Some first rehearsals are flawless and others create a springboard to work from.

And Italy‘s first rehearsal at Eurovision fell into the latter camp.

The shots start out with a sonic boom effect on screen as the music starts, with Mahmood slowly making his way to the front of the stage. And there are some nice visual elements here.

The lyrics have been translated to English for some screens, in another burning bank notes flood the LED floor and in another Mahmood’s head is broken apart. The performance ends on a screen that reads, “money can’t buy you love“.

But overall the effect failed to make impact.

The vocal mix, as a likely result of lingering illness, sounded off.

Undoubtedly Mahmood remains a talented performer in possession of one of the best studio songs of the year.

But the live vocal was beset by problems. Moreover the stage felt too blue, dark and one-note to really make impact.

Italy has work to do here. Vocal problems as a result of illness cannot be helped, but the staging can be and changes need to be made to put Italy back in contention.

Mahmood – “Soldi”: Reviews and Reactions

Mahmood: First Rehearsal at Eurovision 2019

Mahmood: First Press Conference at Eurovision 2019

Coming soon

Read all of our Eurovision rehearsal reviews

Photo Credit: EBU

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Marta
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Marta

I think the dancers represent what the dark men opposite the child represented in the video of Soldi: the wrong values, like money, success, the values mahmood doesn’t want to follow. In fact they have silver glittering jackets, and mahmood, as we could see for the little part of reharsal published, doesn’t look at them, he’s turned away from them… Maybe it’s too symbolic and difficult to understand and we don’t guess at once what these dancers represent, i think it’s better if team italy explains the meaning of what they did and the symbols because sure there is a… Read more »

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

I forgot to mention Angus’s headline. Obviously referring to this song:
“I’m a deeper shade of blue
And there’s nothing I can do
You’re so far, far away…” 😛

(Okay, now I’m just being silly.)

David F
Guest
David F

Classic (vintage?) Europop ! 😉

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Don’t think it needed the lyrics. Maybe Italy thought because it worked last year, do it again?
They have time to fix this. Mahmood is fine but they need to strip this back a little bit.

David F
Guest
David F

I just hope Team Italy read and listen — get rid of the backing dancers, they are an unnecessary distraction (from our singer, and also from the lyrics—however they appear). The only person we need on stage is Mahmood.

David F
Guest
David F

Backing dancers? Really?

Mahmood is great on his own. I think this works better if it’s just him, his song, and us. I hope he can sing his heart out next week, and have the chance to win.

Charli Cheer Up
Guest
Charli Cheer Up

Impressive innovation. They really want to let the audience understand the lyrics of the song. The music video also had elements that must be retained in the staging. Hope it all goes well towards the second rehearsal.

Yana
Guest
Yana

Mahmood can wear wherever he want, bring more or less of dancers, be without back screen effects – it’s all no matter, this guy has charisma & voice that no one other does. Love Portugal Conan as well, great personality and special vocal !! Kiss to Italy & Portugal.

Melody
Guest
Melody

Just came here to read your bitter comments. Y’all didn’t disappoint me.
Forza Mahmood!!! Albania is with you!

Graph
Guest
Graph

Every year, there are fan favorites that become less popular during rehearsals because of the staging. However, in a lot of cases, I think that fans overanalyze staging. In my opinion, the reason some favorites seem to disappoint during rehearsals is because the song wasn’t truly competitive against the other entries to start with. A song may trounce its competition at a national final or have an attractive music video, and if you don’t hear the whole song in the context of all the other Eurovision entries, you may not realize that the song itself has fundamental issues in competitiveness.… Read more »

Marta
Guest
Marta

I don’t know if it sounded or not like an Eurovision winner, but Soldi is really an amazing song, better than others that are higher in odds….

T.J.
Guest
T.J.

I kinda liked the song but already in Sanremo I thought that he was a dreadful performer. Now with his medical problems, this becomes even more clear. If Francesco Gabbani couldn’t win for Italy Mahmood has even lesser chances.

La Signora
Guest
La Signora

Ale, drink some ginger herbal tea. Your voice will be perfect for the final. Good job anyway. I love the outfit 🙂

Igor29
Guest
Igor29

No winner here. Awful performance.

JottZeh
Guest
JottZeh

Am a Little disappointed that the performance will not boost the odds and make the battle for the crown more open. Seems like his bulge showing of in the jumpsuit he wore at the meet & greet made a bigger impact…

Siri
Guest
Siri

Ok, this was really bad !!

poe-tay-toe-chips
Guest
poe-tay-toe-chips

Honestly, if I were in charge of Italy, instead of English lyrics occasionally in the background, I would’ve had english subtitles on the bottom of the TV’s viewers screens through AR or something since I feel that’s more effective and less distracting

They SORT of had the right idea with what they did with their song back in 2018….but those subtitles were too big and distracting all over the screen

Just…. normal subtitles, like for a movie. Might help since the translations to the Italian songs are always wonderful.

Bob
Guest
Bob

Or no subtitles would really be the best. I find them really cheesy however they are used. It’s like you don’t believe enough in the song when you have to put subtitles in front of peoples faces to help them “get it”.

Denis
Guest
Denis

It’s not that bad but Italy always disappoints live!

Henrikh Mugosa
Guest
Henrikh Mugosa

But never as much as Sweden, actually!

Denis
Guest
Denis

Lol, that’s funny!
Don’t quit your day-job!

Melody
Guest
Melody

Il Volo was amazing!!!

Skiwalko
Guest

Judging the snippet only:
– – the dancers, who feel really out of place, English lyrics on the screen
+ – the graphics, which in my opinion work quite well with the song, Mahmood’s voice (boy, if that’s how he sings with a throat infection, then I can only imagine how well he’s gonna sound on the Saturday night)

Of course I know much less than Angus, but I kinda feel like the review could be affected by the hype and high expectations.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

It will be alright on the night.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Based on the snippet, Mahmood sounds much better than expected for someone with a throat infection. For now I also don’t see a problem with the staging, it feels like the kind of performance we would watch in a live pop concert, with big screens showing edgy images and some dancers adding movement. Maybe the elements are crashing somehow? I don’t have access to the bigger picture, so I’ll have to wait for the second rehearsal before saying this review was too harsh as it seems.

Lion76
Guest
Lion76

OMG. What are you writing Angus,things so negativ about Mahmood and his Performance, I didn’t expect that from you . They still have one rehearsal I think that will on top. I watch it a tousand times on yt and looks amazing . Ok you see that Mahmood is not In good shape but despite of that he is still singing correctly and very emotional. He will win He deserves it!
Vai Italia e MAHMOOD facciamo chiudere la bocca a tutti…

cent
Guest
cent

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzrfoZ_hHko&t=41s
Eurovoxx thinks it’s a positive performance!
Wiwibloggs you are losing the pieces!

Marta
Guest
Marta

Yes Eurovoxx are very professional

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

looks fine but no led should’ve been used. this song only needed sleek light and camera work.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

They can still switch off the screen if it is too distracting.

Sonam
Guest
Sonam

Just saw it on yt. Looks fine and so does Mahmood. Angus is trolling us

Baloonbleu
Guest
Baloonbleu

Actually better than my expectations after reading this and seeing some pics, but also better to be honest in order to fix everything

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

mahmood is coming for angus’ hairline once he recovers from illness

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

Again, I don’t see or hear the problem. If he is indeed ill (and he looks like he is) he sounds fantastic. What we can see of the staging looks simple enough and is not dragging too much attention away from him.
And as a service post: The bird on his shirt is not a peacock, but a capercaillie. 🙂

Talentina Monetta
Guest
Talentina Monetta

I was expecting a mess after reading this article, but the upload on the Eurovision channel looks quite good and Mahmood sounds fine given he was sick

startaglia7254
Guest
startaglia7254

Yeah exactly, it’s not that bad. However the burning money LED is just a complete tamarrata.

esc1234
Guest
esc1234

i was on the press center and let me tell you: i have never seen more terrible camerawork on a eurovision rehersal. TOO-MANY-WIDESHOTS

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

this song literally BEGS for close-up shots on mahmood omg why do they do this

Henrikh Mugosa
Guest
Henrikh Mugosa

It’s called sabotage!

Paul
Guest
Paul

Classic Italy! Everyone loves the song pre rehearsal and then there’s bland staging and no one cares!

cent
Guest
cent

Celine Dion spoke!

Fast Food Music Lover
Guest
Fast Food Music Lover

The rehearsal performance appeared too forced and gimmicky compared to the pure class and sophistication of the Sanremo’s performance. Not sure if I’m gonna root for Italy now…

Otto
Guest
Otto

It seems almost all stagings are disappointing if I have to believe all the reviews and comments. Is the venue/stage itself so bad or what’s going on?

Tonks
Guest
Tonks

He sound perfect for me and I love staging

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

I liked what I saw in the rehearsal video, Mahmood’s voice aside, which is understandable. Get well soon Mahmood!

Carlos Dominguez
Guest
Carlos Dominguez

yeah the video seemed fine !! this such a negative review .

cent
Guest
cent

Do you understand that he is sick?
What do you value negatively if he is sick!

Stella
Guest
Stella

this is the first entirely negative wiwibloggs rehearsal review- was it really that bad? No, I’m asking, because I haven’t seen it. Was it so bad that you guys could think of literally nothing good to say about it?

Baloonbleu
Guest
Baloonbleu

That is a honest review from wiwi and they said that Mahmood is still sick in all of their post.

Lulu
Guest
Lulu

It’s a severe review for me. Eurovoxx was not so negative. And the press give mahmood the second place in the big5 reharsal, after bilal but better than the other singers, so I think it was not so horrible. What I see in the video published by eurovision wasn’t bad .

Ksenija
Guest
Ksenija

this year’s favourites are so disappointing. out of my top 5 – the netherlands, icalend, italy, slovenia and albania – only inceland didn’t disappoint me, and slovenia is -ish. no idea who’s going to win.

Baloonbleu
Guest
Baloonbleu

Let’s see the 2nd rehearsal, I think Netherlands will work very well, maybe replacing that cheap piano and making lasers look better

Vincent
Guest
Vincent

I got from that new interview from Wiwibloggs that apparently we could expect some more tomorrow. Apparently the first rehearsal wasn’t all they wanted to show, but you have to see through the lines because it wasnt made clear in an obvious way. And again there the wide angle was also a problem for the delegation

Ksenija
Guest
Ksenija

The Netherlands really disappointed me; the piano looks extremely cheep. 🙁 they are the biggest contender to win the consent, why didn’t they invest more money in the staging is beyond me :/

Vincent
Guest
Vincent

Because they want to keep it simple and true to the music. (I think most money is spent in special effects, attributes and fireworks? Im not sure). In that case those effects wont fit the song well. I think the camerawork is more crucial than effects.

But the article is about Italy so out of respect I wont go further 🙂

Ksenija
Guest
Ksenija

simple ? cheep. look at portual/salvador for more.
i’ve already commented on italy – it’s a mess. this is only the first rehearsal, let’s hope they will fix things that didn’t work. and i want our mahmood healthy 🙂

Davve
Guest
Davve

Sorry Italia… but really bad!

Baloonbleu
Guest
Baloonbleu

Yep, I agree, hoping in a lot of changes. First of all: the KAN’s wide-angle camera, which seems to be the Hubble Telescope itself

Vincent
Guest
Vincent

That’s a relatively negative article, was it so bad? I heard from live streams that there were too many wide shots (I get tired of it, it kills many good acts). Hopefully they can work on it, and hopefully it will work out.

It’s a shame since it’s my number two. They can’t waste an opportunity like that so easily

Nvm
Guest
Nvm

I saw the snippet on Twitter…
So, Italy’s staging looks horrible. What’s new?

Bob
Guest
Bob

What a disappointment. I really hope they work towards something more clean and minimalistic. This song needs no staging. It just needs Mahmood, hopefully he is recovering soon!

Gigii
Guest
Gigii

Sad…Hoped for more.. But there’s still time for improvement.