Preparations for the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest continued apace today as artists from the first and second semi-finals travelled to the arena for their final rehearsals before the rehearsals for the full shows begin.
First up was the Icelandic delegation. Inevitably, they were asked again about the tragic circumstances which have brought them to Dusseldorf. "We didn’t think you could laugh as much as we have done in the last few days, this experience has pushed us even closer together if anything." The conference ended on a huge high when the band performed a medley of Eurovision songs. You can see the video here, http://www.eurovisionary.com/eurovision-video/sjonnis-friends-took-press…
Hungarian singer, Kati Wolf, explained the influences in her song. "I love the music of the 90s, that’s why there’s that atmosphere in the song even though it also has a modern arrangement, and that’s why the dancers are wearing something like futuristic." She is not fazed by her status as one of the favourites this year, "Of course I want to go further and proceed from the semifinals. I feel a bit under pressure right now as people think this is one of the favourites, but what I really want to do is a good performance regardless of the results".
Homens Da Luta are one of the most talked about acts in Dusseldorf. Their first conference was memorable for the musical accompaniment to the questions and answers. Today’s conference continued that particular theme s the band entered the conference room playing instruments and continued to play while introducing each member of the band. They were asked about the revolutionary story of their song. "Nothing is more important than joy in our lives. People are full of fear. We want you to have a positive image of Portugal. You get so many bad news about our country due to the crisis, and we want to change that."
Lithuania brought a change of tone and pace to proceedings. When Evelina won the Lithuanian final, she was as surprised as anyone, "I never expected to get the ticket to Eurovision but I am glad to be here with you." Composer, Paulius Zdanavičius, said that the song was written for Evelina. In answer to a question about the Musical style of the song, Evelina said, "Musicals are very close to me. Usually I sing different music like jazz but with musicals I feel very comfortable. I have a dream to take part in a very big country in a musical show and I hope to participate there."
The Azeri’s surprised the gathered media throughout their conference. First of all, they performed an acoustic version of Running Scared, and they later sang a traditional Azeri folk song.
The last song of the first semi-final is the Greek entry. Loucas talked about the idea behind Watch My Dance. "We wanted to put an English rap with this Greek sound. We wanted to mix the two elements together, the oldest folk music in Greek, and the most worldwide modern rap and hip hop together." More information was given about the dance used in the performance, called the Zeibekiko. "It’s an old dance, spiritual dance, lonely dance, one dances by himself with a strong rhythm. Its theme is to speak about yourself to take out angers and to be strong again, to cleanse the body."
The seventh conference of the day was held by the delegation that will open the second semi-final, the Bosnians. Dino competed in the Jerusalem contest in 1999. “I like to call that time the analogue era. Since then, the production standards have risen sharply.”, but he did admit to preferring the live orchestra to the backing tracks used in contests today.
Austria’s return has been enthusiastically received. Changes have been made to the staging since the first rehearsal on Tuesday. "We tried out the fog effect for the first time today, and we will keep it for the Semi-Final performance." Nadine has developed a nice daily routine since arriving in Germany, "I have to drink a beer at the bar tonight to get some more sleep. Apart from that, l go to the gym, practice singing – that’s all."
A number of changes have also been made to the Dutch staging. "We were moving towards each other much more and the lights were more rock-like. We also had some meetings with the lighting manager and producers to try and improve our show after our first rehearsal"
Despite having no music, Witloof Bay said that the Belgian song had taken a very long time to write and that each member of the group have specific roles. They also talked about the past and future, saying that they used to record cover versions, but are currently working on an album of original songs.
The Slovakian Twiins were next up for a grilling. The Head of Delegation answered a question about their views on the rehearsal, "We are very happy and pleased with the second rehearsal. We are blessed to be working with such a good crew. It was even better this time. We only changed some fine tuning issues, and of course showed the dresses but we are more than happy."
The Ukrainian conference was also started by the Head of Delegation, who mentioned the problems that arose during today’s rehearsal. The camera above the head of sand artist, Kseniia, has been moved but its new position is annoying her. Kseniia described the story behind the picture she creates during the performance. It is about a girl who has lost her mother and is saved by an angel when she believes that other people are treating her badly.
Moldovan band, Zdob şi Zdub, are wearing very large, pointed hats for their performance. The lead singer, Roman Iagupov, is getting used to it, "I almost don’t feel it anymore. I’ve already started to sleep in this hat." The band travelled through Dusseldorf wearing their remarkable hats. How did the locals react? "Children were throwing flowers at us, and people were trying to steal my hat. So I guess they liked us."
Tomorrow will be an interesting day as not only do five acts from the second semi-final rehearse, but the big five of France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and hosts Germany (prepare for a huge scrum at her conference) all take to the stage for the first time.