We opened the day with our returning hero from Norway, Alexander Rybak. The 2009 winner appeared to take to the rehearsals this morning with a quite a restrained approach. The man has quite clearly done all this before, he understands that nobody wins Eurovision on a Tuesday morning. I still can’t stand the song itself but I fully expect that Rybak will do what he did at Melodi Grand Prix and storm it on the night. The actual staging of the song has remained much the same from MGP, if you have a winning formula then you should bloody well stick to it. Once Alexander has turned up the wick there’s no way this won’t do very well.
The undoubted highlight of the day fell to our friends DoReDos from Moldova. Not only have they come to Lisbon equipped with a solid gold banger of a tune they have arrived with a stage show that crams a whole melodrama/sitcom into a 3 minute presentation. I cannot remember such clear storytelling on the Eurovision stage since Stig & Elina from Estonia three years ago. Whereas that was a dark drama DoReDos bring one of the funniest, most highly entertaining polyamorous romps you’re ever going to see on Saturday night television. If you’ve ever seen the play Noises Off! it’s basically that, but condensed. It’s beautiful.
One of the biggest surprises came from everyone’s favourite microstate, San Marino. We’d seen toy dancing robots in their ‘National Final’ performance but it was going to take one hell of a baller move to bring them to the big stage. Guess what, San Marino have executed a baller move to perfection. Not only do they have dancing robots, not only do they have dancing robots that don’t always work, they have dancing robots that hold up handmade signs and end up proposing to Jessika. The press room erupted into a cheer the like of which has only been matched by Moldova, the joy of the performance is infectious. I still don’t think it will qualify for the final but nothing would bring me greater happiness than if it did exactly that next Thursday.
Another surprise going in the other direction was from the Australian delegation. To be fair to the wonderful Jessica Mauboy she did very little wrong. She nailed it in terms of the vocal across all three of the run throughs, she was gi’n it yaldi. However, there’s only so much she can do when all around her feels wrong. The lighting is far too dark for the audience at home to make the connection. She has no backing singers so when she’s singing ‘WE got love’, who the hell are the we? Where’s the we? The poor lass is on her own. And the sad burst of pyro into the last chorus. If you’re not going to do it properly just don’t bother.
Of all our other entries today Romania introduced us to their cult of the creepy mannequin and Serbia more or less copied the first few instructions of Love Love Peace Peace. Much like Rybak Denmark’s Rasmussen did very little different from Dansk Melodi Grand Prix. It remains a competent nautical performance that deserves by right to qualify in the final but it may struggle against more headline-grabbing opposition. He also has one of the finest heads of hair I’ve ever seen. Whatever secret Viking conditioner he’s using, I need to get hold of some of it.
Russia’s Julia Samoylova rehearsed ‘I Won’t Break’ and Waylon ran through ‘Outlaw in Em’. You can find proper critiques of these elsewhere. This blog is not the place for this.