Instead of focusing just on Sennek’s closed eyes in the narrow window of light, she now holds her arm above and in front of her face — slowly pulling it away to show off her face. In our interview afterwards, she said this was to draw out suspense and mystery. There’s also been a change to Sennek’s makeup. She doesn’t look quite as pale now, giving the performance some extra life.
Other improvements come with the camera cuts and the lighting, which give the performance more dynamism. Sennek remains on the catwalk for the performance, making her the first person (of many) who make use of it in the contest.
Sennek, “A Matter of Time”: Performance Preview
Czech Republic: Mikolas Josef with “Lie to Me”
Mikolas clearly was not at full health during his rehearsal today, and it took some time for him to get in to his groove. He seemed to be in pain, holding his lower back throughout the first run-through (which was aborted twice for various reasons). And with his back injury, the choreography has changed considerably too.
Some elements remain, including his backpack flip (but not the Mikolas flip)— which looked a little laboured, for obvious reasons. However, the Czech team have certainly worked to hide his injury as best they can. The intro is now filmed in a widescreen letterbox format, with cuts between Mikolas and his two backing dancers — which means Mikolas can dance a lot less too.
Similarly, the backing dancers have been changed up. Instead of the two male dancers, it’s now a male-female duo. The female backing dancer didn’t seem to be in full costume though, so whether this was a permanent change (or a very late addition) is unclear. Obviously there’s a lot more work to do on this given the changes needed to the choreography, but Mikolas will have time to get that in check.
In our interview afterwards, he told us that performing in the second semi final is not an option. Doctors say he needs to rest his back for several weeks to avoid worsening his injury.
Mikolas Josef, “Lie to Me”: Performance Preview
Lithuania: Ieva Zasimauskaite with “When We’re Old”
It was a case of tidying up things from a successful first rehearsal for Ieva today. The superimposed images of couples of all ages playing and dancing together have had their opacity turned down. They now blend in with the stage and look particularly good on the smaller HD screens around the press centre. They also seem to appear for a lot shorter time though, so it could be a case of “blink and you’ll miss them”.
The Lithuanian team also seemed to be testing a different opening shot. Previously, the stage was in darkness and the first shot was that of the audience. That was the same in Ieva’s first run-through, but on later ones they ran with a moving shot of Ieva sat down on the stage. Otherwise, this was more or less the same, with Ieva in great voice and the touching moment at the end with her husband on the bridge remaining.
Ieva Zasimauskaite, “When We’re Old”: Performance Preview
Footage: Courtesy EBU/RTP