Remember to refresh the article to make sure you are kept up-to-date. We will update after each of the four rehearsals.
1. Austria: Natália Kelly - Shine
Austria's bubbly Natália Kelly has the honour of getting proceedings underway and the very first artist to try out the stage. She is wearing silver skin tight jeans paired with a baggy white top. On the circular stage, a number of white rays beam down onto her during the song intro. There are a number of tall, hanging lanterns that light up once she kicks into the chorus. The backdrop is in hues of purple, the pale blue lanterns are raised into the air during the course of the song.
She is accompanied by five backing singers who are all dressed in grey and black outfits, blending nicely into the background. They're positioned behind the young artist among the lanterns. Natália seems to enjoy herself on stage, giving a confident and competent vocal performance. Her second run through was considerably more punchy than her first. She totally nailed the vocally challenging finish, complete with key change which came across extremely well on the big screen. She makes good use of the stage wandering around with plenty of intense, lingering looks into the camera, as well as sweeping shots throughout the performance. All in all, a great opener from Austria this morning.
2. Estonia: Birgit - Et Uus Saaks Alguse
Frmm an Austrian performance with clearly visible backing singers, we meet Estonian Birgit almost all alone on stage. She stands at the round end of the catwalk in a long white dress while the three backing singers are hidden at the main stage. Later she walks to the main part of the stage. Birgit looks confident on stage and has no problems reaching all the notes in her song.
The song starts with a series of close ups which establish a good contact between Birgit and the viewers on the other side of the TV screen.
At the beginning, the song is filmed in black and white but when the chorus starts the backdrop turns blue like the sun reflecting in the water in a swimming pool. Stage lights from above are yellow, which gives a nice warm touch. Almost like the sun shining from above. At the end the backdrop becomes more warm with yellow and orange colours, and the stage floor is covered be dry ice.
3. Slovenia: Hannah - Straight Into Love
Hot on the heels of Ms Õigemeel is American born Hannah singing for Slovenia with her dance floor anthem Straight Into Love. Opinions about this one seem to be mixed, so her stage performance was highly anticipated. Would she be able to deliver the goods vocally, when push came to shove? The song opens with Hannah clad in a black leather gladiator top over black lycra pants. She's joined three male backing dancers, dressed in similarly styled outfits who bound seemingly effortlessly around the stage. The Slovene song is a highly choreographed number, with a tight, slickly staged routine. The backdrop starts off as a mixture of blue and white contrasting angular shapes, changing then to red and white before reverting to white and blue towards the end. Pulsating white strobe lights make a good contrast on screen.
Hannah's first vocal run through was, to put it diplomatically, strained. Hers is perhaps more about the presentation rather than the vocal prestation. From a shaky, unsteady start, her thin vocals veered spectacularly off course in places, turning into screeching rather than song. Second time around sees Hannah's vocals improve vastly with a considerably stronger finish, but there is still a lot of tweaking that needs to be done. The camera work is faultless, with shots of her and her troupe from all angles, with ample close ups, but she seems to miss a lot of direct looks into the cameras. The key word here is consistency, something Hannah seems to lack for the time being, with her rehearsals being a very hit and miss affair.
4. Croatia: Klapa s Mora - Mižerja
Last country to rehearse before lunch break was Croatia. Compared to the electronic beats from Slovenia, the Croatian entry is an old fashioned song and the performance is very relaxed. It is performed be six men who are basically just walking around. Their outfits are very traditional Balkan-style - A white shirt, long dark blue jackets with white silver embroidery and red lining inside and similar trousers. They wear long black boots as well. It seems a bit historic, and it reminds you of Napoleon - but without the hat.
The backdrop is kept in blue, however, the lightning is red as well as the edges of the stage.
The performance looks powerful, and the voices from the six men match each other very well. They don't seem to have any problems reaching the notes, and they have some fine harmonies during the song.
After a break we will continue reporting from the rehearsals of Denmark, Russia, Ukraine and the Netherlands. This will be in another article so remember to check the front page of EuroVisionary regularly for updates.
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