Today we’ll see the debut rehearsals for the seven as yet unseen acts. The seven songs with a direkt ticket to the final are on stage today. Rehearsals will begin from 09:40cet. We’ll tell you everything you need to know as it happens.

If you want to see our gorgeous faces and hear our reactions to the rehearsals, then tune into our live stream from the press centre at www.escxtra.com/live orwww.escxtra.com/live/mobile. We’re also tweeting like maniacs @escXtra and make sure you like us on facebook.com/escXtra.

 


Peter Dunwoody
May 17, 20152:08 pm

Australia is extremely solid, as we had expected. The stage has 6 large streetlamps on it, and spotlights on the floor which we’re told the Australians brought themselves. The back screen has a street with more streetlamps on it, and the first half of the song has a “strutting down the street to the club” feel to it. Then lots and lots of gold lighting for the second half of the song which looks very cool and rather Bruno Mars. Guy sings brilliantly even though he’s only giving 50% vocally for these rehearsals. One of the most professional performances this year but it just doesn’t seem like a winner.


Alec Parkin
May 17, 20152:07 pm

Down-under now, and to out débutant contestant, Australia. Guy Sebastian provides a breath of fresh air, with a very polished uptempo performance that has been very well-received here in the Press Centre. There are three sets of streetlights on-stage which are replicated in the animated backdrop, implying movement along a road. Guy’s vocals are very strong, and he is clearly a showman who enjoys entertaining. A lot is going on, though, which might all be a little too much for some.


Peter Dunwoody
May 17, 20151:45 pm

France could not provide a bigger contrast to the United Kingdom – this is a long-overdue return to classy performances from France. Lisa sings it perfectly and she is gazing straight down the camera with a lot of passion. The part at the end with the dozens of soldiers marching towards the camera on the screen is very effective as is the final silhouette with the four remaining soldiers and their drums behind her. I still don’t think this will do brilliantly as nothing much happens in the song for the first two minutes, by which time people could have tuned out, but it’s definitely looking increasingly lonely at the bottom for Electro Velvet.


Alec Parkin
May 17, 20151:40 pm

There’s something of a post-apocalyptic background to the performance of Lisa Angell for France. The lady itself is wearing a simple purple gown with some lacework on the arms. Doves appear in the background, before a short rainshower. At the bridge, Lisa is joined by four loosely-military styled drummers, who are then multiplied and replicated on the backdrop as a kind of approaching ‘army’. This is all incredibly atmospheric, and Lisa delivers her vocals effortlessly. The scene of destruction gradually changes to one of prosperity and life, with a smart, tree-lined street appearing, before switching quickly to skyscape.


Alec Parkin
May 17, 201512:53 pm

The United Kingdom is the next to take to the Eurovision stage. Electro Velvet have brought two sets of steps with them, in a vague re-creation of what we saw in the promotional video. Alex and Bianca are joined by two female, and two male, backing vocalist dancers, who are very energetic throughout and make full use of the steps, (back-flips, running up and down, etc.) Bianca’s dress is fuchsia pink, with a distinctly ugly mass of wires, electronics and battery packs on the back, (surely something will have to be done to disguise all that?!), while Alex wears a dark suit with embellished collar and cuffs. All the electronics strapped to Bianca apparently power some neon ‘enhancements’ to her dress, which light-up when the stage darkens momentarily, (the backing artists also wear neon elements). The general backdrop is of an art deco-style theatre proscenium arch. Vocals really are quite weak, especially when there is the full quota of 6 artists on-stage.


Peter Dunwoody
May 17, 201511:59 am

Germany have gone is a sexy/sultry direction with Ann Sophie that I’m not totally convinced works. Her vocals are much better though, and I like the big lamps at the back of the stage. I’m back to thinking that this isn’t going to get an awful lot of votes though.


Alec Parkin
May 17, 201511:57 am

Ann Sophie is up next, representing Germany. She is dressed in a black jersey jumpsuit-esque ensemble, with a very wide gold (applique?) belt. There’s a long, dangly earring in one ear only. The general feel of the performance is far more sultry than we’ve experienced before, with a lot of ‘teasing’, knowing interaction with the cameras. Five large lamps, resembling oversized old-fashioned flashbulbs, are on-stage, with backing vocalists stood in front of each, (apart from the central one, where Ann Sophie stands). Consistently strong vocals during all the rehearsals. The backdrop, perhaps unsurprisingly, features whisps of smoke.


Peter Dunwoody
May 17, 201511:31 am

Spain give us a proper convertible clothing Eurovision moment, with Edurne starting out in a sparkly red cape with a long train (so obviously there’s wind machine action there), that is yanked off by her semi-naked dancer at the second chorus very effectively to reveal a golden dress which Alec has described. Possibility for a Madonna moment there. Anyway Edurne is fine vocally, the choreography is very good, although a couple of minor things need to change, such as the shots at the end of the dancer scurrying off-stage having picked up the red cape, the outfit change needs not to be revealed prematurely, and they’re still working on the final shot. Still, it could well be another 10th place for Spain. Certainly more of a “performance” than we’ve had from most countries so far.


Alec Parkin
May 17, 201511:24 am

Lots of anticipation for the rehearsal from Edurne for Spain. She is wearing a sparkly, sheer, hooded red cape with a long train, and begins the performance apparently sat on the chest of her male dancer, who appears to be wearing some sort of dark mask. Edurne’s red outfit is quickly removed by the dancer to reveal a fitted, beaded, embellished dress in burnished gold, with a high cut up the thigh. She is wearing high gladiator boots. The backdrop seems to feature a central, circular, ‘ripple effect’, from which emenate various ‘bubble’ graphics and African landscape animations. As might be anticipated, there’s a wind machine put to good use! 


Peter Dunwoody
May 17, 201510:55 am

Final take, and the piano is on fire.


Peter Dunwoody
May 17, 201510:43 am

Austria, in contrast to Italy, has great lighting. No graphics, just spotlights coming from the back wall, which gives the illusion of the stage going on forever (think Turkey 2010). The lead singer does need to be lit up slightly better during the first verse and chorus, but other than that it looks great. Good vocals, good harmonies, and whilst it’s not an instantly vote-grabbing song, it does have the visual impact now at least.


Alec Parkin
May 17, 201510:35 am

The representatives from the host country are up next; it’s the Makemakes for Austria. Things begin quite darkly, with the stage bathed in a shadowy purple light. No real use is made of the backdrop, with the focus being on lighting rather than any animation or graphics. Camera-work is quite intimate and lingers on the performers in a way that seems to ‘shrink’ the stage, (it feels more like a TV studio!), with only the odd sweeping stage shot. 


Simon Wells
May 17, 201510:20 am

News just in at the press centre, which is frankly causing more excitement than today’s rehearsals – Yes, Euroclub does have a karaoke room this year!


Peter Dunwoody
May 17, 201510:11 am

Italy is my personal favourite, and it is sounding absolutely amazing, for first thing in the morning. Visually however, it’s not as impactful as it needs to be. They’re not doing as much as they need to with the lighting, and there are a few too many long shots. The three singers obviously aren’t “performing” it this morning, but they’re still finding their feet on the stage and with the camera. Room for improvement if it wants to be the “moment” it could be.


Alec Parkin
May 17, 201510:02 am

Good morning everyone! Welcome back to the Wiener Stadthalle. First up today is Italy, and the boys from Il Volo are wearing dark navy suits with white, granddad-collar dress shirts, and tan shoes. The backdrop appears to feature elements of Greco-Roman ancient architecture. It might have been better if there was a small sartorial element that differed from each of the singers, rather than the outfits being uniform. There are a lot of very appealing elements to this performance, with vocals that are still strong, albeit not probably 100% as yet.

Chief Editor: A non-schlager Europhile who's been doing this ESC writing malarkey since 2008, usually championing Eurovision's alternative or quirky offerings. My role at Xtra isn't too dissimilar from my previous life as a school teacher, but they're a well behaved class. Also responsible for dropping bum notes on a piano.

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