Eurovision Rehearsals Day 1: analysis, stand-outs and general impressions
Saturday evening in Australia marked the start of the official Eurovision 2021 rehearsals! For press and fans it brings us one step closer to the finals and gives us an all important look at staging. As most can agree - entries can rise or demise once we get a good look at the full package being brought to the contest.
Bringing the contest well and truly into the twenty-first century - Aussievision has the delight of being present in the press centre via internet stream. As part of the press centre we view the full performances as seen 'down the lens' as they will be seen on television. For Eurofans - you have access to the EBU official photo gallery and performance 'snippets' on the official Eurovision YouTube channel taken in the arena.
The opening batch of rehearsal featured the first half of semi-final 1:
*Due to Montaigne's performance already being recorded on home soil - the rehearsal slot consisted of backstage footage from her 'live-on-tape' performance recording session
Now down to the nitty gritty - which entries rose, which dropped and which delivered essentially what we expected from the performances tonight:
Lithuania: The Roop - 'Discoteque'
It really is a beefed up version of their national final performance and has hooked into what really worked previous and playing to their strengths. The yellow outfits pop magnificently on the purple LED background and each of the backing dancers is given a moment to shine. The choreography is essentially similar to what we have seen previously and it works well. A strong entry to open the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest.
Russia: Manizha 'Russian Woman'
The first big 'wow' moment from the press centre this year. Manizha has obviously put a lot of time and thought into crafting a meaningful story arc to accompany the performance and is brimming with creativity. The essence of the national final performance is there - but now it has some substantial staging to back it up. A huge highlight of today.
Australia: Montaigne - 'Technicolour'
The press centre viewed the same footage as given on the official Eurovision YouTube page. As Montaigne's 'live-on-tape' performance has already been put together - the press centre was not shown the full product to leave some anticipation. The outfit is absolutely stunning and suits Montaigne's aesthetic and song to a tee. Online fan reception was generally very positive given the small amount of footage.
North Macedonia - Vasil 'Here I Stand'
A competent performance with lots of heart. Probably lacking the impact and stick-ability in staging and song to really make a dent in this final. Vasil's vocals were excellent and gave a very sweet performance. Some 'familiar' costume choices that won't be missed by a keen eyed Eurofan.
Ireland: Lesley Roy - 'Maps'
Room for improvement but with tightening up could be a compelling package. There are A LOT of moving parts to make the visuals of this work - if nailed it will be great but there is a lot of room for error. Lesley's vocals weren't her strongest tonight and did have some intonation issues. Generally a great concept.
Delivered about what we expected
Sweden: Tusse - 'Voices'
Out with a modified version of his national final performance and certainly upgraded. The backing vocalists/dancers are more prominent and Tusse's vocals were on point. Generally a more beefed up version of the Melodifestivalen performance. The vocal mixing could do with some tweaking with the backing coming close to overpowering the live vocals on occasion.
Slovenia: Ana Soklič 'Amen'
Good use of the LEDs with galaxy, global, rising sun vibe. Lots of warm, twinkling, swirling images - think Serbia 2019 'Kruna'. Essentially all solid but probably needs a bit more gas to really make an impact. A few technical issues to tighten up with shots not quite landing or crew being visible. Ana's vocals were impressive with near studio quality.
That rounds up the opening night of rehearsals. Follow Aussievision at @aussievisionnet on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram for updates and live-tweeting for the ongoing rehearsals including times in AEST for fellow Aussies to join in.