It takes a certain kind of a woman to pull off a tuxedo.

And at Romania’s first rehearsal for Eurovision 2019 Ester Peony pulled off that look with aplomb.

She starts out astride an armchair, set against a moody gothic backdrop, that evokes her music video.

Her dancers, wearing backless tuxedos, advance on the centre of stage throughout the first verse, joining her around the chorus.

Amidst a world that appears to collapse in on itself, like the lost city of Atlantis, Ester Peony is a truly captivating presence.

Her magnetism draws her dancers in. Today Romania had to follow Moldova’s superlative performance and it met the benchmark they had set.

The stage moves from collapsing columns to flames and finishes with new flowers blooming from the scorched earth.

This channels Transylvania, makes Dracula fashionable, and explodes in a fiery climax to close.

Ester Peony — “On a Sunday”: Reviews and Reactions

Romania: First rehearsal at Eurovision 2019

Romania: First press conference 2019

Read all of our Eurovision rehearsal reviews

Photo Credit: EBU

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Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago

Classy and captivating. I have never been a fan of the song, but the staging is on point here. Congrats.

Julian
Julian
1 year ago

The drummers probably won her the national final, they were funny and the most catchy part of her show. Dancers, fires, lights, mimics, armchair is so much and so not together that it becomes bland and tiresome. The song and her voice were never interesting.

Jo.
Jo.
1 year ago

just me who thinks all that fire is worrisome? looks quite dangerous…

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago

I actually think the staging is a step in the wrong direction. I liked the NF staging and loved the music video theme. I mean, it is still good in that it is memorable and the song is still solid…but….I didn’t think it needed some of the changes.

ESCalator
ESCalator
1 year ago

Dancers are the best part. Her voice however is making my ears bleed.

Kris
Kris
1 year ago

The dancers are ok , but the costume Ester is wearing is horrendous !! Not in a get scared of Dracula kind of way

I liked the staging in the NF and even her dress there

RIL
RIL
1 year ago

Wasnt not everyone wear full dress right they will wear the real on dress rehearsal wasnt??????

Alex
Alex
1 year ago

I like the concept but I am sure she can find a better outfit, cmon!!

poe-tay-toe-chips
poe-tay-toe-chips
1 year ago

that underwater background makes me feel dizzy…

Minerva
Minerva
1 year ago

I think, from the few seconds we are able to watch, that the staging is quite busy. I can barely see the performers. Considering it’s just 4 of them on stage, I think the attention is on everything else going on.

Una
Una
1 year ago
Reply to  Minerva

It’s six of them. We only saw the shots from a distance. The second rehearsal snippet will show the shooting with camera work. It looks like it will be a good staging but I still have to see it.

Whisker
Whisker
1 year ago
Reply to  Minerva

The attention should be on Ester, she is the star. She’s a 100% performance wise visually, vocally. She was superb during her national semi-final, more so than the national final IMO. She is so talented. I still cannot stand those dancers, I want more Ester, less dancers. I hope that my shock will wear off soon.

Una
Una
1 year ago
Reply to  Whisker

Whisker, I’m with you. I take it as it is and hope for the best. We still have the second rehearsal, and the semi show. If they only changed the clothes. It’s literally my only criticism in the sense that the clothes can be changed. The show it way to advanced to take out the dancers. But the fashion. OMG. And toning down the facial expressions. Just a bit. Wiwi also talked about the facial expressions. I talked about it since the national final. now wiwi have also talked about toning them down. I am not the only one!

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago

I like the concept, I appreciate that they kept building on its narrative and I love how Ester becomes more comfortable and commited to the role every time she performs. I feel they overdone when executing the final plan, but if that’s what it takes to people finally notice and vote for this song, I’m in. Even if I was expecting it to be more classy in a Penny Dreadful fashion.

NickC
NickC
1 year ago

I love this song, and I love her voice and I love her staging. I think it will have an easy pass to Saturday. But did this staging really cost 100k?

Una
Una
1 year ago
Reply to  NickC

According to the Romanian delegation: the staging costs include the visuals graphics and special effects such as pyros. That figure of 100k is not only for the televized performances. There are many more performances that we don’t really see. Just for the semifinal show: 1. First rehearsal: (30 minutes) about 3 or 4 run throughs. Those cost money especially if they use the special effects like pyros in all run throughs. Which would make sense. 2. Second rehearsal (20 minutes) about 3 run throughs. 3. Family show. 4. Dress rehearsal/jury show. 5. Public/TV show of the second semi. Say Romania… Read more »

Whisker
Whisker
1 year ago

That Dracula cliché is getting old. No originality there. Her outfit is terrible. Terrible. Apparently, she makes faces like crazy. Those “dancers” WHAT IS THE POINT? Stiff and wearing ugly outfits. This performance doesn’t need dancers. Who knows WHO decided to include dancers. What’s the connection between Dracula and sea life? I don’t like this at all. But I support Ester.

Una
Una
1 year ago
Reply to  Whisker

I don’t get the downvotes. Dracula is cliché. The outfits are horrible. Yet to see the show value of the two dancers. One lost love, two dancers. That notwithstanding, I haven’t seen much sea life at all in the performance. Were you referring to the music video?

Whisker
Whisker
1 year ago
Reply to  Una

Thanks Una. They said something about repeating the visual elements from the video, thus sea life. The official snippets showed some underwater stuff, Greek columns of sorts? Underwater there is. Still, no connection to Dracula.

Una
Una
1 year ago
Reply to  Whisker

Just the aesthetics and the country brand. I hope TVR can convey the messaging of the staging during the press conference perhaps. They haven’t talked about it in the meet and greet. Something along the lines of: “Character expresses deep feelings about a lost love through the use of visuals – EXPLAIN HERE”. Despite me knowing Romanian and having followed Romania this season, interviews in English on wiwi included, it is not very clear to me what the visuals convey. And it is a strong entry.

Una
Una
1 year ago

IDK. IDK. Take one for the team or not? The EBU snippet is too short. However: all the outfits are terrible. It seems that Ester is overdoing the creep mad factor. I don’t know. Can’t she do the mad desperate woman with class, not with cringe? Backing vocals slightly improved. No comment on the special effects – I need to see the whole show. I just heard it cost Romania a lot of money. Badly dressed male strippers included. Who in their right mind was responsible for that? Their outfits are horrible. Verdict: overall, I am not impressed. It feels… Read more »

Matija
Matija
1 year ago

For now, she is the best…

PP77
PP77
1 year ago

I have feeling that juries will push Romania in final .

Erasmus
Erasmus
1 year ago
Reply to  PP77

That might happen, but tbh what is here that a jury might respect so much, I think juries will go for (along favorites such as Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Malta, Azerbaijan) Armenia, Austria, Albania and N.Macedonia – all powerful vocal performances, Romania doesn’t have much vocals. I seem like a hater of Romania or troll, but I’m not – I just don’t see what u see, maybe I’m completely wrong 😀

AurelianTamisan
AurelianTamisan
1 year ago
Reply to  Erasmus

I think that she has one of the best vocals in the contest along with a pretty original and modern music and also not an easy song to be interpreted. Yeah, North Macedonia, Serbia, even Albania… strong voices but standard songs that lacks in originality. I have the same opinion that the juries will put Romania pretty high in the table (top 5 in the semi-final might be possible) and I also think that Romania will get much more from the televote than last year. So I don’t see Ester not reaching the final, even there if she gets it,… Read more »

Una
Una
1 year ago

Aurelian, I *hope* you are right. Reading this post of yours made me feel much better.

Minerva
Minerva
1 year ago

I also think Romania’s entry is the strongest ballad among the countries you mentioned. It’s dark, interesting and different. Ester’s vocals are great, at least in my ears. I do hope Romania goes through to the final.

Una
Una
1 year ago
Reply to  Erasmus

You are wrong on many fronts. FYI, one of the things that elevates Romania is Ester’s versatile vocal performance. Noone can fault her there. Classically trained voice. Sleek. Versatile. Got the [email protected] out from the start. She’s always been consistent with her vocals. Always on point.

Erasmus
Erasmus
1 year ago
Reply to  Una

I mean yeah she can sing, but everyone in this semi final can, like Moldova as well, but that doesn’t mean Moldova will qualify. TBH I don’t mind the Romanian song, but I can’t see them qualifying in this semi that’s it. Like Albania, Macedonia, Moldova, Armenia, Austria can all sing as well as her, it’s not like she is the best vocalist we have.

Una
Una
1 year ago
Reply to  Erasmus

No. Ester is an amazing vocalist. Consistent amazing vocalist. On a Sunday is not a power ballad/strong pop song so some people cannot appreciate talent, versatility, subtle changes with the different nuances of her voice (not just key changes). Ester is one of the best vocalists. And the song is quite unique. Doesn’t fit in any box. IT’S AMAZING!!!!!!!

PP77
PP77
1 year ago
Reply to  Erasmus

My prediction juries will push The Netherlands, Sweden, Malta (all 3 EBU babies, in first semi Australa,Belgium that 5 countries is pushed so hard from 2013.),but this year all 3 ave good song). Denmark will also push by juries. In juries favorites club will join Ireland (Serbia 2011), Romania wil be like Georgia 2016. I dont see massive votes from juries for Albania out of TOP 10 with juries (i think simmilar result from juries like Albanian result from 2011,2017). Albania( 22 to 24 pts from Macedonia , 12 pts from televote in Switzerland,max 16 ps from Croatia,20 pts from… Read more »

Whisker
Whisker
1 year ago
Reply to  Erasmus

The vocal performance is only a criterion out of four or five. Romania might have the whole package. I don’t think you’re a hater or a troll.

Whisker
Whisker
1 year ago
Reply to  PP77

If the juries push Romania into the final, more power to Ester because jury points are very important. If the televote will dig the Dracula theme, I won’t complain because Romania is still my #1 this year. However, the Romanians I know hate it that Romania is associated with Dracula. It seems quite idiotic that the national broadcaster choose the Dracula theme !!!! once again, after Cezar !!!! So far, this staging is a no for me, but I have to watch the full performance and not just a few seconds. That said, i absolutely LOVE Ester, I RESPECT her… Read more »

Erasmus
Erasmus
1 year ago

Sorry, but how do people think this looks expensive? Just because it has pyros? It looks cheap tbh, and I don’t know why people think it’s a certain qualifier, I don’t see people voting for it, I mean she was far from a televote winner in Romania as well, it may qualify, but that could happen just because they have a lot of diaspora. I find Armenia, Azerbaijan, Austria, Russia, Albania, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, N. Macedonia all qualifying over this.

Swedish Moose
Swedish Moose
1 year ago
Reply to  Erasmus

Well….she got my vote at least. Always something if what you predict turnes out to be true

Erasmus
Erasmus
1 year ago
Reply to  Swedish Moose

Well I’m not saying she is chanceless, but I think there are performances much more worthy of a final than this..(IN MY VIEW).

AurelianTamisan
AurelianTamisan
1 year ago
Reply to  Erasmus

Ok, she will not be on top with the televote, however she has all the arguments for the juries. Then, you’re right, diaspora will help, I mean she will get somewhere at 20 points just from that, which might be very pretious. I don’t see how you see Denmark or Austria qualifying over this, they are truly weak entries, I mean I don’t see Denmark qualifying by any mean. And about Sweden… I think they will be the most unpredictable entry, I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t qualify this year. The televote will kill them, while I don’t see… Read more »

Whisker
Whisker
1 year ago

The televote because IMO racism is pretty strong in Europe but I want to be wrong. Gospel singers are outstanding, a league of their own. I want Sweden to do well.

Una
Una
1 year ago
Reply to  Erasmus

OK, keep on going like a broken record about diaspora. Other countries too have diaspora, and there are big blocks (ex Soviet, Baltics, Scandinavian, ex Yugoslavia). But that’s OK, isn’t it? And you can’t say the staging looks cheap based on 30 seconds of rehearsal with one or two shots. Like, are you a TV technology specialist? Do you know what went into preparing the show? Do you actually know what goes in making the show? And the fact that it didn’t win the national final vote doesn’t mean anything. Romanians in Romania cannot vote for this entry. In Eurovision… Read more »

Shanfa Chai
Shanfa Chai
1 year ago

Love those pyrotechnic effects!

ydan
ydan
1 year ago

I’m romanian and I wish Ester luck because she is a talented songwriter, and also because she was so bullied by those savages Laura Bretan’s fans, those primitives that only applaud screaming voice, and have no idea that their Laura has a lazy “by the book” ballad, that even I can write in 60 minutes. I don’t care if Ester will be last in semifinal, but I hope she will do well to kill those neanderthalians that are Bretan fans, with her mediocre song (opera for primitives).

Yssy
Yssy
1 year ago
Reply to  ydan

You are hypocritical. Calling against Laura and her supporters by using offensive and provocative remarks. There are other was to express what you want to say without sounding childish and petty. Apart from your indolence , Romania’s staging was pretty good I have to admit. I still see this as borderline qualifier and that is mostly because the jury vote can be unpredictable at times. Best wishes from France.

Una
Una
1 year ago
Reply to  ydan

ydan, please. Let’s focus on what is important. Why bring LB up? Let her be, now let’s focus on Romania.

Whisker
Whisker
1 year ago
Reply to  ydan

Ydan I agree with you.

Ezal
Ezal
1 year ago

I’m always sucker for gothic vibes, so you’re Q for me, miss Havisham! 🙂

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Ezal

Miss Havisham! What an observant comparison. I agree, this song could totally be a tribute to her. I wish Ester all the best. I guess this might be *too* theatrical to some people, but I really dig it.

dan
dan
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

Would be fun to have a table on stage, with a wedding cake. I wanted something similar for Saara Aalto, something like “the last supper” of Jesus.

Polegend Godgarina
1 year ago

her staging at selectia nationala was on point but this is even better whew

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
1 year ago

I swear nobody in the second semi is playing around. Even the weakest songs bring killer staging turning this in an even bigger bloodbath.

Dan
Dan
1 year ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

She’s dressed as a homeless. I mean how on earth can this mess be a contender with that cheap clock backdrop.