Düsseldorf 2011: Day 7 Rehearsals and Press Conferences

Enter, the Big Five. It is Day seven in Düsseldorf and further semifinalists take their second rehearsal, followed by the stage debuts of the five automatic finalists. Keep refreshing this page as content will be added throughout the day such as feedback, rehearsal videos and interviews. You can also watch us working live in the press centre as well as having a chat by clicking here.

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Rehearsal time: 10:00 CET
httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxBjaWWcAnY Eric continues his second rehearsal, following on from yesterday evening’s run-throughs. While things seem a little more ‘polished’ than in previous rehearsals, the possibility of the ‘glass box’ not smashing on cue is definitely playing on Eric’s mind, and seems to be the focus of the performance. Eric is wearing the maroon/burgundy leather jacket he wore in the Melodifestivalen competition for this rehearsal, and not the black jacket with the red LEDs hidden inside. This is all very energetic and lively, and does make good use of the whole stage – and yes, on the third run-through, the glass does indeed smash – but not on cue!

Rehearsal time: 10:30
Next up is Cyprus. The Cypriot performers are ‘dressed down’ today, and not wearing the outfits we saw in the first rehearsal. It seems like the focus is on perfecting the vocals, and getting interaction with the camera right. There seems to be a slight drop in energy today, but then it is quite an early start for the performers! The on-stage ‘swaying’ looks great on the screens here in the press centre.

Rehearsal time: 11:00
Another polished and strong performance from Poli this morning, though it sounds as though she might be ‘holding back’ on the vocals a little. The whole thing is visually appealing, and Poli is very confident with ‘owning’ the space; she enjoys moving around the stage and the ‘catwalk’ with ease. A lot of this year’s artists seem to have decided to perform to the arena, rather than the cameras; Poli, however, manages both effectively. The moment when Poli ‘tears’ off her dress works fine but it always feels like it might get caught up in the microphone somehow!

FYR Macedonia
Rehearsal time: 11:30
The Macedonian backing dancers appear to be dressed in a cross between national costume, and space suits – they look a little like Michelin men! Vlatko puts in a generally strong performance this morning and even looks like he might have had a haircut since the first rehearsals! There is a lot of enthusiasm on-stage. The vocals drop a little when Vlatko uses the megaphone – perhaps he is holding it too far away from the microphone? In fact, the playback of this particular section is being shown on-screen, probably so this issue can be addressed.

Rehearsal time: 12:00
Dana finally reveals what will, apparently, be ‘the outfit’ for the big night! It appears to be made of woven ribbons, in shades of green; the ribbons fall from the waist to create a ‘skirt’ of sorts. It looks vaguely mermaid-like! The dress is complemented by toweringly tall black heels. Dana has gone for big hair too. Reaction to the whole ensemble here in the press room is very muted; there doesn’t seem to be anyone here who likes it ! The staging of ‘Ding Song’ feels very similar to that of ‘Diva’ back in 1998; five backing vocalists – dressed very simply – remain quite static, while Dana moves around the stage, (this time, also making use of the catwalk). The support of an audience in the arena will lift this song and performance.

Rehearsal time: 12:30
So begin the first rehearsals of the so-called ‘Big Five’, with Amaury Vassili’s performance for France. There are some problems with the sound feed to the screens here in the press centre, so the initial rehearsal was very quiet. However, visually, the staging is very impressive, and the French have done well to create an atmosphere on-stage even if they do only have one performer. The LED backdrop depicts an evening sunset that graduates into a night sky, before morphing into daybreak. The second rehearsal was a little louder, and Amaury’s vocals are very strong; no doubt inside the arena, it all looks and sounds even better. If a little more ‘power’ could be injected into the whole presentation, it would make things even better. Certainly, an impressive first rehearsal.

Rehearsal time: 13:10
Raphael’s performance marks the welcome return of Italy to the Eurovision stage. The staging of the song feels a little clumsy, though that might have more to do with the camera angles than anything else. Raphael is clearly very focused on his vocals, and spends much of the performance with his eyes closed, affording very litle opportunity for interacting with the audience. Various other musicians join Raphael on the stage, which is complemented by images of piano playing on the huge background screens. The vocals are strong but Raphael will no doubt improve once he relaxes into the whole experience.

United Kingdom
Rehearsal time: 13:50
There is certainly a ‘buzz’ in the press centre surrounding the performance by Blue. Appropriately enough, the boys are wearing deep blue/slate grey tailoring in various combinations, along with black accessories, (scarves, t-shirts etc.) Four large illluminated screens stand behind the singers . Initially, the screens display ‘headshot’ style images of the group; these images then change into other shots of them singing, and the words, ‘I Can’. The group have no difficulty making good use of the stage – their past experience of stadium performances has certainly helped – and, even though this is only their first rehearsal on the Eurovision stage, the show has a slick feel to it. Vocals seem a little quiet but they are certainly capable enough – demonstrated by some very pleasant harmonies at the beginning of the song.

Lena’s staging is encompassed in purples, whites and dark blues – her dancers in the bodysuits are supporting her as she is dressed in black with a hair decoration.  The background images are stunning, with cascading images of Lena’s dancers.  The staging for this is interesting and quite captivating with the lighting.  Her vocals are great and she looks very at ease with the performance.

Lucia is joined on stage by five backing singers and dancers.  We’ve seen her outfit and it’ll be a short pink dress.  The backing screen shows yellows, reds and pinks and Lucia’s vocals are definitely on point, except during the key change! There is a bit of pyro used and for the most part this is quite energetic and fun.