With fresh faced Eric riding high on favourite lists both with fans and bookmakers alike, his rehearsal was by far the most anticipated of the day. Plagued by numerous hitches, the first rehearsal was far from satisfactory, no doubt leaving SVT demanding answers as to what went wrong.
Eric Saade was wearing the same outfit as seen in the final of Melodifestivalen – a black leather jacket over a black t-shirt with strap motif and dark trousers. On the inside of his jacket you catch a glimpse of flashing red LED lights. His 3 dancers are dressed in matching style in black sleevless shirts.
No major overhauls to the routine since the Swedish final, with three glass panes were on the stage with the glass box positioned behind them. The staging of Popular was vibrant, with the stage first lit very darkly, with bold, flashing images on the backdrop in black and white, almost giving the effect of tunnel vision. About midway through the act the stage is darkened once more, only lit by flashing red lamps from above which is visually stunning. Eric bounds onto the stage from the rear to join his 3 dancers, and the two backing singers enter the stage from the side around the first chorus.
There’s no denying that a lot of time and effort has been put into the production of the number, but at the same time, you can’t help but wonder if SVT have placed more emphasis on presentation and style rather than content. Young Eric has no problem in keeping up with a physically demanding choreography that leaves you breathless – slick and tight and work that would make Janet Jackson proud. However, the focus on the dance moves clearly detracts from the singing. At several points during the rehearsal, it was unclear as to whether Eric was struggling with sound, his voice or if he was holding back and saving for the next rehearsal, as his vocals veered off key. His vocals did however improve towards the end of the song, upon the key change.
Technically, the rehearsal was a disaster with the glass walls of the box failing to shatter, resulting at one point in Eric being stuck in the cage. The pyrotechnic effect that SVT also had planned on using failed to detonate, resulting in just a few strands of smoke coming off the top of ther glass panes and leaving a rather puzzled Eric on stage along with the Swedish delegation scratching their heads. At the moment it is unclear as to where the fault lies – if it is down to the host or the equipment that SVT have brought with them.
In my view
On the whole, Popular is an extremely dynamic number; some cite it as being outdated and unimaginative – and I for one can see why. On the other hand, I can also appreciate what makes Popular popular – energy, vitality with a driving beat that is like a vitamin shot in the arm for a ballad heavy first half of the second semi. If everything goes according to plan, and there are a lot of ifs, as this is a technically complicated number, then Eric should make the final. If he doesn’t then that will be an even bigger bombshell than Sweden failing to qualify last year.The opinion expressed in "In my view" are those of the author and are not necessarily the one of EuroVisionary.com.