Roll on rehearsals! Today the remaining acts in Semi-Final 1 rehearse, along with five from Semi-Final 2 and the Big 5 plus Portugal. It’s going to be a long day. So let’s not waste any time and jump straight into the first four rehearsals from Armenia’s Sevak, Switzerland’s Zibbz, Ireland’s Ryan and Cyprus’ Eleni Foureira.
Reaction: Armenia, Switzerland, Ireland & Cyprus
Armenia: Sevak Khanagyan with “Qami”
During the first rehearsal Sevak stood amid a sea of grey. It was solemn and stirring, but a tad austere. To counter that, and to give the act a bit more dynamism, he now starts the performance amid a sea of blue lights. They give the circle of columns a spiritual, almost pagan feel — think Stonehenge. Later when he hits a big chorus things lighten up a bit with a stunning flash of red and later with smoke billowing behind him amid shades of grey and white strobes.
Given the political winds sweeping Armenia and its rush towards democracy, this song takes on a depth and significance that will give Sevak even more power.
Sevak Khanagyan, “Qami”: Performance Preview
Switerland: Zibbz with “Stones”
Don’t underestimate the Swiss! Coco arrived with even more confidence today, working her purple cowgirl hat and crop top like a an off-duty model. The look is at once bohemian, sophisticated and sexy — girl has a flat-pack stomach and she isn’t afraid to show it off. As she turns the stage into a catwalk, walking here, there and everywhere, her brother rocks out on the drums. He looks totally into it, making us want to bob along too. There’s a fantastic overhead strobe effect — think Sanna Nielsen’s “Undo” — that’s viewed through a lovely faraway shot. This is modern, contemporary and polished. In the second semi-final this would sail through. But given the strength of semi-final 1, this is still an uphill battle.
Zibbz, “Stones”: Performance Preview
Ireland: Ryan O’Shaughnessy with “Together”
Most Eurovision 2018 performances feature quick camera cuts that feel rectilinear and hard-edged. But Ireland keeps it smooth. Similar to their Eurovision 2018 music video, the camera flows in a series of continuous shots that fit with the lyrics quality of the song. It protects the sweet, intimate atmosphere, which works perfectly with Ryan’s voice.
There were a few changes today. Ryan wears a black outfit with white horizontal stripes at the base of his shirt. These match the pianist, who wears a black shirt with a black pussy bow with white stripes. At times they bleed into the darkness behind them, but surely a few tweaks with lighting will sort that out.
Ryan O’Shaughnessy, “Together”: Performance Preview
Cyprus: Eleni Foureira with “Fuego”
Amen, hallelujuh! Cyprus’ Eleni has given a hot performance even more heat. In the first rehearsal her on-screen graphics looked a little cheap and at times the placement was totally off: the flames seemed to shoot out from her bum and nether regions, inducing fits of laughter in the press room. Well laugh no more or the joke is on you. Our girl now has flames shooting out from her ankles — I promise it looks great — and later from her mid-section, but appropriately placed. It adds even more drama to this intense performance.