Copenhagen Blog: Day 5

Hass Yusuf, editor of vision magazine reporting from Copenhagen. Photographs by David Ransted.

Disclaimer: Apologies for any typos, bad grammar,  missing words, etc. These blogs are being written live as the action happens.

Well after a day’s break of rehearsals we’ve got 16 today! All the Semi-Final 1 acts are doing their second sets of rehearsals.

First on bill today is the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) Press Conference. We were shown some of the ‘postcards’ that will appear between the acts. The UK is very clever indeed. Each country’s performer has to create their national flag in a clever way.

We were also treated to the opening scene for Semi-Final 1 – featuring a ‘choir’ from all participating countries.

Last year there were reports of vote rigging. The EBU Executive Supervisor, Jon Ola Sand said he was “pissed off” and also angry about these reports. So for complete transparency this  year, every broadcaster has to publish the votes from each of the five professionals that make up their jury. Personally I would rather they get rid of juries and just the viewers decide! I never trust the juries. Half of them are probably tone-deaf and hate each other. I have no proof for this by the way, but I’m sure I’m right. Anyway, it’s looks like the juries are here to stay, so I’ll stop moaning. But apparently the EBU did ask five delegations to make changes to their juries as some of them weren’t thought to be that ‘expert’ or had conflicting obligations.

The logo for the this – a rough diamond is meant to signify something hard and powerful and glamorous at the same time – that’s Eurovision for you! They should’ve saved the diamond motif for next year – Eurovision’s diamond 60th year.

This year’s contest is being beamed all over the world this year – even to New Zealand and Canada.

The winning country must be able to financially host the show with excellent security. The EBU were monitoring events in Ukraine and Russia in tis context.

Just experienced the ‘wow’ factor of Eurovision – the first sight of the stage! And very impressive it is. It’s a lovely tube/cube design.

Anyway, today is going to be quite hectic. There’s never going to be enough time to watch rehearsals and view all of the acts, but let’s see how we get on.

Armenia were first on stage – Aram MP3 was on top form. But he seemed so small on that fab stage.

At Aram MP3 press conference he had to deny that he has anything to do with the anti-Conchita campaign (the bearded drag-act from Austria) that some of his countrymen has started.  He’s had some bad press when he made a joke about Conchita. He claims he was mis-quoted – which is very possible. Let’s be honest, this contest can get a bit bitchy at times. Live and let live, I say. Though everyone should remember that the poor lad is an comedian. He wouldn’t be the first person to get into trouble for making a so-called ‘tasteless’ joke.

He is happy though that he leads the bookies for winning the contest. He’s proud to be in that position. Maybe it’s me – but while I do like the song and the stage act looks amazing, I’m not convinced that it’s a winning song. Of course if it does win, I was mis-quoted, okay?

Back on stage: Latvia just had a mis-start “Dropped the cake” as the floor manager said. But don’t fret readers, it’ll be okay on the night. And dropping the cake was just a metaphor. No cakes on stage. I could really do with a nice Victoria Sponge at the moment. Y’know something simple – sponge with a bit of cream and jam. And between you and me, the food here is awful. I’m not that fussy an eater – but food parcels would be most welcome. Anyway, Latvia sound and look fine now.

At their press conference, the lead singer – Joran who’s from Germany – was forced to sing a little ditty in German. One journalist made some sort of joke about putting poppy seeds in cake to give them some unusual flavour. Wonder what he meant? Some people are strange. Anyway, the singers are partial to Latvian Sand Cake. But apparently it doesn’t contain any sand. It’s good to know that things aren’t that desperate in the Baltics. Anyway Joran can speak in many languages – he learns them via YouTube by singing along to foreign songs.

Missed Estonia on stage, but at the press conference, Tanja said she loved a challenge – so having a difficult stage performance  was something she enjoyed. Just as well as she’s flung all over the place on stage! She actually has three backing vocalists – but they’re nowhere to be seen. It used to be in the rules that they have to appear on stage, but not necessity on camera. She said the singers didn’t mind not been sen by the viewers as they’ve already appeared on Eurovision. To get the effect of the song the act has to only feature herself and her dancer. The performance is all about her having the free will be get away. Some of her dance movements can be quite dangerous apparently. She’s managed to kick him in the face in the past. That’s one way of getting rid of him.

She describes herself as a bubbly personality but often plays much darker roles in theatre such as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. She also played the carmen character in FAME.

Sweden next. Only saw part of Sanna Nielsen’s performance – but she looked and sounded great. While I have no desire to return to Sweden so soon – if it’s the best song, then it deserves to win. At her press conference she said she was very pleased with her second rehearsals. She just changed a fews with the lighting effects. But she loves the stage – it looks like a diamond and is surrounded by water – hence the whole thing about having Eurovision on an island. What some organisers will do to keep those pesky fans rushing onto the stage. Anyone wanting to perform a pitch invasion should bring their wellies along. Not that we want to encourage such things, but who doesn’t love a bit of a splash?

Anyway, Sanna also performed part of her song that she entered for Melodifestival in 2008. She entered that contest about seven times in the past – so it’s great to finally see her here. She was also joined on stage by a guitarist and they gave us an uptempo rendering of her entry. Very nice indeed.

Despite her young years she been performing since aged 11. But her parents made sure she had an down-to-earth upbringing.

They’ve just handed out ‘Sanna Chocolate’ to everyone. Very tasty. Best thing I’ve tasted here in Copenhagen.

Saw a bit of the Russian act on screen. The girls looked very post-modern Princess Leia – all in white and long sleeves. They look too young for the outfits.And for twins, one does seem taller than the other.

You may remember that the girls perform on a see-saw – well it serves another purpose as well. It’s props and gimmick mad this year. I have to admit, while I think the song is decent enough – it’s the one that’s always going through my head. Maybe I’m missing Jedward.

The Icelandic press conference was good fun. Pollaponk were asked what they thought their chances of winning were. They replied that while they were in the contest to win it – it was more important for their message to come across – a world without prejudice. I asked them about their colourful outfits – each member of the band always get dressed in the same bright colours. How did they decide what colour would go with whom. Apparently there was a debate and straws were drawn. But the guy in pink is pleased with his colour choice. Any why wouldn’t he?

Just watched a bit of Ukraine on screen. I do love the hamster routine. What a great way to exercise.  The song is meant to signify that we all prisoners in life and we have to try and break free to find true love. It’s the wheel of time so to speak.

She was asked about the political situation in Ukraine. She said the Ukrainian people are strong and will survive the troubles.

We found out in the Azerbaijan press conference that Dilara is very much into animal rights. She pioneered a animal shelter in Azerbaijan. She even visited a Danish animal shelter with the Hungarian performer, Kallay. She’s using proceeds from her merchandising for animal rights – something that was produced here in Denmark – a 3D printer version of herself! The small doll-sized statue looked very impressive will be auctioned off.

Her song has a lot of deep meaning – and isn’t all about love. The lyrics try to convey kindness and humanity. The trapeze artist is there because the song has a ‘airy’ feel about it. That’s not a bad spin on it.

Just watched the Portuguese act on the screen – and I just want to cry. Not because it’s sad or anything – but because it’l be another year that the country won’t win or even get into the final, alas. And I so want them to win! *Sigh* It’s not a bad performance by the lovely Suzy – and it is a fun and bouncy effort – but it’s going nowhere. I’m really glad they came back this year – and hope they try again next year. Can someone please point them in the right direction? They need to emulate the success of their national football team!

Net up on stage was an entirely different affair – Netherlands. I went along to see them perform this live at the arena. What a classy act. That, unfortunately will probably be the kiss of death! I do hope can appreciate a bit of country & western music. One of the best things watching these acts at the arena is that you get to see all the camermen/women at work. The singers have to follow their script on stage – but so do the cameramen, whizzing around the performers round and round on stage, getting their close-ups – then quickly running off the stage not to get in shot when the overhead cameras take over. Marvellous. It’s what makes seeing a show live more interesting. I really hope this gets through.

Next on stage is another favourite of mine, Montenegro. I’m beginning to warm to the ice-skating ballerina. She certainly is working hard. I love this Balkan sound, but fear it won’t go through to the final. Not sure if western Europe appreciates this sort of sound.

Okay  – it’s now 9.30pm here at the press centre and we have to leave soon. I’ll be back to finish off today’s rehearsals stuff along with David’s pics tomorrow.