May 5, 2017 Rehearsal Recap

Today’s rehearsals in Kyiv wrap up Semifinal One, kick off Semifinal Two, and give the hosts and the Big Five their first taste of the big stage.

Here are your Eurovision words for the day:

Armenia kicks the day off and whoa, do they pack a wallop or what? Artsvik sounds great and she looks like she’s having fun. The choreography is tight, the backdrop is beautiful, and the color scheme is gorgeous. Potential winner of the first Semi?

Now look, we are no fans of “On My Way.” But by god, does Omar from Slovenia wring every drop of theatricality out of his 11 o’clock number. Plus he looks like he’s enjoying every moment of his second bite of the cherry. It’s like he’s found his corner of the sky. This one scares us.

It is hard to tell which way Latvia is going to go. We love “Line,” but we recognize that it is flawed: how many times do they sing “Where we draw the line?” They sing it a lot. Singer Agnese’s vocal has been varying in quality. And it is an absolute day-glo explosion. Yet it is catchy and energetic and a refreshing jolt of modernity after the preceding song. So… It’s not gonna qualify, is it?

Now it’s time to get into Semifinal Two and hey look, Tijana from Serbia is in a white dress! It’s made of a thin fabric so you can see the swimsuit underneath. We had thought that, after Armenia last year, swimsuits were going to be the go-to gimmick for Eurovision this year. We’re not fans of this as a show opener, mainly because we thought the producers should have lead with “Yodel It!” This one may get lost in the shuffle when it comes time to vote.

In the weeks leading up to Eurovision, Austria’s Nathan Trent went on a full-on charm offensive, recording acoustic versions of Eurovision entries of yore. It looks like he’s carried that charm right onto the Eurovision stage. The big moon may come off as a bit hokey, but Nathan gives it all a playful little wink and makes it work. He’s approaching this one from a place of joy. Oh and hey look, he’s wearing white.

Macedonia is a tough one. It’s a fun song, but it’s called “Dance Alone,” so they made sure Jana was dancing alone. Except that it doesn’t really provide a good stage picture. At least it conveys the desperation and sadness of dancing alone? We want this to qualify, because it’s a great song, but Macedonia has done itself no favors with the literal translation. Oh, and in case you were wondering if “Dance Alone” was innuendo for something, the trashy choreography seems to be confirming what you’re thinking.

Hey look, Claudia from Malta is wearing white. “Breathlessly” is a song for those who think “On My Way” is too edgy, so it’s no surprise it is staged as safe as a bench seat on a carousel. Of all the acts that have splashed images of the performers on the video backdrop, Malta takes the cake for seemingly projecting the biggest ego. It makes Isaiah look modest by comparison. And big Claudia head singing along with herself is creepier than those twins in The Shining.

For awhile now we were lamenting that kitsch was slowly dying at Eurovision. Then Ilinca and Alex from Romania came along and patted us on the head and gave us yodeling and glitter cannons. It’s terrible, but boy, it is glorious.

After Romania, the Big Five and Ukraine began their first rehearsals. As such, we’re not going to write them up yet because access to footage is limited. But we would be remiss if we did not note that Ukraine’s stage prop is a big head. Not a big head on a screen, an actual big, fat head.