Baku Blog Day 7

Vision magazine editor Hass Yusuf reporting from Baku, Azerbaijan, home to Eurovision 2012.

Disclaimer: Please note as I’ll be writing this blog quickly – usually as the action happens – errors may creep through, so just go with the flow.

So it’s Saturday May 19th – and some of us have been here eight days already! Yes, it seems like a lifetime.

It’s just gone 11.ooam in Baku and first on stage today is Slovenia. Eva Boto and the House of Hammer Vampire Brides are doing a grand job. Still not sure about Eva’s outfit – endurance beyond temptations with anyone with a watering can passing by. She must be weighed down by a ton of roses. But we mustn’t forget that this is a singing contest not a fashion catwalk! And as far as the song is concerned it’s a very pleasant ballad sung with great angst. Well done her and the vampires.

Today we’ll be hearing the second rehearsals for another five acts from semi-final two – then in the late afternoon we’ll have the first rehearsals for Azerbaijan and the Big Five – including the UK of course. Tomorrow these six will have their second rehearsals with the remaining semi-final two acts.

Croatia seem to be enjoying themselves on stage now. Black and white is  the motif for this act. But thigh-length split skirts seem to be the rage for male dancers this year – first Ukraine and now Croatia. I wouldn’t have the nerve. It’s a decent song – but might struggle to get through into the final.

A favourite to win is on next – Sweden. Loreen seems to be as manic as usual. Think one of the three witches from the Scottish play. Scary stuff. I don’t care what anyone says, I still see Kate Bush on acid. Am I allowed to say that? Fab act though.

The stage is now being cleared and prepared for the Georgian act. Okay – this is getting to be more fun. The backing singers are dressed like extras from Barbarella – very nice. Am I beginning to like this song – I hope not. I have enough favourites as it is.

The Turkish performance reveals a bit more about their show – a nice clever way of portraying a ship… At their press conference Can Bonomo talked a bit about his tattoos – one has the name of his late mother and he also has another one on his hand – which he thinks is cool, as Chris Martin from Coldplay has one there as well.

The rehearsals for Azerbaijan and the Big Five will be starting soon. I’m not going to many press conferences today – the UK doesn’t have one today – as everyone has to get to the Opening Party.

Germany are on next. I didn’t really rate this song at first – but somehow became one of my favourites. It is strange how some songs have a habit of doing that. The song, Standing Still, is written by Brits and sung by Roman Lob – it is so Britrock.

The talented Ronan is on stage with a band – and as to go with the style of the song – a great ballad – is very understated – which makes a nice change from the big set pieces by other countries. But I somehow feel it would’ve been better for him to have been alone on stage – more in keeping with the song. This must be my favourite German song in decades.

His performance outfit is being bought on stage for a colour check for the cameras. Grey shirt and beige trousers. Don’t do it Ronan, don’t do it! Hard times in Germany if they have to resort to Top Man. Not that there’s anything wrong with Top Man of course. I may have frequented there myself when I was a hip youngster.

France has had a good rehearsal – but maybe a too busy. Anggun has two backing singers and three acrobats supporting her. The wind machine is in full force to blow her chiffon trail elegantly. Not really sure if it works for the song – but it is a powerful performance. Another cracker from France.

Next on stage was my favourite song of the contest – Italy! Nina Zilli delivers a superb performance aided by three backing singers. This will be the song to beat. The act is very simple – so it will stand out.

Having to miss the French press conference to see Sabina from Azerbaijan perform. A round of applause erupted at the press centre after her first camera rehearsal. Not my favourite song, but she certainly know how to deliver this powerful ballad. Her dress seems to be changing colour – or it could be special lightning. She’s joined on stage by a cross-legged male singer and three female singers all dressed in white – but they’re standing up. The male singer is apparently some famous singer who always performs seated.

Spain next and then the UK. It’s a shame that the countries aren’t rehearing in the order of performance, otherwise Engelbert would’ve been first. The Germans obviously put down their towels first…. (don’t we love stereotyping?)

Oh lovely – the screen has gone dead just as Spain were about to perform. Off to the arena then.

Won’t have time to comment on the Spanish or UK performances until I get back from the Opening Party – as we’ll have to make a quick getaway for the party.