Vienna Blog. Words by Hass Yusuf, photos by David Ransted.
This blog is updated constantly throughout the day, so tune in for all the latest news as it happens.
Disclaimer: This blog is being written as things happen so please ignore any mistakes and go with the flow!
Before we begin Day 5 proper, there are still the Meet & Greets from last night to report on.
Mans from Sweden is having a lot of fun in Vienna. He feels the act can be improved on stage (looked to me as it was). The message of his song is that everyone can be a hero and that you don’t really need to look up to role models. He was very happy to finally win the Swedish national final (Melodifestiva) after three attempts. Though he knows everyone expects him to win Eurovision, he has to get through his tough semi-final first! If he were a comic super-hero he would be Superman so he can fly to meetings on time!
At the Swiss Meet & Greet, Melanie found the stage amazing and they got everything they asked for. Her song contains her personal experience put down in words. Believe in yourself and don’t let anything hold you back. I think virtually every song we’ve heard has the same message!
At the Cypriot Meet & Greet, their singer, John, thought the stage was breathtaking! Makes a change from ‘amazing’. When asked what were his main characteristics, he said it was his specs and his confidence. He’s also a big gamer – especially World Of Warcraft, where his team is around 57th in the league tables.
At the Slovenian Meet & Greet, we found out that the couple met at a musical academy and became a couple a few months later. They draw their inspiration from their two young boys. Marjetka feels comfortable wearing headphones on stage because it makes her feel that she’s in a recording studio.
The last Meet & Greet of the day was for Poland. Monika, who has to use a wheelchair, was grateful to the organisers for supplying her with ramps and such. After her car accident that left her partly paralysed, she had to draw on her inner strength to puck up her life. She even had to start all over again learning how to sing – singing sitting down is not the same as singing standing up. Her husband co-composed the song with her. She believes in a quote by Les Brown where everyone has greatness within them.
And now back to Day 5! I imagine it’s Friday, but everyday merges into each other now. Today we have the second rehearsals from all of Semi-Final One acts and the start of the proper press conferences. But only 20 minutes for each country, so it’s going to be all go!
David Ransted will be standing at the arena all day long taking photos of all the acts. I’ll get to the arena later to experience that ‘wow’ factor.
On the screen now is Moldova. This act has it all – it’s Village People meet Pans People, with lot of skin and acrobatics. The best start to the contest ever!
I thought I would actually go and visit the stage. And very impressive it is! It’s got a very nice and original design. I watched the Armenian act which was expertly performed. At their press conference, there was no pussy-footing around his time and the ‘G’ word (genocide) was actually used. In the interests of fairness though, the genocide is disputed by Turkey.
The infamous dress with the revealing boobies has now been replaced for the Dutch act. It got a lot of bad press and was gathering more interest than the song. Trijntje now looks like a real rock-chick that she is.
At her press conference she said that the dress may still make a comeback. I quite assure half the population will be pleased!
Everything is happening thick and fast today, so I’m taking it easy going to the arena, a press conference if I get a chance, and meeting up with old friends that you only see here once a year.
Eduard from Moldova says: “Keep the power”, while Loic from Belgium says he’s not really a competitive bloke and see Eurovision as one long concert. Good attitude to take I feel.
Rumours: China has a commentating booth this year and are broadcasting live! Maybe they’ll be in next year’s show? Everyone here thinks that Australia will be back again.
Just watched Estonia on stage – what a brilliant song it is. And the stage show is very effective.
Also effective, but in a completely different way is the Serbian act. This should be the club anthem of the season. It still features the drunk uncle at a wedding. Well, it’s a fun act. It may struggle to go through to the final though…
I managed to do a quick video interview with the Cypriot singer, John Karayiannis. If the sound quality is okay we’ll upload it in due course.
Just watched two great acts at the arena. The Russian act just gives you goose-bumps! Polina is such a powerful singer, probably one of the best in the contest. It will no doubt do well, because of all the in-built Russian votes, but this would be a worthy winner. It will of course be marked down by those who follow international politics – which may of course not be that many among Eurovision viewers…
Denmark were also fabulous on stage. What a happy sound these four lads (Anti-Social Media) produce. Britpop at it’s best. I was clapping away and stamping my feet in the arena I can tell you.
I’m watching the Albanian act – it’s a lovely little song, but may get lost among the more impressive acts. If this were just a song contest, it should do well, but the contest is too big for such the song to win – you need a memorable act. The most memorable thing here is probably Elhaidha’s dodgy outfit. I’m just joking. Just speaking to fellow member, Nico, and looking at its fellow Semi-Final One participants, it might gather the 50 or so points it needs to qualify for the final. Hurrah, I say. It’ll be good to see Albania in the final again.
Ahh,.. on stage is an song that I rate highly – Voltag from Romania. It really pulls at the heart-strings. All those who argue that the UK takes in too many immigrants, should really listen to this song and realise the sacrifices that workers from abroad have to make.
The show started off with leather outfits and it ends with a leather outfit fitting the form of the lovely Nina. You can’t go wrong with thigh length leather boots. The song is a bit shouty, but should easily qualify to the final.
And I think that might be it for tonight. We’ll upload David’s pics in tomorrow’s blog – exclusive pics from the arena!