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Update from Dan, TV Zone Eurovision Correspondent

Guest Contributor

The UK’s Sam Ryder completed his first rehearsal earlier today at the PalaOlimpico in Turin, Italy. Sam not only brings his impressive vocal range to the stage, but also the biggest prop of the contest so far this year - a gigantic metal structure over five metres in height.

EBU - The UK’s Sam Ryder performs ’Spaceman'

Although we won’t see the full length run of ‘Spaceman’ until later in the week, we are promised an epic finale that matches the tone of the music video. Are we about to see Sam perform the song in mid-air?

Shortly after his rehearsal, Sam attended a press conference where he expressed his thoughts about negative attitude towards the contest and what he wanted to achieve. “I don’t subscribe to the idea that there is any kind of ill feeling towards the UK. I think that’s a negative story that perpetuates through telling ourselves, which then becomes a fabric of the whole culture essentially. Every single trip that we’ve made in the build up to this thing has been met with kindness and love. I’m so excited, it’s not just about the three minutes on stage. If I’ve got any hope in anything, it’s got nothing to do with the scoreboard but to change attitude - and I think it’s possible”.

Despite the UK’s first closed rehearsal taking place today, we’ve managed to see a complete run-through of many other countries’ entries. Here’s just a few that caught my attention over the past two days:

Ukraine - A very solid performance by Kalush Orchestra. All five members are dressed colourfully, with vivid lighting to match. The group have amazing chemistry and there’s a beautiful moment toward the end of the song where they come together to embrace the crowd. There’s also a lovely touch at the end, in particular, where the colours change to that of the Ukrainian flag.

Netherlands - Stien is dressed entirely in black to accompany the hauntingly dark mood of the stage. White lights alone provide the backdrop for the most part of this, with the kinetic sun illuminating as we reach the second verse. Impeccable vocals here and fantastic engagement with the camera, as Stien pulls us into her story.

EBU - The UK’s Sam Ryder performs ’Spaceman'

Norway - The Wolves from Norway will no doubt be a huge hit with viewers at home. Subwoofer completely warp you into their world here as the stage becomes their galaxy for three solid minutes. Vocally they are clean and despite being masked up in costume, they still manage to hold a connection with viewers. What I found really impressive here is how they manage to give this a music video feel, with lyrics super-imposed on screen and some very clever keying. Some camera angles are shaky at times but nothing that can’t be corrected.

Armenia - The staging here is something we’ve never seen before at Eurovision. We have a purpose built room on stage made up of paper notes which Rosa performs the majority of the song inside, before exiting the prop as we reach the final chorus. Her vocals are crisp and despite the tricky setup, the performance is as professional as you can get. I feel this is one to definitely keep an eye on.

Greece - Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord from Greece really blew me away with her intimate performance of entry ”Die Together”. She is alone on stage surrounded by several upturned chairs and accompanied with a beautiful deep blue and white backdrop. Her vocals are impeccable and she has no trouble reaching the chorus’s high notes.

Finland - A nice recreation of the I.T movie poster kicks off The Rasmus’ performance - you may remember them for their 2004 smash hit ‘In The Shadows’. This has some nice ‘bumble bee’ staging with Yellow and Black being the primary colours and the use of strobe lights in the instrumental break are really nice. However, vocally, this is rather disappointing with lead singer Lauri struggling at times to reach some notes.

Azerbaijan - This one really caught my attention. The best way to describe it being dark and mysterious. Nadir begins the song sitting on a custom built staircase. As the chorus builds, the stage lights up in deep blues and we soon see he is accompanied by a male backing dancer who mirror’s Nadir’s movement (the synchronisation between the two is very impressive) The staircase separates as the song reaches it’s final chorus., Nadir is absolutely faultless vocally and he sure doesn’t hide away from showcasing his impressive range, hitting every single high note with ease. As of now, this is my each way betting tip - especially at 300/1 as some bookies’ currently have it.


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