The semi-finals are getting closer by the day, giving acts less and less time to refine their presentations. So Australia’s Jessica Mauboy, Georgia’s Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao and Poland’s Gromee & Lukas Meijer dived right into their second rehearsals, keen to get in as much practice as possible. Tops? Flops? Let’s discuss…
Reaction: Australia, Georgia and Poland
Australia: Jessica Mauboy with “We Got Love”
The central visual in Jessica Mauboy’s performance is a series of lights that emit from a vertical axis. It represents the energy radiating from Jess herself and connotes the power each of us have to spread love and positive vibes. The theme continues with her dress, which features largely purple sequins, which reflect that energy and hug her tightly — showing off her strong, hourglass figure. Energy gives us life, and Jessica is most definitely alive.
The previous rehearsal grew a tad boring at times. They’ve broken up the monotony, particularly in the final minute, with some very fast camera cuts that are frenetic and pacy. It gives the close real drive and vigour. A particularly nice shot comes when the screen goes grey-white and we Jess’ silhouette as she whips her hair back. Killing it. The middle minute still seems a bit sluggish. But at least the camera focuses more on Jess now, zooming in on that face and her fluid dance moves. SBS is, no doubt, going to adjust and refine this section to make sure the energy remains.
Vocally Jessica wasn’t her best today — she wobbled noticeably, especially with that note at the end. With other acts we might worry. But we know how consistent Jess is, so we’re sure the voice will come back to life when it matters.
Jessica Mauboy, “We Got Love”: Performance Preview
Georgia: Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao with “For You”
If you liked the first rehearsal then you’ll like this. Nodding to the “music isn’t fireworks” mantra, Ethno-Jazz band Iriao keep things pure and simple. They stand in a line with little to no choreography, nailing their harmonies with each run-through. It’s a slow build, but the final minute remains very high impact owing to their crescendo, the introduction of stronger beats and that lovely instrumental.
Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao, “For You”: Performance Preview
Poland: Gromee feat. Lukas Meijer with “Light Me Up”
Ahead of their first rehearsal Poland made much of the fact that TAP had lost their luggage. But today, with their luggage now in tow, it became clear that hadn’t lost that much. Everyone looked identical to how they did the other day, with the exception of Lukas who sported an elaborate silver neckpiece.
The performance was totally on-point and sleek. The dark space is illuminated by purple accent lights, creating a funky club vibe that fits with the song’s upbeat tone and feel. After their first rehearsal fans said “it’s definitely going to the final.” Now they’re asking how high it will climb. Another sound performance.
Gromee feat. Lukas Meijer, “Light Me Up”: Performance Preview
Malta: Christabelle with “Taboo”
Christabelle, one of the few acts to have brought her own LED, has given her performance more drive and vigour. The middle minute now explodes with lasers and all manner of lights. They’re throwing the entire kitchen sink at this, but also the fridge and washing machine. Thankfully the futuristic feel — think Matrix — brings it all together to form something cohesive and oh-so-now.
The central structure — a series of LED panels with a dancer in the middle — was more powerful today. The images of dancers fighting their inner demons are sharper on the screens, helping to convey the idea of mental illness and internal pain. At one point Christabelle “controls” or “tames” the female dancer in the middle of the panels. The camera shots make that much more clear this time around. It’s powerful.
Finally, the on-screen heart that appears on Christabelle’s chest at the beginning of the performance is bigger and bolder. Given the size, it doesn’t matter if it’s slightly out of position. The heart fits and Christabelle wears it well.
Christabelle, “Taboo”: Performance Preview
Photos: Thomas Hanses (EBU)