So we have now seen just over 60% of this year’s songs in rehearsals, and today has continued to not disappoint. Once more I’m at the mercy of the internets and eurovision.tv’s editing so take what I say with a pinch of heavily edited salt, but these are my musings based on what I’ve seen so far.
Latvia – PeR looks like they’ve been at the arts and crafts box to fashion their outfits, with Bacofoil and glitter galore to add some Baltic pizzazz to their performance. I think this is a good opener – it’s lively, upbeat, and, frankly, gets it out of the way early. Mr Roy thinks they’re better than the song and I have to agree. I don’t think it’s strong enough to garner enough wider support.
San Marino – poor Valentina has got the graveyard slot, although she only needs to qualify, not to win. The chiffon of the video is here and you just knew she’s have a wind machine didn’t you? I still rate her chances, though readings others’ views of her first half/song her camera work might need a bit of polishing.
Macedonia (FYR of, if you will) – it’s a mixed reaction it seems. The official clip doesn’t give enough of Esma onstage to get a flavour and the gulf between them belies how this will look on screen. It’s too early to tell from this, but as good as he is it’s going to be all about her if they’re going to make it through.
Azerbaijan – crikey, this looks scarily good, or bad, depending on your Baku bent. It’s a little worrying to see Farid Mammogram still being so closely coached in the soundcheck room this near to the performance, but at the same time they seem to have got a good counter balance to his more nasal moments with the backing singers. The press release for this that’s doing the rounds on the social mediums is hilarious but despite an over-thought (and overwrought) concept it’s thankfully quite simple onstage, yet highly effective. You’ve got to admit they’re good at this game.
Finland – I am a little bit worried that Krista might be flying under the radar. Perhaps she wants to think about putting herself out there a little more? She’s hardly picked up any press attention... I didn’t rate this much to start with but I’ve warmed to it now and I’m pleased that she seems to have worked in the tongue-in-cheek factor, which this desperately needed to convey. I like the Las Vegas sign, it’s a nice touch of the right kind of camp. And it’s refreshing that her ‘lesbian’ kiss isn’t going to cause anywhere near the controversy of t.A.T.u.’s aborted attempt a decade ago.
Malta – nothing much has changed here since the national final, and nothing much needed to, the song speaks for itself. I’d like to see Gianluca skip a little less, but with a little more sense of purpose when he does. And whilst I quite like the lyrics on the backdrop I fear they’ll be a little over-egged for a full three minutes.
Bulgaria – I can’t see much saving this one I’m afraid. I love the traditional elements of the singing but this time round the drumming just seems a little bit too much crash boom bang to appeal as Elitsa and Stoyan’s Voda did a few years back. I’m sure they thought those ruddy great masks were a good idea too, but the one in the clip just looks clumsy.
Iceland – this too is another that has grown on me though I still wish he’d had a haircut. (Mind you I had hair that long at his age and I’d have baulked at the idea of snipping it off. He’ll be a lovely baldly bear before he knows it.) There was never any doubt in his ability to belt this out so the only ‘reveal’ is in the staging, which looks simple and classy. I still don’t know if it’s got enough to qualify but if it doesn’t I think it will be a near miss.
So, there you go. I’m pleased to say I’ve packed up my desk and popped my out of office on and will be off to Malmö in the morrow. It’s not a moment too soon. I’m reading reports of an Irish party this evening (where our Phil is right now) and you never want to miss one of them. Just one final instalment of my Countdown to come later, rounding you off with our Bonnie. Wow, it’s the bloody Eurovision again already!