The previous two days we have seen rehearsals from all the participants in the first semi-final. Now we are starting up with the second semi-final. In this updated article we will see Latvia, San Marino, FYR Macedonia and Azerbaijan.
Remember to refresh the article as it will be updated after each rehearsal:
Latvia: PeR – Here We Go
Ralfs and Edmunds from the Latvian duo PeR have the honour of waking up the press centre this morning with their brash, poppy entry Here We Go. The boys have kept their trademark sparkly suits on stage Ralfs dressed in silver, Edmunds in black. They are accompanied on stage by two men dressed in similar attire, providing both backing vocals and playing on an electronic guitar and keyboard.
The stage starts off bathed in blue before exploding into purples before reverting back to blue again. A myriad of white beams flash everywhere, very much suited to the lively feel of the song. The two strut around the stage, making great use of the floor space and going off onto the catwalk. The backing singers follow suit, but there is no real choreography as such, so the overall impression is of two mates having a good time getting rather excited and jumping up and down. They do some bizarre stomping movements before they launch into the last chorus, which looks quirky on screen. And during the final run through an attempt at crowd surfing was made, but was rather unsuccesful.
Vocally, if we can speak of vocals, as most of the song is rapped, which is delivered with great gusto and enthusiasm, the chorus sounds shouted. Reactions at the press centre were pretty muted. Here We Go has plenty of character to make it stand out, with a fresh, young vibe, but qualification for the final at this point in time seems to be borderline at best, but it’s Eurovision, so nothing is guaranteed!
San Marino: Valentina Monetta – Crisalide (Vola)
Next on stage was the much anticipated fan favorite from San Marino. As a contrast to Latvia’s happy tune San Marino participates with a ballad (turning into an up tempo song for the last chorus though).
The stage act is very much like the preview video. Valentina starts sitting at the floor caressing a light ball between her hands. Later she walks a bit around, and when the song change from slow to up tempo she reveals a red dress by dropping the black overcoat. The red dress is similar to the one from the preview video.
With her on stage she has two female backing singers. In the beginning they are lying on the floor. Later they also drop their black shirts revealing red ones. All three on stage perform in bare feet.
The backdrop is blue but to underline the change from ballad to up tempo it turns into red in the last chorus.
Valentina had to start one of her run throughs again. Whether it was technical problems or because she just forgot the lyrics was unclear.
FYR Macedonia: Esma & Lozano – Pred Da Se Razdeni
Lozano takes to the stage for Macedonia sporting a dark blazer over a white t-shirt with red pants. He was in fine voice this morning, performing an english version of the entry Pred Da Se Razdeni, but it should have been kept in Macedonian as it loses some of its drama. He stands alone at first with two female backing singers behind him dressed casually in t-shirts and jeans. Esma comes on stage dressed from top to toe in purple with matching purple turban. The stage is alive, tinged with a bright sapphire blue backdrop. Further on into the song and colours change to red and yellow, reflecting the colours of the Macedonian flag.
Lozano’s vocals are intense, slightly reminiscent of a male Marija Šerifović. He sings with impressive ease, consistently reaching the most astounding notes. Then Esma enters the stage and throws the entire act up in the air. An idea that looks well on paper, hefty, suggestive rhythms and exotic vocals does not translate well at all, rather coming across as unstructured caterwauling. This is turn detracts greatly from the overall performance and the whole thing ends up appearing quite messy, unfortunately. The act is, to put it mildly, schizofrenic with elements that simply don’t weld whatsoever.
The pair do however have great chemistry which makes for good viewing, although at times they appear to be trying to outdo each other in the vocal department. Towards the end, they come together and are joined by the backing singers. This will hopefully undergo some structural changes over the course of the next few days, otherwise qualification is looking questionable for Macedonia. It was fairly well received in the press centre, though.
Azerbaijan: Farid Mammadov – Hold Me
Azerbaijan has always done well in the Eurovision, and after watching this rehearsal people at the press centre seem to agree that the land of fire is up for a top result this year as well. Some people are even talking about Baku 2014.
Farid is wearing a grey shirt and vest and at the beginning of the song he is placed at a high glass box. Inside the box a man in black clothes is creating the illusion of being Farid’s shadow. The play between Farid and his "shadow" works very well. After first Chorus Farid jumps down from the glass box and a lady in red is entering the stage form the catwalk. Her train is very very long – apart from the colour, it is like seeing a bride walking down the aisle at a royal wedding. The interaction between Farid, the shadow and the lady in red are tightly choreographed and it works perfectly.
According to the delegation from Azerbaijan, the man/shadow in the box will be made more invisible to enhance the effect of being Farid’s shadow.
During the song the backdrops has blue and red colours, and the floor is covered with dry ice.
This article is written by Kristján Sveinsson and Jens Erik Møller