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Franka-ly Excellent

Apr 30, 2018 by

Franka-ly Excellent

FYR Macedonia kick-starts day two. We only got to see one run through of this. Eye Cue have a drummer and 3 female backing vocalists helping. Marija joins in shaking her booty with the 3 backing vocalists stage right, her and Bojan interact with the drummer, the handy cam circles the duo at one point, then they all wander over to the bridge for the climax. Marija’s dress is very short and she wears Daisy Dukes underneath. It’s all rather amateur.

Croatia’s Franka is wearing a black lace evening gown and it looks classy enough. Nice start with the camera on her hand leading into close-up, shadow lighting on her face and it draws you in instantly. Vocally, this sounds excellent with her backing singers aiding her well.

This is all about Franka and she needs to command your attention because she is alone on the stage throughout. She struts and prowls up there, gets the wind machine treatment, and works the mic stand well. There is a talking part she needs to own a bit more. But she strikes the right balance in being a likeable diva who sells it well. Kind of a Eurovision Alicia Keys. It is all highly professional and she is certainly getting the maximum out of this song.

Following Franka’s masterclass, Cesar for Austria is lacking stage presence and looks like someone trying hard to sell a song but is unconvincing. At song start the focus is on his face, surrounded by darkness, like a disembodied head.

He starts on a high plinth. A spotlight Cesar looks quit messianic up there, the plinth slowly drops and a big face appears as a backdrop, adding to the cult of Cesar vibe. He jumps off the plinth and skips around the satellite stage. He does a rapid circuit before returning to the main stage front and centre before doing his freestyling. No sign of gospel singers which is perhaps a missed opportunity.

This is the first chance to see and hear Greece’s Yianna Terzi live. Vocally, with the backing singers, they create the polyphonic sound really well. A flowing white dress for Yianna and a wind tunnel effect. The spotlights create blue lines depicting the Greek flag. As does the blue painted palm of her left hand. Some nice armography and she crouches down for the climax to deliver some impassioned chanting. This is a powerful ethno ballad which should stir patriotism among the Greeks. The final run through gets cut off and the talk is there is a surprise the Greeks want to conceal for now.

Finland’s Saara starts on a rotating table that is crying out for a knife thrower. She is wearing knee-length f*ck me boots. Her dancers wear military-type garb including jack boots so they look like Nazi sympathizers. None of this is fitting with the ‘Monsters’ theme at all.

All the staging here seems incongruous with the song and Saara’s dance troupe strutting their stuff means no child chorus, though there is a small vocal sample at one point that sounds like a token attempt to replicate it. She does risk getting a bit shouty and lacks control in the lower register. Pyros on final run through before Saara dives backwards and is caught by the gestapo. This needs a live audience but still feels like a studio song that struggles as a live entity.

They have fixed the last part of ‘Qami’ which is a wise move by the Armenians so that Sevak is singing now and it no longer meanders. Sevak wears a black cloak which looks much better than the outfit he wore in the Armenian final. He is like a dark prince from Game Of Thrones and it is befitting with the brooding, dark ethno theme of the song. He is surrounded by stones so it looks like Stonehenge and this comes across as highly competent, and similar to Greece in doing everything it says on the tin.

Corinne is the cool rock chick here and she has great abs which are exposed beneath her cropped top. She tosses away a drum stick at song start somewhat randomly. She struts across the stage while singing which does risk throwing her vocal slightly off at times.

She requests anyone in the audience who has been hurt to put their hands up while her and Stefan hold up flares. The irony is, she could hurt someone with one of those – they are banned in a lot of football stadiums these days, don’t you know. She stands on the drum at the end before joining her brother for a smiley, familial embrace. This perhaps risks being too middle-of-the-road.

Ireland’s Ryan is joined by a female pianist who duets with him on the first chorus. Two young guys dance together, reminiscent of the official video, and snow falls at the end. This is competing with Lithuania as the tender ballad that melts hearts and it has the better running order. An ultra-competitive semi just got even tougher.

Semi-final 1 pimp slot giftee, Eleni Foureira, closes day 2 with ‘Fuego’. It is a nice start reminiscent of Jamala’s visuals as she emerges from a tunnel. Vocally she struggles in parts, as expected, but she will be concealed well enough.

There is a lot of hair flicking as she goes through her synchronised dance moves with her female backing dancers who all have long hair and styling-wise are reminiscent of Artsvik’s backing dancers last year. Pyro jets behind her during a solo dancing section. Flames appear as an on-screen effect either side of Eleni towards the end but are centrally placed on last run through. She wears a multi-coloured spangly catsuit and she certainly owns it up there.

That’s stumps on day 2 and semi 1 is possibly looking even more competitive now than it did pre-rehearsals.

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4 Comments

  1. Cathal

    First time this ESC season that I truly believe Ireland can qualify, very impressed with the staging. Im not sure being followed by Cyprus helps it or not though…

  2. neomichael

    After the 1st rehearsal, my ranking from semi final 1 would be as follows:
    1 Israel
    2 Bulgaria
    3 Czech Republic
    4 Cyprus
    5 Belarus
    6 Ireland
    7 Armenia
    8 Lithuania
    9 Azerbaijan
    10 Greece
    ——————————
    11 Estonia
    12 FYR Macedonia
    13 Albania
    14 Finland
    15 Croatia
    16 Austria
    17 Switzerland
    18 Belgium
    19 Iceland

    Do we know if there is a second commercial break and after which song is scheduled?

    • Rob

      Hi Michael. I found this on one of the forum sites:

      Semi 1:

      Between Lithuania/Israel
      and Croatia/Austria

      Semi 2:
      Between Russia/Moldova
      and Malta/Hungary

      Final:
      Between Portugal/song 9
      and song 16/song 17

      Note: Could change during dress rehearsals