Eurovision 2021 Semi Final 1: All Performances

Manizha, Russia, First Rehearsal, Rotterdam Ahoy, 8 May 2021 — EBU / ANDRES PUTTING

On Tuesday May 18th, the first semi final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 will take place. Read the article below for a sneak preview of how all the performances in that show are going to look!

ESCDaily is live in Rotterdam. With a team of journalists we follow all the rehearsals to analyze how every country will stage their song. When even the slightest detail changes, we will update this article for you, so keep refreshing this throughout the upcoming weeks to get the latest information!

01. Lithuania – The Roop – Discotheque

Eurovision starts off festive with The Roop dressed in banana yellow outfits. We see mainly purple backdrops and some white effects. In the first verse, camera direction is working with silhouettes against a white square when focusing on the lead singer. Split screen effects are visible as well. At the first chorus, we see wideshots from right opposite the stage showing the entire group dancing.

The Roop’s performs a slightly weird dance routine. Hand choreography combined with eccentric moves. At times a lot of wideshots are used, making The Roop looking a bit lost on the huge stage. However, this is compensated in the second half of the song with a couple of close-ups of the lead singer flirting with the camera.

During the break before the last chorus, the dance becomes more robotic. In close up the lead singer scissors his fingers in various ways, then ‘graps’ the camera as if making a selfie of himself and his group while they walk along the edge of the stage.

02. Slovenia – Ana Soklič – Amen

Those who have seen the official live video clip will recognize the long white trousers and cape combination that Soklic is wearing. Ana will sing her song to a sparkling interstellar universe projection. The opening shot looks like an eclipse. At the start of the performance, we see a couple of closeup shots from the side.

Sometimes we get to see the earth globe or the suns corona. Halfway the song Ana walks to the midstage and the big screen perpendicular to the main stage above the catwalk shows beautiful nature landscapes like the Grand Canyon.

The song closes with Ana in close-up on the catwalk, in a combination of close-ups and front-of-stage panshots. Ana is singing ‘Hey child’, leaving out the ‘why you’re hiding from the light’-part do to some slight changes in the composition.

03. Russia – Manizha – Russian Woman

Russia brings color to the stage. Backdrop shows newspapers titles, old wall paintings, an iconic historic woman and knights on horses, all in shades of gold and red. Afterwards empowering texts appear like ‘be creative’, ‘be grateful’, ‘be yourself’ all leading up to ‘Russian Woman’.

Opening shot shows Manizha’s head popping out of a big matrushka statue on stage. The singer plays with her eyes and does hand choreography with a blue background, filmed with a long close-up shot. The matrushka then shifts around the stage as if it’s on wheels. Manizha liberates herself from the statue/dress. Now she is wearing her red overalls and a golden headpiece. Her four backings encircle her in golden suits and throw maldictions at her. The cameraman walks on stage, making circles around Manizha and the backing vocalists during the second verse.

At the end, a huge Corona Skype wall with all kinds of independent women is visible and Manizha praises them, arms up, with her back towards the camera, so that the viewers are behind her, and so are her backings. A couple of stage-pans are used to capture this perfectly. End shot (wide) shows ‘Russian Woman’ made out of collection of power women while Manizha and her backings team up facing the crowd.

04. Sweden – Tusse – Voices

As always the Swedish act on the Eurovision stage a an almost exact copy of what they did in Melodifestivalen. 2021 is no exception. The only difference is that because only six people are allowed on stage, a couple of backing singers are now projected. Tusse is wearing the same red velvet suit. This time he just has cut off his sleeves. He now wears a lot silver jewelry on his black gloves and around the neck. At some point the floor has a ripple effect of subtle waves, as if Tusse is walking on water, but most of the time Tusse is kinda squatting during singing. Dominant colors in backgrond are blue and sparkling gold.

05. Australia – Montaigne – Technicolour

Montaigne will use her back-up tape, recorded in a studio in Australia. Montaigne starts in the dark and shadow, before she stands in bright beams. Distorted effects, before three dancers will join her for her performance.The white light beams changes to green, blue and yellow disco colors during the refrain. Montaigne wears a black latex suit with silver elements on the shoulders.

Expressive choreography just like her live performance she did at Mardi Grass. This time Montaigne dyed her hair in the colors pink and lime. Australia uses a lot of close-up shots to mask the fact that this performance takes place on another stage.

06. North Macedonia – Vasil – Here I Stand

Minimalistic setting, Vasil is solely standing in the dark. Black and gold are the main colors of this act. Vasil is lit with only one spot throughout the first verse. A golden light glittering from his chest. Golden stardust in camera effects give the act a Disney-vibe. In the backdrop some golden equalizer simulation and increasing lights a yellow/red light beams to emphasize we are dealing with Macedonia. Vasil wears a black suit, but reveals during the last chorus a silver shirt which functions as a disco ball. Expect good vocals for this performance.

07. Ireland – Lesley Roy – Maps

Ireland’s concept is that of a children’s viewing box. As if the camera looks inside the box filled with white cartoon shapes. During the first verse, Lesley Roy walks sideways across the stage, through a cardboard forrest. Then a close-up of Lesley appears, where her head is caught between circles/waves. Second part of the first chorus we see another close-up shot, but this time in front of the camera some hands quickly flip through a coloring book filled with drawings, while Lesley pretends to run.

During the second verse, she breaks branches in the forrest first, then she defies the cardboard waves and stops a wave at the end of the verse. Again the flipping coloring book pages for the second chorus, followed by a quick shot of a cardboard city (reminding Eurovision fans of Getter Jaani, Eurovision 2011).

At the bridge, we see Lesley surrounded by raindrops. Then the camera zooms out, and Lesley reveals her staging plan, showing this is not LED but an actual stage we are watching. She walks the catwalk for the final chorus. The colors change to orange lighting. Final shot shows the forrest props in the background popping up behind Lesley Roy. Vocals have been up and down throughout rehearsals – the quality on the big night itself remains a surprise.

08. Cyprus – Elena Tsagrinou – El Diablo

The backdrop colors are red and white. Elena is wearing a silver draped dress, which does not cover much of her body. Cyprus brought its own backdrop, which functions as a giant mirror, at times projecting extra backing dancers. Most of the backing vocals are not live.

Elena starts her performance lying on the LED-floor, with a camera shot similar to Levina (Germany 2017). While Elena starts alone on stage, four backing dancers soon join her for a sensual choreography. Quick flashy camera changes, with Elena smiling into the camera a lot. Second verse the dancers disappear, and they return for the pre-chorus.

During the bridge, you can hear the children’s choir voices on tape. After that, the letters “El Diablo” appear on the back of the stage. Fireworks will appear from these letters. For the final shot, Elena turns her back to the camera and looks over her shoulder when she whispers the title of her song one more time.

09. Norway – TIX – Fallen angel

TIX stands on his box with his angel wings lit from behind. His four backing vocalists/dancers are dressed as dark angels and the five of them are locked together through chains and shackles.

The opening shot is head-to-toe on TIX only. We see his wings, his headband, and his white pimp suit. As well as his shackles. However we do not yet see the black angels yet. During the prechorus, the camera shifts to a full stage shot, but the black angels are still in the dark. They become visible during the first chorus.

Soft blue and white are the colors to start with, later on purple and yellow skies with clouds and occasional lightning. Heavy use of a fogger to create cloud of dried ice. Basically the concept of act is a copy of their national final.

10. Croatia – Albina – Tick tock

The singer is wearing a sexy silver glittery outfit with beads. The silver band around her waist makes it look as though she is wearing a string. Blue, purple and red colors define the scene. In the backdrop they project the words “Dancin’ “and “Fancy”.

During the first verse, Albina is alone on stage, surrounded by purple lighting. She plays with the projections, as if she is sending the light beams in the right direction. Albina points like the hands of time and colored beams support the ‘tick tock’ concept. We see black screen camera changes between a full-stage shot and a close-up shot.

From the first chorus onwards, Albina is accompanied by four male dancers dressed in also silver outfits a bit Alcazar-style. During the second pre-chorus, we see ‘Hologram’ dancing by Albina (who has two Albina’s CGI-projected next to her). After the second chorus, Albina is lifted by her dancers and filmed from above, so it looks as if she’s lying on the floor rotating. Albina and her backing dancers are on the catwalk for the final chorus.

11. Belgium – Hooverphonic – The wrong place

The Belgians come up with a sober act, with many long lasting camera shots. The camera is circling around the singer and the band. The only supporting color used next to all basic black and white is yellow. The idea clearly is to set a serious and credible atmosphere. All people on stage are dressed in almost neutral non-offensive black clothing. In the backdrop we get to see black and white close-ups off Geike’s hands and her frowning face. The singer overall looks a bit angry/scared because she follows the camera with her eyes only, not moving her head.

The opening shot shows the inside of a piano, then the camera shifts towards Geike. After that, the camera zooms out showing the backing singer with a tambourine adding more and more band members.

12. Israel – Eden Alene – Set me free

White, blue and purple color setting, “Set me free” is written in the backdrop. Eden wears an white top with black lines and a miniskirt showing of her bare legs. She has 5 extra male dancers dressed in the same white tops with the same black lines and long black pants. They perform a very synchronized typical Israeli and modern group dance routine making full use of the catwalk and stage. Eden flirts a lot with the camera and strips to black lingerie to set herself free for the last chorus where she unleashes her high notes. The performance is energetic and Eden charismatic and everything seems well balanced.

13. Romania – Roxen – Amnesia

Roxen with dark purple colored hair and a gothic green sweatshirt & jeans, walks though a dark blue scenery with dried ice. Five dancers in hoodies, “wake up” and dance as demons around her. They lift Roxen up and we get to see a camera shot from above. The floor projects blue swirls under the smoke. Choreography is very modern and the cameras capture this well, with the use of many front-of-stage shots. Beautiful scenery.

Roxen wears a different set of clothes compared to the clip below. A one piece dress with a purple to red fade with a floral skirt. At around 1:00 minute the colors change to red Roxen and the dancers switch position to the midstage on a red rectangle and kind of circle around each other as if in a fight. Second chorus: the dancers drag Roxen over the floor. During the bridge, Roxen walks out and the dancers crawl behind her. When Roxen refinds her ‘self love’ in the final chorus of the song, her demons kneel for her one by one.

14. Azerbaijan – Efendi – Mata Hari

Azerbaijan brings a colorful act to the stage: turquoise, gold and purple. Many oriental ornaments, symbols and off course flames in the projections on backdrop and floor. A big golden bulb in the backdrop, in which a double headed cobra is projected behind. Efendi is wearing a black short dress, her four dancers wear also black outfits revealing a lot of skin.

Dancers pose in silhouettes and perform a simple dance routine. When they line up behind Efendi together they perform an oriental arm choreography like the Indian goddess Durga. Towards the end the lighting becomes more and more intense and an ‘evil eye’ is projected in the background. Camera work is a nice mix of front-of-stage, dark close-ups and wideshots including the audience/green room. Vocals are solid, though the song is not difficult to sing either.

15. Ukraine – Go_A – Shum

In the scenery of a white winter/leafless forrest created by props, the lead singer stands almost the entire song as a green feathered bird singing her song. There are two musicians and two extra dancers on stage, all dressed in white. The flute player sits in what looks like a birds nest.

Performance starts with a long close-up of the lead singer. Then, the rest of the stage is revealed via a front-of-stage shot. The dancers carry a circle-light and they perform a sort of courtship during what seems to represent sunrise. Wideshots used during the first instrumental break. After that, we see a diagonal split screen and the color changes to Ukranian flag blue and more stroboscopic lights. The two dancers now step to the front of the stage for the second chorus.

At the large instrumental break before the music is speeding up, the two dancers are filmed close-up at the side of the stage, holding flashing gold boxes filled with powder in front of them. Then a multitude of screens appear on the background and animated men start running. End pose is a still of Katerina Pavlenko with a halo (the circle light switched off) against an evening sun background.

16. Malta – Destiny – Je me casse

Lime and pink are the main backdrop colors for Malta, with sometimes a little blue. Destiny wears a draped silver glitter dress and silver boots. In both cases, she is wearing boots and shows off her bare legs. There are four dancers on stage dancing along.

Camera angles are mostly full body or front-of-stage, with a small amount of close-ups mixed in. Firework waterfall (gold curtain) at the final chorus. The background is brought back to an effective smooth one color (pink luxaflex or just plain lime) to make Destiny sparkle to the best. A white ballet bar is projected to suggest a dance school situation. Destiny waves her hands elegantly and vocally jumps with great ease from note to note.