18 November 2017
ESCflashmalta Team

ESCflashmalta Team

Thursday, 05 May 2011 10:00

ESC 2011: Day 5 Rehearsals - LIVE

The Eurovision Song Contest is just a mere couple of days away now and the preparations are really going strong as the city of Dusseldorf prepares for the biggest musical event in Europe organised by the European Broadcasting Union. Following four days of rehearsals of acts from the first and second semi-final, the press and the people present have their favourites surely and would not be worried about saying them out to the public.

Today the acts that will be taking to the stage are the first thirteen within the running order actually and they will be doing so from the first semi-final. The adjustments required should be implemented for the second rehearsal and this would make the team prepare for the first dress rehearsal next Monday which will be quite interesting to see noting that it is very much open to the media as has been the case in recent years. Our team led by Irishmen Garrett Mulhall and Keith Mills is working strong to bring you the best possible coverage but would like to thank all of the team ESCDAILY, Irishman Liam Whelan and Juergen Boernig and his team at Radio International for all their help for this years' Eurovision Song Contest.

Poland (through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

The Polish act for this years' Eurovision Song Contest takes to the stage for the second time today as the second rehearsal for each act commences. As seen during the first rehearsal, Magdalena is joined on stage by a number of dancers and backing vocals who are clad in a very beautiful white dresses. This is looking quite nice on the monitors but there are still some changes which need change in order to look at its best.

In the meantime, the backdrop used is that of geometric shapes in light blue throughout the verse and then orange within the refrain and the added extra are some laser type of lights as seen within the video for the song Jestem. The vocal performance is good but I think that she had a better time on Monday but on a positive note, she performs well and manages to put her twist on the song as she has wanted to do for quite some time.

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Video Courtesy of the Team at Eurovision.tv

Norway (through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

Norway will be the act this year that breaks the bad luck spell of performing in the dreaded second place. Stella will be sailing into the final with her song. As again before Stella is dressed in a golden short dress and her female and male backing singers/dancers are all in vibrant red. The 4 rehearsals that Stella completed were vocally perfect. The Norwegians have raised the key of the song by an octave and this makes the verses sound much better.

The song starts with the backing singers in formation on stage and Stella joins them. The back drop is of stunning tribal/african inspired zig zag shapes in blue and white. This help to enhance the African feel to the song. When the song comes to the chorus the colour of the stage turns to red and this is very dramatic and helps to build the carnival atmosphere of the song. The dance that Stella and her singers complete is fun and easily replicated as has been the case by all of the delegations in the EuroClub every night - I am an expert at the Haba Haba dance myself at the moment. Charismatic and infectious Norway are sailing to the final.

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Video Courtesy of the Team at Eurovision.tv

Albania (through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

Well Albania are back for second helping and despite me being skeptic of this song during a Eurovision preview show on Maltese television, I must say that this is looking slick. The main singer, Aurela is joined on stage by three female backing vocals as well as a drummer and a guitarist. This all looks very good at the moment and I should point out that it should definitely qualify especially due to it being the best Albanian entry ever in my opinion.

The vocals are very strong, despite the fact that she had shouted her way to victory during the Festivali I Kenges, it seems that the change to English has done nothing but good for her. The harmonies of the backing were also spot on reaching maximum heights near the end. The backdrop despits what seem to be wings as well as other geometric shapes. Stunning, I have just been amazed, seriously!

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Video Courtesy of the Team at Eurovision.tv

Armenia (through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

Emmy is fighting for her place at the Eurovision Final - literally. She begins her performance in a giant red boxing gloved shaped chair inscribed with her name in crystals. She is dressed in a red boxing robe under which she wears a simple white short dress. Her dancers are in black trousers and white t-shirts with Boom Boom written on it. The back drop looks like it came out from the opening credits of the 70's show "Wonder Woman" with huge shooting white stars with red and blue trails.

Emmy sings the song well though the song is not vocally challenging. It is simple and she does a good job of it. The most interesting part of the performance is when her dancers create a boxing ring with ropes. It looks very striking on the stage. If this was not Armenia then I would say that this performance would not be qualifying but I think that it will have enough neighbourly votes to take it to the final.

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Video Courtesy of the Team at Eurovision.tv

Turkey (through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

A dark screen is the setting for Turkey today. Yuksek Sadakat are dressed in casual rock attire. I doubt this will be their look for the live semi final. Again they are accompanied by the woman in the hamster ball as I like to call it. The vocals for the performance are very good as you would expect for such an experienced band. The staging is black with multiple strobe lights and large flashing spot lights on the backdrop.

Again like last year the Turks have taken a woman on stage to provide some additional artistic value to their performance. This time it is a contortionist in a large caged ball. I cannot see the reason for her to be there at all and she is very distraction especially when the camera is on her in very strange poses. I would remove her form the stage and just let the male lead singer rock out his performance even more. I would say that the staging is very dark and could do with some more variation of lighting and colour. However the band members are charismatic on camera and sell the song well. This will certainly make the final.

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Video Courtesy of the Team at Eurovision.tv

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Serbia (through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

Serbia is looking and sounding like the Dark Horse of the competition for me. This is such a charming summer inspired retro song and the stage presentation from Nina just gets better and better by the minute. Our girl Nina is looking like she has stepped off the set of an Austin Powers movie set. She is dressed in a beautiful 60's paisley flowered dress with black and white ear rings and white tights. Her 3 female singers and dressed in similar clothes but they are in different block colours of a more pastel shade.

Their dance moves are still very retro and very in keeping with the feel of the song. Nina is so charming on camera and her interaction with the dancers is amazing. The lighting is still the technicolor circled effect and this is so striking. This song will be grooving into the final and could be the one to surprise a lot of people.

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Video Courtesy of the Team at Eurovision.tv

Russia (through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

Well Alexey is still in his Grease the movie attire - black leather biker jacket and jeans and white t-shirt. His hair is giving Jedward a run for their money in the Quiff stakes but Alexey is looking fantastic on camera. He was note perfect on stage for everyone of his performances. The only glitches come from the elaborate stage lighting that Russia have employed in their performance.

The song starts off in Russian and much slower that than main part of the performance. Rumours around the press centre have stated that the reason for the new Russian beginning of the song is to appeal to the former USSR states who may not be familiar with Alexey as he is a relatively new Russian talent. The song begins as before with Alexey surrounded by the 2 mobile video screens that light a tunnel towards him. The stage is black and a sun rise effect in green which grows with the song.

Alexey interacts wonderfully with his dancers and directly with the camera. You know what I have been thinking is that in the male solo singer stakes with have Alexey from Russia and Eris from Sweden, -  who are being matched off against each other - I would have to say that Russia is winning hands down.

There were several technical issues during the performances - most notably the lights on the jackets of all the performers are not fully illuminating when they should. Also there were problems with their shoes also lighting up. These are small teething problems that will be rectified. I am confident that Russia will sail into the final and could sneak a Top 5 placing. Alexey is so well prepared.

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Video Courtesy of the Team at Eurovision.tv

Switzerland (through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

Rehearsals have fallen way behind schedule for today actually due to some difficulties encountered earlier on today. We now move onto Switzerland whose entrant Anna Rossinelli, a singer from the tiny nation of Switzerland is joined by a bassist and a guitarist. It all looks so easy and simple that you just start getting very good vibes from the performance apart from the fact that it has a hook in the form of a 'na na na na' which quickly stays in mind. Nothing too different from the first rehearsal actually and she seems to building up on the momentum she had earlier on this week.

The staging is kept simple for a purpose because this is a song that does not require any gimmick to get it going or to get people to vote for it. The voice is important and Anna's vocals are pitch perfect. She might not be tested a lot during the song but when she is slightly tested, things do not go wrong and she manages to hold on to things well. The backdrop LEDs show a starry night with a lot of moonlight features so to speak. Another good performance and this might be the dark horse of the first semi-final if all works out perfectly on the night, one to watch out for in my opinion.

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Video Courtesy of the Team at Eurovision.tv

Georgia (through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

The second rock song of this years' contest comes onto the stage in the Esprit Arena here in Dusseldorf and they manage to put in quite a presence. The lead singer of the group Eldrine is joined on stage by the rest of the band including drums, guitars and all. It is quite difficult to get the camera work done right with so many visuals being carried out by the group but the real treat in this song is surely the rap bits which are coming out quite well today.

The group is clad in their attire for the very first semi-final set to take place next Tuesday, 10th May and I must say that these are some crazy choices with a red and green dress from the lead singer along with the same colour scheme for the rapper. The rest of the band mellow well in the background wearing black. The backdrop LEDs are somewhat very impressive with a lot of ruins from various world temples. The vocals are strong and this nation might qualify and might not based on whether the rock votes could be attracted to it because I believe that Turkey will do those honours.

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Video Courtesy of the Team at Eurovision.tv

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Finland (through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

Following the nation of Georgia will be beneficial but being calm and emotional is very much a trait of the Swiss entry int his years' Eurovision Song Contest and with only one song to separate them, it might be quite difficult so to speak. The question is whether they will be able to either impress or fail, or whether one of them holds the card to do so. Paradise Oskar takes to the stage alone ready to combat the world and all of it's wrongdoings.

The performance is quite similar to what has been seen on Monday actually with Paradise clad in brown and white attire with the background LEDs showing the globe and all of its surroundings turning round. It transcribes into the lyrics of the song actually in which the singer would like to save the world from all of the wrong doing that is going on. The vocal performance is stunning in each run through and I do not know what to make of this song in general because some people will like it whilst others wont just because they would consider it to be dull or maybe a copy to the song byTom Dice last year.

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Video Courtesy of the Team at Eurovision.tv

Malta (through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

Yes Glen has been keeping a secret from us for some time regarding his performance and it is a BIG SECRET TOO!!! Where do I start? Well Glen is wearing light blue jeans and a dark blue hooded denim jacket with a white t-shirt. He is accompanied by his 3 female backing singers who are still all dressed in black dresses and white shades and perched on their individual plinths. Also on stage are the 2 male dancers who are also dressed in black.

They all begin the song with their backs to the audience and then with a flash the backdrop comes alive with the secret that Glen has been keeping from us. Yes Glen is projecting the official preview video of his song on the giant screen in the arena. It looks stunning. Then they super impose the original back drops from the previous day which includes the inverted pyramids and the circular strobe lights over the video in parts. And to top it all off we have some pyrotechnics at the end of the song.

The choreography is far more complex and it looks so professional and slick. Glen's vocals are so on form as are his backing singers. I always thought that Glen/Malta would qualify but now I am certain. Looking and sounding like a worthy finalist. Well done Glen and Team.

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Video Courtesy of the Team at Eurovision.tv

San Marino (through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

Following the summery tune of Malta which features pop, dance and just a sparkle of disco comes the calm melodic ballad from the small micro-state of San Marino and today Senit who is joined by two guitarists and three backing vocalists, two female and one male are all clad in their attire for the first semi-final. The lead artist who has removed her glasses for the performance is wearing what seems to be a grey/blue strapless gown whilst the backing keep the same colour scheme. Seriously, I am in love with these classy outfits looking like the nation is trying to hard to make an impact.

The song is now starting off with the backing singers who do a couple of harmonies together making the song even more romantic. They all face one side of the stage as Senit sings the verse before going into a moving stance which gives them a little bit of that ballad like choreography. The vocals from Senit are very strong but many people see the song as too calm and boring although I think that it is simple and melodic. Charisma seeps through all cracks and the voice of Senit echoes through. This is another competent rehearsal from San Marino but the bookmakers have them set to finish last at this moment but then again considering their only participation in 2008, that might have a lot of effect.

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Video Courtesy of the Team at Eurovision.tv

Croatia (through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

One of the contenders for the dark horse title came out and performed very disappointingly during the first rehearsal but Daria has come back for some more and she is looking to get a better review this time round. She is not alone on stage as she is joined by four female backing vocal and a Disc Jockey who also acts as a 'dancer' moving the lead singer around the stage. She is ready to change dresses on the night but she does not try it out during each run today.

She starts off the song clad in a black dress with only a small hint of gold and takes to the catwalk following her premier dress change. The background LEDs are very nightlife like actually and really bode well with the ambient of the song. The vocals are OK today not too amazing but at least she is holding the tune quite well and wherever she might have a bum note, it is quickly covered by the backing singers who are doing a fantastic job.

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Video Courtesy of the Team at ESCDAILY

Friday, 06 May 2011 09:50

ESC 2011: Day 6 Rehearsals - LIVE

Guten Morgen Europa and welcome to our sixth consecutive day of live coverage from the city of Dusseldorf in the nation of Germany which was last year the one which Lena Meyer-Landrut represented and won for during the Eurovision Song Contest held in Oslo, Norway. We have been keeping you posted with all the latest updates as they take placce and we will continue to do so for the next couple of days as we prepare our schedules for the coming days.



As stated within the schedule, a number of acts from semi-final have rehearsed twice whilst some of the acts from semi-final two will also take to the stage today. I would like to thank all of the team working so hard in bringing you the coverage especially our men within the press working area including Garrett Mulhall, Juergen Boernig, our very own International Relations Officer, Keith Mills from All Kinds of Everything and Liam Whelan from local Irish radio amongst others. Keep refreshing the page to get the latest information only here at ESCflashmalta.

General

Our colleagues at Radio International have notified us that the typical OGAE Press Voting is currently ongoing in the Press Working Area and in fact the leader in the first semi-final is currently Azerbaijan who will be rehearsing today whilst the leader of the second semi-final is none other than Sweden who will take to the stage later on today for an extra rehearsal according to our other colleagues at All Kinds of Everything, this is yet to be confirmed by the European Broadcasting Union. In the meantime, Malta is only predicted to come in eighteenth (18th) place within the scoreboard, let us hope that this is not the case.

Iceland (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

The Icelandic entry in this years' Eurovision Song Contest is quite a calm one but it has a lot of sentimental value for the artists performing it because of the story that lies beneath. The first rehearsal earlier this week was actually very strong and this is somewhat very similar actually as nothing was needed to make this entry look or sound stronger. The write of the song, the wife of the late Sjonni Brink is very happy with the way things are going and this might be going through to the final at this moment in time.

All of the group members are dressed in very smart country casual like attire and this works very well with the music of the song which delves into country sort of pop that is. The vocals are very good and it is to no wonder that a fan site recently rewarded Matthias with the best male singer award because he is doing a fantastic job. In the meantime, the backdrop LEDs depict a time spear sort of or a factory wheel to depict the time and the actual message of the song.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY


Hungary (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

It seems that Kati Wolf has been reading some of the comments that she has received from the internet forums and websites around Europe because suddenly she has come alive in the best frame of mind. She is joined on stage by two female dancers and this is enough to get her going it seems. Clad in very tight attire, it seems like Kati might be making dress amendments but this is not confirmed with her press team announcing weeks ago that she would be wearing a teal dress made exclusively for her.

The performance is bathed in pink and blue whilst there are spotlights in each and every moment of the refrain. Midway through the song, the two female dancers become backing vocalists as another three dancers come on stage to continue headlining the choreography. The vocals are not strained and she manages to hit all of the notes today, stunning, seriously, just stunning and this should qualify with relative ease if she manages to hold it in this manner. She received a rapturous applause in the hall.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY


Portugal (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

One of the groups that has been causing controversy leading up to the event is surely this one representing Portugal with their song being branded as a political song supporting a revolution against the government in support of the workers getting ample coverage on news stations just for this matter. They are on stage for their second rehearsal ready to get the ball rolling once more. It seems that everything has been kept in place from last Monday.

All of the six members are on stage and are clad either very smart of just casually in working labour type of attire. They are holding picket cards in which on them they have messages on support towards the workers. What is very interesting is that there is also a card in the Maltese language which states 'Il-Glieda Hija Ferh' (The fight is happy). The LEDs are showing flowers, carnations in red and green, the colours of Portugal. The vocals are good but the problem here is definitely the song. Following years of success, Portugal is not predicted to do well and I would not rule out the dreaded nil points for this entry. Sorry!

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

Lithuania (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

As has been the case within the last couple of years, the nation of Lithuania is underrated and this year is no different. The singer, Evelina Sasenko was the winner of the national final, Eurovizija yet the European crowd have no warmed out to her at this moment in time. She takes to the stage with a pianist and not on her own and it seems that she is enjoying every moment she can shine on the stage, as she does perform the song to perfection in every run through.

The stage is bathed in very dark lighting wiht an atmosphere being created for the song in itself. This is very intriguing becuase the LEDs are depicting a night with stars as the artist wearing a beautiful white gown with touches of black performs to sheer perfection with the voice of an angel. The song, a melanchonic ballad is very typical but I would not mind seeing this go through to the final and I believe that the judges will have something to say about this one. The fact of the matter is whether the song will stand out as much as it should.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

Azerbaijan (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

The chosen artists for this years' competition came through an audition process which took place over a long period of time. The nation is aiming for their first victory at the annual musical event being held in Dusseldorf, Germany. The song was selected internally and it is written by Swedish songwriters. This is actually very noticeable within the song itself. In the meantime, the duo are joined on stage by four backing vocals.

Eldar & Nigar are on stage within their attire for the semi-final which includes a white suit and a white gown. The vocals are much better this time round I must say and it seems that things are looking up for Azerbaijan as they vie to compete for victory in this years' competition. The choreography is looking good because it is kept simple. This was a much better rehearsal and they will be hoping to improve on this.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY


Greece (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

Over the year, the nation og Greece has been building quite the reputation at the Eurovision Song Contest managing successive top ten finishes. This year, with a tight budget, the broadcaster stayed back on production costs and many say that this has not had the positive effect on their entry which is different yet very traditional at the same time. Combining two genres together like traditional Greek music with Rap is something that is being somewhat very ordinary in the present music scene but even in the event itself with Georgia fusing Rock with Rap.

What is quickly eye catching about Greece is their intense choreography as suddenly you see people jumping as if there is no tomorrow before going in a flurry of break-dance. The rapper carries out his part well but this element of Greek music is very beautiful in my opinion and this is the time where it all looks quiet on stage. The background LEDs depict the typical Greek columns within this entry apart from the dark blue lighting. Another solid rehearsal from Greece and this is qualifying not only because they have enough diaspora help but because this is looking good.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

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Bosnia & Herzegovina (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

The choice from this nation seems to be in everyone’s' tastes because for yet another year, many people list this as their outsider for victory. The act who is carrying the flag for Bosnia & Herzegovina is former representative Dino Merlin and following his first rehearsal last Wednesday, it seems that things look very polished. Dino is joined on stage but a band made up of a cellist, a pianist, a banjo like player and a female backing vocalist who does the harmonies.

Dress in a very colourful shirt, Dino holds a guitar and plays as if there is no tomorrow whilst coordinating some of his movements. What is not seen in the beginning is that there actually is a dancer on stage who goes around doing practically nothing. This has a very interesting effect though but mid-way through the performance, he stars playing the trumpet as heard within the instrumentation. The vocals are spot on once more and Bosnia & Herzegovina are sailing to the final with this song.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY


Austria (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

Austria is taking things very seriously as they return to the Eurovision Song Contest for the very first time since 2007 actually. The victory of Germany has enlightened the return of the nation and they are doing it in spectacular fashion. Winning the national final on the same stage which Nadine Beiler had won the Idol show in the same aforementioned nation. She takes to the stage in amazing fashion actually as she is joined by five backing vocals who very much seem like a gospel choir.

Dressed in a black dress which is short, she takes to the stage with a spotlight donned on her only and she commences acapella. The vocals are once more brilliant as they were earlier on in the week. The harmonies of the backing vocals are also strong and this is clearly the ballad entry of the evening. Many people are not sure how to make this entry and thus it will be one of those which we call as a dark horse. The press have fallen in love with this particular song it seems as they rank high in the press voting. Well, clearly this is a love it or hate it but at the end of the day this is Eurovision.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

The Netherlands (As seen by Marc Calleja Bayliss)

Years and years of underved low rankings, it seems that the former winners of the Eurovision Song Contest have decided to try a different formula and that is by getting a successful local act to represent the country. The trio known as the 3Js are very popular in their country and yet here they are trying to restore the nations' pride within the event. They are not alone on stage as they are joined by three backing vocalists, two females and a male.

This song could have really looked static especially with the chosen effects on the LEDs mostly focusing on some shooting stars coming up the screen within the chorus and then heavily on yellow lights and blue background lighting. The vocals from the lead singer are superb yet he is backed up very strong by the rest of the team on stage. The addition of two female backing vocals is quite nice because during the refrain you get that extremely warm feeling. Competent, strong and most probably, yes wait for it, a qualifier!

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

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Belgium (as seen through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

This is a group which has been getting a lot of criticism especially from back home actually because they did not believe that the song matches the typical Eurovision standard especially following last years' sixth place finish within the final thanks to Tom Dice and his song 'Me and My Guitar'. The group representing the nation this year goes by the name of Witloof Bay and they are on stage wearing very smart attire which suits the mood of the song the actual lyrics so to speak. They presence is quite impressive.

One more the vocals are good and there are no apparent problems with the setting. It is just a matter of what the people actually love or hate and thus it is quite important that the Jury will be voting because I am sure that their talent wont be wasted. This is looking good on screen and many people think that it sounds good but boring at the same time. Bathed in blue and white, the stage looks very impressive. Can Belgium do well for a second successive year? I don't think so.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY


Slovakia (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

The TWiiNS have been internally selected by the broadcaster and many people are growing to like them. They are now going through their second rehearsal following a very successful one earlier this week. The question of doubt here was whether they were able to perform live and this was answered quite quickly so to speak. The TWiiNS are not taking to the stage alone and they have been joined by a drummer, a pianist and also a backing vocalist.

The vocals as already stated are strong and the girls are dressed in what looks to be slim like sheer curtains and they look very sexy and impressive so to speak. The performance is looking very strong on the monitors and this might qualify for the final stage with the way that it is looking at the moment. A very competent second rehearsal for the nation as they try to make it to the finals for the very first time.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

Ukraine (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

Clad in a summer like dress which features lemons on the skirt and a white shirt, the blonde singer takes to the stage for her second rehearsal. Despite the initial problems when the song was chosen to represent the nation, it seems that this has become a strong contender. The fact of the matter is that this song is currently looking a bit dull in terms of choreography noting a male backing vocalist and also what looks to be a circus member.

The impressive thing about this performance is the backdrop LED actually which is showing figures being made in the sand. It is a very beautiful art and one could note that it has been personalized for the song depicting the lyrics. The vocals from the singer are very good and it seems like she has been controlling her voice better now because she did not shout at all. The backing manages to mix in well and this is looking strong, another definite qualifier.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

Moldova (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

The final rehearsal of the day comes from another set of former participants actually noting that Zdob Si Zdub have already represented their nation back in 2005 when the country took part for the very first time. Here, the song is very much different but they are trying to give it the character that they know Europe will love by adding some sort of gimmick. I must say, this song does not really captivate me but they do keep me very closely careful to what they are doing.

The band are managing to keep my attention with their choice of attire especially those long point hats which look like coming out from Santa's Elves or something. A minute into the song, a female comes out on a uni-cycle in the same hate and playing a trumpet. She does leave it to the side and takes a standing role at the back. The vocals are spot on and the way it is being performed might prove to be very successful and then two minutes in, another refrain and the girl is back dancing along. Could this entry actually defy the odds and qualify?

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

Saturday, 07 May 2011 10:37

ESC 2011: Day 7 Rehearsals - LIVE

Good morning and welcome to our seventh day of live reporting from the city of Dusseldorf in Germany where the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest is set to take place within the next couple of days. We have been following all of the semi-finalists take to the stage twice and today the last set of countries from the second semi-final will do so once more before the Big Five, the highest financial contributors of the contest do the honours and take to the stage for their first forty minute rehearsal. Another intriguing day for sure awaits so keep refreshing this page for more information.

The press working area is buzzing with the finalists performing for the very first time today and therefore everyone is a little bit on edge. The coverage of the day will be mostly brought to you by Garrett Mulhall but I will also be conducting some of the reports. Videos and pictures as always courtesy of ESCdaily and All Kinds of Everything and other help being brought forward by Juergen Boernig of Radio International. We would like to thank all of our collaborators and others who have pitched in to help us out because we would have never managed without their help. Alas, he we go .. Enjoy!

Sweden (as seen through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

Firstly - Sweden had an additional rehearsal yesterday evening after all of the countries had finished their rehearsals. This was due to their technical problem on their first day. Eric was looking to smash his glass for the first time. He actually did not break the glass on a few attempts and he was very annoyed. He also was wearing a hooded top and shades - as a precaution but he eventually did break the sheet of glass.

Now today's performance we had sound problems and the song had to stopped on several occasions. The staging is the same as before but there are some additional strobe lighting which is effective. In the final run through today Eric attempted the breaking of the glass and to his delight the one pane of glass did break which is the one to the rear of the cage. Strangely the camera actually follows Eric out of the cage which looks somewhat strange.

One other small item for discussion would be the 2 backing singers. They are good vocally but they are very static on stage which is not in keeping with the song. They should have some movement in order to maintain the momentum of the performance. One cannot help but feel that Eric's performance is not as fluid as it could be as he is worried about the glass not breaking. Having said that Eric was much improved today and should make the final for sure.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

Cyprus (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

Moving on to the second rehearsal of the day, one which is looking extremely professional in terms of staging. The lead singer, Christos is joined on stage by four backing dancers who are also singers and another one at the end of the catwalk. Despite the fact that Cyprus has not looked as one of the contenders of qualification, I have this running as a dark horse because it is performed to perfection and this might give it extra points.

It seems that all wnet smoothly for Cyprus in their second rehearsal, the drama is being emitted well both in the hall and on the screens and what is even far more impressive the second time round is his crystal cut vocals which have been perfected so much since winning the talent show 'Performance' late last year. The choreography is simple yet dramatic at the very same time and that is why, this looks slick. The backdrop LEDs feature a dark background with metallic silver balls making an appearance. A very good rehearsal yet I am not too sure about qualification.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

Bulgaria (as seen through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

Bulgaria are keeping the same staging of their performance. It is striking on camera with the rain drops on the large screen. What we once thought were tattoos on Poli's arm is actually a flesh coloured sleeve with dark embroidery that looks like tattoos. She has her striking white dress on again and she is sounding wonderful. She is selling the song to the camera amazing well.

One change in the performance is that Poli does not fully go down to the secondary stage to remove her longer skirt. She just walks off the main stage onto the runway - does some great camera angles and then returns to the main stage where she falls to her knees and removes her long skirt to reveal the shorter white dress. This song is growing vocally and visually and I think stands a strong chance of making it to the final as it is a strong rock song in this semi final. Good Work Bulgaria.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY


FYR Macedonia (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

This entry has not been highly ranked by many people and it is mostly due to the song being such a weird mixture of languages and genres at the very same time. I cannot help but note the people that are joining Vlatko on stage actually in the form of five dancers, who seem to be dressed in attire which remind me of the late Tose Proeski, maybe a lobbying point who knows. Still, with all due respect, this looks very good in terms of staging again.

The lead singer clad in a suit looks very dashing and the background LEDs have been made to look very professional in a three dimensional like manner. The vocals are good but again, the countries within the Ex-Yugoslavian block will get to understand this song. FYR Macedonia have not been in the final for quite some time yet I seriously cannot see this going to the finals because the melody is just not that catchy.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

Israel (as seen through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

Dana International has her second dress rehearsal just now. The big talking point was what was she going to wear. Well she is in a green dress which is a bodice with a stringed skirt. To be honest it looks like she is wearing a wicker basket that is coming undone. It is really not flattering at all. The dress is supposed to be designed by French designer John Paul Gaultier. The money could have been spent more wisely. The staging is the same as it was in the last dress rehearsal with the increasing and decreasing circles on the back drop. For me it looks too static for a high energy song.

Vocally Dana is so off key that it is becoming even more obvious with every rehearsal and with strong performers from other countries around her this is accentuated. One change of note is that Dana comes off the main stage and struts down the catwalk to the secondary stage where she certainly works her camera angles to maximum effect. However the vocals on the song are so off key that no support from her 5 backing singers can mask the poor performance. Will Dana's reputation save her from not making it to the final - it is questionable.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

BREAK

France (as seen through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

I am looking at Amaury sing in the hall and I have goosebumps on my arms. This song is attracting a lot of attention and if you look at the number of fans and press in the audience, this is a crowd pleaser. Firstly Amaury's vocals are truly STUNNING. This vocally is one of the best stand out rehearsals of the competition so far.

As for the stage - it is beautiful and simplistic and enhances the performance wonderfully. It is a night sky backdrop with the moon, stars and billowing clouds drifting across the screen. With Amaury dressed in a black military style jacket and black jeans with a white shirt - he looks stunning in front of the back drop. As the song progresses the night sky backdrop moves to a sun rise scene with golden shades breaking through the clouds. When the song then comes to the climax the screen reverts to a thundery sky with flashes of lightening.

Then we have dry ice billowing across the stage which sets the scene for the end of the song where it is a sun set scene which gradually brings us back to the night sky with shooting stars. On the final run through of the song there will be a pyro effect on the final note. We were not treated to what it will be but it will be shown on the next rehearsal. The reaction from the press and fans alike was amazing. This will be France's best result in the Eurovision for a long time. Bravo La Belle France.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

Italy (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

The return of Italy to the Eurovision Song Contest has really been publicized in all of the countries taking part in this years' event. The comeback of RAI has proved to be quite a hit with the European Broadcasting Union who have given them direct qualification status in to the final stage of the competition as a member of the elite 'Big Five' as they are a high financial contributor. The chosen act is Raphael Gualazzi, the winner of the Giovani section at this years' San Remo competition which was staged just days after the Maltese national selection.

The lead singer is joined on stage by a piano which he plays to the tune of the half-playback as well as a number of personnel playing various instruments including a saxophone, a drum-kit, a trumpet and a cellist. This looks a little bit cramped in my opinion but it might be looking well on screen but I did not manage to catch a glimpse of it. The act is clad in a very smart casual attire which is usually done quite well with regards to Jazz tunes. It seems that the singer is really enjoying himself and it is so beautiful to hear the Italian language back in the Eurovision Song Contest after 14 years of absence. The vocals are strong but I do not know whether Europe will warm up to it within the way that I have, nevertheless, a competent first rehearsal and a massive applause in the hall.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

United Kingdom (as seen through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

Well we have the 4 members of Blue on stage in matching metallic dark blue suits where each of them have their own variations. Duncan is in a classic Tom Ford cut suit with waistcoat and no shirt, Anthony is wearing a loser suit with a black t-shirt, Lee is in a Morning Dress Coat with tails and finally Simon is wearing just trousers and a waistcoat. They are accompanied by 2 backing singers to the side of the stage who are dressed in black.

Vocally there were a few problems with the feed through to their ear pieces. The arrangement of the song has been slightly changed and it adds to the performance. Due to the sound problems they were slightly singing behind the track at parts and the backing singers were slightly raised. This is what rehearsals are all about. Tweaking out all the problems.

Visually the song was very good. They were hitting their camera angles all the time. They have 4 screes on the stage with them. These were used to great effect by projecting videos of each of the band members and the words "I CAN". The ceiling lights were lowered for the song to create a cauldron effect. The backdrop had florescent green squares that then were replaced by black and white strobes. It was all very visual and I am sure with more rehearsal this will get there. But the guys are looking great and their vocals will be too once the technical issues are resolved.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

Germany (as seen through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

Lena is looking and sounding like a potential winner yet again. She is dressed in a black trouser suit with a matching black feathered headpiece. She is accompanied by the dancers/singers from the German National Final. They are dressed in the grey one piece lycra suits and it looks very dramatic on the stage.

The vocals were fantastic from Lena and the backing singers and it helped create the 80's inspired feel of the song. The setting is very striking. The stage is black with several blue/white spot lights creating a pyramid effect on the stage. Then there are videos of the backing singers across the backdrop that look stunning. When the song finishes there is the sound of shattering glass that is accompanied by the images of the dancers being smashed to pieces. This looks amazing! Could we be back in Germany for another year? A strong possibility based on Lena's performance?

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

Spain (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

The final act to take to the stage for the day and for this years' Eurovision Song Contest is none other than the Galician Lucia Perez who is not joined on stage by dancers and backing vocalists at the very same time, females and males. This is looking very impressive to say the list. She has made a lot of changes from the national final as you can note through the video below. Many people believe that Spain is not a contender for the victory and whilst I also think that, I still believe that this might hit the top ten.

The choreography is much more elaborate as it is now actually as they manage to create that fun filled moment through it. The backing vocals as well as the dancers are probably clad in their attire for the final wearing white suits and clothing suiting the mood of the song but the singer has not come out in her attire, or so we hope. The vocals are good, having no absolute trouble bringing out her best, some thinking that she could be tested. This looks very good and I would not mind seeing this do well because it just put me in an extremely cheery mood.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

Sunday, 08 May 2011 11:33

ESC 2011: Day 8 Rehearsals - LIVE

The first week of Eurovision rehearsals will be coming to a close today as all the nations including the finalists would have done their performance twice, have had two individual press conferences and would therefore be on an equal scale so that everything would fit in accordingly to schedule. Today, we have not published the schedule as a separate article as we are going to move as always according to the official schedule.

Yesterday evening was the night of the welcoming party where all the delegations were present in order to introduce themselves within he presence of high ranking political individuals. According to our friends and colleagues who were some of the privileged few to be a part of the event, it was a success indeed. Alas, the thirty minute rehearsals and the thirty minutes press conferences have now begun and off we go with out report.

Slovenia (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

The presence of the Slovenian singer is also impressive this morning as she takes to the stage for the second time for the rehearsal this morning. She has opted against wearing semi-final attire going very casual, the same goes for team of backing dancers and vocalists. This song is reminding me a lot of Maria Haukaas Storeng's 'Hold On Be Strong' even in terms of staging. Many people have been quite skeptical about what to make of this song but I believe that this is qualifying with relative ease.

The backdrop LEDs are depicting thorns and falling flowers and this puts you within the frame of the official preview video which was shot within a forest. The vocals are very good but it seems that Maja is not performing all of her higher notes today probably because she would like to conserve her energy. The backing vocalists are doing a superb job though as the harmonies are well tuned as their simple choreography kicks in as well. A nice round of applause in the hall meaning that this has been another good rehearsal.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

Romania (as seen through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

Romania are looking and sounding like a qualifier after their rehearsal today. The staging is very dramatic. The have gone for a red base on the stage and then on the backdrop they have circular rings in blue and green. It looks very striking and compliments the performance as opposed to detracting from it.

The lead singer is wearing a tartan backed waistcoat that is black to the front. This is accompanied by black and white striped trousers. The drummer and piano player are wearing clothes with accents of the tartan print. There are also 2 female dancers dressed in black jackets, trousers and hats and they perform with trumpets. This looks great on stage and the vocals on every taking were fantastic. The lead singer hits his camera marks but he is not fully engaging and as a result it loses some of the impact. But this will surely qualify.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

Estonia (as seen through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

Getter is putting in a performance that is worthy of a Top 5 finish in my opinion. Dressed in girly pink with black buttons and hem line she looks completely charming. She is accompanied by her 2 female backing singers in yellow and blue respectively and her 3 male dancers in black. As before she descends from the cardboard building cut outs on stage of the Art Deco buildings by standing on the backs of her dancers.

The staging has not been changed with the cityscape complete with Ferris wheel. Getter is completely charming on the stage and hits her camera angles all the time. She is captivating and engaging and I am sure that people on the juries and the tele-voting will be voting for this song in their droves. One to watch out for in the final.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

Belarus (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

Anastasia Vinnikova is back on stage for a second time and she is joined on stage by four backing vocals clad in black/white short dresses who are singing with shining podiums for their microphones. No changes from the first rehearsal and I believe that this song will be making it through to the final based on merit because the nation has not really been lucky with regards to their geographical position.

The lead singer who is standing on the forefront and in the middle of the stage is dressed in a very smart looking outfit. The backing singers do their best with regards to keeping the song flowing and suddenly during the key change, they move forward and fist pump a number of times. The backdrop LEDs are showing tiles and different shorts of shapes. The vocals are very strong this morning from all of the team and this looks very good. No pyrotechnics today but that it to relieve the country of some of the costs, it is expected that they will be used during the semi-final.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

Latvia (as seen through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

Latvia still sounding like it is going to the final. They are not wearing their costumes from the other day but have gone for casual attire with jeans and t-shirts. They again begin their song with their backs to the audience and this still looks very effective. There were some technical issues and there were long pauses between the takes of the songs. However when they got to sing they were note perfect yet again and Emil's vocals have a wonderful raspy quality to his voice.

The staging of the song is still the same as before. Black background with blue and white rectangular shapes that rotate. They hit their camera angles every time and are very charismatic on camera. The rapping is sounding great and appropriate for the song. This is surely going to the final.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY


Denmark (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

The second rehearsal for the group 'A Friend In London' has just commenced and it seems that it is being performed with the same intensity that it was performed the very first time. There is nothing wrong with this and that is why it has been receiving rave reviews from fans and experts alike. The group is joined on stage by a backing vocal to add to some of the fuller harmonies that are being emitted on the studio version of the song.

The act is dressed in skimpy attire within a leather frame but this bodes well within the pop/rock scene with that feel of indie. The vocals are once more spot on but it seems that the act is severely holding back on some of the run throughs. The backdrop is dark basing with black and white and that is why it is made very similar to that within the video. Another impressive rehearsal from Denmark and this middle of the road song is surely going to go to the final and get a mid table result whilst there.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

Ireland (as seen through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

Yes Jedward have just had their second dress rehearsal and they were AMAZING! Dressed in stunning Red Glittered jackets that have double lapels and black jeans with their red high top trainers - they were in Top form at their dress rehearsal. With energy that could light up the city of Dusseldorf itself they commanded their performance. There were a few changes to the performance today that worked amazingly well.

The change in this performance is some slick new choreography for the chorus of the song. They have obviously been working on this for some time and their dedication shows as the performance was very polished. There are a few little glimpses of the unpredictable Jedward but they are only fleeting and show their true energy. It really is coming together extremely well on camera.

The backing singers were now in their new costumes which were as follows. The female singers were in stunning black short dresses which also have a hood on them too. They are very inspired by the Kylie Minogue video - "Can't get you out of my head" video. The male singers were in very smart slim black well fitted suits with white t-shirts. Visually and vocally this looked extremely professional and with the stunning backdrop of the Brothers dancing replicated in giant format - this looks truly spectacular. Possibly one of the best uses of the stage from any country in this years Eurovision. If there is any justice then Jedward and Ireland should qualify for the final.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

France (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

My colleague Garrett Mulhall was blown away by the rehearsal of France yesterday and it seems that the same has took place from my end because this is looking perfect from every angle. Amaury is on stage alone, with just one main spotlight and he is clad in what looks to be a white shirt, black trousers and a very French looking blazer. His signature hair is also vital for the appearance in this case. He is doing what he does best and that is to make people emotional as he sings.

The backdrop LEDs are the most impressive during this performance because suddenly there are the morning sky with the sun and the clouds but as the refrain kicks in, it has become dark, night and story with lightning shuddering out of the clouds. The background continues conflicting night and day and thus it becomes stunning. During the climax one could note a high point within his vocal performance and two minutes in you can feel him performing and not singing but performing. The exuberance of the entry is beautiful and I just cannot see this not winning, it would be a travesty to the contest. As like yesterday, a huge response from the hall, this is our winner for 2011.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

Italy (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

The returnee of the competition comes back to the stage of the event for a second day in a row and it seems that there have been some changes made within the visual performance. Raphael Gaulazzi, the man who is always within a suit is joined on stage by a very small version of an orchestra with a cellist, guitarist, trumpeter and a saxophone player. This all looks very Italian and classy which definitely does not do anything wrong.

The backdrop LED is yet again very nice because apart from the flames in red and blue sort of a promotional campaign for a leading company is facial haircare products, there are hands playing the keys of the piano such as what Raphael is doing and this is done in order to keep the feel of the video as alive as possible. The vocals are good but it seems that sometimes Raphael is stressing a little bit too much and this does not really sound well especially that longer note which could get on someone's nerves but there is no technical fault with this and people think it will do well.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY

 

United Kingdom (as seen through the eyes of Marc Calleja Bayliss)

The comeback of the boy-band Blue has sparked so much debate in the media but they seem to be loving the attention that they are getting at the Eurovision Song Contest. Today has been miles better than yesterday according to our colleagues at the arean. The lads are joined on stage by two backing vocals of male nature continuing to add to the power of the song in itself.

The stage is bathed in emerald like green actually and I have no clue but they made this choice in general because I would have used a pun and made use of the blue but still it does not look bad on the monitors. The British delegation which is very much on the radar this year is making use of four extra LED screens which are like mirrors and they depict the members in all of their glory without any shirts on. Their picture changes to the title of the song and then also changes to compromising choreography positions. The vocals are good and this will be heading into the top three, and a possible winner.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCDAILY


Germany (as seen through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

ena gave a stunning performance again this afternoon of her song. She is again dressed in her black trouser suit but without the floured hat. Her backing singers and dancers are in their iconic silver bobsleigh suits. Again Lena gives an amazing vocal performance and she is have lots of fun on the stage here in Dusseldorf. In between her takes she was having such fun with the audience and the production staff.

The staging of the song is still the same as it was perfect from the first time that we saw it yesterday. The replication of the backing singers on the big screen looks sensational in the hall. The set is atmospheric and the close up shots of Lena are wonderful and add to the intensity of the performance. This could be a winner again for Germany.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCKAZ


Spain (as seen through the eyes of Garrett Mulhall)

Spain is a ray of sunshine on stage. With each performance the smile on Lucia's face seems to grow wider and happier. And it should be. She is absolutely playing a blinder with her performance. This song is strongly becoming a firm favourite in the hall. The simple melody is so easy to enjoy and the massive audience that attended the Spanish rehearsal were overjoyed with the performance of Lucia.

She is accompanied by her 3 male and 2 female backing singers and dancers who are all dressed in white. They look and sound wonderful. This song is catchy and the staging is bright and summery and you just can't help but clap and dance along to this song. What a firm favourite in the hall and could look like the surprise hit on the night.

Lucia hits her camera angles with ease and she sells the song so well in the arena. With choreography that is die to get the audience at home and in the arena on their feet Spain should be in for their best result in the past decade with this year's entry.

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Video Courtesy of the team at ESCKAZ

Good Evening Europe and welcome to the second dress rehearsal of the first semi-final which is set to take place tomorrow evening. The nineteen acts will be vying to give their best performance this evening and this is because this is the show in which the jury will be giving their verdicts meaning that 50% of the result tomorrow night will be decided on the performance that the acts will be giving over the course of this evening.

We would like to thank Garrett Mulhall for his report on the first dress rehearsal earlier today and we would like to thank the team of All Kinds of Everything who will be making a live running commentary of the show this evening. With a feed from within the press centre, I might also be writing some of the reviews myself but considering that I will doing the live report tomorrow evening along with Irishman Simon Casey, the hit pop sensation who has agreed to do the commentary for the second year in a row.

Introduction

Opening credits go straight to the 3 presenter who introduce the show and explain what will happen. The are treating it almost like stand up comedy with many tongue in cheek moments. They then explain the voting and where you can phone comes up on screen. Then they open the phone lines before it all begins.

01. Poland

So we start  with Poland. Each postcard introduces someone from the country who live in Germany. Poland are all in white and this looks pretty good on screen. Magdalena sound very good vocally. There is use of smoke plumes throughout the performance. Much slicker this is moving up in estimations again.

02. Norway

Next up is Stella Mwangi from Norway. Backing singer all resplendent in red. Stella wearing gold dress.   Visually very colourful backdrop here. Very bouncy and a happy feelgood song. Stella sound better vocally than this afternoon. She knows how to work the crowd near the end red sprays of glitter go off all over the front area. I still think this will go through.

03. Albania

lbania on with Aurela Gace next. Lots of red in the lighting with wonderful graphic wings in the backdrop in white. Use of  Fire columns in this. Aurela looks good in this with a white sparkly long dress which is nice. Vocally this is really powerful, fantastic in fact. Great performance and definite qualifier.

04. Armenia

Along comes Emmy from Armenia now and the main prop the boxing glove seat is still centre stage. Dressed in red hooded boxing gown with white trim. Lovely short white dress with sparkly motif in the centre underneath this. Her dancers are in white top, black trousers. The vocals are off key and sound hideous at times very screechy and forced. Based on this performance it wont qualify for me.

05. Turkey

Turkey on next and Yuksek Sadakat are a real band and look very comfortable. Great use of smoke and pyros in this one. Great camera angles and the lady in the globe is prominent. Great vocal this is a really good performance. Lots of pyro towards the end. The girl girl end up out of globe with wings.

BREAK

A break here with a look at the welcome party. Various singers are singing a German folk song. Hilarious.

06. Serbia

On after the break we have Nina for Serbia. Very very colourful indeed and a great retro feel to this song. I love the dance routine of the 3 girl singers/dancers very kitsch. This is visually stunning, very Austin Powers and 60's chic. Its a sweet song and Nina vocally sound fine tonight. I still fancy this to go through.

07. Russia

We are seeing live looks at the artists before they go on stage now. Next up is Alexej Vorobjov of Russia. Technical problems here one of LED screens is not working which is ruining some of the camera shots. Shiny white LED shoes here on all artist on stage. 2 backing singer off camera throughout behind the screens. Vocally not perfect by any means. Should still get through though.

08. Switzerland

Now we have Anna for Switzerland. Lovely setting in this one colourlful stars and clouds. This is a very sweet simple song just simply performed. Anna is still in the sparkly red dress which I think looks fine. Bubble machine sends lots of bubbles into the backdrop area. Looks nice. Vocally was perfectly good. Cute and sweet but plods a bit for me. Borderline to qualify I think .

09. Georgia

Georgia next on stage, a lovely cathedral windows backdrop in this. This has stepped up on what they achieved in the previous run through. Vocally strong and quite powerful. All costumes are with coloured dayglo squiggles. Her dress is hideous. This is actually surprisingly good, they are belting it out and giving their all. Fireworks at the end note. Could go through.

BREAK

Another break now and the hostess (the funny one) introduces Finland next.

10. Finland

Paradise Oskar is on stage by himself with a guitar(remember that idea ?) a lovely backdrop of the planet emerges. He looks very confidant and polished with his performance tonight. The graphic in this show are really quite breathtaking. This is really really lovely. It will definitely go through and could win the semi.

11. Malta

Glen Vella from Malta on next with One Life the girl backing singer are on round platforms and dressed in all black and dark glasses, cionsidering the backdrop to this is quite dark with flashing spots they tend to get lost sometimes. Backdrop does become more colourful through the song though, Glen's vocally absolutely fine really. Not a lot wrong here but I am not convinced that people will love this enough to put it through.

12. San Marino

San Marino on now and Senit is dressed in a lovely  silvery off white dress. Lots of smoke effect at the beginning. Her hair is up on one side tonight and looks stunning. The smoke gives this song a very moody feel and sounds really much improved. Wow this actually much much better than any previous rehearsal, she has really stepped up to the mark now. Juries will love this and the public might too. Moving from no hoper to serious contender for me.

13. Croatia

Now up comes Croatia and Daria with her disco stomper. Dress changes galore here From black dress with gold strip to pretty pink patterned dress. She also goes for a walk down the catwalk and back. Vocally this is quite good tonight.  Last dress change at end is hidden by a pyro effect. Ends up in flowing silver gown. Cleverly done in fact. Still borderline for me though.

14. Iceland

Iceland on now and Sjonni's Friends are really lovely. Great harmonies together and vocals. Lovely backdrop too. This has a jazz feel and is a very sweet feelgood song. All in grey waistcoats and white shirts with jeans on. Drummer sitting on horse saddle never noticed that before. This is more like it for Iceland , back in the game here. Its so going to qualify.

BREAK

Another break now and we cut to the green room where we get a chat with Stella Mwangi. The green room looks pretty funky diamond shaped pods for seat with pink and white.

15. Hungary

Now its time for Kati Wolf from Hungary. Kati has done her hair  and still wearing the tight short blue dress. Huge blue brooch and ring on too. I love some of the lighting effect especially the spotlights in time to the beat of the song. Vocally this is so much better now far far stronger and she is going for for her high notes with gusto. WOW this hugely better . From borderline to qualifier in one easy lesson.

16. Portugal

Portugal on now and this is the funniest bonkers song in the contest. Homens La Luta are a parody band very very bold and colourful. Amazingly its quite catchy , if your not careful. The characters in this are so funny and have turned a weird song into a possible qualifier .

17. Lithuania

Evelina Sasenko is up next for Lithuania. Very dark staging with moody blue lighting sets the scene for the mood of this song. White piano accompanies her on stage. Her dress is flowing long and white with black bodice trim. She is still doing the sign language part way through which is pointless. Vocally its lovely very polished but its a very dull sort of song. She has done as much with it as she can. It wont qualify but also wont finish bottom as some seem to think.

18. Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan on now and they are all dressed in white. Very white staging too. His vocals are a little and her vocals are very off and flat at time. Together they are struggling with this performance. Its not powerful as it should be. A lovely pyro waterfall at the end is really beautiful and finishes the act. I hate to say it but based on that it would not qualify but it is Azerbaijan and will make it.

19. Greece

Greece are last up and this is as good as it was in this afternoons rehearsal. Dramatic, passionate and very Greek. It is a great way to finish off the semi final and it will make people sit up and notice. The flames are now bursting from the stage and wow it looks good. Best reaction in the press centre saved for Greece and they saved their best performance for the jury.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011 14:54

ESC 2011: Semifinal 2 - Dress Rehearsal 1

The second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest is set to take place within the next twenty-four hours and we are now gearing up for the live show with regards to its respective dress rehearsals as the first one is set to commence within the next couple of minutes. All of the nineteen acts will be taking to the stage for the third time for a run-through, it will be the first time in which certain aspects are seen.

Introduction

The presenters are on stage but we have no sound just now. Anke in Lumo Orange, Stefan in his suit and Judith in Canary Yellow - can not hear the banter that is going on. It would appear they were just setting up as the Te Deum has just played and they starting again. They announce that there were 10 countries who qualified last night and scan to show them in the audience. Then they explain the voting system again. Anke has just treated us all to a rap - she is bonkers but quite amusing to watch on screen. More slap stick whilst reading the rules then then they do the countdown and Anke does an impression of a firework going off.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

So first up at last is Bosnia & Herzegovina. Dino is in a checked jacket. This is such a lovely feelgood song. Backdrop starts like a velvet curtain. Turns in to merry go round horses. The vocals sound pretty good a few shaky notes from Dino. A decent start overall though.

Austria

Next up is the lovely Nadine from Austria. Starts in darkness with a single spotlight on her. Black dress quite lovely. First 20 seconds with no music. We get some blue spotlights in the background. Which turn into stars. She is also standing a round mini platform. Backing vocalists come to join her on stage. Power  vocals kick in. This is amazing. Brilliantly strong vocals and harmony. Simple setting and stunning . Sure fire qualifier.

The Netherlands

Now we have 3JS from The Netherlands. They are wearing White and Black in various ways , each different. Another simpler backdrop with spots lights in white. A simple production of this song could do it some favours. Vocally it sounds pretty good.  Not sure it will have a huge impact though.

Belgium

Belgium on next and its the acapella group Witloof Bay. All dressed in various styles and colours. Tuning forks in the backdrop flashing in white. This sounds a bit flat today which doesnt help it one bit. It has no energy and is really really dull. I am sure for the genre its great but for Eurovision its truly awful.

Slovakia


Twiins on now for Slovakia.Lovely spotlighted stage. The girls look lovely one in white the other in peach flowing dresses. The harmonies are ok and the vocals a bit flat at times. Its a pleasant enough song that plods along going nowhere. If this is as good as they can be then its goodnight  Bratislava.

Ukraine

Next up we have Mika from Ukraine. She is stunning in a white dress with feather effects on the shoulders. The sand artist is in a purple dress with a ming collar and stands behind a counter thing where she draws in the sand. This gets displayed on the backdrop as an ever changing story to go with the song. It fails the first time so they stop. Start again and now its working. It looks amazing and is quite good to watch the skill here. Mika has a good vocal range and a nice strong voice. She is looking lovely and if she sings as good as this tomorrow. I can see this will qualify. The sand backdrop ends with the message. Share your heart.

Moldova


Next we have Moldova and Zdob si Zdub. They have their long pointy hats on in black. Amazing backdrop of figures in red and black pointy hats. Fairy on Unicycle in white playing trumpet comes on in slow bit. Flashing strobe light at the bonkers bit , its as mad as a box of frogs but I love it. So refreshing after the ballads before. Backdrop very red orange stripes later on too. End with a close up of lead singer and fairy he pops a monocle in his eye.

Sweden

Now here we go with Eric Saade from Sweden. Box and glass screens on stage. Vocals sound a bit dodgy. He is in black with dark brown leather jacket. Lots of white flashing lights. Usual slick dance routine. No glass breaking trickery today the back glass was missing. Strong finish though. Still possible to get through.

Cyprus

Now its Christos from Cyprus.She is on the satellite again They on stage in fixed boots all in black. Lovely backdrop starts rolling diamonds and then sperm like balls on stalks that sway in direction with the guys on stage, very effective. The female singer swings a lit white ball around her head while she wails(nicely). Brilliantly done and very classy indeed. The vocals were very steady.

Bulgaria


Now after a short break we have Poli from Bulgaria. She starts crouched stage front. Black jacket and white dress underneath and black leggings. Rest of group in all white. Lovely splashing water effect in the background. Very strong rocky vocals which suit the song. She goes off along the catwalk half way and back onto stage. Back to crouching at the end and takes her jacket off and swings it around. Very strong for this kinda genre.

FYR Macedonia

Now we have F.Y.R. Macedonia and Vlatko. Interesting white costumes with red flashes on the dancers. He is in black suit and white shirt. Backdrop is tumbling box with lettering inside , very colourful. A few above stage shots here highlight the dancers. A loudhailer vocal at some stage. Russian dancing too. Vocally this is gruff but its his style and actually sound ok for me today. Surprisingly this is better than I have seen before.

Israel

The infamous return of Dana International now for Israel. She starts out of position and has to run to her spot. A greenish hew to her dress which splits into strands below the hip. Backing singer all in white figure hugging dresses. The  backing track has a lot more oomph and for me seems to be a slight remix. You want to know how her vocals are dont you? Wellllllllll they are awful. Off key and flat as pancake on Shrove Tuesday. I think there will be no chance with this. Dreadful.

Slovenia


Slovenia up next  and its the lovely Maja. She has a rally lovely dress that has silver and gold in it in thin strips. Its just below the waist and becomes tassely with long above knee black leather boots. Very fetching. The backdrop is blue and moody. This is a slow builder of a song. But once it kicks in its tremendously effective and powerful. Vocally brilliant and faultless. Brilliant rehearsal.

Romania

Hotel FM up now for Romania. Blue stripes and shapes on the backdrop for this. David is in tripey black and white trousers black waistcoat and white shirt. All the rest in mainly black. This is a lovely catchy little pop song with a confidant credible singer. His waistcoat has a tartan back to it seen during the camera sweeps. Thats Scotland's vote sorted. Very singalong and happy, nice rehearsal.

Estonia

Now its Estonia and Getter Jaani. This is another fan favourite that needs to up the game. She has a pink dress on with black trim. Nice backdrop of skyscrapers and big wheel. Oh dear it started fine then once it oomphs itself up she seems to go a bit flat and struggles with the vocal. The camera shots and the dancing is combined is a bit messy. Not a nice look here and its a pity as i love the song. Not a good rehearsal I am sorry to say.

Belarus

Belarus on now and its Anastasiya. Mic stands like boxes. with stars in white. Backdrop all red and white and black. Her vocals are quite dreadful today. This is a complete mess and is car crash at its best without any movement. That was quite painful Ow!!

Latvia


Latvia and its the guys from Musiqq. Opening shot they have their backs to arena audience then we cut to camera that has the crowd behind them quite literally, will look fab with a flag waving crowd in the arena. They are in black and white outfits. Quite a simple setting for this that concentrates the mind onto the singing. The rap part is not bad either , fits in nicely. Vocally this is as good as I have heard. Could do rather well.

Denmark


Denmark are on next and its A Friend In London. Wonderful opening backdrop white stripes in haphazard fashion. Lots of white up spotlights. The light canopy above stage is lowered looks like spaceship on long shots. They are dressed in black. He kicks a white balloon into crowd and runs full length of catwalk and onto satellite and back a bit messy. Vocally its fine though. Quite a strong rehearsal.

Ireland


Finally we have Jedward from Ireland. The camera work is slick and fast and really really good. The ever changing backdrop is phenomenal. They are in red sparkly jackets with high shoulder pads with stars on. Backing singer in black. They have loads energy and lots of quirky looks to camera. Vocally the male backing is managing to cover up any Jedward failings. As an overall package vocally it has plenty positives and little wrong with it. Should do very well as many now feel here.

Two times participant in Russian National Final Alexey Vorobyov has been appointed as the Russian representative in the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf. He will be performing the song 'Get you', a composition from Swedish-Moroccan Red One who wrote previously for big stars such as Lady GaGa, Sharika, Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez.



The song was supposed to be presented exclusively at the premier of the show 'Star Academy', but already an amateur recording of the performance of the pre-recorded show was leaked on youtube. It seems a very good uptempo song which could bring Russia high in the final in May i would say. The song can be heared and watched below and remember that Russia will compete in the first semi-final together with Malta on Tuesday 10th May.

Source: Channel 1

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Monday, 14 March 2011 19:30

ESC 2011: Dusseldorf 2011 is shaping up

Delegations meet in Germany to discuss more of the upcoming song contest. Today and Tomorrow big meetings are going ahead in Dusseldorf as all 43 nations delegations meet up to discuss the upcoming competition. Preparations are well under way and more details are surfacing about the shows, stage, and songs.



All the final versions of the songs and all of the preview videos have been collected, and were presented one by one to the delegates. Italy received a big applause for its return to the contest.

More details about the arena and stage were given out by Ralf Quibeldey the executive producer of the Eurovision song contest. The press centre is going to be located next to the athletics arena in Düsseldorf. Next to that will be tents to greet all the fans and journalists going into the arena.

Over 700 journalists will be working in Düsseldorf, with 300 computers and 400 additional working spaces. A special lounge area will be set up, and special pigeon holes will also be available for the latest press releases.

A satellite will be a part of the stage approximately 40 metres in front, and will have a huge LED-screen in the back part. The stage is apparently intentionally kept small, as the artists themselves should be in the centre of attention. The floor of the stage will be equipped with LED-stripes and will have two ramps. The Green Room will be behind the stage. The lighting will be done by world famous artist Jerry Appelt. The LED-walls will be 60 x 18 metres with 520 lightning units, and the audience light will be part of the staging. A total of 26 cameras will be in use during the shows.

It has also been disclosed that Stefan Raab and his big band will open the grand final with a rendition of Satellite – the winning song from last year. Whereas the Interval will be Jan Delay and his band Disko#1!

The postcards will be around the theme of “Feel Your heart beat” and will each have a national flavour for each country. Stay with escfalshmalta.com as we will have more news on the way from the delegation meetings, including the draw for the semi finals!

Source: Eurovision.tv

Wednesday, 30 March 2011 13:50

Israel: Ding Dong gets a Revamp

When it was announced that Dana International would return to the Eurovision Song Contest, people across Europe began to get excited for the return of the Diva. Today a revamped version of Dana’s song has been released. This version will be the official version sung by Dana for Israel at this year’s contest from Dusseldorf, Germany.



Did you know that the song in fact is written by Miss International herself? The song won the right to represent Israel at Eurovision Song Contest, by winning the annual Kdam contest in Tel Aviv earlier this month. It was also announced today that remixes and alternate versions of the song are to be released following the release of the revamped version. They should be out in the next couple of days.

As reported by ESCflashmalta yesterday, it has also been revealed that Jean Paul Gautier has offered Dana any of his new dress’s for the contest. Gautier is said to be a big fan of Dana International. He even designer the jacket she won for her winners reprise when she won the contest back in 1998. It will actually be the 12th year anniversary of her win on the week of eurovision itself this year. Could this be an omen for victory?

Source: IBA

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The Eurovision Song Contest is approaching quickly these days and it looks like many delegations are working hard on promoting themselves extravagantly throughout Europe. Obviously, the small Island of Malta cannot stay behind in the promotional activities and thus ESCflashmalta can reveal exclusively that no less than 3 countries will be promoting themselves in the coming days.



Xarabank Special

This Friday will surely be one of the main highlights for promotional activity actually with a number of foreign delegations marking their appearance. The three nations who will be present during the show are none other than Croatia who will be represented by Daria and her song 'Celebrate', San Marino and Senit who will be performing the song 'Stand By' and Azerbaijan whose entry 'Running Scared' is performed by Eldar and Nigar. In the meantime, another delegation flew it today and that is the one from Turkey. This show will be recorded next Friday evening and will be shown by the Public Broadcasting Services in the coming weeks.

Bla Agenda Special

The arrival of the Turkish representatives, Yuksek Sadakat is quite impressive actually when nothing that a promotional clip has just been revealed by the program Bla Agenda stating that they will be guests along with Daria from Croatia. Both will be performing their entries during the live broadcast which will be taking place next Saturday, 16th April 2011. These are the two programs being used to promote the entries according to our intelligence but if we get to know anything else, we will be sure to let you know.

Source: ESCflashmalta

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