EUROVISION: SAM RYDER DRAWS UK HALF FOR GRAND FINAL
Update from Dan, TV Zone Eurovision Correspondent
Following his second rehearsal in Turin earlier today, Sam Ryder has drawn his performance half for next Saturday’s Eurovision final where it’s now confirmed that the United Kingdom will perform in the second half of the show.
Today’s rehearsal was the first time that members of the press were able to see the performances of the big five.
For the performance of ‘Spaceman’, Sam begins the song standing in the centre of a custom built silver structure, referred to by many as a rocket. The colours of the stage are bright and create a gorgeous glistening effect on the ‘rocket’ which really looks fantastic on camera.
Sam is dressed in an embroidered diamond crested bodysuit which adds to the space theme of the track. There’s a surprise twist at the end of the song as Sam is handed a guitar and an electric solo is performed (to which does not exist in it’s studio version) Sam delivered every run through impressively and effortlessly, hitting every note as well as throwing in some additional ad-libs!
When speaking at his press conference, Sam spoke of the staging concept behind the song. ““I’m a bit of a sci-fi nerd and I wanted to work on something that spoke to that. When you are on stage you want to feel empowered, as if you are stepping into a different character. “
Media reaction since Sam’s rehearsal has been overwhelmingly positive, with the UK’s odds to win the contest now as short as 6/1 - behind Italy and current favourites Ukraine.
We had the privilege of following several open rehearsals over the past few days. Here are my thoughts on some of the entries I have seen:
Cyprus - There is a unique platform for Cyprus which really gives off goddess vibes. The colours appear to reflect oceanic elements with shades of pale and deep blues. Singer Andromache is joined on stage by two female backing dancers who deliver subtle choreography alongside her. Although there are occasional off notes, Andromache delivers well for the most part.
Ireland - “That’s Rich” by Brooke was one of the most polished rehearsals I have seen in recent days. Brooke starts the song lying on the floor and is surrounded by four backing dancers. Brooke is dressed in pale blue with her backing dancers in white. She is confident, delivers a strong clean vocal and works the camera really well.
Estonia - An interesting cinematic start to this with begins with sepia camera filter that is really effective and fits the western style of the song. Stefan performs with a guitar and is dressed in a cream jacket and trousers. He has great screen charisma and makes good use of the entire stage.
Sweden - Cornelia delivers a stunning performance of her entry ‘Hold Me Closer’ which is both raw and gritty. She begins the song kneeling on the stage, looking outright at the arena floor. A steady cam tracks her as she performs the first verse and once she makes eye contact, she begins to walk around the stage. We do have another big prop in this one as Cornelia performs in front of a rotating circular structure. The lighting in this is nothing short of perfection, with a palette of bold greens and deep reds being used. Towards the end of the song, strobe lighting, a pyro and a single firework is used which elevates the performance as it reaches its climax.
Romania - The performance begins with sole focus on the two backing dancers who perform under extremely low level lighting (almost silhouette like). As the chorus comes in, the stage lights up in strong shades of red and yellow and we see performer WRS alongside all four backing dancers. A decent rehearsal that WRS delivers well. Personally, I believe for an uptempo latin song, more could have been done in regards to the visual aspect of this performance.
Italy - Mahmood begins this performance completely alone and midway through the first verse, he is joined on stage by Blanco. Mahmood is dressed in black, while Blanco is all in white. A white piano and pianist join the pair on stage. It’s clear that the song is the key focal point here , as the staging feels somewhat empty - and dare I say bland. They have great charisma as a duo but something feels very off in it’s current form, with vocals from both sounding thin. For a song that is currently second in the betting odds, this felt very disappointing. However, with some changes, this is still very much in contention to score highly.