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Belgique Peak

May 12, 2017 by

Belgique Peak

Day 13 in the press centre and we’re all battling fatigue at this stage, as usual. The Eurovision Grand Final opens with a contemporary fashion show sequence, just like last year.

Israel’s Imri was the most predictable opener for this year’s final. It’s a great song to start with and has a lot of impact from slot 1. The question now is, did he manage to do a Belgium from last year and finish Top 3 in the semi?

Kasia Mos’ ‘Flashlight’ is a superb song which is totally deserving of its place in the final – said no one ever (except Rob). It would take a brave punter to back Poland for Top 10 from slot 2 on the strength of its diaspora alone.

Also in one of the worst running order slots is Belarus, which suggests it could have just snuck through last night. It’s so twee and repetitive, and I’ve well and truly had enough of this one.

Austria’s Nathan Trent is a welcome relief for me at least. With this running order slot, chances of Top 10 are perhaps all not lost. Douwe Bob was 11th for The Netherlands last year, and there are similarities with this entry.

Artsvik appears in slot number 5 to slay us all with her fierce armography and impressive stage show. ‘Fly With Me’ is going to storm the Eastern and diaspora televote, but Western juries could be shunning this somewhat.

The Netherlands’ ‘Lights and Shadows’ is the third high quality entry in a row. It probably takes the shine off Austria in this slot, and perhaps has a better chance of reaching the Top 10. OG3NE are in flawless form even in this afternoon dress rehearsal.

A very short interlude precedes Moldova’s Sunstroke Project. I have to confess, part of the reason I’m so exhausted is that I’ve been recreating the choreography to ‘Hey Mamma’ most nights at Euroclub. It perhaps suffers a jury drop by switching to the first half for this heat.

I wasn’t quite sure if Hungary was going to get through, despite ‘Origo’ being deserving of a place in the final. This ethno dance ballad could get lost in the mix for Top 10 by preceding Italy.

Francesco and his backing crew are wearing casual clothes for this first rehearsal. Even the gorilla isn’t wearing his full suit – just the mask – which was very amusing. Despite being a potential winner, it’s a very tough ask for a song in Italian to win the Grand Final televote from a single figure draw.

Denmark’s Anja feels like total filler with her screaming shout-fest ‘Where I Am’. With iTunes stats not looking at all favourable for her, I’ve finally worked out where she is, and that’s not in the Top 10.

Salvador gave us yet another, er, unique rendition of ‘Amar Pelos Dois’. He was totally fooling around for this rehearsal, but it was very entertaining and it just goes to show what a fantastic personality he has. Another short interlude follows Portugal, and in this particular rehearsal, one of the hosts interviewed a German woman who told us how much she loves Portugal’s song. If this doesn’t win tomorrow night, I think it could go very close. Edit: By the time we’d got to Norway, Portugal was the new favourite on Betfair.

Perhaps another reason for the short break was to set up Azerbaijan’s busy staging. If Denmark is working as standard filler, then this is more freaky filler. There couldn’t be more contrast with Portugal, which was probably the intention here. Dihaj performed ‘Skeletons’ as per usual, and it remains one of the most marmite performances.

Speaking of marmite, Croatia also falls into that category. It didn’t surprise me at all that ‘My Friend’ got through, as it’s just so much fun and finishes with a positive lasting impression.

Australia’s Isaiah returns us to normality after two extremely wacky songs. “I’ve gotta get things right”, he sings, and it couldn’t be more true after he fluffed a big note in Tuesday’s semi-final. Hope of Top 10 is not totally gone, but he will have to be relying on a solid jury score in addition to turning out the televote in Nordic countries.

The actual commercial break comes following Australia, where the green room host gives a quick shout out to Armenia’s Artsvik and questions whether OG3NE’s “Perfect harmonies” can give them “The perfect Eurovision score”. This to me suggests both could’ve placed Top 3 in the semis.

Demy is continuing to do her best Cascada impression for Greece. It’s still complete and utter trash, and that’s no different now ‘This Is Love’ has made the final. She will be relying on the diaspora vote alone in order to challenge for a place in the Top 10. “I’m not giving up”, are some of the lyrics, so best of luck to her.

Spain comes after Greece, with Manel still doing it for his lover.

Norway comes across as a bit cooler to me than it did in the semi-final. This one is being downloaded in a few countries, so could’ve done ok on the televote last night.

Another proper ad break follows Norway in order to set up the UK’s complicated staging. It certainly feels like a very favourable slot in the running order following three fairly naff songs. The composition still isn’t doing much for me, although at least the staging succeeds in holding your attention. Lucie is giving it her all, but to me it feels like she’s trying too hard.

Cyprus is an excellent contrast after the UK with its contemporary and credible coolness. ‘Gravity’ has turned out to be one of the biggest surprises for me throughout rehearsals, although I’ve always rated the song. Hovig is very likeable as a performer, and it would be a travesty if this doesn’t end up beating Greece.

‘Yodel It!’ is one of three fairly well executed novelty songs to have made the final, and therefore looks somewhat short for Top 10 at around 1.6. Romania is one that often goes wrong in rehearsals. Even if they get it right, it’s not setting the jury scoreboard alight regardless.

Germany is a deserving joint favourite for last place alongside Spain with its total blandness. It is not hopeless to pick up the odd jury point, however.

Ukraine stands out in slot 22 with its rock USP. With O.Torvald being an actual credible band and of course being from Ukraine, the host nation should perhaps not be underestimated.

‘City Lights’ is a very nice contrast for those who won’t like rock music. Belgium seems like a very solid Top 10, and as one of the best songs in the competition, I’m starting to wonder how high it can go.

Sweden is introduced as Robin “Freakin” Bengtsson by the presenters. This song is benefiting from its first ever second half draw, but it perhaps feels a bit synthetic coming after Belgium. I still think it’s getting plenty of points on both sides of the equation tomorrow night.

It surprised me to see Bulgaria receiving such a plum draw of 25, and especially following two of the other market favourites. Like Jamala last year, it’s a contemporary ballad with plenty of impact from a late slot. If it’s very close in the voting, this could help to push Kristian over the line. The whole thing gives me a Dima Bilan feel, and the stars could be aligning for Bulgaria this year.

After Bulgaria’s powerful display, France feels like a bit of a comedown for me. Alma has plenty of charm, but the staging concept is perhaps not effective enough for her to make the Top 10 after following three of the hot favourites.

It’s another late one here watching tonight’s Grand Final jury rehearsal. Keep an eye on Twitter for updates. And please return tomorrow for the big Grand Final betting preview in which Rob and I will be giving you our Top 10s, trading recommendations and, of course, trying to predict this year’s winner.

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