Eurovision 2016: My impressions from Day 3 Rehearsals (ESC+Plus in Stockholm)

13173840_1019480331473628_2186042447828456607_nI arrived to Stockholm on Monday and was unable to catch a glimpse of day 1, but after day 2 I was anxious to witness Day 3. Many favorites are taking the stage today:

  1. Justs, from Latvia
  2. Michal Szpak, from Poland
  3. Rykka, from Switzerland @theRykka
  4. Hovi Star, from Israel @MrHoviStar
  5. IVAN, from Belarus @ivan_eurovision
  6. Sanja, from Serbia @SerbiaESC
  7. Nicky, from Ireland @NickyByrne
  8. Kaliopi, from F.Y.R Macedonia @Kaliopi_KMP
  9. Donny, from Lithuania @DonnyMontell
  10. Dami Im, from Australia @damiandmusic

After yesterday, it is now clear to me that I’m more critical of my favorites this year. Curious about my favorites? Check out my top 10 video and my blog. At any rate, my standouts from yesterday were:

  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Sweden
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina

None of these song are in my top 10 and that proves how important watching the full rehearsals is (not the well-edited clips from the EBU). Each of my favorites from yesterday weren’t in my bottom. They were all songs I was “on the fence about” or feeling just “ok” about. With strong onstage performances and staging these acts rose to the occasion standing out among many of the bookies favorites.

One may question reviewing rehearsals. Rehearsals are just that. They are the practice round, not the final polished product. Judgements end up rushed and could be seriously off from what happens when the cameras are rolling and hundreds of thousands are watching.

The first performance to give me chills was Israel’s Hovi Star. This song is safely in my top 10 and after this rehearsal I don’t think I could place it anywhere lower than Top 5. The staging is beautiful. The staging isn’t distracting, it is simple without being boring *cough* Sweden *cough*.

Day 3 started off strong vocally with Justs from Latvia and Michal from Poland. Poland’s staging was very simple with not a lot of movement of projections. Latvia has kept things similar to the national performance, which had some press and fans disappointed. I was pleased with how Latvia chose to frame their camera angles and the LED projections felt right. Justs is a charismatic performer and that shines.

I actually didn’t hate Belarus’ entry and I feel like someone from the delegation saw some of my video blogs. I said he needed a band to back him. So projections of him playing instruments appear. IVAN still has blond hair, he still isn’t the cool rocker that ever single member of Cyprus is but… the staging is pretty cool. IVAN’s vocals are still shaky.  Is their nudity? Kinda. Is it the oddest thing in the performance? No.

I am a fan of Serbia’s entry this year. Sanja’s voice has a unique and raw quality. Her voice feels organic and this son fits perfectly. “Shelter” is brought to life with contemporary dancers and strong choreography. My call the Sanja could be dark horse material, was solidified with this rehearsal.

Firstly, I think Ireland could and should qualify. I like “Sunlight,” I’m not a fan of all the red LED’s being used. White lights or a color less heavy should be used (imho). Many of the performer opted for the red lights and I am not really a fan. All in all, Nicky was super professional and really delivered.

Dami Im was amazing. Dami Im was flawless. Australia is still firmly in my top 5. “The Sound of Silence,” is a ballad done well and to those thinking this song is boring- I can’t deal with you. Australia is taking this contest serious and making other European countries (and Israel) up their game.  Thank you SBS, Dami Im, Dami’s Army, and Australia.

Ready for the semi finals:

  • Latvia
  • Poland
  • Israel
  • Serbia
  • Ireland
  • Australia

Needs Rehearsal 2:

  • Switzerland, costuming and we need choreography
  • Lithuania, comfort and vocals
  • Belarus, for the vocals

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