It was another long day of rehearsals inside the Eurovision 2018 arena. And bringing us home were Montenegro’s Vanja Radovanovic, Slovenia’s Lea Sirk and Ukraine’s Melovin. From Balkan balladry to down-and-dirty urban pop to alternative pop with edge, this grouping saw us genre hopping, making for a nice end to the show.
Montenegro: Vanja Radovanovic with “Inje”
In the battle of the Balkans, Montenegro definitely out-manoeuvres Serbia, which also fields a traditional sound. Vanja, who sings of the “Frost” found in relationships romantic and otherwise, delivered yet another striking performance. Wearing a reflective blue suit, which captures an icy mood, he warms things up with his warm and resonant vocals.
Unlike so many acts this year, Vanja manages to fill the stage. His four female backing vocalists — who help him melt the figurative ice in his song — are joined by a musician on a white piano. That’s all well and good, but it’s Vanja’s presence that fills the space. Try taking your eyes off of him! A classy performance that reminds us music really is feeling.
Vanja Radovanovic, “Inje”: Performance Preview
Slovenia: Lea Sirk with “Hvala, ne”
We don’t speak Slovenian. But we’re pretty sure the Slovenian for “attitude” is Lea Sirk. The pink-haired diva once again slipped into her black bustier with translucent cape, serving legs for days and facial expressions that say, “I’ll kick your ass if I have to.” She and her fly girls drop it like it’s hot, saying “no thank you” repeatedly as they pop, lock, drop and thrust with abandon. The urban choreography — paired with the aggressive euro-dance sound — bring something decidedly street and surprisingly likeable to the contest.
As in earlier rehearsals, all of the lights cut halfway through the song and Lea entreats the audience to help her out. Having watched that schtick at least six times now, it’s getting old to those of us in the press room. But surely it’ll amuse first-time viewers.
Lea Sirk, “Hvala, ne”: Performance Preview
Ukraine: Mélovin with “Under the Ladder”
His name is a mixture of Halloween and Alexander McQueen. So it makes sense that Melovin once again worked the haute Halloween look during his second rehearsal. He pushed the boundaries a bit further today, re-instating the dramatic left-eye contact lens that makes him look somehow other-worldly. When in doubt, freak ’em out! The Lord of the Underworld / Dracula with a Recording Contract vibe continued with his flowing black tunic, which he rips off before mounting his two-tiered piano toward the end of the song.
One of the biggest changes today was the illumination of the “coffin” he emerges from at the top of the piano stack. The edges of the cut outs, through which we see his face, are lit up, setting a dramatic tone from the very opening bars. His backing vocalists have also upped their sartorial swag. They wore all-black outfits with vertical white lines running up their tops, adding another vocal point as the camera pans past them.