Sweden. In a way, all the technical issues surrounding the glass cage are a good thing for Sweden. They’ll probably figure out the box, but in the meantime it distracts us from the flimsy backing vocals and overpowering backdrop, which they appear to have no plans to address. The dancing looks good, and for all the whinging about Eric’s voice, he’s a performer and knows how to pull it together when there’s an audience. Even if the technical fails them, I believe this will still make it out of the Semis.
Cyprus. I absolutely love their concept, and Christos continues to be vocally solid. The key is going to be in how they manage the camera. In this rehearsal there continued to be a lot of fiddling with the boots in the transitions, and it’s critical they can keep that off-camera. Another borderline qualifier. My fingers are crossed for him.
Bulgaria. Not a lot of new information here — Poli sounds great and the staging is straightforward but effective. I still don’t understand the point of the wardrobe transformation. The ripped bedsheet over her dress seems a little femmy for her, and when she takes it off at the end it doesn’t seem motivated by anything. Poli needs to be careful there’s no peek-a-boo moment there. Shaping up to be a strong borderliner.
FYR Macedonia. Giving credit where credit is due, this is the best Macedonian entry in years. All the pieces are working together, it seems focused and fun. I’d like to see the dancers hitting harder and crisper. The traditional wardrobe and elements of the choreography invite comparisons with the “Opa” (now “Boom Boom”) boys, and right now these guys aren’t in the same league. Bit of a shame the song isn’t any good.
Israel. Dana looks fab in the Gautier dress, not sure the shoes work with it though. She’s added the catwalk into the final part of the routine, a good move to engage the audience. Folks observing the rehearsals will have a better sense of how she is working the camera, but my impression from the clips is that she needs more face to be truly fierce. Overall, the staging still feels old-fashioned and the song is simply not strong. Chris thinks because it is Dana attention will be paid, especially from the juries–I’m not sold.